Things to see and do when in Amsterdam for the first time

Things to see and do when in Amsterdam for the first time

Cue the cliche canal photos and to do lists after a long weekend in the city known for sex, drugs and bikes.



With around 1500 bridges and what feels like more bikes than people, the Dutch capital is a canal maze with colourful markets, smoky coffee shops and museums left right and centre.

Things to do:

  • Book in advance and beat the line for a tour of Anne Frank’s house.
  • Visit Bloemenmarkt, the worlds only floating flower market.
  • Find the famous ‘I am Amsterdam’ sign.
  • Go to Vondel Park, the largest park in Amsterdam and the most famous park in the Netherlands.
  • Get lost in the Jordann district, a trendy area full of cafes and colourful buildings.
  • Walk the red light district both in the day and at night and see a whole different meaning to window shopping.
  • Wander around Dam square, the main shopping area in the city.
  • Explore a house boat.

Museums and galleries:

Navigating the cities art work and museums can be hard work, but there is definitely something for everyone.

  • Pop in to the sex museum close to central station and stand near an 8ft penis.
  • Take a look at some modern and contemporary art at the Moco museum and see which exhibition is currently on.
  • Go to the Van Gough museum and see the ‘Sunflowers’ masterpiece.
  • Learn about the history of the Netherlands in the Rijksmuseum.

Getting around:

There are so many ways to get from A to B in the city, some a lot easier than others.

  • Take a canal tour and enjoy the city and history from the water.
  • Follow the locals, or be the ultimate tourist, and take your chances with cars, trams and people by renting a bike.
  • Hire a canal bike (pedalo) and pedal your way around the canals.

Food and drink:

For some reason Amsterdam has a reputation for potato and pancakes, but don’t forget to try the cheese and Heineken.

  • Visit the ice bar and drink beer and shots from glasses made out of ice.
  • Explore the cheese shops and taste some samples.
  • Go on a journey through the world of Heineken at The Heineken Experience.
  • Visit a coffee shop, a café where cannabis and other soft drugs are sold.
  • Grab a huge cone of fries covered in sauce from Mannekein Pis.
  • Eat Chinese food at the Sea Palace, the first floating restaurant in Europe.


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