While Dan’s parents visited last week, we spent three days in Amsterdam. We explored several museums, toured the city on our own and with a guide, and took a bus tour to the Alkmaar Cheesemarket & to see some windmills. I think it was a good trip and with some adjustments, it could be a great one for others.
This Amsterdam trip is best suited for adults since it includes a trip to the House of Bols and a walking tour of the Red Light District. It is pretty casual so you have plenty of time to pack in more museums if you want.
On the first day, it’s nice to just walk around and get to know the city. We used a Rick Steve’s book walking tour to explore the center of Amsterdam, but you can find free and cheap self-guided tours of Amsterdam both online or at the VVV.
Along your tour, you might find the Nieuwe Kerk & the Amsterdam Historical Museum. The church isn’t very interesting unless you like to visit historical churches, but it is a good place to pick up a Museumkaart (no line). Its also located on the famous Dam square where the first Amstel Dam was built. The Historical Museum, on the other hand, is very through, has English translations, and is worth a good visit. Give yourself an hour (more if you don’t have the Museumkaart) to explore before walking down to the Bloemenmarkt.
The Bloemenmarkt is a flower street market and the best place to buy tulip bulbs in Amsterdam. Most shops will close up by 5 pm, but a few will be open a bit later. After the Bloemenmarkt, enjoy the dinner of your choice.
After dinner, wrap up the evening with a walking tour of the red light district. The Randy Roy’s Red Light District Tour is lead by an American woman who has been living in Amsterdam for 20 years and will run you 12,50 euros per person. It was an interesting tour, but rather awkward with the In-laws along. If this isn’t your thing try one of the museums in the evening or try visiting a café with live music.
After you return from your tour (bring snacks, we didn’t have time to lunch & got back around 2 pm), you can visit the Anne Frank Museum. The museum has restricted entry, so it is advisable to purchase advance tickets online through their website. Don’t try to do it through the VVV (like we did); they only have tickets available after 6 pm.
To kill time we visited the Woonboot (Houseboat) Museum. For about 3,75 euros you can tour this small private museum on an actual houseboat. It was neat, but I don’t know if I would pay for it; at least not again. They don’t take the Museumkaart, but do take the Holland Pass.
Some times during your visit, it is worth taking a canal tour. Lover’s has been recommended to me, but I haven’t tried them. Look for one with smaller boats and real tour guides to avoid getting a canned recording in six different languages.
Have you visited Amsterdam? Share your favorite attractions and activities in the comments.