There are so many amazing places to see in Amsterdam and The Netherlands but we’ve narrowed it down to our top 10 things not to miss in Amsterdam!
1. Spend the afternoon Haarlem
It is the cutest little town and way less crowded than Amsterdam. We spent the morning in Haarlem which was fun to have everything empty, but it also meant nothing is open. The I amsterdam city card paid for all the museums there and we got a discount at a little restaurant right next to the Haarlem windmill! You can see everything we did in detail on our Haarlem post.
By far our favorite part of Amsterdam. See our post about it here. It’s a hidden treasure, or at least felt that way since we asked a few information guides how to get there and they couldn’t tell us! Definitely worth the adventure to get to, and they have an awesome boat ride right back to a tram stop that goes right back to Centraal station.
We had to take a bus that dropped us off in what felt like the middle of nowhere. Followed the Muiderslot signs in the pouring rain. We walked about 2-3 miles but it was fun and it was completely sunny for the rest of the day!
3. Anne Frank House
This one you will want to buy tickets online in advance. Choose one of the earlier times, those are usually the less crowded. It was very cool and humbling to see the tiny area the Franks and other members had to hide in for so long. Obviously a place you have to see while in Amsterdam.
4. Get a photo (alone) with the I amsterdam sign
Just show up anytime before 8:30 and you’ll have it to yourself! We had a couple of people where we took turns standing in from of the sign alone. This city is not a morning person so it’s fun to walk around the streets with barely anyone else. Make sure to walk down the Flower market. If you show up during the early hours they are totally fine with you taking photos at the big corner booth since there is no one else to crowd around it (there are specific signs saying no photos). We ended up walking by it a couple times since it’s close to all the main streets.
5. Eat breakfast at ‘Pancakes Amsterdam’
It may be a little overrated but when in Amsterdam you just have to! Ryan ordered a brie and cranberry pancake and didn’t like it so maybe stick to something you know you’ll like! It’s a tiny bit expensive but was a great breakfast to start the day exploring!
6. Walk up and view the city from the Westerkerk tower
You have to walk up dozens and dozens of stairs but the view is worth it! They show you all the carillon bells, they even have a concert on Tuesdays around noon! It was a little rainy when we got up there but the view was stunning. A great thing to do to orientate yourself in the city. You can see more pictures of our tower tour here.
7. Eat raw herring fish and lots of stroopwaffels
I would have gladly skipped the raw herring fish, trying to use my excuse of maybe being pregnant to get out of it ha, but we did it together and it is pretty gross. But we got a funny video out of it and now we can say we ate raw herring fish in Amsterdam! It was a fun memory. After that I grabbed a bag of stroopwaffels and ate probably 4 to get the taste out of my mouth. No stroopwaffels were our fuel food. We always had a pack in my purse and was a perfect snack when we were getting tired or a bit hungry. Although the fresh ones are great, we honestly liked the packaged ‘stale’ ones better. We have plenty a photo of us holding our stroopwaffels and you don’t want to miss out on those!
8. Visit the Amsterdam Tulip Museum
Right next to the Anne Frank House, one of the ‘Pancakes Amsterdam’ restaurants, and the Westerkerk tower, this tulip museum sits across the canal. The front area is a shop but you can purchase tickets to the museum (free with the I amsterdam card). It walks through the history and then ends with a very cool video about the whole process from the view of a family business. Very educating and interesting! I was so bummed to miss the tulip season but this was a nice way to get to know more about the tulip craze here in Amsterdam.
9. Visit the Windmills
We visited this Windmill town during our I Amsterdam day tour called ‘Best of Holland’. It included a couple other places but the windmills is for sure a go to, you can see more amazing photos on our post here! We didn’t get to spend as much time there as I wished but we did get an exclusive tour of their lindseed oil press completely running on the power of wind. Luckily it was a windy day and we got to see it in action! Just look at how gorgeous it is! One of my favorite places in The Netherlands.
10. Do the ‘Best of Holland’ Tour: Volendam, Marken, Delft, and the Hague
We loved our ‘Best of Holland’ I amsterdam tour, but those are really made for people who are interested in taking buses and ending each little tour in a shop. But we had access in those tours that you wouldn’t otherwise get so it was worth it! We would have never known about Volendam or Marken which are both very cute villages.
In Volendam, we had a tour of a cheese factory, a special presentation about the process, and got to taste all kinds of different flavors! They got us at that tour trap, we bought a pack of 3 different cheese. In Volendam, we also got a tour of a Stroopwaffel shop and learned the recipe from a funny old man. I was the volunteer which was really fun! After a short boat ride, we went to Marken and had a tour of a small clog factory and saw how they are made.
This tour was how we learned about the Windmill village but that place deserved its own spot. Delft is the city of blue and white ceramic. We got a tour of the Delft building and was able to see one of the master painters doing his work. It is a very cool process.
In the Hague, we visited the downtown but the most memorable thing was a little museum! With or without children, this is a fun place to see all of The Netherlands in mini fashion! It was the perfect way to end our trip, getting to point out the things we saw and recognized but also get a mini version of things we didn’t get to see. Such a fun interactive area to let your children or inner-child set free! It was a long day and very touristy with a walk through their shop at the end of each place, but definitely a part of the culture of The Netherlands that was fun to see!
We were not there during tulip season but that is definitely one to not as miss as well! Renting a bike was a lot harder than you’d think, they were always closed or sold out so we didn’t get the chance to do that either. We absolutely loved our trip and these are definitely 10 things you don’t want to miss! Which one do you want to see most!?