Amsterdam, the charming capital city of the Netherlands, radiates beauty with its elegant canals, a wealth of history, and a culture that pulsates with energy. The city, a traveler’s delight, is a treasure trove of varied tours and immersive experiences that align with diverse interests. By embarking on the finest tours in Amsterdam, you will soak in the city’s unique aura and uncover its hidden jewels far beyond the customary tourist attractions.
In Amsterdam, the tour options are as diverse as the city, with canal cruises, walking tours, and bike tours topping the list. These excursions provide a unique lens through which to view everything from renowned museums, like the Van Gogh Museum, to the historic Jordaan district, celebrated for its narrow lanes, authentic local food, and enticing courtyards.
Architectural tours further enhance your understanding of Amsterdam’s iconic Golden Age architecture and the contemporary urban design of newly emerged areas such as IJburg.
I can speak to this because this city wow-ed me so much that I moved here full-time with my small family. You’ll see some photos below. I’ve explored the city in a variety of ways, and I continue to live here as it continues to impress me.
If you’d like a free walking tour, I invite you to contact me directly, and I’ll provide some stories, history, and tidbits along the way, just because I love the city that much. I hope we can make it work out.
The city’s quaint structures, attractive canals, and lively coffee shops and bars are perhaps some of the things that make Amsterdam quite an attraction. Many visitors are also enamored by the city’s deep history and culture. And, besides the main tourist sites, Amsterdam has more to offer than you can fathom.
TL;DR: Our Top Picks
|Amsterdam Canal Cruise||Relax and enjoy the sights of Amsterdam from the water on this 1-hour canal cruise||1 hour||€20||Book Now|
|Van Gogh Museum Tour||Discover the world’s largest collection of Van Gogh’s paintings with an expert guide||2 hours||€35||Book Now|
|Red Light District Walking Tour||Explore Amsterdam’s famous Red Light District with a knowledgeable guide||2 hours||€25||Book Now|
|Bike Tour of Amsterdam||See the city like a local on this guided bike tour through Amsterdam’s streets and canals||3 hours||€30||Book Now|
|Amsterdam Food Tour||Sample traditional Dutch treats and learn about the city’s culinary history on this food tour||4 hours||€50||Book Now|
Best Tours in Amsterdam, Netherlands
These are the best Amsterdam tours to consider during your journey.
1. Life of Anne Frank and World War II Walking Tour
This 2-hour Anne Frank walking tour teaches you more about the life of Anne Frank and the horrors that the city suffered during World War II, as recorded in her diary. With the help of an experienced tour guide, you will see various historical attractions, including the historic Jewish Quarter, Anne Frank House facade, and other significant historical monuments, such as the Portuguese Synagogue, Auschwitz Monument, and the Jewish Historical Museum.
You will also learn more about the Second World War and the Dutch resistance during the war. Get more insights into the dynamics of the Anne Frank House and Anne Frank’s family, how they moved from Germany, their time in hiding, and their life after the war.
This is one of the most famous walking tours for people visiting Amsterdam. If you’d like to tour the house, I suggest you buy your Anne Frank House museum tickets in advance. The lines can get pretty long.
2. Amsterdam Bike Tour
In a city renowned for its biking culture, you need to experience it firsthand. An Amsterdam bike tour is an excellent choice for an intimate city exploration. Participants can pedal through quaint neighborhoods, along the idyllic canals, and past significant landmarks.
Guided bike tours often accompany themed itineraries, like food and art experiences. This active and engaging tour allows visitors to cover a wider area than a walking tour while providing an intimate experience with the city’s distinct ambiance.
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3. Heineken Experience
Established in 1867 by Gerard Adriaan Heineken, the former Heineken brewery in Amsterdam is another excellent place to visit, especially for the brand’s lovers.
Although the company has already shifted its operations elsewhere, the original brewing distillery still receives visitors. If you want to know what lies behind the closed doors of the original brewery, this 1.5-hour tour is the best chance for you to find out.
Take the tour and learn more about the world’s number one beer, how it was initially brewed in those early years, and the importance of the brand to the people of Amsterdam.
If you are one of those beer lovers or want to learn about the history behind the Heineken brand, this is an excellent tour when you visit Amsterdam.
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4. Van Gogh Museum Tour
One of the things that Amsterdam is famous for is its numerous museums, and the Van Gogh Museum is the most popular of all. Vincent Willem van Gogh is one of the most famous Dutch post-impressionist painters, and this museum is the largest one in the world dedicated to the artist himself.
He created over 2,100 artworks, around 860 of which were oil paintings. Most of these paintings date mainly from his last two years before death. They include portraits, landscapes, still lifes, and self-portraits.
The exhibits within the Van Gogh Museum will take you through the painter’s life, from his early works to his very final days. Dutch art lovers will love this tour. But, due to the museum’s popularity, it often experiences long queues, which makes it wise to book early to reserve a slot.
Once there, you will enjoy complete access to all the museum’s exhibits at a personal pace. Enjoy the view of over 200 paintings, 750 letters, and over 500 sketches from Van Gogh himself.
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5. Keukenhof Gardens Tour
Tulips are a major tourist attraction in the Netherlands. And if you are in Amsterdam, visiting Keukenhof Gardens would satisfy your desire to see Dutch tulips. Keukenhof Gardens is located in Lisse in the Netherlands and covers around 32 hectares.
The garden, also called the “Garden of Europe,” is one of the largest flower gardens globally. Roughly 7 million flowers are planted yearly in these gardens, making it quite a spectacle.
And, although the gardens are most famous for tulips, you will also enjoy the view of lilies, roses, hyacinths, irises, and carnations. So, if you want to enjoy one of the most amazing flower displays in the world, booking a ticket for this tour will be an excellent choice.
This package includes entry tickets to the gardens, as well as transport from Amsterdam. You can avoid the long lines at the entrance when you book in advance.
You will also be given a video presentation about all the various flowers in these gardens. Located just 55 minutes from Amsterdam, Keukenhof Gardens will never disappoint.
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6. The Amsterdam Royal Palace Tour
This tour will give you a closer picture of the Dutch royal family’s lifestyle. Amsterdam’s Royal Palace is among the only three palaces in the country that the monarch can access through the Act of Parliament.
So, to access a behind-the-scenes glimpse of how the royals live, don’t end your tour in the Dutch capital of Amsterdam without visiting the palace. The palace is located in the center of Amsterdam, on the west side of the famous Dam Square, which makes its accessibility relatively easy.
Although initially built in the 17th century as a city hall, it was later made the official palace of King Louis Napoleon. Then it became the Royal Palace of the Dutch royal family years later.
The private tour grants you full access to the Royal Banquet Hall and the palace’s residential areas. You’ll enjoy viewing the ancient artifacts and riches in the palace.
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7. Day Trip to Zaanse Schans, Volendam, and Marken
Providing a comprehensive experience of Dutch culture and history, this day trip includes three iconic destinations near Amsterdam. Zaanse Schans paints a beautiful picture with traditional windmills, wooden houses, and historical crafts.
Walk through the charming fishing village in Volendam and savor local delicacies like smoked eel. Marken, another picturesque town, is famous for its distinctive wooden houses and artisan workshops. This day trip offers a scenic and diverse snapshot of the Dutch heritage beyond Amsterdam’s cityscape.
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8. Private Canal Booze Cruise
This boat tour lets you relish the city’s beauty and culture from a private boat hire while enjoying some of Amsterdam’s finest cocktails, beer, and wine. This is ideal if you are traveling as a family or with friends.
You get served unlimited beer, wine, and soft drinks, from the open bar as you enjoy all the beautiful sights cruising on a brand-new private boat. The 1.5 hours tour enables you to cruise through some of the famous canals in Amsterdam while enjoying quality moments with family or friends. Hey, and you can drink to your liking along the way.
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9. Amsterdam 4-Course Luxury Dinner Cruise
To make the most of your evening in Amsterdam, a luxury dinner cruise will undoubtedly do the trick. I mean, look at the above photo of my daughter at one year old, driving the canal boat! This boat tour offers you the best chance to enjoy the stunning sight of the slowly setting Amsterdam sun as you learn about the city’s history through an evening canal cruise.
This Amsterdam canal cruise will slowly take you through the numerous historical sites, such as the Bloemenmarkt, as you enjoy your 4-course gourmet dinner, accompanied by unlimited drinks. The tour is perfect for a romantic night or a family night too.
In addition, you get to learn more about this amazing city and its culture via informative onboard commentary, which makes the evening canal cruise quite impressive. The tour offers a complete overview of Amsterdam and its history.
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10. Secret Food Tour of Amsterdam
Looking to enjoy some of the best Dutch meals? This Amsterdam food tour is an excellent opportunity. This comprehensive and interactive food tour takes you through local culture, including the famous Jordaan district, with eight stops at different locations.
You get a comprehensive commentary on the various foods in Amsterdam, including Poffertjes and Gouda cheese tasting, from an experienced local guide. Also, as you sample various Dutch classics, you’ll get the chance to experience eight of Amsterdam’s favorite local food stops.
Enjoy Amsterdam’s best snacks, including Bitterballen and Stroopwafels, as you enjoy the sight of the various tourist attractions and a quintessential Amsterdam experience. This is a walking tour, so bring your best pair of shoes and come hungry.
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11. Day Trip to Giethoorn and the Windmills of Zaanse Schans
For those who want more time to experience the Dutch culture and history, or the various attractive sites in the city, this 10-hour trip will suffice. This full-day guided tour takes you through the countryside, immersing you in the country’s culture and way of living.
During this full-day tour, you learn the little-known stories and facts about every stop you make. These include facts about the artisan cheese factory, Giethoorn village, traditional clog shop, rural windmills, and more.
A boat ride via the canals at Giethoorn also adds to the beauty of the trip. This is one of the best tours in Amsterdam that also offers a round-trip from the city. Many people who have taken this trip review it as one of the most fulfilling tours in Amsterdam.
See Related: Day Trip to Zaanse Schans, Volendam, and Marken
12. Amsterdam Private Welcome Tour with a Local Guide
The guided tour begins with a warm welcome from your friendly guide, who will tailor the itinerary to your preferences and interests. Whether you’re a first-time visitor or a returning traveler, this tour promises to unveil the true essence of Amsterdam.
With a personal guide, you can learn everything you wish and ask every question you have. You’ll discover the city’s artistic side with a visit to the Museumplein, home to world-class museums like the Van Gogh Museum and the Rijksmuseum. You also get a chance to enjoy some of Amsterdam’s classic snacks as you pass through Albert Cuyp Market.
Throughout the private welcome tour, your guide will share fascinating stories, historical insights, and insider tips, providing a deeper understanding of Amsterdam’s past and present. Feel free to ask questions and engage in lively conversations, as this tour aims to create an interactive and personalized experience.
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13. Amsterdam Red Light District 2-Hour Walking Tour
The Red Light District symbolizes Amsterdam’s liberal attitude toward prostitution. This two-hour tour takes you around the diverse atmosphere of the Red Light District as you pass by the windows, where you’ll learn about the daily lives and working conditions of the district’s professional escorts.
Your guide will address any questions and offer a respectful and informative perspective on this unique aspect of Amsterdam’s culture. Continuing on, the tour takes you to one of Amsterdam’s renowned coffee shops, where you can explore the city’s relaxed approach to marijuana consumption.
Your guide will explain the local laws, regulations, and customs surrounding the cannabis culture, providing valuable insights into its history and social acceptance in Amsterdam.
By the end of the Red Light District guided tour, you’ll have gained a newfound appreciation for the city’s liberal approach and a comprehensive understanding of its controversial yet fascinating elements.
See Related: Best Things to Do in Rotterdam
14. Day Trip to Giethoorn & Enclosing Dike with Boat Tour
Often referred to as the “Venice of the North,” Giethoorn is a charming village known for its thatched-roof houses, canals, and footbridges. This day trip from Amsterdam includes a boat tour, allowing one to navigate Giethoorn’s waterways and admire its one-of-a-kind structures.
The trip also includes visiting the Enclosing Dike, a 32-kilometer-long engineering wonder that protects the Netherlands from flooding. After a day of immersing yourself in the beauty of Giethoorn, you’ll return to Amsterdam with cherished memories and a deeper appreciation for the tranquility and charm of this Dutch gem.
This tour offers a perfect escape from the bustling city, allowing you to experience the timeless allure of a village that seems straight out of a fairytale.
15. Smoke and Lounge City Boat Cruise
For an invigorating yet relaxing experience in Amsterdam, opt for this boat cruise that traverses the city’s famous canals. Start out in the heart of the Red Light District, one of the most popular locations in the city, and sail through the central area, the Herengracht and Prinsengracht canals, the Seven Bridges, the river Amstel, the Skinny Bridge, and the Dancing Houses.
Unwind in a comfortable lounge with your favorite smoke from a local coffee shop while soaking in views of iconic sights such as the Anne Frank House, the Heineken Experience, and the Rijksmuseum. Enjoy two free drinks during the cruise and choose from beer, wine, or soda. This boat tour offers a unique and leisurely way to enjoy the city’s charm.
16. City Canal Cruise and Rijksmuseum
This combination tour provides a comprehensive introduction to both Amsterdam’s famous canals and the globally acclaimed Rijksmuseum. The canal cruise sails past key landmarks and historical sites with guided commentary on the city’s rich history.
Post-cruise, enjoy access to the Rijksmuseum, home to masterpieces from celebrated Dutch artists like Rembrandt and Vermeer. Combining these two experiences enables visitors to admire Amsterdam’s rich artistic and architectural legacy in a single day.
Amsterdam Free Walking Tour
Walking tours are an excellent method to get your bearings in the first few days in a new city. You may book this free walking tour ahead of time through Free Walking Tours Amsterdam, but it’s customary to give a small gratuity to the guide at the end. Or, you can take a free private walking tour with ViaTravelers founder Kyle Kroeger. Contact me, and I’d gladly give you a personalized tour if I’m around.
This tour visits some of the world’s most famous attractions, including the Anne Frank House, the Jordaan District, and the Red Light District. The local guide is highly knowledgeable and can suggest other parts of your trip beyond just the city center of Amsterdam. Outside of a bike tour and a canal cruise, a walking tour is a great way to see the city of Amsterdam.
Keep in mind when you visit Amsterdam that it is one of the most visited cities in Europe, and museums and tours can be sold or have limited availability, so be sure to book in advance to secure your spot.
How long is an Amsterdam walking tour?
Most Amsterdam walking tours are an immersive exploration that typically lasts 2-3 hours. However, the duration may vary slightly depending on the particular organizer, the group’s pace, and the itinerary’s extent. Always confirm with your tour operator for precise information.
How to see the best of Amsterdam?
To see the best of Amsterdam, embark on a well-rounded Amsterdam canal cruise or take a leisurely bike tour through the city’s highlights and hidden gems. An evening visit to the Rijksmuseum, as is a guided walking tour of the Jordaan District, is a must-do. Don’t miss out on the Van Gogh Museum and experience the nightlife in Amsterdam’s lively city areas.
What are the best day tours and excursions from Amsterdam?
The best day tours and excursions from Amsterdam include a trip to Zaanse Schans for its iconic windmills or a tour of the Dutch countryside with a visit to the historic village of Giethoorn. Always check reviews, cancellation policies, and reserve ahead to ensure a smooth travel experience.
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