Things to do in Amsterdam

TOURS * ICONIC BUILDINGS * CANALS * SHOPPING * LEIDSEPLEIN * PLLEK
RED LIGHT DISTRICT * CHEESE TASTING * DAM SQUARE * ANNE FRANK HOUSE
MUSEUMS * VONDELPARK

Amsterdam is a great City to travel to solo. Whether you like history, culture, scenery, food, shopping or tours, rest assured there are plenty of solo activities to enjoy. These are some of my favourites…

1. Tours

Things to do in Amsterdam, ride a tram
Trams in Amsterdam

Tour around the City via one of the ‘hop on- hop off’ buses, trams or boats to explore at your own pace. Alternatively, choose a few places you would like to visit and use one of the free city maps to plan a route to enable you to see them all. This allows you to tailor-make your own self-guided tour of Amsterdam according to your own interests. A number of organised tours including cheese tasting, visiting a bulb farm and seeing a working windmill, can be pre-booked through Tours-Tickets.com. They also sell tickets to local attractions.

2. Iconic Buildings

Things to do in Amsterdam, visit the Eye Museum

Amsterdam has a number of iconic buildings to look out for while exploring. Some of the most popular are …

  • The Eye Museum
  • The Royal Palace
  • Beurs van Berlage

3. Canals

Skinny Bridge over the canal

There are around 165 canals in the city of Amsterdam. Many restaurants and bars have a waterfront setting, making it the perfect location to have a drink or nibbles while admiring the picturesque canals. Canal boats are a great way to explore and learn a bit about Amsterdam’s history at the same time. There are a number of cruises to choose from by day or night. Some include food such as the pancake, burger or pizza cruises. Others offer audio tours, telling you interesting facts along the way.

4. Shopping

Shopping in Amsterdam
  • Bijenkorf is a large department store on Dam Square
  • Kalverstraat and Leidsestraat are the two main shopping streets in Amsterdam which have exclusive shops as well as High Street brands
  • Magna Plaza is a large shopping mall – perfect for a rainy day! Open 10am-10pm daily.

5. Leidseplein

Leidseplein

One of the main entertainment areas in Amsterdam is Leidseplein Square. There are plenty of restaurants and nightlife here. It is also a couple of minutes walk to a casino and canal cruises.

6. Pllek

Pllek

If you are a fan of sunsets then head over to Pllek one evening. Catch one of the free ferries from behind Centraal Station at the NDSM wharf. The 10 minute crossing takes you to North Holland. A 5 minute walk leads you to Pllek. There is a cafe/small beach area made from old shipping containers. Have a drink, grab a bite to eat, listen to music and find a spot to watch the beautiful sunset.

7. Red Light District

Sex shops in the Red Light District
Red Light District

Amsterdam is famous for its Red Light District with prostitutes behind glowing red windows. Evening cruises sail through this area at night and you can also take an organised tour of the area. The museum of prostitution is also located here, Red Light Secrets.

8. Cheese Tasting

Cheese Tasting, one of the things to do in Amsterdam

Many cheese shops are dotted around the City. They have cheese tasting sections which is a great free activity and gives you a chance to try some unusual local cheeses.

9. Dam Square

Dam Square Monument

Dam Square was created in the 13th Century. It is a vibrant area with lots of cafes and bars. Madame Tussauds is located here as well as the large department store, De Bijenkorf, a shopping mall, Magna Plaza and the Diamond Centre. It is also home to the Royal Palace and Dam Square Monument, a war memorial for the Dutch soldiers who lost their lives during World War II.

10. Anne Frank House

Visit the building and enter the annexe where teenager, Anne Frank lived in hiding from the Germans for 2 years during World War II. Sadly she and her family were captured and taken to Auschswitz. Her father survived and later discovered her diary which has been published and read by millions of people worldwide. Tickets for the house can only be purchased online in advance.

11. Museums

Rembrandt Museum

There are many museums to visit in Amsterdam. Some of the most popular ones are…

  • Rijksmuseum – Arts and History
  • Van Gogh Museum – home to the largest collection of Van Gogh’s works
  • Foam – photography museum
  • Rembrandt – An historic house and museum where Rembrandt once worked and lived
  • Red Light Secrets – the world’s first museum of prostitution
  • Film – History of cinema and film
  • Sex Museum – the history of sex and its evolution over the different ages

12. Vondelpark

Vondelpark, things to do in Amsterdam

Vondelpark is a large park with several entrances in the centre of Amsterdam. It provides a contrast to the busy city life. Go for a relaxed stroll, sit on the grass and watch the world go by or maybe hire a bike. Within the park itself you will find a rose garden, a statue of the poet, Joost van den Vondel and water features. It is also home to storks, owls and frogs!

Suggested Further Reading:

Restaurants in Amsterdam I have dined at solo

Hotels in Amsterdam I have stayed by myself or are well located for solo travel

Travel Tips for Amsterdam