What are the best things to do in Amsterdam?

Answers from Our Experts (1)

Cecily Layzell

Although small, Amsterdam offers plenty to do. Here are five things not to miss in the Dutch capital.

1. Rent a bicycle. With more bikes than people and an extensive network of cycle lanes, Amsterdam is a cyclist’s paradise. The roads are generally very safe — you’ll notice that few locals wears helmets — but one word of advice: stay away from the tram lines, and if you need to cross them, do so diagonally; they are exactly the right width to get your wheels stuck in.

2. Visit Albert Cuyp market. Transecting De Pijp neighborhood, Albert Cuyp market sells everything from clothes and cosmetics to fresh fruit and vegetables. It is also one of the best places to find Dutch street food. Some of our favorites are “poffertjes” (tiny pancakes often sprinkled with powdered sugar), “stroopwafels” (syrup waffles), and cones of thick fries topped with mayonnaise. The market is open daily except Sunday.

3. Cross the IJ. Take the free ferry behind Central Station across the IJ. One of the most striking buildings dominating this upcoming slice of waterfront real estate is the EYE Film Institute. Under the glistening white roof are four screening rooms, interactive installations, an exhibition space and café with a spectacular terrace.

4. Say cheese. The Netherlands has a grand cheese tradition and it’s quite normal to try before you buy. Kaashuis Tromp carries an impressive selection of hard and soft cheeses made from cow, sheep, and goat’s milk. For something a little different, ask to taste the cheeses flavored with spices, including cumin, pepper, and cloves.

5. Sip genever. Made from malt wine and juniper berries, genever is a precursor of gin. Increasingly popular in cocktails, it can also be consumed neat. On a narrow alley behind Dam Square, Wynand Fockink offers tastings in its charmingly old-fashioned bar. Genever is traditionally served in a tulip-shaped glass filled to the brim. Bend over to take your first sip before picking up the drink.

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