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9 best things to do in Amsterdam

Amsterdam is popular for its canals, its coffee shops and its arty, hipster hangouts. But there's plenty more to keep you entertained: here are nine of the best things to see and do on a city break in Amsterdam.

And in case you’ve not got time to read all of this, scroll to the bottom for our video guide to 24hrs in Amsterdam.

1. Bike around the city

The best way to explore Amsterdam is by bike. Start your journey along the canals, the Nine Streets and discover many hidden gems in the Wallen area. Make a stop at Hotel Droog for lunch, grab a drink at one of the cafés at the Noordermarkt and surprise yourself in the Jordaan area. The small streets and the cosy houses, make this area the perfect environment for a city bike ride.

bike in amsterdam

2. Brunch at Andaz

Sunday mornings in Amsterdam are for late breakfasts. Take brunch at the Andaz, for a laidback start to the day. A delicious buffet, glass of juice, fresh fruit, diverse newspapers and of course a very stylish environment. Marcel Wanders and the Andaz team know how to serve you luxury on a plate. As the Andaz Hotel is situated along the canals, you can enjoy a Sunday walk after brunch in the area.

3. House Frankendael

This villa is one of the 10 monumental country houses left in the city and worth a bicycle tour to the east part of Amsterdam. Inside House Frankendael you’ll find a surprising combination of art, cuisine and history. Temporary themed art exhibitions alternate every now and then and restaurant Merkelbach serves Dutch-inspired food and features a lovely terrace in the garden. The house has many preserved original features and details dating all the way back to 1733. Perfect for a spot of lunch after exploring Amsterdam-Oost by bike, or drinking high tea after walking in the surrounding park.

4. Uncover art treasures and history at the Rijksmuseum

Everyone who’s a bit interested in art and culture knows the Rijksmuseum is a must visit. Besides the popular masterpiece The Night Watch by Rembrandt, there is so much more to explore. The pieces are arranged chronologically with sculptures, paintings and subjects presented together to supply you with a very inspiring collection. The beautiful café is a great place to sit down with coffee and WiFi. Cycle under the famous walk way under the museum or read a book and see the sculptures in the beautiful garden.

5. Rent a boat

Get a completely different view of Amsterdam; rent a boat so you can explore the canals, the IJ and the Amstel all by yourself. Sail to the Pampus island and discover the old fort, moor at the always-vibrant Hanneke’s Boom for a drink and stop at Roest for a meal and watch the sunset reflecting in the Amstel. Amsterdam seen from the water is magical! Need a place where you can moor your boat to have champagne and cocktails or maybe enjoy a meal on the terrace? The iconic Amstel Hotel boasts a fresh, classy and modern interior and a perfect terrace with Amstel in view. The A-bar invites you to sit down and relax with a cocktail, listen to live music and enjoy watching the boats on the river.

6. Unwind at Hotel V Lobby

The boutique hotel is situated a little behind the well known Dam square. A perfect central location to recover after a shopping spree at the Bijenkorf luxury department store. Have a drink and read some magazines around the fireplace while eating a Flammkuch at The Lobby restaurant. The vintage interior makes you feel at home the moment you walk into its cosy and inviting atmosphere.

7. Beach party at Blijburg or Pllek

On a hot summer day, Amsterdam has lots of parks to escape the heat. Less well-known are the little beaches in Amsterdam-Noord. Blijburg aan Zee is situated in the IJburg area featuring a beach with a bar, live music and beach parties. The perfect place for a relaxing afternoon where you can just lounge around and take a swim. Pllek is a small beach at the NDSM werf. You can’t swim here but you can enjoy healthy organic food and the lounge throughout the day. There are events, art spaces and workshops like yoga. A creative place with an amazing view over the IJ. Take the ferry and start enjoying the Amsterdam beach life!

8. Fleamarket at IJhallen

Every first weekend of the month, the famous IJ-markt is held at the IJhallen. It is the biggest flea market in Amsterdam, where you can find vintage clothing, furniture and closet sales from local bloggers and collectors. When the weather allows it, the market can be found outside from November until March where it is held in the former shipyard.

9. Take in the best Amsterdam views at Skylounge

No matter what angle you try, Amsterdam always looks amazing. From the Skylounge you have the best view (almost 360 degrees) over the city. The terrace has its own bar and on a bright and sunny day you’ll lose your sense of time. On a Friday night the Skylounge is the perfect place for cocktails, then on a Sunday afternoon the view invites you in for a cup of tea. During a weekday this place is the perfect spot for meetings or catching up with friends.

See for yourself all of the good times you could be having on a city break in Amsterdam:

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