Amsterdam Bucket List: Top 10 Things to Do Before You Die

Amsterdam, the Netherlands

I visited Amsterdam with Luka through our Interrail trip across Europe after I received my International Baccalaureate Diploma. It was a celebration of high school completed but also the last bit of vacation before college started.

If you like going to museums, I suggest you check out the I Amsterdam City Card as they have some good offers and see if any fits your plan!

This guide encompasses all the best sights to see and all the best things to do and experience in the Dutch capital! I am excited to return to Amsterdam in the future, as there are simply too many things to do during a few days stay in the city.

1. Bloemenmarkt

Visit Bloemenmarkt to see the beautiful Dutch tulips right in the heart of the city!

We walked the flower market a few times just to choose the prettiest tulip tubers. We bought colorful tulips and I remember I was so excited to give them to my mom and sister to plant it in our garden.

Bloemenmarkt, Amsterdam, the Netherlands

Flower market is a great place to buy authentic souvenirs, not only tulips but also magnets, postcards, ceramic or wooden tulips, and more.

2. Dam

This is where life starts and ends in Amsterdam. The Dam is the main square in the city.

Look for the Royal Palace Amsterdam that dates back to the 1600s. You can see the majestic marble insides of the royal palace, a free audio guide is included in admission.

Dam Square, Amsterdam, the Netherlands
Dam Square, Amsterdam, the Netherlands

Visit Nieuwe Kerk on Dam square that survived the Reformation period, numerous fires, and lots of renovations. It still plays an important role for the Dutch royal family as it hosts their weddings. Today it is a home for performances, cultural events, and temporary exhibits.

3. Red Light District

There is nothing like the Red Light District in Amsterdam anywhere else around the world. You should at least walk through it to see this unique and curious part of Amsterdam.

Red Light District, Amsterdam, the Netherlands

Prostitution is legal here. Even though women inviting customers in from inside the windows may be unusual to visitors and tourists from other countries, it’s perfectly normal and accepted to locals.

Look for Oude Kerk (literally means “old church”), Amsterdam’s oldest building. There is something odd about a Gothic church located in the Red Light District and surrounded by a brothel. However, it is no longer a church but an art venue for true lovers of culture.

Reminder: always be polite to sex workers!

4. Canal Cruise

We bought tickets for the cruise past canal houses and bridges online. I suggest you check the canal cruises on the internet or ask the hotel staff, they are always happy to help.

Amsterdam, the Netherlands

Amsterdam canal belt is under UNESCO protection and is the postcard-perfect vision of Amsterdam. The cruise can be especially magical after sunset when the bridges are lit up by fairy lights.

We decided for a Friendship Amsterdam tour that lasts about an hour and sells cocktails on deck. This is a great way to see the city with the guides on board, giving you a brief account of Amsterdam history and telling you fascinating facts along the way.

5. Anne Frank Museum

When in Amsterdam you should absolutely visit the Anne Frank Museum as it tells a great and historic but heartbreaking story of love, fear, and war.

The best thing about the museum is that it is situated right in the same house and annexe where the Frank family was hidden from the Nazis during WWII. Therefore, you can get a real feel of how it felt to be trapped back then.

Learn and reflect on the atrocities committed against the Jewish people during WWII. No matter how much you think you know about Anne Frank’s story, you’ll come away from the house realizing it wasn’t very much at all.

I suggest you visit early in the morning or book online in advance since the waiting times can be lengthy.

Don’t forget that you can read Anne Frank Diary before you visit Amsterdam (or after)! I enjoyed the book, too.

6. Rent a bike

To experience Amsterdam like a local rent a bike for a day or two. It’s easy to pick one up at any of the many rental locations around the city.

There are more bikes than people in Amsterdam. Cycling is a way of life and definitely the best way to get around the city!

Amsterdam, the Netherlands

Bike by the endless canals, take gorgeous photos, breathe in the Dutch air and have fun! Most of Amsterdam’s best secrets can be discovered from the comfort of your saddle.

7. Magere Brug

Magere Brug (literally meaning “Skinny Bridge”) is the bridge of love recognized as one of the most picturesque bridges in Amsterdam.

The legend says Magere Brug was built by two sisters who lived on either side of the river Amstel. In order to connect their houses, they ordered the bridge.

In recent years, the bridge had become a popular destination for couples and a romantic backdrop for photos.

I must tell you it is absolutely wonderful in the night. Luka and I biked to the bridge around midnight and the sight was simply magical.

Magere Brug, Amsterdam, the Netherlands

8. Museum of Prostitution

Museum of Prostitution is situated in Red Light District and is open most of the day.

This one of a kind museum tells the stories of sex workers. You can look behind the scenes as the museum gives you an account of how the life of a sex worker looks like.

Museum of Prostitution, Amsterdam, the Netherlands

It has its own Red Light District red window behind which you can sit to see how a prostitute feels standing in the window.

9. Vondelpark

Vondelpark is the largest park in Amsterdam and definitely one you should visit to rest and relax. Rent a bike and cycle through the park, bring a picnic blanket, sit down, and watch the life go by.

Vondelpark is a beautiful green oasis in the center of Amsterdam and its fountains and sculptures make it picture perfect. Don’t miss the Fish Statue by Pablo Picasso!

Vondelpark, Amsterdam, the Netherlands

10. Museumplein

Amsterdam has many great art museums in Museumplein. It is home to the Rijksmuseum, the Van Gogh Museum and the Stedelijk Museum.

The open square between the buildings is the place to be as it features open-air exhibitions and the Museum Market. The Museum Market features cool artworks and crafts, but you can also buy some delicious food from the food trucks.

We decided to visit the Stedelijk Museum since I saw some of Van Gogh’s works in Paris and I’m really interested in contemporary art.

Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, the Netherlands

Like and comment on this post if you enjoyed it! Share your favorite spots in Amsterdam in the comment section of the post! I’m excited to hear your secret spots and places that I can visit the next time I travel to the Netherlands.

XX, Ajda