One of the most popular tourist destinations in Europe, Amsterdam is packed with a variety of unique attractions and entertainment options.
Quaint buildings and beautiful canals feature alongside vibrant bars and coffee shops in what is perhaps the most liberal city in the world.
Amsterdam has so much more to offer outside of the main tourist sights and Red Light District; a great way to experience the eclectic offerings of the Dutch capital is with a guided tour.
These are the 15 best tours and experiences you can enjoy in Amsterdam.
1. Amsterdam Free Walking Tour
If you’re on a budget and looking to gather your bearings in your first few days in the city, a free walking tour is a great option.
By booking this tour online, you can guarantee a place, although you are expected to give a small tip to the guide at the end.
This tour takes you through the most well-known attractions such as the Anne Frank House, the Jordaan neighborhood and the Red Light District.
The local guide is highly knowledgeable and can advise you on the rest of your trip.
2. Heineken Experience
Though Heineken has since moved their brewery elsewhere, the original distillery can still be visited to this day.
Here, you can check out how the beer has been brewed since 1867 and learn about the importance of Heineken to Amsterdam’s local life. Entry includes two drinks and a small tasting session.
You will learn how to pull your own beer, and there is a popular Brew U ride within the complex for you to enjoy a more interactive segment of the tour. This is very popular with beer lovers.
3. 75-Minute Water Colors Cruise
Every winter, Amsterdam puts on a show in the evenings thanks to the Amsterdam Light Festival.
Various light displays are put up across the city to celebrate the artistic and innovative nature of the local culture. One of the best ways to take in the festival is with a boat cruise along the many canals in the city.
This cruise not only takes you to all the best displays, but you will also be able to learn more about Amsterdam through commentary from a knowledgeable local guide.
4. Van Gogh Museum Ticket
Amsterdam is popular for its museums, and this museum is the largest in the world dedicated to the works of Vincent Van Gogh. The exhibits are designed to take you through the life of Van Gogh – from his early works through to his final days spent in a mental institution.
The popularity of the museum means there are often long lines; this ticket allows you to skip those lines and walk straight into the museum at an allocated time slot.
You will be able to enjoy full access to all the exhibits and are free to enjoy the museum at your own pace.
5. Johan Cruijff ArenA Stadium 75-Minute Tour
Football fans will love this opportunity to take an exclusive tour around the home of AFC Ajax.
Your tour includes access to the pitch and dugouts, as well as some of the areas that are usually unavailable to the general public.
This tour is best taken on days when there are no matches scheduled, as this also lets you check out the changing rooms and team only areas.
The guide is an enthusiastic AFC Ajax fan with heaps of knowledge about the team and football in the Netherlands.
6. A’DAM Lookout Premium Ticket Including 2 Drinks
The A’DAM Lookout tower is a new attraction on the North Side of the IJ where you can enjoy panoramic views across the ports and canals of Amsterdam. This ticket includes access to both the indoor and outdoor lookout points.
You will be provided with two complimentary drinks and an additional gift upon arrival. You can also get a professional photograph whilst up the tower.
7. Keukenhof Entry Tickets and Transfers
The Netherlands is famous for its tulips and Keukenhof Gardens is a great place to check out the beautiful flower displays, as well as other native flora. This package comes with entry tickets and transfers to the gardens from Amsterdam.
Keukenhof is only 55 minutes away from the city center; you will be able to skip the lines once you get there with this ticket. A video presentation is included for you to learn all about the different flowers in the gardens.
There are over 7 million flowers in the park; it is best visited during spring for the best displays.
8. Skip the Line Ticket and Audio Guide: Amsterdam Royal Palace
Get a behind the scenes look into how the Dutch Royal Family live with this tour through Amsterdam’s Royal Palace.
You will get access to the Royal Banquet Hall, as well as the residential areas of the palace. The building is full of riches and ancient artifacts just waiting to be admired.
An audio guide is provided in a variety of languages for you to learn about the history of the Royal Family and the building itself. Families also benefit from special audio guides just for children.
9. Ultimate Party Pub Crawl – Red Light District
Amsterdam is also well known for its vibrant nightlife – particularly in the anything-goes Red Light District.
This five-hour pub crawl takes you through the most popular bars in the area. There are five pubs included in the tour, as well as entry to a nightclub to finish off your night. Free drinks are provided throughout and you will be given special discounts on further drinks.
The professional tour guide is highly knowledgeable about Amsterdam’s nightlife. You will also learn more about the city’s liberal attitudes and how it influences the local culture.
10. Volendam, Marken & Windmills with Free 1-Hour Canal Cruise
If you are looking for an escape from the city, this half-day tour takes you to the best spots the Dutch countryside has to offer.
You will check out the iconic Zaanse Shans windmills, as well as visit Volendam and Marken – two important fishing villages located in the heart of rural Holland.
The tour guide will help you dive deeper into Dutch culture with visits to a cheese farm and a wooden clog factory. The tour finishes with a one hour cruise along countryside canals.
Transportation from Amsterdam is included, as well as multilingual audio guides.
11. Hop-On Hop-Off Bus and Boat Tour
Hop-on hop-off buses are a great way to experience a new city if you are only visiting for a short time or want a brief overview to gather your bearings.
As Amsterdam is full of canals, this ticket also includes access to the hop-on-hop-off boat, giving you two experiences in one ticket. You can opt for a 24-hour or 48-hour ticket, depending on how much you want to see and how long you have.
As the name suggests, you are free to get off at the attractions you want to explore and then jump back on at no extra cost. Audio guides are included in multiple languages.
12. Moco Museum: Skip-The-Line Tickets
The Moco Museum is Amsterdam’s main modern art gallery; this ticket gives you direct entry at your chosen time slot so you don’t have to wait in the queues.
The museum combines regular modern art exhibits with some more alternative examples such as street art.
There is a large Banksy exhibition, as well as temporary exhibits featuring street artists from across the world. Warhol and Dalí also feature, as well as some contemporary artists from across the Netherlands.
13. Amsterdam Red Light District 2-Hour Walking Tour
Aside from the world-famous nightlife, the Red Light District is a symbol of the city’s liberal attitudes towards prostitution.
This walking tour takes you through the area to learn more about why the Netherlands is so open about sex work. You will get the opportunity to visit the Condomerie and hear stories from local prostitutes and S&M workers.
Your professional guide will help you safely navigate the streets and teach you about the history of the area. You will also get to sample the nightlife with a free shot at Belushi’s Bar to finish the tour.
14. 2-Hour History of Anne Frank Tour
The Anne Frank House is a popular attraction in the city; however, there are many more important sites to be discovered to learn about the history of Anne Frank and Jewish people in the Netherlands.
This tour takes you through the Jewish Quarter, where you will learn about the lives of the persecuted people during the Nazi occupation, as well as the modern rejuvenation of the area. You will also be shown monuments that commemorate the Jewish community across the city.
The tour does not include tickets to the Anne Frank House; however, it does finish there, so is a great way to learn more about the history before your visit.
15. Amsterdam Evening Pizza Cruise
This unique tour is a more indulgent way to enjoy a canal cruise through the city whilst learning about the history of Amsterdam and the stories behind all the important attractions.
You will be provided with complimentary pizza and unlimited drinks to enjoy while the professional tour guide discusses the local culture. You can also enjoy a tub of Ben and Jerry’s ice cream before disembarking.
You can access a free app with audio commentary in six foreign languages.
The pizza is provided by the New York Pizza company. The tour is also a great way to learn more about the connections between Amsterdam and New York City.