There are many different ways to explore Amsterdam depending on how much time you have and what you intend to see. We have listed some obvious and not-so-obvious ways to explore Netherland's beautiful capital city. Of course, the intricate network of canals that cut through Amsterdam feature prominently, along with the excellent bicycle network. 

    From bike tours to tram rides, there are lots of great ways to explore Amsterdam. Choose from any of these top Amsterdam journeys and discover the Dutch capital on the move.

    • Budget

    Past narrow houses, alfresco cafés and ornate facades like Bartolotti House, a guided tour along Amsterdam’s cycle-friendly paths is informative and fun. You can also cycle the route by night and take snaps of the illuminated bridges and canal houses. MacBike has rental branches at Centraal Station, Waterlooplein and Leidseplein.

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    Location: MacBike, Stationsplein 5, 1012 AB Amsterdam, Netherlands


    Tram 5 – Centraal Station to Zuid

    • Budget

    Buy your tickets before boarding tram 5 from Centraal Station. This armchair ride past Amsterdam’s sights takes in Dam Square and the Royal Palace, before gliding through lively Leidseplein square towards Museumplein and the Museum Quarter. Stay on board for Amsterdam's upmarket Zuid district. 


    Pedal-boat touring

    • Couples
    • Families
    • Adventure

    Renting a Dutch-style pedalo – a cross between a boat and bike – is a unique way of exploring Amsterdam’s maze of canals. Rental is widely available, including from Centraal Station. Pedal along the waterways to the Westerkerk church, near Anne Frank’s house, then towards Rijskmuseum in the Museum Quarter.


    Amstel river rambling

    • Adventure

    From Amstel Station, south of the centre, a 3-km river walk back to De Pijp takes in the city limits. Bearing north (staying on the eastern side of the river), walk past Rembrandt Tower and Berlage Bridge before crossing Nieuwe Amstelbrug. After a coffee break on the café-lined Ceintuurbaan or ice cream in Sarphati Park, bohemian De Pijp is just a short stroll away.


    Canal cruising

    • Couples

    Getting a swan’s-eye view from Amsterdam’s waterways is a must-do. Themed evening cruises include a la carte jazz nights, pub cruises and candlelit dinners. Tour boats depart from around Centraal Station, Damrak and Rokin, near Dam Square.


    Cycle to Haarlem

    • Budget

    At the weekend, join Amsterdammers and tourists on the easy route to medieval Haarlem. It’s a 40-km round trip on flat cycle lanes, past picture-postcard countryside. Haarlem itself is a historical 17th-century town with tiny streets leading off its main square, Grote Markt.

    Location: MacBike, Stationsplein 5, 1012 AB Amsterdam, Netherlands


    Chopper views

    • Luxury

    The only helicopter tour over Amsterdam, this is a unique opportunity to snap Amsterdam’s historical quarter, canal loop and 17th-century warehouses from the air. Catch a glimpse of the old windmill on the banks of the River Amstel.

    Location: Siriusstraat 148, 1622 ZL Hoorn, Netherlands


    Bus-top vistas

    • Photo
    • Budget

    For views over Amsterdam’s canals, bridges and squares, the transparent glass rooftop (open-top in summer) of the Tourist Bus Amsterdam is an all-weather option. Tours leave from Damrak near Dam Square, passing Centraal Station, the Jewish Quarter, Jordaan and Leidseplein square. 

    Location: Damrak 34, Amsterdam, Netherlands

    photo by bertknot (CC BY-SA 2.0) modified


    Hop-on, hop-off canal bus

    • Couples
    • Families
    • Photo
    • Group

    Canal buses sail along 3 routes in Amsterdam - the green, the red and the blue line - past sites like Anne Frank’s House, Van Gogh Museum, Artis Zoo and the NEMO Science Museum. The hop-on, hop-off tour also includes discounts on many Amsterdam attractions.

    Location: Weteringschans 26, 1017 SG Amsterdam, Netherlands

    photo by Passion Leica (CC BY-SA 2.0) modified


    Friday Night Skate

    • Budget

    Proficient skaters head for the free Friday Night Skate at 8pm, meeting at the round bench by the park’s Filmmuseum. Organisers run a free 20-km guided tour around Amsterdam, returning to the expansive leafy spaces of Vondelpark – a favourite among skaters and rollerbladers.

    Location: Vondelpark 7, 1075 VR Amsterdam, Netherlands

    photo by martin_vmorris (CC BY-SA 2.0) modified

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    COVID-19 Travel Alert

    Attractions and experiences recommended in our guides may be affected. Please check local guidance before you travel.

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