Things to do in Amsterdam
Walking tour "Dark Amsterdam"
There are many things to do in Amsterdam but since The Red Light District is one of the oldest parts of Amsterdam with more than 700 years of history, this is a good place to start. Although this area is famous for the prostitution, there is lot more to enjoy. And since there is only so much you can learn walking up and down the streets, joining an organised tour can get you a quick inside in this intriguing world.
A two-hour walking tour through the "Wallen" - the Red Light District - is organised by
, Damrak 26. Part of the tours is a visit to the
Prostitution Information Center
. Here you can learn a lot about the oldest profession in the world, in a relaxed atmosphere. You can ask all the questions you have about the girls, the clients, the legality or anything else.
The tour also includes interesting monuments and a visit to the "Zeedijk", once the most dangerous street of Amsterdam, where Seamen would come, looking for amusement. Nowadays, this is a safe area, full of lively pubs, shops and trendy restaurants.
During this excursion, a tour guide accompanies the group so you don't have to worry about your safety.
Boat tour through the canals
High on de list of things to do in Amsterdam is making a boat tour through the canals. It is a relaxing way to see the historic center of Amsterdam, including the red light district. You can sit and watch without worrying about being run over by a tram or a biker (more likely).
In most boats there is a tour guide who gives information about the historic buildings you see and juicy stories about the people who lived there. Since the city has so many canals you can spend hours cruising without seeing the same spot twice. The standard boat tours however are about one hour and are made by glass top boats with 40 to 80 people.
A good tour operator is "Rederij Plas" on Damrak. This is 5 minutes walking from Central Station and close to the red light district.
Touring through the 17th century canals is a great experience. Even more so with friends in an open boat. Now this is possible by renting a Canal Bike (fitted with rain shields for when the weather is not so good).
The pedal boats are small but stable and there are 4 different places where you can rent one. You can rent it at one place and leave it at another and maps and printed guides are provided so you don't get lost.
Although you have to make an effort to propel the boat, it is very relaxing to be on the water and go where you want to go at your own pace. It feels like you're not part of the hectic world alongside the canals anymore. You can enjoy the beautiful city center and get some exercise at the same time.
Here you can rent a canal bike:
- Nassaukade (opposite the Rijksmuseum)
- Corner Keizersgracht/Leidsestraat
- Prinsengracht/Westermarkt (next to the Anne Frank House)
Opening times 10am till 18pm. In the wintertime (from november till march) only the landing-stage at the Nassaukade stays open.
Rent a bike
One of the charms of Amsterdam is that it's such a small place compared to Paris, London or Rome. On a bicycle you can get anywhere in Amsterdam's city center within 15 minutes. It is a quick and personal way of transportation and a bicycle makes it easy to navigate through the narrow streets of the city center. And you don't have to worry about parking space. Though do remember to lock your bike when you park it.
There are many bicyclists in the city center and they are probably the majority of people moving around. An other large group is people walking, many of them tourist. And they don't always walk on the sidewalks and they do not always pay attention to people on bicycles. So riding a bike, you have to pay attention.
You can rent a bike at various locations throughout the city.
is a the major rent out business, located on several places in the city. For many visitors this is a favorite
things to do in Amsterdam.
It is also possible to make a bicycle tour through the city with a guide. If you are afraid of getting lost or you can't be bothered to look on the map all the time, then join one of these tours in small groups, organized by
In three hours time you get to see all the highlights of Amsterdam.
Dine with the Dutch
Recently a new activity was added to the list of things to do in Amsterdam. Many visitors like to meet people living in Amsterdam.
Now you can and have a good meal at the same time.
"Dine with the Dutch"
organizes dinners with Amsterdammers. You tell what you like and they match you with a host family where you can enjoy the Amsterdam hospitality and a Dutch meal.
This new initiative is already quite popular among tourist but also among citizens of Amsterdam. Amsterdam has always been tolerant and open towards other people. So meeting local people over a nice dinner is an excellent opportunity to learn more about the
history of Amsterdam
and everything else you like to know about the city.