Amsterdam, Netherlands

The Dutch capital Amsterdam is a city of true culture and intrigue, where fascinating historic attractions blend with a vibrant cosmopolitan ambience to create an unforgettable calling point.

6 hours in… Amsterdam

Amsterdam’s bustling city centre is relatively compact, which makes exploring on foot much easier and as such, there’s plenty to pack into a short visit here. You’ll find that cruise lines offer a variety of tours in this famous capital, either on foot, along the canals or even by bike, taking you to some of the city’s most iconic districts and intriguing museums. If you plan on setting out to explore on your own however, here are some of Amsterdam’s must-see attractions.

Ariel view of Anne Frank House

Ariel view of Anne Frank House – book in advance to beat the queues!

You could spend a day simply wandering along Amsterdam’s scenic canals through the city’s most historic areas, including the famous Red Light District, to see a wealth of unique historic architecture – Amsterdam is well-known for its towering rows of four- or five-story houses. The city is also renowned for its world-class museums, so try to make time to visit at least one. From Anne Frank House and the Rijksmuseum to the Van Gogh Museum and the Heineken Experience, there’s plenty of incredible Dutch history and culture to uncover.

Been before?

If it’s your second time in Amsterdam, take the opportunity to visit any of the museums that you didn’t have time for the last time you were here. There are so many dotted across the city, from the iconic to the obscure, so you’re sure to find something new and interesting each time you return. Amsterdam’s beautiful parks and gardens also offer a marvellous place to unwind, particularly around Vondelpark and the stunning Plantage neighbourhood.

Sun setting over the canals of Amsterdam

Sun setting over the canals of Amsterdam

A wonderful variety of food and drink is also available across the city, with a host of fantastic restaurants and tempting snacks on offer – including pizza dogs (think pizza crossed with a hot dog… yes, it tastes as good as it sounds!). Alternatively, why not shop for authentic local souvenirs? Take your pick from a plethora of city centre stores – from the high-end to the shamelessly tacky – and find the perfect gift.

Can’t keep away?

Even those who have been to Amsterdam again and again will struggle to experience all of the city’s museums and historic attractions, so there’s always opportunities to search out something you haven’t seen before.

As a cultural haven filled with fun-loving locals, Amsterdam hosts a range of exciting festivals and celebrations throughout the year. Whether you plan an April cruise to coincide with King’s Day, a May sailing to arrive in time to the Tulip Festival or a December/January voyage to enjoy the Amsterdam Light festival, you are sure to savour your time in the city and the amazing experiences on offer.

Don’t even bother!

Despite its sometimes seedy reputation, the Red Light District is actually one of the safest parts of the city and is very well policed, especially at night, so don’t be too apprehensive to explore. However, under no circumstances should you take photographs in this famous area as you will likely run into trouble.

Also, it’s advisable to book entry to some museums in advance, especially Anne Frank House, as massive queues can develop during the busiest times of the year. Don’t simply turn up at the door during high tourist season and expect to walk straight in without pre-booking – you may have a long wait!

Emma Smith
Emma has more than seven years' experience as a writer and has been in the travel industry for nearly five years. She loves learning about new places and cruise ships coming to market, as well as discovering fun and exciting activities to do while you sail. She has cruised with Princess Cruises, Cunard, Celebrity Cruises, Virgin Voyages, Avalon Waterways and Royal Caribbean and is looking to get something in her diary for 2024! Her favourite things to see on a ship include excellent entertainment, a delicious cocktail menu and extraordinary dining venues.

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