Amsterdam sure has a lot going for it, especially as a cruise port. Water surrounds the capital city of the Netherlands so, naturally, it’s a spectacular spot for travelers who are drawn to the sea and the charms of Amsterdam’s iconic canals.
The city also is unique because it can welcome both ocean and river cruise ships, with the berths located in the heart of the action. This means you can easily walk to several amazing destinations, making for a low-hassle and lower-cost outing when you arrive for a visit in port.
Here are seven must-see attractions and top things to do when you cruise to Amsterdam.
Anne Frank House
This is perhaps the most-popular site for visitors; make sure you reserve tickets to go to Anne Frank House ahead of your trip to Amsterdam. This historic building has been painstakingly preserved to allow visitors (1.2 million annually) to come to see Anne Frank House and the Secret Annex that served as the hiding spot for the author of the famous diary and several others who were facing Nazi persecution.
Amsterdam is known affectionately as “The Venice of the North,” and you can’t truly appreciate this destination until you have spent time in some of the 165 canals that serve as the veins of the city. This impressively engineered system provides the true character of Amsterdam. A canal boat tour takes you through the various districts, under pedestrian bridges, past houseboats and alongside the looming residences.
You’ll love the spectacularly picturesque scenes of the city from the bustling waterways.
Rijksmuseum is a stunner of a building, and inside you can find famous works, such as Rembrandt’s “The Night Watch”, Van Gogh’s “Self Portrait” and Vermeer’s “The Milkmaid” — and many, many more.
Van Gogh Museum is packed with works from the Dutch master, and Stedelijk is a showcase of modern art and contemporary design.
The Museum Quarter is a large neighborhood surrounding open lawn space in the center. It’s great for sprawling out on a sunny day to watch the crowds or enjoy a coffee and waffle bought from a nearby vendor. This is also the spot to get a picture of yourself in front of the Amsterdam sign in front on Rijksmuseum.
Bloemenmarkt is the world’s lone floating marketplace. This is a wonder for the senses. Vendors sell thousands of colorful and fresh tulip bulbs, as well as an array of crafts and items that make excellent souvenirs or gifts to commemorate your visit to Amsterdam.
The market operates out of a series of dozens of connecting floating stalls bobbing on the water of the Singel Canal, between Muntplein and Koningsplein.
If you’re a beer lover, you will be interested in learning about the history of one of the country’s most-famous exports. Housed in the historic original brewing facility that dates to 1867, this is one of the country’s top tourist attractions.
The Heineken Experience aims to show visitors the process of brewing the famous Heineken pilsner beer. The tour offers historical artifacts, interactive exhibits and, of course, samples of the finished product.
A beautiful green park smack dab in the heart of Amsterdam. Vondelpark is located adjacent to the Museum Quarter and offers a great space for a walk, run or bike ride. The park has roads and paths winding throughout its length. It also follows alongside canals and is accented with beds of flowers, small forested areas and interesting sculptures.
NEMO Science Museum
You can spot this ship-shaped green building from your spot at the cruise pier. It sits in the pretty Amsterdam harbor at the edge of the city and is a fun place for kids and still-curious adults to go and immerse themselves in interactive exhibits. Exhibitions focus on space, science through the ages, chemistry, energy, construction and logistics, among others.
A top feature of this attraction is the rooftop terrace. Any visitor is welcome to walk up the steps to the roof to enjoy the panoramic views of the harbor and city, as well as the cafe.
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