Amsterdam is an amazing city full of pretty places and quirky corners, but once tourist season starts things can get a little crowded. Seeing the most famous and popular sights might be important to you, but going off the beaten track will give you not only a bit more peace and quiet but also an alternative perspective!
7 Secret Spots in Amsterdam
Here is a list of 7 popular spots in Amsterdam and their more hidden alternatives. Of course, both the popular and the more secret places are great, why not visit both!
Get a View from the Top
Amsterdam’s flashiest rooftop is definitely the A’DAM Toren in Amsterdam Noord. Views are stunning and there are two restaurants at the top, one even spins! There is a terrifying swing on the roof, and the building is also host to a hotel and a restaurant on the lower floors. Get your tickets to the A’DAM Toren lookout and swing here.
A visit to the Toren may be on your to-do list. But did you know there is a place nearby with amazing views that is free to visit and even comes with a side of knowledge? Just across the water you’ll find the Openbare Bibliotheek Amsterdam, the public library. Views from the windows are amazing, or head to the top floor to peer over the balcony.
Looking for views? Check out our favorite rooftop bars and restaurants here.
Chill Out in the Park
Everyone knows Amsterdam’s famous Vondelpark. It’s a gorgeous place with lots of biking and walking paths, trees, grass, flowers, fountains and even several restaurants and bars. It definitely should not be missed, especially on a sunny day.
But if you are craving a visit to a park, why not try one of the more hidden locations? These parks are not as crowded or popular but are just as pretty. You might have to travel a bit further from the city center to get there but they offer more solitude and quiet. Three of my favorites include Amsterdamse Bos, Flevopark and Noorderpark (also known as Florapark).
Why do I like these parks? They are definitely off the beaten path but they also offer interesting destinations. Amsterdamse Bos has many kilometers of walking and cycling paths as well as the fun goat farm Geitenboerderij Riddammerhoeve! Noorderpark is quiet and lovely – check out the Noorderparkbar (now known as Pompet) and visit the nearby windmill too. And Flevopark is home to ‘t Nieuwe Diep distillery.
Ogle an Art Museum
Want to see some fantastic art without the crowds? Make your way to the COBRA Museum in Amstelveen. Not only will you find more peace and quiet but you can learn about a local art movement and see some unique artworks.
Are you itching to walk across the famous Magere Brug? This sweet bridge crosses over the Amstel and provides a picturesque spot to visit on foot, by bike or especially by boat.
Want to see adorable bridges that aren’t so well known but are even closer to the center of Amsterdam? Take a walk through the charming Prinseneiland neighborhood just to the northwest of Central Station. I almost don’t even want to share this because it is such a quiet gem with hardly any tourists. Perfect for a stroll to get a little lost in the winding roads and many waterways.
Another interesting neighborhood to stroll around is Javaeiland. Here you can see architect designed houses and small bridges in a newer neighborhood.
Cruise the Canals
One of the best ways to see Amsterdam is from the water. Gaze up at the charming canal houses, pass under arched bridges and see the sunlight twinkle on the water. There are many options for canal boat tours in the big flat bottomed boats. These are perfectly fine, but what if you want something a little different.
Luckily there are plenty of alternatives. You can rent your own boat, or use your legs to peddle under your own power on a Pedalo boat. Combine a walking tour with a ride on a gorgeous salon boat. Or why not book a special tour like a burger and beer cruise, a private BBQ cruise or a private beer boat.
Learn about Local Beer
The Heineken Experience is one of Amsterdam’s most popular attractions. Visitors love the interactive exhibits and of course the beer at the end! You can book your tickets for the Heineken Experience in advance or get your tickets plus a canal boat ride here.
But if you’d like to learn more about local beer, I definitely suggest taking a tour of one of Amsterdam’s smaller breweries. It’s much more intimate and fascinating to learn about wonderful local businesses. You can book tours at De Prael and Brouwerij ‘t IJ, and an unofficial visit to these spots will also allow you to see the brewery in action, even from the bar itself while sipping your beer. I’d also suggest stopping in at Oedipus and Butcher’s Tears if you want to get a glimpse behind the scenes at some of Amsterdam’s coolest breweries.
Check Out a Market
Many visitors to Amsterdam want to shop at the famous Albert Cuyp Market in De Pijp. Maybe look for trinkets or a tshirt, eat a sweet stroopwafel and people watch. Albert Cuypmarkt is definitely cool! Or maybe you want to visit the bustling Saturday organic farmers market at Noordermarkt for some groceries and snacking on oysters or cheese. These markets are indeed fantastic, but on a sunny day you may be fighting the crowds.
Every neighborhood in Amsterdam has its own market and they all have their own unique flavor! Check out Dappermarkt in Oost, the small Wednesday market at Haarlemmerplein or my new favorite, the Markt op Plein 40-45. You may not find quite as many Amsterdam keychains but you will see local people shopping and socializing.
I hope this list of some of Amsterdam’s hidden secrets has you living like a local! Be sure to check out these 13 Amsterdam secrets to learn about Amsterdam’s weirdest places.
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