Alternative Amsterdam Activities
Arts & Culture
Food & Wine
Amsterdam is a fascinating city, so much history, culture and sights to see. However, if you’ve already been to some of the most well known spots including the Anne Frank House, Van Gogh Museum or taken a canal tour, then here are a few more off the beaten path ideas to vary your next trip to the Venice of the North.
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Where to stay in Amsterdam
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Things to do in Amsterdam
After a day of art galleries, why not take your photo as if you were in a Dutch Master - it’s great fun and makes for a very unusual souvenir! Pre-booking is required with Museumfoto.
If you’ve been on a regular canal tour around the city, why not do as the Dutch do and DIY. There are many boat rental companies and you can take a leisurely tour with a picnic on board. If you don’t fancy being Captain, there’s a wide range of specialty cruises to try - as a liberal city you’ll find the Smoke Boat alongside more family friendly options including a pancake filled cruise and another dedicated to serving brunch onboard!
If you need a change of scenery from touristy things, Mooie Boules is fun petanque and food court combo close to Brouwerij T Ij, a delicious brewery offering beer tasting in a windmill and all without leaving the city.
Day trips (optional)
For foodies in search of something special, take a boat trip away from the city center to the tiny island Vuurtoreneiland with a greenhouse restaurant in summer and cozy underground bunker by winter. Without electricity or running water the eco credentials are high at this unique property with seasonal, locally grown food, cooked on an open fire. Book well in advance as these tables sell out fast and include your return boat journey to the island. If this all sounds a little too much like The Menu, don’t worry, you will live to see another day after dining here!
Places to eat & drink in Amsterdam
At the end of a long day of sightseeing, relax and enjoy a beer at a local ‘bruin cafe’ - a brown bar. You’ll find them all over the city and along with your Heineken enjoy the local specialty Bitterballen. These Dutch meatballs make a great snack before you head off to dinner. For those who don’t eat meat, a great version can be found at the micro-chain Vegan Junk Food Bar.
Speaking of Heineken, the recently renovated Heineken Experience tells the story of the brewery’s growth over the last 150 years. Book a tour and see behind the scenes, including a beer on their rooftop terrace, or just call in and see the 10,800 famous green beer bottles in the entrance ceiling and personalize a bottle as a souvenir.
If you prefer spirits to beer, try the House of Bols for a self-guided tour of the noted Dutch gin museum including a tasting room where you’ll learn everything there is to know about how Dutch spirit Genever conquered the world during the Golden Age.
America may think it has apple pie down, but the Dutch do a delicious version ‘appeltaart’ with a crumbly topping for a crunchy twist on Apple Tart or Apple pies you may have tasted elsewhere. Visit Winkel43 in the Jordaan for a classic take and if you head there on Saturdays you’ll experience the local farmers market too.
Need to Know
For more travel tips, check out Fora Advisor (insert advisor’s name) ’s guide, 4-Day Itinerary in Amsterdam and Beyond.
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This guide is part of our ongoing series on travel to Amsterdam.