6 must-see attractions for first-time visitors to Amsterdam

What to do in amsterdam - old town

The capital of The Netherlands is an enduringly popular European holiday destination. This picturesque city, characterised by its network of canals, is compact and easy to explore and has a rich heritage to be discovered. Read on to learn what to do in amsterdam on your first visit.

Tourists travelling from the UK have the choice of taking a cruise from Southampton or hopping on a ferry as an alternative to flying. All options are delightfully quick and easy which makes Amsterdam an ideal option for a long weekend escape.

Throughout your stay, it is best to wander the streets on your own two feet or take to two wheels to view Amsterdam as the locals do. Be sure to include these must-see attractions for first-time visitors to Amsterdam in your itinerary so that you don’t miss out on any highlights during your trip.

Amazing Art

Amsterdam is renowned for its incredible art galleries that showcase and celebrate art from a range of eras. Here are three art galleries that you have to visit when you are in Amsterdam:

Van Gogh Museum

Vincent van Gogh is one of the most famous figures in Western art history, renowned for cutting off his left ear during a disagreement with a fellow artist. A leader in Post-Impressionist art, van Gogh’s daring use of colour and brush strokes created paintings that continue to capture people to this day.


If art is one of your major interests, be sure to dedicated plenty of time to exploring the Rijksmuseum. Breath-taking from the outside, this grand building holds an enormous collection of Dutch art numbering over 8,000 pieces in addition to a selection of over 1 million objects.

Historic Masterpieces

Royal Palace Amsterdam

Smack bang in the centre of the city is the Royal Palace Amsterdam, still used for royal events such as state visits from other monarchs and national award ceremonies. Its sensational 17th-century architecture is astounding, and detailed audio guides describe the varied history of the palace.

De 9 Straatjes

Just a short walk from the Royal Palace, De 9 Straatjes (The Nine Streets) is a charming canal area known for its pretty authentic architecture, idyllic atmosphere, and range of vintage shops, designer boutiques, and cafés serving local favourites and international cuisine.

Modern Culture

Anne Frank Huis

The most poignant attraction in Amsterdam is the Anne Frank Museum, housed in the 17th-century canal house is where Anne Frank and her family hid for two years during World War II. Older children and adults alike will find this a moving and powerful experience.

Albert Cuyp Market

Spend some time outdoors at the Albert Cuyp Market, a favourite place to visit for both tourists and locals. This market has been here for over a century and is now overflowing with fresh produce, mouth-watering local street food, beautiful blooms, arts and crafts and traditional clothing such as clogs.

Andy Higgs
Andy Higgs

I know what it's like to go from being a crazy backpacker without a care in the world, via being a vaguely sensible parent to being an adventurer once more. In other words, evolving into a Grown-up Traveller.

Like everyone else, I love to travel, have visited a lot of countries and all that but my big thing is Africa.

I also own and run The Grown-up Travel Company as a travel designer creating personalised African itineraries for experienced adventurers

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