Four unique ways to experience Amsterdam

Amsterdam morning

Image (c) Grown-up Travel Guide

Although it’s been a while since we wrote much about the place – and even longer since we visited – you know we love Amsterdam. There’s a lot of content on the site about the Dutch city and but I’ve recently become aware of one of the best things to do in Amsterdam.

Combining the benefits of a small group tour (which we have long championed as the best way to really get to know a destination) with the input of a local expert who actually lives there, this is an excellent way to really get under the skin of a city like Amsterdam.

That would be good in itself, but what makes these tours stand out is the many varied angles and topics they offer.

We’ve picked out some of the most unusual, eclectic and off-the-wall tours for you to consider – I can’t wait to try them for myself!

Red light district tour

Let’s face it – the Red Light District is what most people first associate with Amsterdam. Equally, it’s a part of the city few visitors understand. Let a local change that for you – and show you how this part of town is both intriguing and beautiful.

You’ll visit the oldest building in Amsterdam, experience history and the changes that are affecting the district and get plenty of tips for places to return to.

Visit the place Rembrandt got married and get an insight into the famously tolerant Dutch – in terms both of sexuality and race.

Many of the traditional coffee shops and window brothels are being closed down with the latter being repurposed as business spaces – by which I mean a different type of business…

The guide will even take you to his former business space/window brothel so you can see for yourself…

Bicycle tour

After the Red Light District and the canals, the next major feature of Amsterdam that most visitors notice is that everyone seems to be cycling. That’s not a million miles from the truth and the city is perfect for two-wheeled rather than four-wheeled transport.

On this tour you’ll join them – visiting a whole range of uniquely Amsterdam places like urban farms and places serving sustainable local food, community gardens, a honeybee project, a school garden, mushroom farm and a permaculture projects.

You will even get to try some “guerrilla gardening” during the tour – which includes bike rental and snacks at the end of the tour.

Home cooking

Now this is my personal favourite – here you can enjoy food, great company and culture in one evening. You’ll eat dinner in a local’s home where you will get a full introduction to Dutch food and culture:

Starting with a traditional 3-kiss welcome and an aperitif, you’ll get a tour of the apartment and a lesson on Rembrandt and his painting ‘the Nachtwacht’. The hosts have a 3 x 4 metre copy on their wall and know their stuff.

Dinner consists of four courses and complementing wines, after which you’ll continue the lively conversation over tea or coffee. They can accommodate allergies if you give them notice so everyone’s welcome and they are a mine of information about what to do in the city.


After that previous trip you may be needing this one. Burn off some of the calories from the four course feast by joining your host in the woods for an outdoor workout.

Described as cross fit meets high intensity interval training (HIIT), this ought to knock you back into shape (or at least give you justification to eat more afterwards).

Suitable for all levels and age groups, this one hour exercise actually sounds like a lot of fun and afterwards  everyone gets together for a drink or lunch in one of the cafes in or nearby the forest.

Very sensible, in other words…

What do you think – which would be your first choice? I think I’m going to try all of them on my next trip to Amsterdam…

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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