Amsterdam is the capital of the Netherlands, located in the west of the country, with a population of nearly 2.5 million in the Amsterdam metropolitan area. It began as a small fishing village in the 12th century and grew to be one of the most important ports in the world during the Dutch Golden Age of the 17th century when it was a center for finance and diamonds. It’s now known for its picturesque canals, museums, bike culture, red light district, and cannabis coffee shops.
Read on to find out about the best tours in Amsterdam that will let you explore the hidden gems in this city.
The bus and boat tour is a great way to explore Amsterdam at your own pace. With stops dotted around the city, you’ll be able to explore Amsterdam’s top attractions by simply hopping on and off the bus or boat where you’d like. Prices start around 32 USD and include an audio guide in seven languages.
The bus tour makes 12 stops, including Artis Royal Zoo, the Jewish Historical Museum, and the Heineken Experience. Buses run every 15 to 20 minutes, and you can start or end your tour at any of the 12 stops. There are two boat tours to chose from and they each make a handful of stops. These include Spain Nicholas Church, the Anne Frank House, City Hall, and the Rijksmuseum. The hop on hop off tour is a great option for those who want to explore the major sites of Amsterdam but want the flexibility of moving at their own pace. The audio guides are a great way to learn a bit of history about the city, and the included canal boat tour is a pleasant, relaxing way to see Amsterdam from the water.
Hop-on hop-off bus and boat tour
Address: Various central hop-on hop-off locations
If you prefer a morning stroll, this Amsterdam walking tour is for you. In small groups of 12 or less, you’ll get an intimate view of the city before it gets too busy. Starting in Dam Square, your tour guide will lead you around the city’s top historical sites. You’ll see the Anne Frank House, the Royal Palace, and the Red Light District and will learn the history of Amsterdam’s canals and 17th-century gabled houses.
The tour starts at 10 a.m. and lasts about three hours. At least two people are required per booking and ticket prices start around 35 USD. The tour will end in time for lunch, so you will still have the rest of the day ahead of you to continue exploring this beautiful city!
Amsterdam walking tour
Address: Central Amsterdam Beursplein 5
For those look for something more adult, take this walking tour of the Red Light District. Your guide will take you through the narrow streets, past the windows and red lights. Learn about the world’s oldest profession and see how the Red Light District of today has turned into a welcoming tourist destination.
Reviewers describe the tour guides as incredibly informational, entertaining, and respectful. The tour starts at 8 p.m. at the Museum of Prostitution and lasts two hours. Tickets start at 28 USD.
Red Light District walking tour
Address: Meet at the Red Light District
Calling all art lovers! This day-long tour of the Rijksmuseum and the Van Gogh Museum is for you. The tour includes skip-the-line entry into both museums, guided tours of both museums, lunch, a canal cruise, and a tour of Coster Diamonds.
The day starts at the Rijksmuseum, where you’ll learn about the art and history of the Netherlands. With 8,000 items on display, including masterpieces by Vermeer and Rembrandt, there’s plenty to explore in the museum’s 80 galleries. You’ll stop here for lunch once you’re done viewing the art.
Next, relax with a 75-minute boat tour of the city’s canals. You’ll pass canal houses, churches, and bridges, while getting some rest in before your next museum stop. At the Van Gogh Museum, your guide will take you to a selection of the artist’s paintings. Learn about Van Gogh’s life and have some free time to explore the museum at your own pace.
The tour finishes at one of the oldest diamond polishing companies, Coster Diamonds. Still operating today, you’ll be able to independently explore the museum and learn about the diamond industry. The tour begins at 9:30 a.m. and lasts 7 hours and 30 minutes. Tickets start around 112 USD.
Van Gogh Museum and Rijksmuseum tour
Address: Tour begins at the Rijksmuseum, Museumstraat 1, 1071 XX Amsterdam
If you love cheese, this day trip to the Dutch countryside is for you! The first stop is a trip to the village of Alkmaar, known for its cheese market. Learn about Dutch cheese making and tour the cheese factory. You’ll see cheesemongers selling their goods, and witness bidders buying cheese by clapping their hands. There is also a brief walking tour of the village.
Next, you’ll head to Schermerhoen, a windmill village. Windmills line the riverbank, providing you the opportunity to snap some shots of this typical Dutch scenery. The tour departs central Amsterdam at 9:15 a.m. and lasts four and a half hours. Ticket prices begin at 55 USD.
Cheese and windmill tour
Address: Departs from central Amsterdam
This walking tour is a great way to learn about Anne Frank’s life in Amsterdam before she and her family went into hiding. Your guide will take you around Amsterdam-Zued, a wealthy area of the city. You’ll walk through this residential area, stopping by Anne’s school, the family home before they went into hiding, and the shop where her diary was purchased.
Because this is a private tour, it can be customized to your interests. Ask your guide any questions you might have about Anne’s family, the Holocaust, or the war. The tour ends with a cup of coffee, which is a great way to ask any final questions and make the most of this personal tour. Meet your guide in Merdeplein Square at, and prepare for a 1.5-hour walk. There are multiple tour times per day and tickets are 45 USD.
Private Anne Frank walking tour
Address: Depart Merwedeplein Square
To the foodies out there: this one’s for you! This walking tour takes you through the neighbourhood of Jordaan. Now a hip spot, it was once a working class area. You’ll meet the families who are working to maintain Dutch food traditions and learn about Amsterdam’s history and culture. And, of course, you’ll taste lots of food!
Your guide will bring you to seven unique locations, allowing you to taste 12 different foods. The tour begins at Cafe Prins, 124 Prinsemgracht. It lasts four hours and costs 83 USD.
Food tasting tour of Jordaan
Address: Meet at Prinsengracht 124 at Cafe Prins
A trip to Amsterdam is not complete without a bike tour! Known worldwide for its bicycle culture, Amsterdam is the world’s most bike-friendly capital city. Ride through the canals with a guide who will show you the top historical sites, including the New Market, the Red Light District, and the Van Gogh Museum.
You’ll also see some lesser-known spots in the city and stop for a break in Vondelpark. The tour is available in multiple languages and lasts three hours. The tour begins at Piet Heinkade and costs 25 USD.
City bike tour
Address: Meet at Piet Heinkade 25, 1019 BR Amsterdam
Something for everyone!
Amsterdam truly has something for everyone! Whether you’re a history buff, a cheese aficionado, or someone who wants to explore a little bit of everything this city has to offer, there’s a tour for you. All of these tours will teach you about Amsterdam’s history and culture, and you’re sure to come away having learned something new. So grab your bike helmet and your clogs, and book one today!
Get Trip101 in your inbox
You can buy and claim online, even after you've left home. Travel insurance from WorldNomads.com is available to people from 140 countries. It’s designed for adventurous travellers with cover for overseas medical, evacuation, baggage and a range of adventure sports and activities.
*5% off when you book with our promo code: TRIP101
*For our Canadian and US travellers, unfortunately due to financial services laws, we cannot provide a discount. This promotional code cannot be used with any other discount offer, including World Nomads Members’ discount for travel insurance policy holders.