Amsterdam’s pretty canals and fantastic attractions keep visitors coming back. The tours on offer are impressive too, providing fascinating insight into the Dutch capital - whether you're a first-time visitor or looking for a fresh perspective on this much-loved city.
Choose to zip around the city on two wheels, marvel at the architecture or indulge your foodie cravings. Amsterdam tours cater for all types of travellers and interests. Looking for Amsterdam holiday packages? We’ve got plenty of fantastic options to look through!
No one could say the Amsterdam tourist industry doesn’t make the most of its canals, with an armada of glass-topped cruise boats shuttling along the city’s waterways, offering everything from quick hour-long excursions to fully fledged dinner cruises. There are several major operators that occupy the prime pitches - the jetties near Centraal Station on Stationsplein, beside the Damrak and on Prins Hendrikkade. Boat trips - and especially the shorter and less expensive ones - are extremely popular, and long queues are common throughout the summer. Prices are fairly uniform, with a one-hour tour costing around €20 per adult, €10 per child (4–12 years old), and around €25 for a ninety-minute cruise at night. The big companies also offer more specialized boat trips - such as Amsterdam Jewel Cruises’ luxury dinner trips, or a pirate-themed kids’ cruise.
Guided cycle rides are offered by many of the bike rental outlets as well as tour companies, and there are numerous walking tours on offer. AllTour Native tours take you around the city on two wheels (but also on foot or by boat), revealing off-the-beaten-track places hiding graffiti, street art, squats, artist communities and lesser-trodden Amsterdam attractions. Tours run by locals, start from around €15/person. Meanwhile, Eating Amsterdam Tours offers a Dutch food walking tour through the Jordaan, a food and canals tour (including a 1hr boat cruise), and tailor-made private tours for groups.
Hogging the east side of Damrak, just beyond the mini-harbour, is the imposing bulk of the Beurs, the old Stock Exchange - known as the “Beurs van Berlage” - a seminal work designed at the turn of the twentieth century by the leading light of the Dutch Modern movement, Hendrik Petrus Berlage (1856–1934). The Beurs has long since lost its commercial function and nowadays hosts concerts and conferences, as well as exhibitions on modern art and design. Nonetheless, the building is still the main event, notably the handsome shallow-arched arcades and elaborate brickwork of the main hall. Regular hour-long guided tours are held here.
Before World War II, many of Amsterdam’s Jews worked as diamond cutters and polishers, and although there’s little sign of the industry today, one notable exception, the Gassan Diamonds factory, occupies a large and imposing brick building dating from 1897. Tours of the factory include a visit to the cutting and polishing areas, as well as a stroll round the diamond jewellery showroom. Also on the premises is a large souvenir shop with a substantial range of blue and white delftware.
The Heineken Experience, a popular attraction beside the Singelgracht on the northern edge of De Pijp, is housed in the former Heineken brewery, a whopping building that was the company’s headquarters from 1864 to 1988, at which time the firm restructured and its brewing moved out of town. Since then, Heineken has developed the site as a tourist attraction, with displays on the history of beer-making in general and Heineken in particular. The old brewing hall is included on the tour, but for many the main draw is the beer itself - although the days when you could quaff unlimited quantities are long gone. Considering it’s not a real brewery any more, Heineken makes a decent stab at both entertaining and informing - as well as promoting the brand, of course. There are lots of gimmicky but fun attractions on the self-guided tour, including a whole gallery devoted to Heineken’s various advertising campaigns and a weird show on what it’s like to be a bottle of Heineken, from bottling plant to delivery.