Cookies help us to deliver our services. By using our website, you agree to our use of cookies. By using our website, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn more.

Amsterdam Tours

Vicky Del Moral

Vicky Del Moral

8 min read

Amsterdam Tours

©Piotr Chrobot

Amsterdam is a really comfortable city for the visitor. It is perfectly walkable and a guided tour through its streets will help you to get to know its history and the way of life of its inhabitants.

1. Amsterdam walking tour in small groups

Amsterdam Channels
Amsterdam Channels
:

If you are visiting Amsterdam for the first time, you may want to stroll around its cobblestone streets, charming corners and around its monuments and canals to get an idea of what the Dutch capital is like before exploring its sights. This :small group walking tour of Amsterdam:, in which a professional guide will accompany you on your tour with no more than 15 people, is designed for just that.

What this tour consists of

The guide will explain in English the highlights of the city and its history, from its beginnings as a muddy village on the Amstel River to become the most important commercial city in Europe. He will review its tragic passage through the Nazi occupation during World War II through its former Jewish Quarter and its controversial history around prostitution in the Red Light District and the decriminalization of drugs in its Coffee Shops.

You will explore areas such as Dam Square, the actual heart of Amsterdam and from which the city was shaped, with historic buildings such as the National Monument and the Royal Palace. You will visit other neighborhoods of the city such as the Chinese quarter, where Amsterdam's Buddhist temple is located, and others with bustling markets, such as the Nieuwmarkt and the colorful Flower Market.

Itinerary

I have prepared a list of the main points that are included in the route of this tour, which departs at 10:00 from Beursplein, 1.

  • Dam Square, located in the heart of Amsterdam.
  • Oudekerkstoren**, in the middle of the Red Light District, where you will also see the Oudekerk, the Old Church.
  • Zeedijk, the Chinatown, where Amsterdam's Buddhist temple is located.
  • Nieuwmarkt, the new market and St. Anton's Gate.
  • Zuiderkerk, the Jewish quarter and the sad history of the Second World War.
  • Begijnhof**, on the Spui square, with the gardens and the Church of St. Francis.
  • Bloemenmarkt, the flower market.
  • Amsterdam Museum**, the museum about the history of the city.
  • The Statue of Multatuli, the statue in honor of the famous Dutch writer.
  • Homomonument, The Westerkerk, the memorial to all homosexuals, gays and lesbians persecuted for their sexual orientation.

2. Personalized private walking tour of Amsterdam

Typical architecture of the city
Typical architecture of the city

If you already have a clear idea of what you want to see and do in Amsterdam and you are looking for a different experience than an organized and more conventional tour, I recommend you to take this tour on foot in English and totally personalized with a local guide:, the so called lokafyers.

These lokafyers are inhabitants of Amsterdam who do not dedicate themselves exclusively to the job of guide, but they make excursions out of devotion for their city and have great knowledge about its history. The curious thing about this tour is that it is organized based on your tastes and interests and has a variable duration, from seeing only the most essential monuments of the Dutch capital, to also know the most everyday areas and visited by locals.

The explanations of these guides are really rich as they not only give you the most important information about each enclave, but they also show you the real life of Amsterdam through their own experiences, anecdotes and stories, as if they were a friend showing you their city!

Itinerary

The itinerary of the tour will depend on what you choose yourself, with recommendations and tour tips from the guide himself.

3. Alternative Amsterdam Walking Tour

Image of the Red Light District
Image of the Red Light District
:

As in any self-respecting major city there are some imponderables that we must visit in terms of monuments, museums and areas and that we more or less already know before starting our trip. But if you want to delve deeper into the true Amsterdam, that side of the city that locals love and visitors come to discover, this tour is for you.

You will discover, in a alternative guided walking tour in English and with groups of no more than 9 people, some of the most typical places of Amsterdam, such as Dam Square, its canals or the Red Light District, but from a more cultural and social point of view. This is the tour with which you will understand the intrahistory of Amsterdam through its alternative life and its subcultures, its relationship with drug use in its Coffee Shops, the origin and the functioning of prostitution in its shop windows.

They will also explain the bicycle culture as a way of life, the phenomenon of houseboats and illegal residences produced by the housing crisis after World War II, as well as the countercultural movements that gave rise to its unique urban landscape with exclusive cafes. Optionally, you can visit the exhibition of the brilliant Bansky at the Moco, its Museum of Modern Contemporary Art.

Itinerary

  • Dam 2118. Dam Square, at the National Monument
  • Moco museum
  • Museumplein, Museum Square

4. Sightseeing bus tour with optional canal cruise or visit to the Rijksmuseum

Channel cruise
Channel cruise
:

If it is your first time in Amsterdam or you have little time to visit it, this guided tour in English with stop at the museum: is designed to give you a general idea of everything you should see and know about the city through a panoramic bus tour of its main points of interest with the possibility of leaving in the morning or afternoon and adding a sightseeing cruise through its canals or a visit to its main gallery, Rijksmuseum.

About the bus route

Comfortably seated, with commentary on board by a professional guide and from the heights of the tour bus you can admire places like the Royal Palace and the National Monument on Dam Square, the Magere Brug and the Albert Cuyp Market, the most popular and largest not only in the city but in the whole of Holland and named after Albert Cuyp, a Dutch painter of the seventeenth century.

About the Rijksmuseum

Afterwards, you can choose to tour the must-see Rijksmuseum, one of the largest museums in the Netherlands, with more than two million visitors annually and home to the best collection of Dutch Golden Age art in the world with seminal works, spanning from 1200 to 2000, such as Rembrandt's 'The Night Watch', Johannes Vermeer's 'The Milkmaid' and Frans Hals' 'The Joyful Drinker', among others by geniuses such as Vincent Van Gogh.

About the canal cruise

If, on the other hand, you choose to take the cruise, you will enjoy another of Amsterdam's must-do experiences with a stroll along the city's ring of canals, declared a World Heritage Site and lined with elaborate merchant houses, charming brick bridges, warehouses and churches built in the 17th century, the Dutch Golden Age, ending at Amsterdam's old harbor before returning to the departure pier.

Itinerary

  • Dam Square**, Amsterdam's main square
  • Royal Palace Amsterdam**, of classicist architectural style, was built as the city's town hall during the 17th century.
  • The Amstel**, part of the city's canals
  • Magere Brug**, the narrowest bridge of the canals
  • National Monument**, The National Monument on Dam Square, dating from 1956 and commemorating the dead of World War II and subsequent armed conflicts.
  • Albert Cuyp Market**, the largest market in the city and in the Netherlands.
  • Diamond Museum Amsterdam**, an educational museum about the history of the most important diamond collections.
  • Rijksmuseum**, the most important art gallery in the Netherlands

5. Tour of Anne Frank's Jewish Quarter in Amsterdam

Anne Frank House Museum
Anne Frank House Museum
:

This guided and English-language tour of Amsterdam's former Jewish Quarter: focuses on the settlement of the Jewish community in the capital since the 1600s with visits to key sites such as the Jewish Historical Museum, the Portuguese Synagogue and the Auschwitz Memorial and others such as the exterior of Anne Frank's House Museum.

The entrance to this museum is not included, but the guide will explain the history of this small town that left us an icy story but totally necessary to know those dark days after the occupation of the Netherlands by the Germans between 1940 and 1945. A turbulent past that you will relive in groups of no more than 15 people and through monuments and buildings that still show signs of war.

You will discover the places that the Dutch Resistance offered as secret hiding places for families like the Franks and the effects of that brutal regime not only for the Jewish community but also for the daily life of all Dutch people by discovering how they behaved and why they tried to coexist with the occupying army.

Itinerary

  • Joods Historisch Museum**, the only museum in the Netherlands dedicated to Jewish history.
  • Portuguese Synagogue Portuguese Synagogue, the Portuguese Jewish Synagogue is a 17th century Sephardic synagogue.
  • Dokwerker**, statue and monument at the Jonas Daniël Meijerplein in memory of the strike of February 1941
  • Auschwitz Monument**, in memory of those who suffered in the concentration camp
  • Dam Square**, Amsterdam's historic square
  • Statue of Anne Frank, the statue in memory of Anne Frank
  • Anne Frank House**, Frank family museum house

6. Amsterdam Red Light District Tour in small groups

Streets of the Red Light District at night
Streets of the Red Light District at night

Opinions aside, the visit to the mythical Red Light District of Amsterdam is a must experience and totally safe. You can visit it on your own with the large number of tourists who stroll through its streets every day or do it on this guided tour in English in which an expert will explain the origin, operation and points of interest of the oldest neighborhood of Amsterdam, the Red Light District, in groups of 20 people maximum.

With this tour of Amsterdam's Red Light District you will take a walk through streets that house a mix of art galleries, important sculptures more unknown to the conventional tourist, cinemas, cafes, coffee-shops, sex shops and some of the most important monuments of the city, such as the Old Church, Oude Kerk.

Not forgetting, of course, its famous showcases bathed in neon and red lights, where prostitution is practiced in a completely legal way since in the seventeenth century the first showcases appeared in the area, making Amsterdam one of the thirteen Dutch cities that have prostitution in shop windows, being legal in the Netherlands since 1911.

Itinerary

  • The Condomerie
  • Oude Kerk, the Old Church
  • Warmoesstraat, the leather district
  • Sex Shop
  • Video booths
  • Elite streets
  • Prostitution information center
  • Hidden sculptures

If you are interested in guided tours of Amsterdam, you will also be interested in...
Once you have done the walking tour of the city, it's time to relax by taking a canal cruise if you haven't already done so. And if you prefer to complete your visit to Amsterdam with an excursion around the country, I recommend you to read this article about Best Day Trips from Amsterdam:, where you can find a selection of what for me, are the best.

Frequently asked questions

  • How long do most walking tours in Amsterdam last?

    Most walking tours around Amsterdam last about 2-3 hours. While there are some that last as long as 4 hours, these usually include the odd break between for food.

  • Which walking tour should I choose?

    The most popular walking tour is the Amsterdam Red Light District Walking Tour, although it is strictly adults-only, you'll be given an escorted walking tour of the Red Light District, followed by a visit to Museum of Prostitution. If a complete delve into the Red Light District doesn't take your fancy, the second most popular tour is the Amsterdam city tour, which gives you a number of insights into how Amsterdam has developed through the ages.

  • What is the best way to move around Amsterdam?

    In truth, the city of Amsterdam is small enough, that simply walking along its canals, and exploring its many nooks and crannies can make for a truly pleasant experience.