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Hop on Hop off Bus Tours in Amsterdam

Visiting a city on a tourist bus is always a good idea, since you are comfortably seated while you go through the most important areas. In Amsterdam, you can also make these tours on the water, on a cruise through its canals

Vicky Del Moral

Vicky Del Moral

6 min read

Hop on Hop off Bus Tours in Amsterdam

Rijksmuseum | ©Werner Bayer

Given the particularities of this city, full of canals but also of interesting attractions and museums, there is a wide variety of tours aboard a bus or a cruise to get to know this charming city. Here is a list of the best options.

1. The classic option: the tourist bus with free stops

Hermitage Amsterdam | ©Richard Mortel
Hermitage Amsterdam | ©Richard Mortel

With this sightseeing bus tour with free stops around the city of Amsterdam and with the option to add a cruise for a little extra, you will have the freedom to visit the city in total comfort. You will cross Amsterdam aboard a double-decker open-top bus with an audio guide in English and passing through up to 38 points of interest in the city, including:

Rijksmuseum

Explore the history of Dutch Golden Age painting with masterpieces such as "The Night Watch" by Rembrandt and paintings by Vermeer and Frans Hals.

Jordaan and Red Light District

Meet what was called the "European Jerusalem" during the settlement of Jewish refugee communities in the 16th and 17th centuries and Amsterdam's most controversial neighborhood, with its red-lit storefronts and legal prostitution.

Madame Tussauds

Be amazed and have a great time with the hyper-realistic wax figures of famous historical figures in this replica of the famous wax museum in London.

Itinerary

  • Rijksmuseum
  • Damrak
  • Dam Square
  • Leiden Square (Leidseplein)
  • Van Gogh Museum
  • Anne Frank House
  • The Jordaan
  • Red Light District
  • Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam
  • NEMO Science Museum
  • The National Maritime Museum
  • The 9 Straatjes
  • Rembrandt House Museum
  • Madame Tussauds Amsterdam
  • Holland Casino
  • Amsterdam Centrum
  • Hermitage Amsterdam
  • The Amsterdam Dungeon
  • Torture Museum
  • Xtracold Icebar Amsterdam
  • Body Worlds
  • Gooyer Mill

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2. Pass for a boat cruise with free stops along the canals

Amsterdam canal cruise | ©Maria Eklind
Amsterdam canal cruise | ©Maria Eklind

Taking a cruise is a must on your visit to the Dutch capital and this one-day or day pass for a canal cruise in Amsterdam is a good option. You can make the complete tour and without getting off to enjoy a nice walk or you can use it as means of transport, as it makes a fairly extensive tour (it passes through 18 points of interest) and you can get on and off at any of the stops.

In addition, you can round off the cruise by upgrading your ticket with quick entry to two of the best attractions in the city, the Van Gogh Museum or the interactive visit to the old brewery of the Heineken Experience.

  • Rembrandt's House: visit the former home of the brilliant artist, now converted into an interesting museum about his life and work.
  • Magere Brug: see Amsterdam's narrowest and most famous bridge and learn about the legend of its origin.
  • Keizersgracht: cross the Emperor's Canal, the most picturesque of Amsterdam's main ring, and wander around its surroundings of impressive buildings, such as the House of Heads, the Felix Meritis Foundation, and the Van Loon Museum.

Itinerary

  • Van Gogh Museum
  • Anne Frank House
  • Rembrandt House Museum
  • Heineken Experience
  • Emperor's Canal (Keizersgracht)
  • Hermitage Amsterdam
  • A'dam Lookout
  • Rijksmuseum
  • Magere Brug
  • The Amstel
  • Leiden Square (Leidseplein)
  • Vondelpark

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3. The most complete pack: combine the tourist bus and the cruise

Anne Frank House Museum | ©Guilhem Vellut
Anne Frank House Museum | ©Guilhem Vellut

This bundle combining bus and cruise tours works exactly like the previous ones, but combining both experiences: bus and cruise along the canals with unlimited stops.

It can come in handy if you have time and want to move around the city in a comfortable way without missing the tour of its canals or if, on the contrary, you only have two days in Amsterdam and you are looking to get an overall idea of the city by land and water. In both cases, you will avoid wasting time and energy in public transport and you will know the essential things to see and do in Amsterdam through a total of 12 attractions such as:

  • Anne Frank House Museum: relive the city's most tragic history during the Nazi occupation in the house that hid young Anne Frank's family while she was writing her relevant diary.
  • Leiden Square (Leidseplein): walk through one of Amsterdam's busiest areas and soak up its lively atmosphere of street musicians, terraces, Art Deco architecture, and lively nightlife.
  • Waterlooplein Market: wander through the daily flea market held in the touristy Waterlooplein Square, home to important buildings such as The Stopera, home of the city hall, and the opera house.

Itinerary

  • A'dam Lookout
  • Anne Frank House
  • Rijksmuseum
  • Van Gogh Museum
  • Magere Brug
  • The Amstel
  • Leiden Square (Leidseplein)
  • Vondelpark
  • Heineken Experience
  • Waterlooplein Market
  • Albert Cuyp Market
  • Westerpark

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4. Combine cruises with other city attractions

Heineken Experience | ©Elroy Serrao
Heineken Experience | ©Elroy Serrao

Visit the Heineken Experience

The visit to the old brewery of the Heineken company is one of the most popular attractions in Amsterdam because of the interest in learning about the process of brewing its famous beer, its interactive tour that includes two free glasses of beer, and the course in which you can try to create your own drink.

Visit the Rijksmuseum

With this other pack, you'll also cruise Amsterdam's central ring of canals and you'll be able to hop on and off at your leisure to visit important museums, monuments, and areas of interest on your own, including entry to another of the city's key attractions, the impressive Rijksmuseum.

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5. Get access to the sightseeing bus with the Amsterdam Pass

Prinsengracht at sunset
Prinsengracht at sunset

If you are spending several days in Amsterdam my final recommendation is to get the Amsterdam Pass. The Dutch capital is quite flexible for the visitor. If you spend more than 3 days there you can get the best bang for your buck with this tourist pass, that offers quick access to its main attractions and also includes a bus pass and tourist cruises to move around the city and very similar to those already mentioned.

With this pass, you will avoid wasting a lot of time in queues to the more than 30 museums and attractions that includes and save considerable money, up to 50%, on their individual tickets. I have written a practical guide in which I tell you all its advantages and how it works in detail: I Amsterdam Pass and Other Passes.

The Amsterdam Pass offers from the most cultural attractions of the city, such as the remarkable Rijksmuseum or the interesting Rembrandt House; to other leisure attractions, such as the famous viewpoint A'dam Lookout, the fun Heineken Experience or the immersive experience aboard a boat in the Amsterdam Dungeon.

How does the Amsterdam Pass work?

  • It gives you quick and cheaper access to more than 30 cultural and leisure attractions in Amsterdam by paying half for their standard tickets.
  • It's completely digital: you purchase it, receive it and use it directly from your mobile device.
  • It is customizable: you can choose to use it for 1, 2, 3, or 5 full days.
  • Remember: it does not include the Van Gogh Museum and the Anne Frank House, whose visit, anyway, does not comprise any of the Amsterdam tourist passes.

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Other interesting activities in Amsterdam

By now you've seen that it's practically impossible to get bored in the Dutch capital, but I still recommend that you consider the option of taking a canal cruise. If you are one of those who prefer to cover everything without leaving a single corner to visit, the best option is the tourist bus, as it allows you to tour the city while enjoying the sights as you move. Here's everything you should know: Hop on Hop off Bus Tours.

Frequently asked questions

  • How long is an Amsterdam Hop-on Hop-off Tour?

    Hop-on Hop-off Tours have dozens of stops in Amsterdam and you will be able to choose from a 24 hour or 48 hour pass. The complete bus routes are around 1 hour long, and boat tours usually span for about 2 hours.

  • What is better, a boat tour or a bus tour?

    Boat tours are probably more unique and will let you experience the city in a relaxed and stylish way. But if you can't decide between the two, you can always pick both in a combined Bus & Boat tour!

  • What landmarks will I see from a Hop-on Hop-off Tour?

    Usual bus stops include Central Station, Artis Royal Zoo, Jewish Historical Museum, Museum Square and Westermarket. Boat tours will take you around Amsterdam canals and you will have the chance to catch a glimpse of Anne Frank House, Rembrandt House, Hermitage Museum and other landmarks.