Amsterdam is one of Northern Europe’s best loved cruise destinations and is hugely popular year-round. I suppose you could say the city never really has any down time; there are so many things to do in Amsterdam on a cruise, and do people flock back time and time again!
I have visited Amsterdam several times now and would say one of the best things to do is explore Amsterdam City and the Anne Frank House. We are used to visiting historical sites and places of interest during our vacations, but the Anne Frank House is an experience that will live with you forever.
With every step you take you feel her story and can only imagine what it truly must have been like hiding in the secret annex for two years. It is one of Amsterdam’s most popular tourist stops, and you’ll likely find yourself shedding a tear or two as you leave. I would highly recommend this visit.
The whole city itself is a hive of activity — there really is so much to see and do. A canal cruise and visit to the Rijksmuseum is an absolute must. Not only is Amsterdam best seen from the water, but the Rijksmuseum is well-worth a visit. It offers you the chance to enjoy the art and history of Amsterdam. The museum was founded in The Hague in 1800 but then moved to Amsterdam in 1808, where it was first located in the Royal Palace and then the Trippenhuis. The current building was re-opened in 2013 after a 10-year renovation.
The museum sits on what is known as the Museumplein, which in English simply means Museum Square. This is a public space that is actually within extremely close proximity to all three of Amsterdam’s major museums: the Rijksmuseum, the Van Gogh Museum and Stedelijk Museum. If you need some down time after all the museum hopping, then the House of Bols is just across the street from the Van Gogh Museum. Be sure to pop in for a delicious cocktail or enjoy a picnic on the Museumplein during the summer.
If you are hoping to experience the city with ease and avoid the hustle and bustle of the main streets, then another ideal option would be a candlelight cruise right through the heart of the city. Again this is something I have experienced and I must say I thoroughly enjoyed it. This is a fabulous choice if you are in port overnight or late into the evening as it offers a brand new way to appreciate Amsterdam. Everywhere looks different at night, and if you visit during the Christmas season or during the Amsterdam Light Festival this kind of excursion is an absolute must! The city at night is a beautiful place and it really does come alive with color.
If you have visited the city before and have seen and done it all, then I would suggest you take a train ride to Haarlem, another beautiful part of the Netherlands and not too far away. Haarlem is very pretty indeed, almost like a mini Amsterdam, and it offers just as much to see and do. There are wonderful shopping options, numerous bars and cafes and plenty of interesting little sites to visit along the way.
I tend to do something different every time I visit Amsterdam, so I have yet to get bored with the city. In fact, I visited 3 times in 2013 and I am already planning my next adventure! As far as European tours go, Amsterdam is a MUST.