Amsterdam in the summer — Photo courtesy of Stewart PriestAmsterdam is a popular cruise destination. The spring and summer months are absolutely blissful, and the city is very easy to reach by cruise ship, as it’s only 25 km from the open sea. This well-known city is also brimming with diverse attractions, offering a little something for everyone. Unless you have a couple of days on the front or back end of your cruise, you may not have very much time to sightsee. Therefore, 10Best has put together a half-day itinerary to help you discover how to hit the highlights and get the most out of your trip.
Damrak and Dam Square — Photo courtesy of StretchangelStart at the cruise passenger terminal. On the way to Centraal Station, look for the DoubleTree by Hilton Amsterdam Centraal Station. Make your way to the 11th floor and take in the stunning 180-degree view of the city and IJ harbor. Then continue to the main train station and snap a photo of the majestic building. After, walk down the Damrak. You’ll pass by the old stock exchange building, Beurs van Berlage, and shortly thereafter end up at the Dam. This square is always busy. Admire the beautiful Royal Palace and Nieuwe Kerk, as well as the National Monument.
Bloemenmarkt, the worlds only floating flower market — Photo courtesy of EmanueleThen walk down the Kalverstraat shopping street. You’ll end up at the worlds only floating flower market. The Netherlands is famous for its tulips, so bring a few bulbs home with you. If you want to sample some Dutch cheese, as well, there are a couple stores along the street. Continue east to Rembrandtplein. Order a cold Dutch beer or refreshing iced tea and relax for a moment on one of the sunny terraces. Close by is the Bridge of 15 Bridges. After wind your way through the streets and canals to the Amstel River. There are two main bridges worth seeing: Blauw Brug and Magere Brug.
Red Light District — Photo courtesy of NenyakiHead back towards the harbor. You’ll pass through Nieuwmarkt, site of a former city gate. Then take a stroll through the Red Light District. This area, filled with sex shops, coffee shops (that actually sell marijuana) and various bars, is world famous. You may even find a few scantily clad women posing in the windows. The Red Light District is not recommended for children. However, it’s unique to Amsterdam. If you still have time and the sun is shining, take a canal cruise. You can also hire a private boat. You’ll see the city from a whole other perspective.
If it’s raining or you want to spend some time indoors, there are several museums worth visiting. The Rijksmuseum is home to one of Rembrandt’s most famous pieces of art, “The Night Watch.” The Van Gogh Museum displays the largest collection of Van Gogh’s artwork. The Anne Frank House shares a young girl’s incredible story about her family in hiding during World War II.
When you start to get hungry, pick one of the ten best lunch places or a restaurant near the cruise port. If you want a drink or snack, stop by one of Amsterdam’s brown cafes or grand cafes. If you’re looking for a Dutch meal, try one of these places.
Biking in Amsterdam — Photo courtesy of Andrew NashThe best way to cover a lot of ground and see all the sights is to tour the city like the locals: by bike. Make sure to stay on the bike paths and obey traffic signals. Alternatively, you can purchase a 24-hour public transportation pass. You’ll definitely get your money's worth if you ride the tram, bus or metro at least three times. Many of the trams and buses will announce major attractions for tourists, so you know where to get off. Don’t forget to check in and out. You can also walk, but realize you may not hit everything you want. However you decide to get around, just have fun. Happy touring!View from the Metz & Co. Department Store Rooftop Cafe of the Keizersgracht and Leidsestraat — Photo courtesy of Jorge Royan