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Tours and Excursions



If you are spending time in a new city, guided tours and excursions are a great way familiarize yourself with the area, as well as see some of the great sights. Tours can vary from regular walking tours to helicopter or boat tours, depending on the location. If Amsterdam is where you will be heading, Canal Boat Tours is among our top picks.


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Waterfront


If you are looking for a cost effective (aka free) canal cruise alternative, take the public ferry across the IJ River. The public ferry service, which is part of the public transportation company GVB, is completely free. You can go by foot or take your bike or moped scooter with you. Go in the morning and do a bike trip, so you can explore a bit of the north side of Amsterdam. Set sail in the evening and watch the sunset over the water. There are several routes from Centraal Station: to Buiksloterweg, NDSM ferry dock and IJplein. The NDSM is the furthest from Centraal Station, which in turn promises the longest ferry ride.


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Plantage
Artis Zoo


A regal entrance detailed with gilded eagles and ornate gates welcomes visitors to this intriguing zoo, which was instituted in 1838 and still boasts a 19th century ambience. With more than 6000 animals representing 700-some species, the zoo offers a glimpse of wildlife from around the world that's sure to prove enlightening to kids and adults alike. On the grounds, you'll also find (at no extra charge) an aquarium, planetarium, botanical gardens, and two museums devoted to zoology and geology.


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Eastern Canal Ring
Museum van Loon


This gracious, beautifully ornamented canal house dates from the late 17th century and is a virtual time capsule of decorative arts, family treasures and city history. Purchased by the Van Loon family (one of Amsterdam's foremost dynasties) in 1884, the home was filled with their portraits, furnishings and goods. Instituted as a museum in 1974, the canal house was meticulously restored, and its interior and landscaped grounds are open to history buffs and lovers of architecture and design alike. Personal tours are available for an additional fee. Museum van Loon is by far the best museum if you want to see an original canal house interior in Amsterdam.


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Old Center / Red Light District
Touristbus Amsterdam


These sightseeing tours are onboard converted American school buses which have a transparent roof and are deemed eco-friendly. They're ideal if you don't have much time and want a two-hour fix of the major highlights, such as the Anne Frank House, Van Gogh Museum and Rijksmuseum. Audio guides are fed through headphones in 15 languages; tours include a visit to Gassan Diamonds factory. Additionally, your ticket enables you to have discounts to – and jump the queues at – various museums and other attractions. Even McDonalds, if you really must... You never know what the weather is like in Amsterdam, this tour is perfect for rainy days as well.


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Old City Centre/Old Side


In the Golden Age food was at the heart of social, economic and political life in Amsterdam. Food was everywhere. Imagine Oxen walking the streets on their way to the cattle market on Spui. Or on Dam square, a large fish market took place daily and grains were traded at the Corn Exchange on Damrak. Food is in the history of Amsterdam, which developed from a small village along the river Amstel to becoming an international city during the Golden Age, is literally shaped by food. Nowadays those historic street views are vanished, except from street names or plaques that remind us of it. During the Old Amsterdam Food tour you trace back the signs of the old Amsterdam food past. Food supply, storage, transportation and consumption have always had an incredible cultural and social value, which is worth celebrating.


Heineken Experience


This interactive attraction is housed in the 19th-century brewery that Heineken built and occupied until 1988. Visitors are educated about the brewery's history, taken on a tour of the bottling process, and provided details about how beer is brewed and matured. Much of the original brewing equipment remains, and folks can test their knowledge of beer trivia along the way. There's also the opportunity to visit the stables of Heineken's iconic Shire horses. At the end of the tour, complimentary samples of the famous beer can be had at the Tasting Bar. This tour is also fun to day in the afternoon before dinner.


MacBike Tours


If you want to go Dutch and prefer DIY tours at your own pace, rent a bicycle from one of MacBike's outlets and pick up one of their English-language bike tour leaflets with various themed suggestions for trips in and around the city. You can choose from a nighttime gay tour to a pedal to the architecturally-rich Eastern Docklands, a ride out in the countryside to the picturesque Oude Kerk a/d Amstel or to the windmills at Zaanse Schans.


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Central Canal Ring
Canal Boat Tours


Experience picturesque Amsterdam from the waterways. Especially when the sun is shining, there is no better way to see the sights than by boat. Wind your way through Amsterdam's canals and appreciate the attractions from the water. With a multitude of options, you can pick the one that suits you best. Purchase a hop-on, hop-off ticket, so you can visit some of the museums or attractions along the way. Combine the tour with food and drinks. Depending on your choice, prices vary. For instance, a day ticket costs 22 EUR with Canal Company. Also check into other operators, such as hotels and venues, as they offer tours, too.


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Old City Centre/New Side


Tour the town in style. Regardless whether you need a break from walking or just want to relax and see the sights, Karos Horse and Carriage Tours is the perfect way to admire Amsterdam's beauty, as well as learn about the city and its history. Karos offers a variety of tours to choose from, depending on your interests: Old City Tour, Canal Tour, Red Light Tour, Jordaan Tour or the Big Amsterdam Tour. All tours leave from Dam Square. Pick-up is right in front of the Royal Palace. Karos also offers a taxi service, where you can arrive at your desired city centre destination by horse and carriage. Pick-up and drop-off is flexible. It's perfect for any occasion, fun or formal.


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Outside Amsterdam
Keukenhof
Photo courtesy of Lipowski


The Keukenhof is home to more than seven million flowers in bloom all at once. Wander through a maze of reds, yellows, purples, pinks and the entire spectrum in between; the colors will absolutely astound you. With both indoor and outdoor gardens and exhibitions, designed with the utmost care and creativity, you can spend hours upon hours walking through a flower wonderland. Gather inspiration for your own garden or simply relax. Take in the beautiful surroundings and fresh, fragrant aromas. It is also possible to cycle or sail through the bulb fields. As the park is located in Lisse, you have the option to take a direct bus from Schiphol. Make sure to get in line early. It can grow quite long. You can also arrive by car or coach.


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