There are so many can’t-miss sights in Amsterdam, from the Anne Frank House and the Rijksmuseum to the city’s famous canals, houseboats and windmills. With the help of a friendly local, you’re sure to see it all and gain some insider tips. After analyzing both traveler opinion and expert research, U.S. News found the 16 best Amsterdam tours. Whether you’re hoping to walk or cycle your way through the city or even cruise its canals, you’ll find each tour highlights the unique qualities only found in Amsterdam.
Stromma – Hop-On Hop-Off Boat
This cruise takes participants through the city’s famous canals, making a variety of stops so that patrons can disembark and sightsee at their own pace. Stops include the National Maritime Museum, the Van Gogh Museum and Vondelpark, among others. Alternatively, you can tour the entire city in about two hours if you choose not to hop off. Reviewers say this is a cost-effective way to get around Amsterdam. However, travelers warn that some of the stops are far apart. Other patrons complain of long wait times for boats. Boats run from 9:35 a.m. to 6:25 p.m. daily. Tickets cost approximately 25 euros (about $27) for adults and 10 euros (about $11) for kids ages 4 to 12; children 3 and younger tour for free. The company also offers hop-on, hop-off bus tours of the city as well as dining cruises.
Mike’s Bike Tours Amsterdam – Countryside Bike Tour and Cheese Tasting
Get your fill of windmills and the beautiful Dutch countryside on this bike tour that runs up to five hours and covers about 25 miles. It also includes stops at a clog factory, a public park and a cheese farm, where cheese samples are offered to visitors. Reviewers praise the scenic countryside and the stop for the cheese tasting. They also appreciate the well-maintained bikes and the friendly guides. Tickets start at 39 euros (about $42) for adults and 34 euros (about $37) for children ages 13 to 18; the trip is not suitable for children younger than 13. This tour is only available March through October and begins at noon Monday to Saturday. The company offers many bike tours, including tours of the city and private cycle trips.
With Locals – Amsterdam’s Favorite Food Tour
Get a “taste” of Amsterdam on this guided food tour that features seven tastings, including one beer sample. In-the-know locals lead the three-hour walk that takes you through the hip De Pijp area of the city, as well as an outdoor market. Food samples could include a stroopwafel (a wafer cookie), herring and local cheeses. Reviewers highly recommend this tour, describing it as “fun” and “flavorful.” They also extol the guides for their friendly, cheerful demeanor. Ticket prices vary depending on how many people tour; a couple can expect to pay around 65 euros (about $70) per person. The tour runs Monday to Saturday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. with departures every half-hour. The company also offers tours of the city by bike or boat.
Free Walking Tours Amsterdam – Classic Tour
Learn about Amsterdam, its liberalism and the Dutch culture on this two-hour walking tour. Stops include the Red Light District, the canal belt area, the Waag building and more. Reviewers highly recommend the tour for travelers interested in a brief introduction to Amsterdam history. Tourgoers also applaud the guides for their engaging, funny storytelling. Tours depart daily at 10:30 a.m. and 1:30 and 4 p.m. The tour operates on a pay-what-you-wish basis, but you’ll need to pay a city-mandated entertainment tax of 1.55 euros (about $2). The company also offers a food tour and an alternative tour of the city.
If you’re visiting Amsterdam in the spring, you’ll want to see its tulips in full bloom; That Dam Guide can take you to see the gorgeous flowers.(Courtesy of That Dam Guide)
That Dam Guide – Keukenhof Tulip Tours
This eight-hour tour puts you right in the heart of the Keukenhof Gardens to see the famous tulips in full bloom. Along with the spectacular flowers, you’ll also enjoy a pancake lunch and visit a nearly 400-year-old windmill. Reviewers applaud the small group size (which is limited to eight participants) and praise the personalized experience provided by the guides. Tours are available on select dates primarily in April (though you may be able to snag a date in late March or early May) and depart Amsterdam at 8:30 a.m. Tickets cost approximately 100 euros (about $108) per person, though entrance fees to the gardens and lunch are not included. Participants must be at least 7 years old to join the tour. That Dam Guide also offers tours of Amsterdam, as well as a windmill-themed tour.
360 Amsterdam Tours – Anne Frank Walking Tour
See World War II through the eyes of Anne Frank on this two-hour tour through the Jewish Quarter. Highlights include the Portuguese Synagogue, the Hollandsche Schouwburg Museum and the Anne Frank House. Reviewers praise the guides’ storytelling abilities and their knack for weaving in a substantial amount of information about Amsterdam and its role in World War II. Tickets cost approximately 25 euros (about $27) per person and discounts are available for children. Tickets do not include entrance to the attractions on the tour. Tours operate daily at 10:30 a.m. and 2 p.m. The company also offers an Anne Frank bike tour and several art-themed tours, among others.
We Bike Amsterdam – City Tour
Sightsee your way through the city using the preferred method of transportation among Amsterdammers: a bike. On this three-hour cycling tour, you’ll see some of the most popular neighborhoods, as well as hidden spots frequented by locals. Top stops on the tour, which is limited to 12 people, include the Jordaan neighborhood, the Western Church and the Rijksmuseum. Reviewers say this is a great way to see the city and that guides maintain a comfortable pace. Tickets cost around 30 euros (about $33) for adults with discounted fares for children. Tours depart daily at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. The company also offers a private bike tour and a countryside tour.
City Sightseeing – Hop-On Hop-Off Bus + Boat Combination
Ideal for first-time visitors, this City Sightseeing hop-on, hop-off tour makes it easy to get around Amsterdam by bus or boat. Attractions along the stops include the Artis Royal Zoo, the Heineken Experience and the NEMO Science Museum, among others. Rides come with audio commentary, free Wi-Fi and large windows for optimal views. Reviewers say the tour is a great way to get your bearings of the city and rave about the views from the boats on the canal. Others caution that the boat tour was better than the included bus ride. Tickets for unlimited rides for one day start at 39 euros (about $42) for adults, though discounts are available if you book online in advance. You can also opt for a 48-hour ticket, as well as tickets for just the boat tour or just the bus tour.
Along this tour with Hungry Birds, you’ll eat like the locals do and learn about their favorite spots.(Courtesy of Hungry Birds)
Hungry Birds – Daytime Experience
This delicious trip focuses largely on Amsterdam’s street food and shares information about the city’s culture, daily life and the people who make the dishes. During the four- to five-hour outing, you’ll sample plenty of eats favorited by locals and you’ll also try traditional foods like herring and Dutch cheese. Reviewers say the tour includes plenty of food and is a great introduction to local culture. Participants also recommend trying the herring at the street market. Tours are generally available daily at 10:30 a.m. and start at 89 euros (about $97) per person; children younger than 6 can join for free. Food on the tour is included in the ticket price. Hungry Birds also guides an evening food tour.
City Free Tour Amsterdam – City Tour
An excellent option for travelers on a budget, this free tour provides a broad overview of the city’s history and details what life is like for Amsterdammers today. During the roughly 2 1/2-hour walk, participants will see the old city gate, Dam Square and the Royal Palace, among other tourist hot spots. Reviewers say the tour is informative with fun, experienced guides. Tours are available Thursday through Sunday at 1 p.m., and while tours are free, you must make a reservation on the company website. The company also offers half-day or full-day private tours of Amsterdam.
Lovers Canal Cruises – One Hour Amsterdam Evening Canal Cruise
See how Amsterdam comes to life after dark on this hourlong cruise that tours the UNESCO World Heritage-listed canal belt, traveling under illuminated bridges and past the historic city center. Boats are equipped with panoramic roofs, sliding windows and audio commentary. Reviewers say they enjoy seeing Amsterdam by night and that the audio guide is informative. Tickets start at 16 euros for adults (about $17) and 10 euros (about $11) for children ages 4 to 13. Kids younger than 4 ride free. Tours leave daily every half-hour between 5 and 9:30 or 10 p.m., depending on the season. Lovers Canal Cruises also offers a variety of daytime cruises.
SANDEMANs New Europe – Alternative Tour of Amsterdam
Learn about the “alternative” side of Amsterdam, including the city’s enthusiasm for biking, its street art culture, famous houseboats and liberal laws on this two-hour walking tour. The excursion also includes a stop at (and admission to) the Moco Museum to view the Banksy exhibition. Reviewers describe the tour as “amazing” and say the guides are passionate and energetic about their city. Tickets start at 22 euros (about $24) for adults, 12 euros (about $13) for kids ages 10 to 13; children 9 and younger can participate for free. Tours are available on Monday and Thursday through Saturday at 3 p.m. If you’re on a budget, consider the company’s free city tour.
Wooden clogs are one of the best-known symbols of the Netherlands. (Getty Images)
Lindbergh – Volendam, Marken and Windmills Tour
Reviewers praise the number of activities packed into this six-hour excursion and say the tour provides a great overview of the Netherlands. During the daytrip, you’ll visit the villages of Volendam and Marken for a tour of a cheese factory, a wooden clog-making demonstration and a lake cruise. In Marken, you’ll also get the chance to see the area’s classic wooden houses and windmills. Tickets start at 73 euros (about $80) for adults and 29.50 euros (about $30) for children, though discounts are available if tickets are purchased online. Tours depart at 8:45 a.m. and 2:45 p.m. mid-March through early November and at 9:15 a.m. and 12:15 p.m. November through mid-March. Lindbergh also operates a longer windmills tour as well as a Best of Holland Tour that takes travelers to Amsterdam, Delft and The Hague.
Eating Europe – Jordaan Food Tour
Once a working-class enclave with roots dating back to the 17th century, the hip Jordaan neighborhood is the focus of this 3 1/2-hour walking tour. Learn about Jordaan’s history, discover hidden areas and sample about 12 local delicacies from Dutch beer to apple pie to herring. Reviewers, who rave about the food, say this is a great way to sightsee through Amsterdam. Tours are available Monday through Saturday at 11 a.m. Tickets cost approximately 80 euros (about $87) for adults, 65 euros (about $71) for ages 13 to 17 and 50 euros (about $55) for ages 4 to 12. Eating Europe also offers tours of the city of Haarlem, as well as an evening food tour of Amsterdam, among other options.
FreeDam Tours – Walking Tour of Amsterdam
For a crash course in the city’s history, the future of the Red Light District, Amsterdam’s famous bike culture and lenient drug policies, consider this free walking tour. Along the 2 1/2-hour, 1 1/2-mile tour, you’ll pass by a variety of popular areas, including Chinatown, the University District and the Royal Palace, among others. Reviewers recommend this tour if you’re hoping to see a variety of top landmarks with a knowledgeable guide by your side. Tours operate daily at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. and start at the Old Church in the Red Light District. There is no cost for the tour, but you’ll have to pay the city-implemented tourist tax of 1.50 euros (about $2). The company also asks you to tip what you feel the tour is worth at the conclusion of the trip. FreeDam Tours also offers a private walking tour of the city.
BestDam Experiences – Amsterdam City Segway Tour
Explore more than 6 miles of the old city center of Amsterdam on this 90-minute Segway tour. Highlights include stops at Nieuwmarkt, the Hermitage, one of the smallest homes in Amsterdam, as well as the old port. Travelers say this tour is lots of fun and a great way to see a large portion of the city in a short amount of time. The tour is offered daily at 10 a.m., noon, 2 and 4 p.m. Tickets start at 59 euros (about $64) per person. Participants must be at least 16 years old. The company also offers a food tour by Segway, in addition to walking and biking tours.