What to see in Amsterdam – alternative sights away from the tourist track
Amsterdam has a fair few sights that are considered must-see by most tourists visiting the city. Images of the Red-Light District, Rijksmuseum and Dam Square may spring to mind but what if you want to get off the beaten track and see some sights more representative of the Amsterdam that locals see and enjoy every day, away from the tour groups jostling for the perfect shot?
Here we take you through our top picks for what to see in Amsterdam that is just as picturesque as the famous sights but that bit more authentic.
The Royal Palace at Dam Square is an architectural icon and one of three palaces at the disposal of the Dutch Royal Famiy. Positioned right in the middle of Dam Square, the area surrounding the palace is extremely busy year-round. This can be frustrating, particularly if you’re trying to get the perfect picture or want to spend a bit of relaxed time checking out a building of such importance. There is, however, an alternative! Muiderslot is a castle in quiet surroundings, a few kilometres outside the city. A castle has been on the site since 1280, when Floris V, count of Holland and Zeeland, built one at the mouth of the river. There were several changes over the subsequent centuries until the castle was completed as it stands today by Willem I, the first king of the Netherlands, in the 19th century. Muiderslot, with its beautiful turrets and moat and fascinating history is well worth checking out for those interested in historical buildings. And best of all, it’s far away from the crowds of tourists.
2) Electric Ladyland
Already been to the Van Gogh Museum, Rijksmuseum and the other popular galleries and museums? Why not check out somewhere a little different… Electric Ladyland in the beautiful Jordaan neighbourhood is a museum dedicated to all things fluorescent – the first and only of its kind in the world. It’s a pretty unique spot and certainly won’t be something all your friends have been to! Alternatively, for those interested in more light-art, check out this year’s Amsterdam Light Festival – Van Gogh hasn’t got a chance!
3) Brouwerij ‘t Ij.
The Heineken experience is one of the most popular attractions in Amsterdam and for good reason – as well as being the city’s favourite beer, it is a worldwide brand and something of a poster boy for the Netherlands. But is it the city’s best beer? The guys at Brouwerij ‘t Ij would certainly disagree. This unique little brewery is located right beside the windmill De Gooyer so you. As well as serving up great organic beer, the brewery offers tours and tastings so is the perfect alternative to the Heineken for those who want to keep things local.
4) Discover numerous hidden gems in neighbourhoods outside of the centre
The majority of Amsterdam’s touristy parts are situated in the city centre. Although the centre of town is stunningly beautiful with its historic canals, wonky 17th century houses and unique charms, there is much to be said for delving a little further into (or rather out of) Amsterdam’s centre. Whether you’re exploring De PIjp on a food tasting tour (a great way to experience the culture of Amsterdam through its varied and multi-national cuisine) or walking through a local market (check out this blog on our partner’s website for more info on the best markets to visit in Amsterdam), it’s always worth spending an afternoon getting to know the side of the city that locals know and love.
5) Get a different perspective on the city
Getting high is always a pretty good way of getting a different perspective on life… and no, we’re not talking about paying a visit to the city’s famous coffee shops. We’re talking about going up 22 floors on the northern side of the water and enjoying the views from the ADAM tower. As well as some fantastic restaurants and bars, the ADAM tower is home to the highest swing in Europe – an ideal way to see the city from a different angle for the daredevils amongst you. And if heights are your thing, you can always join a luxury a skybar pub crawl and check out a few across the city whilst enjoying fine wines and deliciously innovative cocktails. What better way to see the cityscape than watching the sun go down with a beautifully crafted drink in hand?
For alternative sightseeing packages, check out our blog on the subject here.