Amsterdam is a diverse city and, as you might expect, boasts many things to see and many ways to see them. For first-timers, taking a tour is a good option, either by boat through the canals or by bike through the cobbled streets. We’ve compiled a list to help you narrow down the options to some of the best tours in Amsterdam, whether you’re looking for history, culture or food.
This small, family-run company specialises in bike tours that take you out of the city and into the charming Dutch countryside. If you’re looking to stay in town, don’t worry, Joy Ride Tours offers plenty of city-based private tours too. A good getting-to-know-Amsterdam tour is their 3–4 hour private city tour.
The Yellow Bike tour company is the most popular bicycle tour in Amsterdam, and their bright yellow bikes make it the most eye-catching, too. They offer large and small city tours, which differ by the distance covered and the time taken.
This tour is for World War II history buffs, or for those who want to brush up on the details. Let the experienced and knowledgeable guides walk you through the occupation of Amsterdam, the persecution of the Jews, and the city’s ultimate liberation by the Canadians.
If you enjoy taking photos and learning about photography then Photo Safari may be the tour for you. Tim Collins, a professional photographer, will guide you through some of Amsterdam’s best shots while filling you in on the city’s history.
A non-touristy, food-related experience in the Jordaan neighborhood, the Eating Amsterdam tour isn’t just about the food in Amsterdam, but also the untold stories and interesting facts about the city’s culinary history. With special food tastings (such as bitterballen and apple pie), it’s a great introduction to typical Dutch foods as well as a fun way to experience Amsterdam. Tours last about 3.5 hours and will leave you feeling extremely full.
The Heineken brewery was established in Amsterdam as long ago as 1864. Today, you can go inside the old brewery to learn everything you ever wanted to know about this tasty pilsner, including the Heineken family’s history. A self-guided tour is provided, which you can expect to take about 1.5 hours.
Taking the Sandeman’s Free Tour is a great way to get your bearings once you arrive in Amsterdam, and not only because it’s free (ok, not completely free — there’s a €3 reservation fee). For 3 hours they will take you around the city, explaining the sights, both historical and modern.
Go behind the infamous curtains of the Red Light District with this walking tour offered by the Prostitution Information Center (PIC), led by a former ‘working’ woman. She will give you a glimpse into the world of Amsterdam’s most notorious district and answer all the questions you’ve never dared to ask.
A small tour company that offers four walking tours, either in groups or privately. Their three-hour Quintessential Amsterdam Tour is a great introduction to the city, taking in everything from the Red Light District to the Flower Market. The other tours, including the ‘Rock and Roll Tour’ and the ‘Golden Age Tour’, are perfect if you’re looking to learn a little more about one area, or history, of the city.
With three beautifully restored wooden boats, the fleet of the Classic Boat Tours is certainly impressive to look at. Many of the tours include food, which makes for a romantic dinner on the water. The tours tend to be slightly pricey but worth it if you’re looking for a unique angle to enjoy the city from.