Amsterdam is a small enough city that you can explore it on your own with a few days and a good map, but joining an Amsterdam tour helps you get more out of what you’re seeing. You don’t have to bind yourself to a tour group for days – or even hours – on end; just going on a canal tour when you first get into Amsterdam (to get your bearings) is enough to see how Amsterdam tours can enhance a trip.
There are several kinds of tours you can book once you’re in Amsterdam, and some you can book before you leave home.
>> Here’s a selection of Amsterdam tours to choose from, including city tours and day trips.
>> And don’t forget, you can bring your own audio guide with you for a DIY walking tour with many of these Amsterdam iPhone apps.
Amsterdam City Tours
One of the best things you can do when you first get to Amsterdam is take a canal cruise. For one thing, it allows you to relax a bit after a day of travel (let’s face it, those can be stressful). For another, it helps you get oriented to the city itself. The commentary is pre-recorded, and the full tour lasts about an hour.
>> More about canal tours in Amsterdam
For those of you who prefer to remain on land, there are Amsterdam walking tours that cover different sections of the city or have different themes. You can go on a guided tour of the Red Light District, the Jordaan neighborhood, or even get a cannabis tour (yes, the tour ends at a coffeeshop).
>> More about some free walking tours in Amsterdam
You don’t have to go very far in Amsterdam to realize that a bike tour of the city would fit right in. All the locals are cycling around, so why not? Since renting a bike for your time in Amsterdam may not be the best idea, you can go on a bike tour to get a feel for what it’s like to get around on two wheels while learning about Amsterdam at the same time.
>> More about bike tours of Amsterdam
There’s one other option for city tours of Amsterdam that’s recommended by Amsterdam’s public transportation company – it involves public transportation, of course. It’s the #5 tram route through Amsterdam, which is an ordinary tram route that turns into a guided tour if you download the MP3 audio commentary from the company’s website.
>> More about the #5 tram tour of Amsterdam
Amsterdam Day Trips
If you’re in Amsterdam for long enough, taking a day trip to another city or out into the countryside is an appealing option. While you can book these in advance, you can also wait until you arrive in Amsterdam and find out how much free time you think you’ll have.
You can take guided tours of nearby sights, or you can do a DIY tour of popular day trip destinations with a little help from the local tourist information office. If it’s a guided tour you’re interested in, check at the Amsterdam tourist office to see what your choices are during your stay.
>> More about good day trips from Amsterdam
Amsterdam Adventure Tours
For anyone who’s trying to put together a more all-encompassing trip through Europe that includes Amsterdam among other European highlights, then one option is to book an adventure tour that shows off the best of the continent with little or no hassle on your part. Yes, you could do a DIY Europe trip, but if you don’t have time to organize one then booking an adventure tour is a good alternative.
Calling a Europe trip an “adventure” tour might sound silly, since you’re not necessarily climbing mountains or sea kayaking – but these tours are not your typical big bus tours. They allow for a bit more flexibility with your itinerary, and they often do require lots of walking during the day.
>> More about adventure tours that include the Netherlands
photo by dsb nola