Things to Do and See – Last Minute City Breaks

So, we preferred to present you the 14 most popular and distinguished sights and attractions in Amsterdam.

  1. The Oude Kerk

An old picturesque church surrounded by small houses, Oude Kerk is a peaceful paradise among the Red Light District.

  1. The Dam Square

The Dam Square, Amsterdam’s beating heart, gathers some of the city’s most famous attractions. The Dam Square is a living monument of the city’s great history, and its significance as a historical sight is presented in Amsterdam’s Historical Museum. The Square’s most imposing monument is, of course, the “Koninklijk Paleis”, the Royal Palace, with its magnificent facade and excellent sculptures. Nowadays, the Dam Square is a serene heaven and is an excellent spot for you to rest after walking or bicycling around the city.

  1. The Begijnhof

The Bejinhof is a charming garden engulfed by picturesque old houses, which were previously homes to Béguine nuns. One of them is the oldest house in the city. Its door is always open to public.

  1. The canals

Amsterdam is not called “the Venice of the North” for nothing, and a short city break to Amsterdam will mean nothing if you fail to explore at least some of the city’s famous canals, especially at night.

  1. The Magere Brug

Amsterdam has more than 1000 bridges and the “Skinny Bridge”, the Magere Brug, is the most widely known. Built at the end of the 11th century over the Amstel River, it features a typical double-leaf style.

  1. The Jordaan district

Jordaan was originally the centre of the city’s working class, but now is one of the most prominent districts in Amsterdam, mainly occupied by students, wealthy entrepreneurs and leading businessmen. Visitors gather around the famous converted warehouses, the wonderful canals, the cafeterias and some of the most distinguished art galleries in Europe.

  1. The Rembrandtplein

The Rembrandtplein is teaming with Amsterdam’s finest restaurants, cafes and pubs and justifiably gathers thousands of tourists each year, seeking to discover the city’s lavish nightlife. A great feature is the traditional Dutch pubs offering its clients genuine Dutch tones and rhythms. A charming small park offers visitors a nice chance to rest after exploring the city. The Rembrandtplein is the ideal place also for buying exceptional diamonds and fine souvenirs.

  1. The Leidseplein

The Leidseplein is Amsterdam’s party animal centre: restaurants, clubs, cafes, cinemas as well as theatres and everything you need for a memorable evening in Amsterdam.

  1. The Albert Cuyp market

The Albert Cuypmarkt is perhaps the most widely known and surely the busiest market all around Europe, at least on Saturdays. Hundreds of stalls circle the marketplace and you can literally find there almost anything, from fresh vegetables to clothes.

  1. Artis ZOO

This is the most popular and oldest Zoo in Netherlands. The Artis ZOO is not just a Zoo. Its facilities include also a Planetarium, the Amsterdam Botanical Gardens and a Geological and Zoological museum, as well as an aquarium connected with the city’s canals.

  1. The Vondelpark

The Vondelpark is most popular park in Amsterdam and only 10 minutes away from the Leidseplein.

  1. The Hortus Botanicus

Built in the early 17th century, the Hortus Botanicus is one of the largest and most charming botanical gardens, hosting thousands of plants, some of which are truly unique. The garden facilities include a cafeteria surrounded by beautiful scenery.

  1. The windmills

It may seem a bit odd, but you can find some (namely eight) of Holland’s famous windmills inside the city of Amsterdam!

  1. AFC AJAX

Amsterdamsche Football Club Ajax is best known to football fans as Ajax. Taking its by an invincible ancient Greek hero, Ajax is the most famous and successful football club in the country, boasting numerous local, European and intercontinental trophies.

Ranked among the 10 most renowned and successful football clubs around the globe, Ajax is among the few clubs that was allowed to retain the European Cup and to bear a multiple-winner badge on its uniform. Although, during the recent years the Club has been long ways its older glory,

Ajax plays at the Amsterdam Arena, a wonderful stadium opened in 1996. If you are a football fan, it would be a crime not to take the Amsterdam Arena Tour during your short break city to Amsterdam.

Annual Events Calendar

  • 26/11/2016 – 15/01/2017

The Amsterdam Light Festival creates a spectacular view of the city’s already romantic character.

  • 26/01/2017 – 29/01/2017

Ideally set for a short city break to Amsterdam, the international equestrian event “Jumping Amsterdam” will surely thrill its spectators.

  • 21/01/2017

The renowned National Tulip Day. Admire the some of the most artistic flower exhibitions.

  • 18/01/2016

The Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week is usually held in Amsterdam every January and July. An excellent addition to your short city break plans.

  • 13/01/2017 – 15/01/2017

One of the most interesting events of the year: the Whisky Weekend Amsterdam. Come and taste a wide range of excellent brands, in one of the most beautiful cities in Europe.

  • 10/04/2016 – 26/06/2016

“Anne”. A stunning theatrical production inspired by the tragic life of the famous Anne Frank, the girl that described in her memoirs the terror of living under the Nazi regime. Do not miss that one.

  • 16/01/2016 – 17/01/2016

The so called “Paradiso Choir Days”, an annual event held at an old church that has now become a pop music temple.

  • 28/02/2016

The innovating Sonic Acts Academy has one distinctive feature: it is an amalgam between art, music and science. Held every two years, it is considered one of the most interesting cultural events in Europe.

  • 21/01/2017 – 22/01/2017

The unique “Amsterdam Hotel Night” I actually an invitation to locals to spend at least one night in one of the city’s hotels, experiencing their home “town” as a tourist! Why not blend in?

  • 23/01/2017 – 28/01/2017

“IMPRO Amsterdam” is a brilliantly conceived theatre festival that brings together first-rate improvising actors from all around the world.

  • 24/01/2016

Held usually at the “Passenger Terminal Amsterdam”, the annual art event “Realisme” brings together a vast variety of celebrated galleries from around the globe.

  • 27/01/2017 – 29/01/2017

The “Food Soul Festival”, alive with delicious meals and tastes, it’s an event all food – lovers must attend.

  • 09/10/2015 – 31/01/2016

“Miró & CoBrA. The Joy of Experiment” is a major exhibition devoted to the celebrated painter, sculptor and ceramicist Joan Miró.

  • 18/12/2015 – 17/04/2016

“Vincent van Gogh, 400 days in Amsterdam”.

  • 13/01/2017 – 07/02/2017

The “Flamenco Biennial” – a monthly visit of flamenco to Amsterdam. Love dancing?

  • 11/02/2017

The Wonderland Festival is an absolute “must visit” for Dance music enthusiasts.

  • 26/02/2016

The yearly Cross – Linx Festival wishes to bring together indie and classical music.

  • 12/02/2016 – 14/05/2016

“Rembrandt’s Naked Truth” is an exhibition focused on nude models drawings.

  • 12 – 13/3/ 2016

24H Amsterdam is an excellent choice for your short city break! Focused on the best attractions and charms of the west of Amsterdam, which, according to locals, is the city’s best side. West districts will be overwhelmed with exciting and innovating cultural events, including theatrical shows, museum exhibitions, clubs, shops and numerous sights are open to visitors!

  • 15/03/2016 – 01/03/2017

I Am Art: Dutch Masters is an innovative and wonderfully interactive art exhibition held at “Madame Tussauds” in Amsterdam. Fun, excellent paintings and a wonderful choice for a short city break to Amsterdam!

  • 16/03/2016 – 20/03/2016

Cinedans Danse on Screen is a global dance and movie festival presenting all kinds of dance films and documentaries.

  • 16/03/2016 – 20/03/2016

The Hiswa Amsterdam Boat Show is an international boat and sailing exhibition. If sea and sailing excites you, plan your short city break to Amsterdam at the end of March. You won’t regret it.

  • 30/03/2016 – 10/04/2016

Two times each year Amsterdam celebrates its famous “Restaurant Weeks”! All city restaurants offer visitors and locals the chance to taste exquisite dishes in very (very) friendly prices! Among the participants are widely renowned and repeatedly awarded restaurants. A simply wonderful short city break opportunity!

  • 24/03/2016 – 27/03/2016

A set of events that has become an institution in Amsterdam, “Awakenings” hosts some of the most legendary techno and rave events in Europe. Tickets vanish in a blink of an eye so, if you are interested, make haste!

  • The World Famous “FLOWER STRIP”!

Known by locals as the “Bollenstreek”, this flower festival is a widely popular and unique sights in Amsterdam. Every March the city is surrounded by colourful fields teaming with hundreds of different flowers.

Holland holds the scepters of the international flower market, producing almost 70% of the globe’s commercial flower production. The “Flower Strip” is a 1 hour trip from Amsterdam and will undoubtedly fascinate you with the endless flowery fields, full of mauve hyacinths, crimson crocuses, innumerable kinds of tulips and golden daffodils.

The “Flower Strip” experience always includes a visit in the Keukenhof Flower Gardens in Lisse that remain open to the public only for 8 consecutive weeks each year. All short city break visitors that had the privilege to visit the gardens described it as a one in a lifetime experience.

Equally interesting will be some visits in the Flora Holland auction, the globe’s biggest flower trading building, to the Black Tulip Museum where you can learn all about the famous “tulipomania” of the 17th century, or to the Aalsmeer Historical Garden.

See more: http://www.iamsterdam.com/en/visiting/areas/city-escapes/flower-strip/flower-strip

  • 24/03/2016 – 28/03/2016

The Food Festival in Amsterdam, an explosion of tastes in the middle of the city, not just for food, but also for wine and beer. The festival is open to the public and short city break visitors usually buy just a reusable glass and taste as many beers and wines as they want! What more would you wish from a short city break in Europe?

  • The Spring “Passion” Concerts

Sometime during early spring, around the Easter celebrations, Amsterdam hosts brilliant classical music concerts, usually held in churches and music halls.

  • 19/03/2016

The famous “Open Tower Day” in Amsterdam when the city’s monumental towers open their gates to the public, offering visitors a chance for a fascinating journey into the past. Uniquely beautiful and imposing towers such as the Posthoornkerk, The Student Hotel Amsterdam City and the Lloyd Hotel.

  • 27/4/2016

The King’s Day, or, as it is still called by most locals, the Queen’s Day is widely known as one of the most popular and vibrant set of festivals of Amsterdam! The King’s Day festival is actually a wild street party, when all corners and canals of the city are bursting with fun and Holland’s favorite colour – orange. Short city break visitors can chose from several different festival events featuring a wide range of music genres and shows. This year’s main events include:

  • The Kingsland Festival
  • The Nassau Festival
  • The Loveland Van Ornaje
  • Bakermat & Friends
  • Thuishaven Kingsday
  • Oranjebloesem
  • Voltt Koningsdad
  • Oranhjefeest
  • 01/04/2016 – 30/04/2016

The world famous “Tulp Festival is Amsterdam’s most charming spring festival. Tulips are Holland’s ultimate emblem ever since the 17th century when it dominated the country’s economic Golden Age but also brought its abrupt end.

  • 14/04/2016 – 24/04/2016

The “Imagine Film Festival” is an international film festival hosting a careful selection of creative and imaginative films, including anime, fantasy films, or even horror films. It is mainly known for presenting the most interesting horror films for the first time, but during the recent years it has widened its horizons to all kinds of fiction films.

  • 17/04/2016

The Meibock Festival is a very interesting underground music festival always held during the spring.

  • 21/04/2016 – 21/05/2016

The Springsnow Festival is an annual event, celebrating a spring’s peculiar scenery: every April, Amsterdam’s elm trees clothe the city’s streets and canals with a blossom attire known to the locals as the “spring snow”.

  • 26/04/2016 – 27/04/2016

A kind of family gathering festival held in the Oost District of Amsterdam, the Bredeweg Festival is a lively street party that will help you get to know the city’s everyday people.

  • 09/04/2016

The Cherry Blossom Festival is a charming annual festival signifying the return of spring to the city.

  • REMEMBRANCE (4th May) & LIBERATION DAY (5th May)

Amsterdam, along with the rest of the country, pays respects to all the people that tragically lost their lives during the horrific day of the Second World War.

On the 5th of May the entire nation celebrates, as the crowds surge into the streets to commemorate their country’s freedom on Liberation Day. Multiple concerts, shows and events adorn the city of Amsterdam with its happiest face.

  • 12/05/2016 – 16/05/2016

As you obviously understood, Amsterdam loves food; another proof is the Rolling Kitchens weekend, when outdoor food floods the Westergasfabriek in Amsterdam.

  • 05/05/2016

The Hemeltjelief Festival features a combination of a family celebration with innumerable musical and theatrical shows and all sorts of events.

  • 16/04/2016 – 10/07/2016

The World Press Photo brings to the city the most captivating images from the largest international and most influential annual press photography competition.

  • 19/05/2017 – 17/09/2017

Artzuid is a trendy international sculpture event that adorns the streets of the Zuid district with creative and imaginative art works from all around the globe.

  • 18/03/2016 – 20/03/2016

Are you a staunch coffee worshiper? The Amsterdam coffee festival will prove an earthly paradise for you.

  • 22/06/2016 – 30/06/2016

Amsterdam’s International Theatre School Festival (ITs) will present the best theatrical talents to the city’s theatrical scenes.

  • 04/06/2016 – 27/08/2016

The Artis Zoomeravonden – on summer Saturday evenings party animals in Amsterdam’s Artis Royal Zoo go on the loose, and gates remain open until sundown on every Saturday throughout the summer.

  • 17/06/2016 – 19/06/2016

The “Open Garden Days”, when, just for one weekend, all short city break visitors can see up close the impeccable gardens of some of Amsterdam’s most excellent canal.

  • 18/06/2016 – 19/06/2016

The annual Architecture Day gives short city break visitors the opportunity to admire the city’s architectural marvels.

  • 02/06/2016 – 05/06/2016

Every year, the “Taste of Amsterdam” festival dominates the Amstelpark for 4 consecutive days full of delicious meals, excellent wines and beers and high quality entertainment. A magnificent choice for a short city break visit to Amsterdam.

  • 25/06/2016 – 03/07/2016

Locals crowd the city’s Erasmuspark where numerous fun activities are organized during the WestwaArts festival.

  • 07/07/2016 – 17/07/2016

The Over Het IJ theatrical Festival has become an annual institution for the city, bringing a colourful amalgam of theatrical shows, DJs and marvelous food.

  • 18/01/2016

The Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week.

  • 31/03/2016 – 30/07/2016

The Milkshake Festival is something truly unique. It highlights the value of exhibiting respect, of promoting the free expression, of loving others and tolerating the difference beside you.

  • 30/06/2016 – 31/07/2016

The Amsterdam Roots Festival is an annual musical celebration.

  • 21/07/2016 – 25/08/2016

The Hortus Festival offers a great opportunity for the lovers of classical music to spend a few summer days in the beautiful Amsterdam scenery surrounded by lovely sounds.

  • 16/07/2016 – 07/08/2016

The Kwaku Festival is a traditional multicultural event that aims at blending different cultures together in a wonderful mixture of delicious food, drink, endless dance and sport activities.

  • 01/07/2016 – 31/08/2016

Lasting from the 1st of July to the 31st August, the Robeco Summer Nights series is an inextricable part of the city’s summers, amalgamating classical sounds, jazz improvisations and dynamic pop jams.

  • 01/07/2016

The Keti Koti Festival celebrates the liberation of the Surinamese from slavery – and Surinamese have a thriving community in Amsterdam. As always the whole event includes good food, nice music and exhausting dance.

  • 26/08/2016 – 28/08/2016

The annual Uitmarkt marks the beginning of each new cultural season. Inspirational and engaging theatrical shows, concerts, film, documentaries and book presentations create a wonderful blend that never fails to fascinate both the locals and tourists.

  • 19/08/2016 – 28/08/2016

The “World Cinema Amsterdam” festival is an annual festival that presents films and documentaries from all over the world.