Dive into this famously liberal city and its beautiful countryside with the help of a guided tour.
Note: Some tour providers on this list may be running more limited operations due to COVID-19 or may impose testing or vaccine requirements. Check with your tour operator about availability before you book.
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 determined the 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 – Open Boat Tours Amsterdam
This cruise takes participants through the city’s famous canals to view its top sights, including the Van Gogh Museum, the Amstel and more. Plus, because this boat is smaller than a normal tour vessel, you’ll get to explore some of the lesser-seen waterways. Reviewers say this is a relaxing tour with captains who provide plenty of information. Boats run multiple times daily from three departure points; tours last about 75 minutes. Tickets start at 22.50 euros (about $24) for adults; children travel for half that. The company also offers 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 3 1/2 hours and covers about 10 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 42 euros (about $42) for adults and 39 euros (about $37) for youths ages 12 to 17; the trip is not suitable for children younger than 12. This tour runs daily at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. The company offers many bike tours, including tours of the city and private cycle trips.
With Locals – The 10 Tastings of Amsterdam
Get a “taste” of Amsterdam on this guided food tour that features 10 tastings, including beverage samples. In-the-know locals lead the three-hour walk that takes you through the 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 95 euros (about $99) per person. The tour runs Monday to Saturday at multiple times each day. 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 may include the red-light district, the canal belt area, the Waag building and more. Keep in mind each guide takes a slightly different route. 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 and 11 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 that explores Amsterdam’s counterculture.
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 start at 28.50 euros (about $30) 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, among other options.
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 – Original 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 4 1/2-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 recommend coming hungry. Tours are generally available Monday to Saturday at 11 a.m. and start at 89 euros (about $93) per person; children younger than 6 can join for free. Food and drink samples are included in the ticket price. If you want to explore on your own, try Hungry Birds’ self-guided bike tour.
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 11 people, include Vondelpark, 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 $31) 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.
Lovers Canal Cruises – One Hour Amsterdam Evening Canal Cruise
See how Amsterdam comes to life after dark on this hourlong cruise that tours the incredible canals, 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. Others wish the boat was less crowded. Tickets start at 19 euros for adults (about $20); children receive discounted tickets. Tours leave daily every half-hour from about 5 to 9 p.m. Lovers Canal Cruises also offers a variety of daytime cruises.
Those Dam Boat Guys
Over and over again, travelers praise Those Dam Boat Guys for a fun and informative tour of Amsterdam. During the canal cruise, guides share information about their city and offer helpful hints to make the most of your stay. Tours run on either covered or open boats (depending on weather and boat availability), so you won’t have issues seeing the amazing sights. Up to eight passengers will be on the boat – another aspect of the tour travelers praise. Trips last about 90 minutes and run multiple times daily. Fees start at 29.50 euros (around $31) for adults. Private tours for up to 10 are also available.
SANDEMANs New Europe – Free Tour of Amsterdam
Learn about Amsterdam’s rich history, including the Nazi occupation, its trade heritage and the city’s enthusiasm for biking, on this three-hour walking tour. The excursion will also take you by the city’s incredible canals, over its bridges and to see some of its best architecture. Reviewers describe the tour as “amazing” and say the guides are passionate and energetic about their city. Tours are free, but you will need to pay an entertainment tax of 1.50 euros (about $1.50) per person. Additionally, you are welcome to pay your guide what you wish at the conclusion of the tour. Tours are available daily at 10:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m.; keep in mind you must reserve your slot online in advance. If you want to learn more about Amsterdam’s famous red-light district, take the fee-based Red Lights and Dark Amsterdam tour.
Wooden clogs are one of the best-known symbols of the Netherlands. (Getty Images)
Tours & Tickets – Countryside and Windmills Tour from Amsterdam – All-In Tour
Reviewers praise the number of activities packed into this nearly six-hour excursion and say the tour provides a great overview of the Netherlands. During the daytrip, you’ll visit the village of Zaanse Schans to see more than 10 of the Netherlands’ iconic windmills. Then, it’s off to Volendam and Marken for a tour of a cheese factory and a wooden clog-making demonstration. Plus, along the way, you’ll have access to an audio guide to enhance the commentary provided by your live guide. Tickets start at 45 euros (about $47) for adults and 22.50 euros (about $24) for children ages 4 to 13. Tours depart at 8:45 a.m. and 2:45 p.m. from Amsterdam Central Station from spring through early fall. Tours & Tickets operates multiple excursions in and around Amsterdam and Belgium.
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 daily at 11 a.m. Tickets cost approximately 90 euros (about $94) for adults, 70 euros (about $73) for teens ages 13 to 17 and 55 euros (about $57) for children ages 4 to 12. Eating Europe also offers a food tour that includes a private canal boat ride.
FreeDam Tours – Free Walking Tour
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, 1.5-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 Stock Exchange. 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.
Babylon Tours – Rijksmuseum + Van Gogh Museum Skip-the-Line Guided Combo Tour
If you’re hoping to explore the artsy side of Amsterdam, this semiprivate tour is for you. Guides take you and up to seven other participants through both the Rijksmuseum and the Van Gogh Museum to talk about famous and lesser-known Dutch painters, including Rembrandt, Vermeer and Van Gogh, of course. The roughly six-hour experience includes tickets to both museums, which get you to the front of any queues that form. Tourgoers admit it’s a long day, but the art smart guides and incredible works make it all worth it. Fees start at 199 euros (about $208) for adults, 179 euros (around $187) for kids 10 to 17 and 139 euros (approximately $145) for children 9 and younger. The outing includes a stop for lunch, which is at your own expense. Tours depart at 10 a.m. daily. If you’re short on time, Babylon Tours also offers shorter, two-hour strolls that visit just one museum.