Between the picturesque canals, colorful flower markets, and historic architecture, there are very few places that are as recognizable as Amsterdam. Located in the Netherlands near Markermeer Lake, this city is easily explored on foot. With these 10 best walking tours in Amsterdam, you’ll be able to really sink your teeth into Dutch culture while also getting a glimpse of local daily life.
If budget is a concern, there are numerous free walking tours that you can do on your own. But if you’d rather leave the planning to a knowledgeable local, then there are plenty of guided tours to choose from as well. That’s why we put together this guide of the top 10 walking tours to take during our visit to Amsterdam.
In our opinion, Amsterdam is a great year-round destination. However, there are some times of the year that are better than others. Check out our guide on the best time to visit Amsterdam and decide for yourself which season suits you!
Amsterdam is a very walkable city. But when you’re not exploring the different neighborhoods and parks on foot, you can save time and effort by taking public transportation. The GVB Public Transport ticket gives you unlimited travel on all GVB buses, trams, ferries, and metro systems within a 24 hour period, which is great if you want to see different parts of the city. If you’re spending more than a few days in Amsterdam, you can also purchase a multiple-day ticket as well.
Another option is to buy the Amsterdam City Card. Although it’s a little more expensive than the GVB ticket, the City Card also comes with free entrance to over 60 different museums and attractions in the city in addition to being able to ride public transport. Plus, you’ll also get tickets to ride a cruise along the canals – completely free of charge.
If you’re deciding how long to stay in Amsterdam, we recommend anywhere from one to three days to see the major sites and attractions within the city center. However, you could realistically stay for weeks and still not scratch the surface of everything there is to do here.
You’ll also need to decide where to stay. Between the hotels, hostels, and vacation rental listings, you’ll be spoiled for choice when it comes to different types of accommodation. However, we put together this guide to the best places to stay in Amsterdam to help make your decision easier!
Now, let’s dive into the different walking tours available, so you can start exploring all the amazing things that Amsterdam has to offer!
Self-Guided Free Walking Tours in Amsterdam
Not only are self-guided walking tours in Amsterdam free, but they also allow you to explore the city at your own pace. Take your time, enjoy the fascinating sights along the way, and soak in the bustling city at your leisure on a free walk tour Amsterdam!
Amsterdam Art & History Walking Tour
Step back in time and explore centuries of Amsterdam history on this 5.1km (3.1 mile) walking tour. Starting at the Central Station, you’ll head to Dam Square, one of the largest and most popular squares in the city. Here, you’ll see famous buildings like neoclassical Royal Palace, the 15th-century New Church, and the WWII National Monument.
From there, you’ll pass by the Anne Frank House and Rembrandt House Museum (it’s definitely worth stopping for a few hours to visit both of these places) before ending your walk at the Oude Kerk. Don’t forget to check out the Amsterdam wall art along the way – the street graffiti artists here are some of the most talented in the world!
Around the River IJ
If you’re looking for scenic water views around the mighty IJ River, then this walking tour Amsterdam is for you. The entire journey is quite long (17.4km or 10.8 miles), although it’s okay to just do sections of the walk. You’ll still enjoy plenty of beautiful landscapes and monuments along the day!
Highlights of the walk include the A’dam Lookout, the historic village of Schellingwoude, and the industrial Eastern Docklands. You can then take the Buiksloterveer ferry back across the water to complete your trip.
Walter Süskind Walking Tour in Amsterdam
This 6.9km (4.2 mile) loop around the inner city takes you to see some of the most recognizable buildings in Amsterdam. You’ll circle around the Red Light District and pass the Royal Palace Amsterdam before crossing over the iconic Walter Süskind Bridge.
This drawbridge was built in the late 1960s and early 1970s to commemorate the life of Walter Süskind, a German-Dutch man who ended up saving hundreds of children during WWII. It’s one of the historic sites that you just have to see to appreciate!
De Pijp Neighborhood Walking Tour in Amsterdam
Located just a few steps away from the Museumkwartier is the eclectically diverse neighborhood of De Pijp. Although it’s mostly a residential area, the streets are full of trendy cafes, international restaurants, and lively bars.
During your walk, you’ll have the opportunity to visit different attractions, like the Heineken Experience, the Albert Cuyp Market, and the red light district of Ruysdaelkade. Plus, it’s generally less crowded and more authentic, so it’s a great experience if you want to see something besides the inner part of the city.
Amsterdamse Bos (Amsterdam forest)
Escape the city and do this self-guided walking tour through the stunningly beautiful Amsterdamse Bos. Covering over 1,000 hectares (2,500 acres), this park is astounding three times larger than Central Park in New York City. As you can imagine, there’s a lot of cool things to see in the park, so take your time and plan to spend the better part of the day exploring everything.
During your walk, stop by the baby goat farm, the outdoor swimming pool, or the open-aired theater. You can also rent a canoe boat to paddle around the Grote Vijver on a nice sunny day.
This park between the Museumkwartier and the Overtoombuurt neighborhood is the perfect place for walk in Amsterdam. This is the largest park in the city (the Amsterdamse Bos is technically not within the inner city), making it a popular destination for a morning or afternoon stroll.
The paths that lead around the park take you past manicured gardens, sparkling ponds, and several art installations, including one by the legendary Pablo Picasso. We recommend coming during the weekday or in the early morning, as it can get very busy with students, families, and tourists during the weekend or late afternoon.
Guided Walking Tours in Amsterdam
If this is your first time in Amsterdam, then we recommend booking a guided tour to get a real feel for the city. Not only will your guide be able to show you all the best places to go, but they also have valuable insight and information that’ll give you more appreciation for the history and culture.
Amsterdam Food Walking Tour
Ideal for foodies looking to explore Amsterdam’s thriving gastronomy scene, this walking food tour is a mouthwatering trip to the best eateries in town. You’ll get to sample various delicious treats, like cheese, cookies, herring, fries, and more!
Besides eating your way through the narrow alleys and restaurants, this tour also offers a glimpse into local Dutch life. Your knowledgeable guide has plenty of facts and stories to share about the city and about Dutch food culture in general.
Anne Frank and World War II Walking Tour in Amsterdam
This tour explores the life and influence of one of Amsterdam’s most famous residents – Anne Frank. Over the course of two hours, your expert guide will take you through the historic Jewish Quarter while sharing stories about the Frank family and the importance of Amsterdam and the Dutch Reistance’s role in WWII.
Along the way, you’ll walk past numerous historic monuments, including the Jewish Historical Museum, the Portuguese Synagogue, the Auschwitz Monument, and of course, the Anne Frank House.
Coffee Shop Walking Tour with Snack
Sorry to disappoint any coffee aficionados who are reading this, but this isn’t a tour about lattes and cappuccinos. Coffee shops in Amsterdam actually sell marijuana, as the drug is decriminalized in the entire country. On this tour, you’ll learn about the history of cannabis and how it has grown to become an influential part of Dutch culture.
In addition to learning about the different types of marijuana and progressive drug policies of the country, you and your guide will visit some of the best coffee shops in the city, including one of the oldest shops on Dam Square. While any joints or edibles you want to purchase will be on your own dime, the tour does include snacks – which, trust us, you’ll definitely want after partaking in that activity!
Amsterdam Red Light District Walking Tour with a Sex Worker
You can’t visit Amsterdam without walking through the legendary Red Light District. Home to some of the most famous sex-orientated businesses in the world, the Red Light District is a winding labyrinth of sex shops, erotic museums, live sex venues, and peep shows.
After your tour, you’ll be free to roam through the different shops and businesses yourselves. Visit the world’s first condom shop, buy some souvenirs at one of the many gift stores, or simply just stroll along the canals admiring the bright neon lights. It’s truly a fascinating experience that everyone should see when visiting Amsterdam!
This tour is led by a real sex worker, who can share with your insightful stories and behind-the-scenes information about what goes on behind those glass windows. You’ll learn about how the industry operates and the realities of working in one of the biggest legalized prostitution areas of the world.
This has been a list of the top 10 walking tours to do during your trip to Amsterdam. If you know of a fun walking tour that isn’t on this list, let us know in the comments below!