Well-known for its picturesque canals, historical monuments, and world-class museums, Amsterdam offers numerous attractions worth visiting. After you’ve seen the most popular places such and Vondelpark, Van Gogh Museum, and Dam Square, it’s time to look beyond the main attractions and explore the city’s quieter and lesser-known spots. This travel guide takes you to some of Amsterdam’s best hidden gems and allows you to discover the capital of the Netherlands from a different perspective.
Waterlooplein Flea Market
The oldest flea market in the city, Waterlooplein is an ideal place to mingle with the locals and score some cool antiques. This fabulous market is open 6 days a week and welcomes more than 300 vendors selling everything from second-hand clothing and old books to jewelry and vintage cameras. Whether you wish to buy an old military uniform, purchase a pair of sneakers, or even get a tattoo, this place has it all. In case you get hungry, various food trucks are selling delicious foods ranging from local appetizers to Greek and Italian delicacies.
There is no shortage of cool attractions in Amsterdam and Hortus Botanicus is definitely one of them. Located in Amsterdam-East, this picturesque botanical garden houses a variety of exotic trees and plants categorized by their original habitat. You will find 7 greenhouses here including the amazing 3-climate greenhouse which offers tropical, sub-tropical, and desert climates. Walking from one climate to the other is certainly a unique experience. The garden also hosts themed guided tours and scavenger hunts for families with children.
Muizenhuis (Mouse Mansion)
Families with kids visiting Amsterdam will want to pay a visit to the amazing Muizenhuis. Also known as the Mouse Mansion, this place is home to incredibly detailed doll-house-like rooms with miniature models that were designed and created by Karina Schaapman and her kids. Besides admiring the lovely mouse mansion, you can even purchase various supplies and make your own mouse mansion work of art.
Going on a canal boat tour is one of the best ways to admire the city’s architecture and to experience Amsterdam from a different angle. There are many canal tours that you can take ranging from romantic candle-lit cruises to family-friendly boat rides. However, one of the best canal tours is the Pancake Boat cruise where travelers are presented with delicious Dutch-style pancakes topped with fruits, syrup, and powdered sugar. The lasts for about an hour and departs from NDSM-Werf a couple of times a day.
Visitors who wish to escape from all the hustle and bustle of Amsterdam’s city center can spend a day in the beautiful Amsterdamse Bos. Located just a short drive from the city, this tranquil spot offers plenty of outdoorsy activities like canoeing in a lake or a pond, jogging, cycling, hiking, and much more. There is also a lovely organic farm where you can pet cute baby goats and an open-air theatre that hosts numerous events throughout the year.
Located just a short walk from the city’s central station, Casa Bocage is a small delicatessen where you will find a wide range of traditional Portuguese goodies like sweets, coffee, and wines. Casa Bocage is actually the official importer of Portuguese delicatessens and offers a variety of amazing products. Make sure to try the delicious egg tart pastry called pastel de nata.
Founded in the 17th century and located alongside the Prinsengracht, Het Papeneiland is one of the oldest bars in the country and a must-visit destination for every traveler visiting Amsterdam. Surrounded by cobbled lanes, the bar has an extensive beer list and serves some seriously delicious local delicacies. I recommend ordering their famous apple pie.
Amsterdam’s City Archives
Situated with the historic De Bazel building alongside the Herengracht canal, Amsterdam’s City Archives is one of the city’s best-hidden gems. Expect to find a permanent exhibition of the city’s archives and a magnificent bookshop where you will find thousands of books that focus on the culture and history of the city.