5 days
Duration
Europe
Destination
Level 1 - Introductory to Moderate
Activity
Amsterdam Canal Netherlands

Amsterdam City Tour

Explore the city of Amsterdam on a small group tour with Odyssey Traveller.

Amsterdam is the capital of the Netherlands, an exciting city of gabled houses with an elaborate and distinctive canal landscape. The city had its roots in a humble 13th century fishing village that settled on the banks of the River Amstel. The river met the IJ Bay, which tended to overflow and flood settlements, until the fishermen built dikes and later a dam--hence the name "Aemstelredamme" (Amsterdam) or "dam in the river Amstel"--to contain the waters. The first appearance of the name Aemstelredamme in a historic record was in Count Floris V's 1275 document granting bridge toll exemption to "people living near the Amstel dam". This toll privilege in the County of Holland gave freedom to Amsterdam merchants to go wherever they wished, allowing the city of Amsterdam to flourish as the city's traders shipped merchandise to and from Scandinavia and sailed to the Baltic and the Mediterranean. Amsterdam experienced unprecedented growth in the 17th century, attracting immigrants who found refuge in the city. The large foreign population contributed to the city's affluence but also contributed to its congestion. In 1613, Amsterdam began to undertake construction in order to expand its boundaries, adding the now-famous--and UNESCO World Heritage-listed--ring of canals around the historic city centre. Today, Amsterdam retains this multicultural character, with residents from 180 different countries living in an open, tolerant society.

This small group tour is offered to travellers who are seeking a five-day extension in the city as part of an Odyssey Traveller escorted small group tour.

The tour stays in a centrally located accommodation in Amsterdam. Each day we set out to explore various parts of the city, typically using public transport, taxis and the rail network to reach the destinations selected, taking in 2-3 key features or attractions of the city. We will be aided by knowledgeable, local guides who will share the history of the city as we explore.

Amsterdam Tour Highlights:

  • Amsterdam's Museumplein (Museum square) is an art lover's utopia. The largest public square in the city is bordered by world-famous museums: Rijksmuseum, Van Gogh Museum, and Stedelijk Museum (Museum of Modern Art). It also hosts open-air exhibitions and markets.
  • The Rijksmuseum is arguably Amsterdam's grandest and most popular museum, housing historic art by Vermeer, Frans Hals, and other Dutch masters of the Golden Age. It also houses Rembrandt’s renowned "The Night Watch". You can read our article about the masterpiece and its restoration here.
  • The Van Gogh Museum houses the largest collection of paintings, drawings, and letters by the Dutch post-Impressionist master. In 2015, the museum opened a new entrance directly on Museumplein, making it easy to access from the cultural heart of the city.
  • The Anne Frank House at Prinsengracht 263 offers a sobering exhibition about the persecution of Jews. This was where Anne Frank and her family lived in hiding from the Nazis during World War II, and a must-visit for those who want to learn more about this dark period in Amsterdam's history.
  • The Royal Palace Amsterdam was originally built during the Dutch Golden Age in the 17th century as a town hall, before being transformed 150 years later into a royal residence by the French king Louis Bonaparte. The palace today is in active use by the Dutch Royal House but is open to the public on certain days so visitors can explore its interiors and learn more about its rich history.
  • A cruise down Amsterdam's famed canals is a unique and relaxing way to experience the city and view its architecture.
  • The original river settlement was built by fishermen fishing for herring, and all over the city one can still find haringhandels (herring carts) selling the delicacy. Try a "broodje haring" or herring served in a sandwich with pickles and onions.
  • A day trip to The Hague on the train.
  • Amsterdam is home to several flea markets and boutique shops, a great way to go shopping and treasure hunting!

Articles by Odyssey Traveller about Amsterdam and the Netherlands.

The following links are to articles written by Odyssey that may be of interest to you;

Small Group Tours with Odyssey Traveller

This tour to Amsterdam is based in the heart of the city and gives travellers easy access to popular tourist attractions and public transport. Similar to other Odyssey Traveller tours, this tour is designed for the senior traveller and is fully escorted, with the group accompanied by an Odyssey Program Leader and local guides, adding expert knowledge about the history and culture of the area. The small group setting also ensures flexibility and focused attention to programme participants.

This tour to Amsterdam can be used as an extension of other Odyssey Traveller tours to the Netherlands.

For more details, click the ‘Top 5’ or ‘Itinerary’ buttons above! If you’re keen to experience this tour, please call or send an email. Or, to book, simply fill in the form on the right-hand side of this page.

 

Frequently Asked Questions about Amsterdam

Amsterdam is the capital city of the Netherlands, a country that is often referred to as “Holland.”
“Holland”, comes from Houtland, “Wooded Land”, the name of the historic province that was once a 12th-century fief of the Holy Roman Empire. The Netherlands’ major cities–Amsterdam, The Hague, and Rotterdam–are located in the Hollands: Amsterdam in Noord-Holland (North Holland) and the latter two cities in Zuid-Holland (South Holland). This may be the reason many people still refer to the Netherlands as Holland, even though the name strictly only refers to a region within the country.
In late 2019, the government rolled out a national rebranding strategy that will see it use “The Netherlands” instead of “Holland”, and be referred globally solely by this name in any official setting. As part of the strategy, the country will be described only as “The Netherlands” in the Eurovision song contest in May 2020 and during the Olympic Games in Tokyo in 2020.

This will depend on your nationality, destination and length of stay. You can click here to check if you need a visa to visit the Netherlands, but it is still better to check directly with your embassy or consulate.

The short-stay visa is the Schengen visa, which allows you to stay in the Schengen area for a maximum of 90 days within a 180-day period. Click here to see other visas issued by the Netherlands.

The EU has recently announced a system for its border entry process to the Schengen Zone.  The system is called European Travel Information and Authorisation System (ETIAS). Currently, citizens of 61 nations, including Australia, New Zealand, and Canada, are permitted to enter the EU without a visa for up to 90 days of business or travel. The proposed changes will require that these citizens apply for entry authorisation before arrival to the Schengen zone. Click here to read more about ETIAS.

Dutch (officially: Netherlandic) is the national language of the Netherlands. Dutch is a West Germanic language most closely related to high and low German. However, English is widely spoken in Amsterdam, and you will rarely need to use any Dutch whilst travelling through the city.

 


PDF of Tour PDF of Reading List

Overview: We make our own way to our Amsterdam apartment, where an Odyssey Program Leader will meet with the group. The group will also be issued their public transport pass.

The remainder of the day is free so we can settle in our new accommodation.

Accommodation: Citadines Sloterdijk Station Amsterdam or similar

Overview: Today we will have a full-day excursion to The Hague, with the use of a private coach and with the help of our local guide. We will view the main sights and visit the Binnenhof, a complex of buildings that is home to both houses of the Dutch government. The oldest part of the Binnenhof is the Ridderzaal (“Knights Hall”), a 13th-century hunting lodge and ceremonial hall built by the Counts of Holland. The most important ceremony held here is the Prinsjesdag, held annually on the third Tuesday in September when the reigning monarch addresses members of both Houses of Parliament from the throne.

En route back to Amsterdam, we stop to view its historical windmills.

(B)

Accommodation: Citadines Sloterdijk Station Amsterdam or similar

Overview: This morning we will visit the Anne Frank House. The Anne Frank House at Prinsengracht 263 offers a sobering exhibition about the persecution of Jews. This was where Anne Frank and her family lived in hiding from the Nazis during World War II, and a must-visit for those who want to learn more about this dark period in Amsterdam’s history.

We will then walk to the Royal Palace. The Royal Palace Amsterdam was originally built during the Dutch Golden Age in the 17th century as a town hall, before being transformed 150 years later into a royal residence by the French king Louis Bonaparte. The palace today is in active use by the Dutch Royal House but is open to the public on certain days so visitors can explore its interiors and learn more about its rich history.

(B)

Accommodation: Citadines Sloterdijk Station Amsterdam or similar

Overview: Today we will be entering Amsterdam’s finest museums located on the Museumplein (Museum square), an art lover’s utopia. The largest public square in the city is bordered by world-famous museums. It also hosts open-air exhibitions and markets.

We will explore:

The Van Gogh Museum houses the largest collection of paintings, drawings, and letters by the Dutch post-Impressionist master. In 2015, the museum opened a new entrance directly on Museumplein, making it easy to access from the cultural heart of the city.
The Rijksmuseum is arguably Amsterdam’s grandest and most popular museum, housing historic art by Vermeer, Frans Hals, and other Dutch masters of the Golden Age. It also houses Rembrandt’s renowned “The Night Watch”. You can read our article about the masterpiece and its restoration here.

(B)

Accommodation: Citadines Sloterdijk Station Amsterdam or similar

Overview: Tour concludes after breakfast today.

(B)

1
Explore the Van Gogh Museum, which houses the largest collection of paintings, drawings, and letters by the Dutch post-Impressionist master.
2
Visit the Rijkmuseum and view the famous Rembrandt painting, “The Night Watch”.
3
Tour the Anne Frank House at Prinsengracht 263, which offers a sobering exhibition about the persecution of Jews.
4
See the Royal Palace Amsterdam, built during the Dutch Golden Age.
5
Enjoy an excursion to The Hague from Amsterdam.

What’s included in our Tour

  • 5 nights of hotel accommodation.
  • 5 breakfasts and 2 dinners.
  • All entry fees and services of local expert/guide where relevant.
  • Services of a Tour Leader for the duration of tour.
  • Gratuities and necessary tips.
  • Detailed preparatory information.

What’s not included in our Tour

  • Comprehensive travel insurance.
  • Return economy class international airfare and departure taxes.
  • Items of a personal nature, such as telephone calls and laundry.
  • Porterage.
  • Meals not specified in the itinerary.
Amsterdam Canal Netherlands
Amsterdam Canal Netherlands
Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam
Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam
World Heritage Site - Amsterdam's Canal District
Amsterdam Canal