10 Must-See Sights in Amsterdam on a Weekend Trip

Guided tours in Amsterdam

Amsterdam is one of the most beautiful and historic cities in Europe, packed with iconic sights, museums, and attractions. However, with only a weekend to explore, it can be challenging to decide what to prioritize seeing. Here are the top 10 must-see sights in Amsterdam that should not be missed on a short weekend trip.

Guided tours in Amsterdam

Canal Cruise

One of the best ways to experience Amsterdam’s charm and beauty is by taking a canal cruise. Gliding along the scenic canals gives you a unique perspective of the city from the water. You’ll pass by charming gabled houses, arched bridges, and picturesque cafes and restaurants. Many canal cruise companies offer hop-on hop-off options, allowing you to explore different parts of the city from the water. A canal cruise is one of the most relaxing ways to spend an afternoon in Amsterdam.


Home to one of the finest art collections in the world, the Rijksmuseum is a must for any art lover. Its collection includes masterpieces by Dutch masters like Rembrandt, Vermeer, and Frans Hals. Don’t miss Rembrandt’s iconic “Night Watch” painting. Allow at least a couple of hours to explore the museum’s galleries filled with exquisite paintings, furnishings, and decorative arts. The building itself is also a work of art.

Van Gogh Museum

Another essential art museum is the Van Gogh Museum, housing the largest collection of Vincent Van Gogh’s paintings in the world. Stand in awe of his iconic “Sunflowers” and “Starry Night” paintings. Temporary exhibits often showcase Van Gogh’s influence on modern artists. The museum does a fantastic job of telling Van Gogh’s story through his letters and using multimedia to bring his artistic process to life. Plan on spending at least 2 hours here.

Anne Frank House 

No trip to Amsterdam is complete without visiting the Anne Frank House. Walk through the secret annex where Anne Frank and her family hid for two years during World War II. Their living quarters have been preserved to look exactly as they were when they were hiding. Reading Anne Frank’s diary and learning about her story is a profoundly moving experience. Be sure to purchase tickets in advance online as lines can be very long.


For a relaxing break from sightseeing, spend an afternoon at Vondelpark, Amsterdam’s largest urban park. On sunny weekends, the park is filled with locals and visitors enjoying picnics, cycling, jogging or just relaxing in the grass. Rent a bike and cycle around the lovely paths and ponds. In the summer, you may catch a free outdoor concert. It’s the perfect place to recharge before heading out to your next destination.

Dam Square

Right in the heart of Amsterdam is Dam Square, one of the city’s most iconic spots. Lined with cafes, the square is always bustling. Don’t miss the Royal Palace building and war memorial. On your way to or from Dam Square, stop by the outdoor flower market for beautiful blooms. Many Guided Tours in Amsterdam start and end at Dam Square, making it a convenient meeting point.

Red Light District 

Love it or hate it, the Red Light District is a sight every visitor should experience at least once. Wander the narrow alleys past the famous red light windows, observing this unusual neighborhood. Stop for a drink at one of the quirky bars before the crowds arrive at night. Just be aware that photography is prohibited. The district also has some interesting museums like the Hash, Marijuana, and Hemp Museum to provide context into its operations.


On sunny afternoons, the Museumplein becomes a lively urban park filled with locals, students, and visitors relaxing on the grass. It’s located between three of Amsterdam’s top art museums – the Van Gogh Museum, Rijksmuseum and Stedelijk Museum. Soak up the buzz and people watch before or after visiting the museums. In the summer, you may catch a free outdoor concert or event in the park. It’s a lovely green space in the heart of the city.

Amsterdam Central Station 

As with any major city, Amsterdam Central Station is a transportation hub. But it’s also an impressive landmark in its own right. Don’t miss the soaring arched roof and stained glass windows. Have your camera ready for some great travel photos. The station is also conveniently located next to hotels, shops, and restaurants.

Amsterdam Canals

No trip to Amsterdam is complete without exploring its iconic canals. Wander the scenic streets along the canals, admiring the charming gabled houses and arched bridges. In summer, the canals are lined with cafes with outdoor seating perfect for people watching. Rent a bike and cycle along the paths for the best views. Be sure to stop by Magere Brug, one of Amsterdam’s most photographed bridges spanning the Amstel River. The canals are what give Amsterdam its romantic, historic charm.

I hope this blog post gives you a good overview of top sights to prioritize in Amsterdam during a short weekend trip. Be sure to book tickets for the Anne Frank House and Van Gogh Museum in advance. Also consider booking Guided Tours in Amsterdam to efficiently see multiple attractions and learn more about Amsterdam’s history from local experts. With smart planning, you can experience the best of Amsterdam’s culture and beauty in just a weekend.