Amidst the winter chill or the seemingly endless days of prolonged shipyard periods in and around Amsterdam, it’s easy to feel the itch of restlessness, especially when scrolling through the envy-inducing yachtie posts on Instagram showcasing far-flung adventures. Yet, take a moment to recalibrate your perspective. Amsterdam is not just a beautiful city full of canals and history, it’s a vibrant hub of experiences waiting for you to explore. Whether you’re in town for METSTRADE, visiting from a Dutch shipyard, or simply looking for some local gems during your time off, this guide will help you make the most of your time in this incredible place. From unique bars to team-building activities and hidden gem restaurants, read on for our Guide to Amsterdam and how to make the most of this eclectic city.
Unique bars and nightlife
Let’s face it, yacht crew love to have fun. Amsterdam is known for its buzzing atmosphere and you will find an abundance of bars and cocktail lounges to enjoy. It’s hard to narrow down what you should do while you are there, but here are three of our favourites:
De Drie Fleschjes: A charming, historic jenever (Dutch gin) bar in the heart of the city. Make sure to try their selection of traditional Dutch spirits and enjoy the cosy wooden interior. Visit their website.
Door 74: A must for cocktail lovers, Door 74 is a speakeasy-style cocktail bar that is a huge hit with locals. Look for the unmarked door, ring the bell, and enter a world of crafted cocktails and live music. Visit their website.
Hannekes Boom: A waterfront hangout with a relaxed atmosphere. Enjoy the people-watching and relax here for the afternoon— it’s a great option for a beer with a view. Visit their website.
For a deeper dive into the trendiest bars that Amsterdam has to offer, explore our blog on ‘Trendy Bars in Amsterdam,‘ where we’ve curated a list of cool and unique spots that will elevate your nightlife experience in this vibrant city.
Restaurants to try in Amsterdam
From traditional Dutch food to something a little different, eating well in Amsterdam is guaranteed.
The Pantry: Savor traditional Dutch dishes in a quaint, traditional set-up. Expect large portions of warming food. A must-try on a colder day. Visit their website.
Bazar: Looking to try some next-level North African and Middle Eastern cuisine? Bazar restaurant is known for its colourful decor and incredible food options. Visit their website.
De Kas: Located in a stunning greenhouse, De Kas is a new favourite on the Dutch restaurant scene that offers farm-to-table dining. A must for yacht chefs to get inspired! Visit their website.
Must-do activities in Amsterdam
It can be hard to decide what famous attraction to see when you’re visiting a city and choosing an activity in Amsterdam is no different. If you and your crew only have a limited time, these are the most popular activities for Amsterdam.
Head to Rijksmuseum: Explore Dutch art and history in the city’s most well-known gallery. It’s well worth spending an entire afternoon here as its collection will amaze any art lovers in your group.
Visit Anne Frank’s House: A poignant reminder of history, the Anne Frank House is well worth a visit while you’re in Amsterdam. As it’s a small space, make sure to get there early to avoid queues. Find out more here.
Take a canal cruise: Amsterdam is famous for its canals and hopping on a canal boat is one of the best ways to see the city. As yacht crew, we know you live your life on the water, but we would recommend you try a different type of boat on this trip!
Walk in Vondelpark: A serene escape from the urban hustle, Vondelpark is an oasis in the middle of the city. Enjoy the beautiful park early in the morning or as the sun is setting—it’s truly beautiful.
Insider tips for yachties in Amsterdam
If you want a little off-the-beaten-track experience of Amsterdam, we have a few insider tips for you.
Rent a bike: Explore the city like a local by renting a bike. Amsterdam is built around cyclists and has incredible infrastructure for biking around the city. Renting a bike is an efficient, cost-effective and fun way to get around throughout the day.
Visit Jordaan: A picturesque neighbourhood with quaint streets and boutiques, make some time to visit Jordaan while you’re in the city. Take a break from the crowds and stroll along the narrow lanes with the locals.
Team building activities
Are you looking for an activity to enhance your team’s cohesion and build camaraderie outside the workplace? Amsterdam has some great team-building options for yacht crew on a break from a shipyard stay.
Try an escape room: Put your team to the test with an escape room. Challenge your crew’s problem-solving skills and work together to find your way out of the escape room. It’s a great choice for those with a competitive streak—and let’s face it, who doesn’t have that on board?
Go ice skating: Amsterdam gets quite chilly during the winter and ice rinks pop up across the city. The most popular is the one that gets set up right in front of the world-famous Rijksmuseum. Get your skates on and show off your skills (if you have any) to your crew.
Winter festivals and events in Amsterdam
Many yachties head to Amsterdam in November for METSTRADE, the world’s biggest B2B leisure marine equipment show. If you’re able to take a break from the yacht business for a moment, the Amsterdam Light Festival runs from November to January and is a mesmerizing display of light art installations along the canals.
Long stay in Amsterdam? Travel to some nearby towns
If you’re in Amsterdam for an extended time, you could explore some nearby towns and villages. If you love history, Zaanse Schans has an open-air museum showcasing the best of Dutch heritage. Another option is Zaandam, a traditional village near Amsterdam that gives you a glimpse of life in the 18th and 19th centuries. Take in the logs, windmills and wooden houses that are a core part of Dutch history. Finally, Monnickendam is a quaint fishing town and an incredible choice if you’re looking for a quiet getaway. Just 10 miles northeast of Amsterdam, it’s located on the Markermeer Sea and will transport you back in time.
Amsterdam, with its rich history, vibrant culture, and unique offerings, stands ready to be explored. Embrace the off-season charm, discover the city’s hidden gems, and delve into team-building activities. This is your chance to experience Amsterdam beyond the conventional tourist trail. Who knows when your yacht will bring you back with the luxury of time to unravel all the facets this city has to offer?
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