Amsterdam Cruise Port Guide | 10 Best Things To Do in Port

Amsterdam canal

Welcome to Amsterdam cruise port guide! (Post updated: January 2024)

Known for its beautiful canals, tulips, authentic Dutch architecture, bicycles, and tolerant, friendly locals, the capital of the Netherlands is one of the most visited ports by cruise ships and river cruises in Europe.

Amsterdam is a relatively small city easy to get around and most of the main city attractions can be reached on foot. In this insider cruise port guide, read about:

  • Amsterdam Netherlands cruise port (Amsterdam cruise terminal, getting around, helpful links)
  • 10 best things to do in Amsterdam cruise ship port including Amsterdam shore excursions to Zaanse Schans, Keukenhof Gardens and Delft. 

Visit also our cruise port guides to Greenock (Glasgow), Belfast, Holyhead, Dover, Invergordon (Inverness), Cork/Cobh, Le Havre

Amsterdam Cruise Port

Port Amsterdam’s main cruise port terminal is known as Passenger Terminal Amsterdam, located within walking distance from Amsterdam downtown. Ships may also dock at Felison Cruise Terminal located in the town of IJmuiden approximately 30 km (18.6 miles) from Amsterdam, but this rarely happens (check the cruise calendar).

Passenger Terminal Amsterdam

Most of the cruise ships dock at Passenger Terminal Amsterdam (PTA), conveniently located in the city center within walking distance from Amsterdam central station and city attractions. Housed in a modern, wave-like glass building, PTA has 2 berths that can accommodate ships up to 630 m combined length.

Inside this modern building, cruise passengers will find a reception hall, a tourist information center, a cafe, shops, and free wifi internet.

The cruise port of Amsterdam is also a popular homeport (passengers embark and disembark in Amsterdam) for several cruise lines, including river cruises (Viking River Cruises, AmaWaterways, Avalon Waterways…).

A locker rental facility is available in the terminal and you can rent lockers to store your luggage for 24 hours. You can also rent segways and bikes, or book boat and sightseeing tours in the terminal.

There is large underground parking available for a fee as well.

Amsterdam cruise port - Passenger Terminal Amsterdam (PTA)
Passenger Terminal Amsterdam

Getting Around & Local Transportation

  • Passenger Terminal Amsterdam is located approximately 2.2 km (1.3 miles) from Amsterdam city center (a 30-minute walk) and main city highlights. To get to the center, you need to follow the road to Amsterdam Central Station along Piet Heinkade Street located in front of the terminal building (you’ll see the street upon exiting the terminal, turn right and you’ll reach the station). The walk to the central station takes about 20 minutes. When you reach Central Station, the city center will be on your left-hand side.
  • If you don’t want to walk, a tram station is just across the street. The tram station’s name is Muziekgebouw Bimhuis and here you need to catch a GVB tram 26 and get off at the next station which is the Central Station. Only cards are accepted, no cash, and you buy the tickets on the tram. You can also take a taxi to the Central Station or Uber.
  • Public transport in Amsterdam is operated by Gemeente Vervoerbedrijf Amsterdam (GVB) and you can check the timetables and prices at the official webpage
  • At Central Station, you can rent bicycles, book canal and sightseeing tours, get a Hop on Hop off bus, or catch a connecting train to one of the nearby cities. Check out Amsterdam Hop on Hop off sightseeing bus tours on Viator and Get Your Guide
  • If you want suggestions on the best local places to check out in Amsterdam, check out this Local Guide to Amsterdam and discover the city from the local’s perspective!
  • Schiphol Amsterdam Airport is located 26 km/16 miles (a 30-minute drive) southwest of Amsterdam Passenger Terminal. The trains from Central Station run frequently and the journey takes around 20 minutes.
  • The currency in the Netherlands is EURO (€). ATMs and currency exchange are available in the town. Local currency and credit cards are widely accepted.
  • Explore Amsterdam tours and activities
  • Find hotels near Amsterdam cruise port
Amsterdam Central Station - Amsterdam Metro station
Amsterdam Central Station is housed in a magnificent 19th-century building built in the Gothic-Renaissance style.

10 Best Things to Do in Amsterdam Cruise Port

1. Anne Frank House

Located in the center of Amsterdam, Anne Frank House is one of the most visited sites welcoming more than a million visitors every year. In this house, Anne, her family, and four other people used to hide for 761 days during the Nazi persecution during World War II.

Unfortunately, in 1944 all eight of them were captured and sent to the concentration camp. The museum features personal objects of the people who hid in the house annex, including Anne’s diary.

Anne Frank statue in Amsterdam
Anne Frank statue

Anne Frank House is located a 20-minute walk from Central Station. Alternatively, you can take a tram 13 or 17 to Westermarkt stop. Due to the popularity of this site and limited capacity, you should consider pre-purchasing your tickets online.

Explore Anne Frank House tours and activities

2. Rijksmuseum

Visit the only Museum with a road inside of it but not for cars, only for bicycles. The Rijksmuseum features almost one million objects but only 8000 pieces of artwork are displayed including several of Rembrandt’s portraits and his famous “Night Watch”. The second floor houses the largest library in the Netherlands.

It is strongly recommended to purchase your tickets in advance as you will need to select a time for your visit. To get there, take a tram 2 or 5 from Central Station and get off at Hobbemastraat stop.

Check out Rijksmuseum tours and activities

Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam
Rijksmuseum. Photo courtesy of Rene Cicero.

3. Van Gogh Museum

Another must-stop during your visit to Amsterdam is the Van Gogh Museum where you can discover the life and the largest artwork collection of the famous Vincent Van Gogh. The Dutch impressionist painter suffered from mental illness since his early years and remained poor throughout his life, becoming famous one century after his death.

To get there from Amsterdam cruise ship terminal, take trams 2, 5 or 12 from Central Station and get off at Van Baerlestraat station. After a few minutes’ walk, you’ll reach the museum.

Check out Van Gogh Museum tours and skip-the-line tickets

4. Royal Palace

Dominating Dam Square in the heart of Amsterdam, the Royal Palace is one of the three palaces in the Netherlands. This imposing palace was originally built as the City Hall back in the 17th century and then became the seat of the Royal family.

When there is no official event, the Palace is open to the public and you can take a tour of the magnificent interior, see original furniture and learn about the rich history with a certified guide.

If your time in the port of Amsterdam is running short, it is worth admiring the palace’s stunning architecture from the exterior. The Royal Palace is located only a 10-minute walk from Amsterdam Central Station.

You can also take tram 2, however, I strongly suggest you enjoy a nice stroll through Damrak Avenue full of stores, cafes and souvenir shops.

Explore Royal Palace tours and activities

Amsterdam Royal Palace
Royal Palace. Source:

5. Red Light District

This famous neighborhood is located in the center of Amsterdam and houses the world’s oldest profession. Dating back to the 16th century, this district was the favorite area for sailors arriving from around the world due to its proximity to the harbor.

Even though all the action takes place during the night, Red Light District is still a very popular tourist destination during the day.

The best way to explore it is by foot or bicycle due to its narrow alleys. Here you can find selected museums, small cafes, souvenir shops and of course the famous ¨coffee shops¨ and red light window shops.

Explore Red Light District tours and activities

Amsterdam Red Light District
Red Light District. Source:

6. The Heineken Experience

If you are a beer lover, this tour is the perfect pick for you! Discover the history behind this famous beer on an interactive, self-guided 90-minute tour through the old brewery and enjoy a refreshing tasting at the end!

To get to the Heineken Brewery, take tram 24 at Central Station and get off at the Stadhouderskade stop. Guests with mobility challenges are welcome as the museum is wheelchair-friendly.

Explore Heineken Brewery tours and activities

7. Take a Canal Cruise

No visit to Amsterdam is complete without taking a boat trip through the famous and colorful canals listed as UNESCO World Heritage sites. Experience Amsterdam from the water, see many of the main city landmarks, admire the 17th-century architecture, and learn about Dutch culture and history!

To book a canal tour, you can make your way to Central Station and you will find a variety of tour options there or you can schedule your trip directly with your cruise ship or with an independent tour operator. These tours last approximately an hour so you still have plenty of time to explore or visit other attractions in Amsterdam.

Explore Amsterdam Canal tours and activities

Amsterdam canal boat tour
Amsterdam canal boat tour
Amsterdam canal cruise
Amsterdam canals

8. Zaanse Schans Windmills

Take a trip to the most popular attraction located in the north of the capital, approximately 18 km/11 miles (a 25-minute drive) from the cruise port Amsterdam.

In Zaanse Schans village, you can see original windmills from the 17th and 18th centuries, some still operating to this day. You can do so many fun things in this village, including a visit to unique museums such as the Wooden Shoe Workshop and Bakery Museum. Cheese tasting is a must!

Zaanse Schans windmill
Zaanse Schans. Photo courtesy of Rene Cicero.

There is no entrance fee to Zaanse Schans village but there is a fee to visit each Windmill and Zaans Museum; however, you can purchase a Zaanse Schans Card that will give you access to all windmills, museums, and much more! Visit and for more information.

To get to Zaanse Schans, you can take the R-net bus line 391 from Amsterdam Central Station. Buses run frequently (every 15 minutes) and the journey takes approximately 45 minutes.

You can also take the train from Central Station to Zaandijk – Zaanse Schans station. The trip by train takes 17 minutes. Once you get off at the station, you need to walk 15 minutes to get to the village. Zaanse Schans village is fairly flat for guests with mobility challenges.

Explore  Zaanse Schans tours from Amsterdam

9. Keukenhof Gardens

The breathtaking Keukenhof is the world’s largest flower garden and the most visited attraction during the summer, welcoming over a million visitors per year.

The Keukenhof gardens feature over 7 million flowers including 800 different types of tulips spread across an area of 32 hectares. Open throughout the year, the best time to see the tulips is from March to May.

Keukenhof is located in the town of Lisse approximately 35 km/22 miles (a 1-hour drive) from Amsterdam cruise port. There are several ways to get from Amsterdam to Keukenhof Gardens, including taking a 20-minute train to Haarlem Station and then taking bus 50 to the gardens.

Check out Keukenhof Gardens tours and activities 

10. Delft

Explore this beautiful medieval town known for its hand-painted blue-and-white pottery, charming canals, and famous for being home to the renowned painter Johannes Vermeer. Delft is located approximately 70 km/44 miles (a 1h 15-minute drive) from Amsterdam port.

From Central Station, there is a direct train to Delft and the ride takes approximately 1 hour. Due to the distance from the port, it’s advisable to visit Delft on a guided tour from Amsterdam.

Visit Delft from Amsterdam 

Town Hall in Delft
Delft Town Hall. Source:

Visit also our cruise port guides to Greenock (Glasgow), Belfast, Holyhead, Dover, Dublin, Invergordon (Inverness), Cork/CobhCopenhagen, Le Havre

You may also like our cruise port guides to the Mediterranean, Caribbean, Western Europe, Baltic & Scandinavia, USA & Canada, Australia & New Zealand

This article may contain affiliate / compensated links. For full information, please see my disclaimer here.

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