Amsterdam proposes a vast variety of experiences. Whether it’s stag do’s, cycling, coffee shops or exclusive selection of diamonds, there is a diverse choice from which to decide a reason to visit. The city that sits below sea level offers a large collection of history and culture and there are also many hidden charms all over the Dutch capital. A key factor as to why Amsterdam is such a big success with the Brits is the value. Snatch up flights from across the UK for as little as £30 and construct a great budget escape. From the authentic nightlife on rooftop terraces to Amsterdam’s landmark attractions, here are six of the best activities to partake in when visiting the city that grew from a 13th century fishing village to a centre of philosophy and commerce.
Cycling is considered the best way to explore the beautiful Dutch capital. Full of heritage and culture, there are over 800,000 bikes in Amsterdam, more than the city’s population just waiting for someone to take them on an exploration. In Amsterdam, cycling is a way of life, with its incredible network of cycling paths and flat terrain, Amsterdam is often considered one of the world’s most cycle-friendly cities.
Amsterdam’s protected canal belt was built in the 17th century to keep the sea at bay and avoid the city submerging. It is the standard picture-postcard vision of Amsterdam and an incredibly pretty sight by both day and night. Moving along the canals by conducted boat tour is a great way to get under the material of the city, and you’ll learn lots of interesting facts along the way – for example why the sloping homes beside the canals are recognised as ‘dancing houses’.
The Prinsengracht house where diarist Anne Frank and her family concealed themselves from the Nazis for two years after escaping persecution in Germany is a great museum to reflect on the mayhem committed against the Jewish people throughout World War II. If you’re into history, this place is definitely worth checking out but queues are often quite lengthy so get there early in the morning or book your tickets online to avoid any sort of disappointment.
Visit de Gooyer windmill in the Oostelijke Eilanden region if you fancy being a beer taster for the day. Below the windmill’s sails is an award winning microbrewery with a big open-air drinking terrace and there are 30 minute conducted tasting tours offered. The brewery produces a variety of organic standard and seasonal ales that you’ll find in many Amsterdam bars, however nothing is quite as good as beer brewed on site.
To experience Amsterdam as it is really lived, step out of the touristy centre and discover the city’s numerous pleasant neighbourhoods – each with their own distinct character. From the energetic food, drink and shopping hotspots of De Pijp to the 19th century classiness of De Plantage and the exciting multiculturalism of Oosterpark, there’s so much to discover when you stray from the well-trodden path.
No trip to the Dutch capital could possibly be complete without paying tribute to Dutch impressionist Vincent Van Gogh. The modern structure on Museumplein is home to more than 1000 of the artist’s pieces of work and offers visitors the opportunity to not only get up close and personal with some of his immediately recognisable work, but also to track his growth and learn more about the artists who motivated, and were inspired by him.
Written by Patrick Hartle