A visit to Amsterdam

As the capital of the Netherlands, Amsterdam is a city bursting with variety and life. A city with fascinating canals, unique architecture and so much to discover from its historical links to modern art, eateries, and boutique shops.

To really enjoy an authentic experience of Amsterdam you have to hire a bike. Visitors are often surprised at the number of bikes they see when visiting the city, but a bike is part of the family for local residents and it’s a huge part of life and culture in the capital. The city is designed for cyclists and whether you’re a local popping to work, a parent taking a child to school or a tourist exploring, the best way to move around and see the sights is on two wheels.

Amsterdam is not like many capitals it doesn’t have major landmarks known all over the world like Paris or Rome for example, but this capital has so much to offer and is just waiting to be explored and enjoyed, so where do you begin when visiting Amsterdam?

The canals
Dug in the 17th century during the Dutch Golden Age, the canals in the city are as famous as the tulips and windmills. With over 100 kilometres of waterways, 90 islands and 1,500 bridges the experience of riding on the water is not to be missed. A great way to see the capital and soak up the atmosphere along with an excellent way to commute.

For a memorable experience take to the canals in the evening when the streets and buildings are illuminated while the sun sets, and as dark falls enjoy the romance of the water by the twinkling lights that light up the restaurants, bridges and trees. Book tickets or travel passes in advance to make the experience even more relaxing.

Museums and galleries
You do not need to be an art lover to visit the vast array of museums and galleries in the city, the range of arts on display is fascinating whether art is your passion or not. There is something for everyone whether it be the classics or modern contemporary.

The Museumplein is a public space located in the city where the three major museums are located.

Van Gogh Museum
Buy tickets in advance online to experience the world’s most extensive collection of Vincent van Gogh’s paintings and drawing. Get to know this world-famous artist and his work in more detail and discover how he influenced art’s history.

Just a short distance from the Van Gogh museum, set in beautiful grounds and gardens, is the Dutch national museum. Housing a stunning collection of art along with rich history about the Netherlands itself, from the Middle Ages to the present, you can be sure to come away full of inspiration.

Stedelijk Museum
The Stedelijk Museum is a treasure trove of modern and contemporary art with outstanding pieces displayed in totally unique and abstract formations and stunning installation’s that will leave a lasting impression.

Located not far away is the Gunther Von Hagen’s ‘Body Worlds’ exhibition. An excellent collection of modern art but it’s not for the squeamish.

Anne Frank’s House
The Diary of Anne Frank is a book known all over the world. The words recorded by a young girl captures the heartbreaking yet truly inspirational record of her time spent in hiding during World War II.

While in Amsterdam take the time to visit the house where Anne Frank spent her time in hiding, a biographical museum dedicated to the young writer. Being one of the most popular places to visit it is advised you purchase tickets in advance to avoid disappointment.

The world’s only floating flower market is the best place to see Tulips in the city. Full of fresh blooms fragrantly filling the air, the market provides a lovely experience to wonder and adore.

Jordaan District
An interesting, vibrant area full of modern cafes, restaurants, art galleries and boutique shops, a great place for a relaxing browse and tasty treat. At night the Jordaan District becomes a spectacle as the canals and bridges light up with charming lights. It’s the perfect place to enjoy a romantic stroll and cocktail or, to be more like the locals, a craft beer.

EYE Film Institute
If films are your passion then a visit to this very futuristic building will give you an insight into the history of Dutch and Foreign films, including a collection of film posters, old filming equipment and interactive exhibits.

The EYE provides panoramic views of Amsterdam and has a very trendy bar and restaurant, perfect for an evening meal with a view. A free ferry can help you access the EYE but be sure to look up the times before you set sail.

Park life
Amsterdam has many beautiful parks and gardens that locals like to spend time socialising in. Enjoying the outdoors together with friends and family, sharing food, playing games and soaking up the sunshine is a big part of life in the city.

Why not take a moment to relax in one of the parks and fully absorb your visit to the capital, maybe try the local speciality of Dutch herring with pickles, onion and bread from one of the many street kiosks while taking a break and enjoying the views.

With beautiful architecture, colourful blooms, whirling windmills, masters of the art world, moments of inspiring history and a whole lot of bikes, a visit to Amsterdam is sure to be exciting and will leave you with plenty of memories to be treasured.

To find out more about our first class rail holiday’s to Amsterdam or our holidays to the Netherlands and beyond, call 01347 825292.