A trip to the Netherlands is incomplete without visiting Amsterdam. Although renowned for its party atmosphere, Amsterdam also offers peace and tranquillity, gorgeous architecture and stunning views. It is a quaint European city that has found the perfect balance between modernity and traditionalism.
The canals that criss-cross through the city has helped it earn the nickname Venice of the North; it really is quite beautiful, brimming with museums, architecture and once-in-a-lifetime experiences.
Amsterdam’s roads are laid out in a grid, which makes it hard to drive in a big car. A supermini will be sufficient for you to get around the central part of the city.
It is in the Old Centre where visitors will find the most well-known spots of Amsterdam. Coffee shops are aplenty, and high street and designer shops can also be found in abundance. There is also stunning architecture and sculpture throughout the Square.
The Anne Frank House is a must-visit for those interested in World War history as it is dedicated to the young, heroic girl. With artefacts preserved in the house, it is a place to pay respects to both Anne Frank and those persecuted during the time of turmoil.
Art lovers must visit the Van Gogh Museum, home to the largest collection of Van Gogh pieces in the world. Emotional yet accessible, Van Gogh has become one of the world’s most beloved artists; making this museum a place that everyone must visit at least once.
A canal cruise is the best way to see the city as it grants access to otherwise difficult to reach spots. Famous landmarks are plentiful, while it is from the angle of the water that the architecture throughout the city can be best appreciated.
Many of the streets within Amsterdam will require a small car and careful driving due to their narrow structure and cobbled roads.
Cyclists are incredibly common in Amsterdam and as cycling is the favoured form of transport, those coming from the USA or UK may be surprised by their prevalence. Drivers should be diligently aware of cyclists at all times.
Parking is free in many areas, particularly on the outskirts of the city. On a Sunday, Albert Cuypstraat is one of the best places to park, though visitors should be aware that the spot is a large and busy market throughout the rest of the week.
Amsterdam Airport Schiphol is one of the busiest in the country and is conveniently located 15km from the city centre. Due to its size, Schiphol has rigid security measures meaning visitors should be sure to allow several hours between arriving to the airport and their flight.
The airport is well signposted and easy to travel from into the city centre; please bear in mind that many visitors will be travelling with their bicycles and so the roads surrounding the airport are as busy with cyclists as the city centre.