Essential Amsterdam

07 July of 2013 by

Amsterdam offers some of the most exciting and breathtaking experiences to be found in Europe. From picturesque tours of the city to historic monuments, fabulous museums and superb entertainment venues, Amsterdam has something for everyone to enjoy.

Cycle around the city

Cycle around Amsterdam
Cycle around Amsterdam, Licence

In Amsterdam, bicycles are a popular and efficient mode of transport. The city itself is designed for this very purpose, with designated bike lanes and rental facilities located near every major attraction. These rental facilities supply bikes at affordable tariffs and also provide guided tours and route maps to help tourists find their way around this impressive city.

Try a canal tour

Amsterdam canal tour
Amsterdam canal tour, Licence

Amsterdam’s seventeenth century canals were declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2010, and are a fantastic network of waterways that weave through the city. Boat tours are available from many locations along these historic canals (you can find it here), and are a truly pleasurable way to take in the views and attractions of Amsterdam. Choose a full-day tour or the hop-on, hop-off option which enables tourists to visit places of interest and then resume the journey afterwards.

The fabulous floating flower market

Amsterdam floating flower market
Amsterdam floating flower market, Licence

Bloemenmarkt (map) is a world-renowned flower market that sells a huge range of incredible flowers, plants and bulbs from barges that float on the Singel canal. A visit to this beautifully fragrant market is a must for any tourist. As the only floating flower market in the world, visitors flock here daily to purchase pre-packaged bulbs and colourful tulips that are the emblem of the capital. The Oudemanhuispoort Book Market offers an alternative shopping experience, and has a great selection of textbooks, novels, poetry and prints. The Albert Cuyp Markt is a popular fleamarket where quality goods can be found at bargain prices.

The Secret Garden

Begijnhof, Amsterdam
Begijnhof, Amsterdam, Licence

The fourteenth century enclosed courtyard of Begijnhof (map) is quite possibly the most tranquil place to visit in Amsterdam. Despite the crowds, this old religious sanctuary that was once a convent provides a peaceful but memorable break from the chaotic streets of the capital. Tiny houses and immaculate gardens surround the courtyard, and both the Begijnhof Kapel and the Engelse Kerk, the two churches that can be found here, are definitely not to be missed.

Picnic in Vondelpark

Vondelpark
Vondelpark, Licence

Amsterdam is notorious for gloriously sunny days, and there is no better location for a spot of relaxing than Vondelpark (map). Boasting one hundred and twenty acres of gardens, lawns and playgrounds, Vondelpark was opened in 1865 and now receives more than ten million visitors every year. The park is an ideal location for a family picnic, and with the bandstand and open air theatre providing free entertainment and the various bars and restaurants that are dotted about, there is plenty to do here.

Enjoy the music scene

Bimhuis - Amsterdam
Bimhuis – Amsterdam, Licence

Amsterdam is home to some amazing music venues, and after all of the sightseeing and touring there is nothing more welcome than some soulful jazz music to end the perfect day. The Bimhuis (map) has been providing audiences with jazz music since the 1970s, and many of the world’s greatest jazz musicians have played here over the years. Café Alto is also well-known for its jazz musicians, and is a wonderfully intimate venue. Whether it be day or night, Café Alto offers a constant stream of fantastic jazz music and live entertainment.

Visit an art museum

Rembrandt House Museum
Rembrandt House Museum, Licence

Amsterdam has some of the best galleries and museums in Europe and the Rembrandt House Museum (map), the artist’s former home, showcases some of his greatest works and is a true delight to explore. The Rijksmuseum is likewise dedicated to the arts, and houses over eight thousand paintings, sculptures and historic artefacts that date back to the 1200s. Displaying many of the works by Vincent Van Gogh and other famous artists, the Van Gogh Museum is another of Amsterdam’s impressive art galleries, and is the most visited museum in the Netherlands.

So, whether the aim is to tour the city by bike or by water, to take in the sights and enjoy the many historic buildings, flower displays and art museums that are on offer, or simply to unwind in one of the fantastic music venues dotted about the capital, a trip to this beautiful city is a truly memorable experience that can be enjoyed by all. And with great prices on flights to Amsterdam all year round, there’s never a bad time to make a visit!

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