The vibrant city of Amsterdam brings together a rich history and contemporary culture and offers a retreat in a city that’s been consistently rated among the best in Europe for art, shopping, culture, historic attractions and innovative dining.
Whether you want an action-packed adventure or a relaxing getaway at a slower pace, Amsterdam’s historic canals have plenty to capture the imagination no matter what your interest. Between the world-class museums, award-winning restaurants, designer shops, and historic buildings, the only thing you’ll have to worry about on a city break to Amsterdam is how you’re going to fit it all in.
Things to see and do
Part of what makes Amsterdam such an exciting city to visit is that it’s so unique – it’s a city built on canals that’s home to 1,200 bridges, 2,500 house boats and more bicycles than permanent residents. Its distinct lack of traffic from cars and buses in the city centre is one of the most refreshing aspects of the city – Amsterdam is ideal for exploring on foot or by bicycle and its residents are friendly and welcoming to travellers visiting from abroad. Add into the mix famous attractions like the Van Gogh museum and Anne Frank house and you have all the makings of a memorable city break.
If you’re planning a whirlwind visit to Amsterdam, start your search on the city’s dedicated tourism website, I Amsterdam – in addition to being a wealth of useful information ahead of your visit, you can also purchase the I Amsterdam City Card, which entitles you to discounts at some of the city’s most popular attractions along with free public transport.
For further inspiration, the Telegraph has put together a useful guide of top attractions, restaurants, and places to stay in Amsterdam to help you put together an itinerary that’s all your own. While you’re there, don’t miss:
Rijksmuseum – Closed for more than a decade to undergo an extensive restoration, the stunning Rijksmuseum has reopened to the public and reimagined its impressive collection of Dutch and international masters to be more interesting and accessible than ever.
Heineken Brewery – See how the world famous beer is made, learn about the history of the brand and learn how to pour your own pint perfectly each time. This interactive tour ends with a visit to the Heineken bar for a tasting.
Vondel Park – Rent a bike for the afternoon for a ride around Vondel Park in the heart of the city and see why Holland is known for its lush parks and green spaces.
Canal cruise – Amsterdam’s canal ring is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and what better way to explore it at its best than with a canal cruise? You can choose between guided tours or luxury dining experiences, and opt for both day and night time cruises to see the city in a different light.
Tulip Market – The Netherlands is famous for its tulips and Amsterdam is right at the heart of the action – the first stock market crash is famously a result of the price of inflation on tulip bulbs, and while they’re not as pricey today you can still find the vibrant colours that sent locals into a frenzy back in the 17th century.
Anne Frank House – Learn more about this famous literary figure and the occupation of Amsterdam during World War II with a visit to Anne Frank House and museum. You’ll learn about the history of the family, see the rooms where Anne wrote her famous diary and hear about the wider context of Jewish oppression in Amsterdam before, during and after the war.
Booking your adventure
These days it’s easy to book your entire holiday from the comfort of your own home through travel websites, and because Amsterdam is such a popular European destination, many of the top sites have sections devoted specifically to city breaks in Amsterdam.
You can search and book hotels for your city break on lastminute.com – and if you’re feeling particularly spontaneous, this website has a special feature that lets you book a top secret hotel.
When travelling from the UK Amsterdam is easily reached by ferry, plane or even the Eurostar train – from the website you can also find information about hotels and car hire when you book your city break.