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Amsterdam city guide

Turn your city break into a microadventure

Amsterdam: On two wheels in Amsterdam

Take a train into the city centre then hire a bike. There are countless hire places available. Amsterdam is the most cycle-friendly city in the world. There is a wide network of traffic-calmed streets, cycle paths, and cycle parking facilities. 

So sling on your rucksack in this most cycle-friendly of places and escape the city for a night, riding west down civilised bike lanes for 25km to the National Park Zuid-Kennemerland, a rugged coastal park of dunes and big skies. 

There has been a controlled release of bison into areas of the park, too.  

Level of Difficulty: Moderate. 

What to pack: Suitable clothes for cycling and camping (check the weather forecast), woolly hat, headtorch, raingear, sleeping bag, mat and bivvy bag, food and water. 

Best time to go: Summer


Culture, canals and coffee shops, Amsterdam is not only Europe’s capital of fun, but is a great place to unwind and take things easy.  Tolerant, welcoming and a lot of fun, Amsterdam is a city that likes to take things at a leisurely pace during the day but gets into party mode at night. So, whether you’re looking to recharge those batteries or wear them down a little more, you’ll find Amsterdam has options for both. And what a setting! Beating Venice in the canal stakes, cities really don’t get much more picturesque than this. The old town and the centre, which is where you’ll want to base yourself, is a delight of arched bridges, 17th century narrow gabled houses, houseboats decked with flowers and canal-side cafes and eateries. 

Packed with museums and galleries, Amsterdam is a jewel in Europe’s cultural crown. The Rijksmuseum is one of the best art galleries in the world, including paintings from the Dutch Golden Age and art lovers will also enjoy the Van Gogh Museum. Visit Anne Frank’s House to see where the famous diarist and her family hid from the Nazis during the Second World War.  


easyJet holidays to Amsterdam

Your easyJet holiday to Amsterdam is more than just a flight, it is an experience that is just as unforgettable as the city's canals. easyJet holidays provides a variety of ready-to-go holidays, and really great value, too. We can help you find the perfect package, including flights, hotel, and even transfers if you wish for your trip to the Netherlands' capital. Whether it’s a weekend of romance, a week long family experience or a lads' trip, easyJet holidays has the right package to make your experience the best it can be.



The Martin Luther King quote "we may have all come in on different ships, but we're in the same boat now" is the inspiration for artist Sarah van Sonsbeeck's intervention in the Oude Kerk, Amsterdam's oldest surviving building. Here, amid the final resting place of Holland's naval heroes, she uses emergency blankets and other unconventional materials to ponder the topical issue of migration. (www.oudekerk.nl).

Amsterdam's stage scene becomes a cauldron of experimental dance doings in July, as the Julidans festival springs into action. This year there are headline performances from the likes of the Ballet National de Marseille, as well as a spotlight on up-and-coming talents in the Julidans NEXT programme. www.julidans.nl

The World Press Photo initiative was formed in 1955, when a group of Dutch photographers organised a contest to expose their work to international contemporaries. These days it's evolved into a captivating travelling exhibition that kicks off in Amsterdam's Nieuwe Kerk before decamping to venues in Mexico City and Tokyo. www.worldpressphoto.org.

The 'Prints in Paris 1900: From Elite to the Street' exhibition at the Van Gogh Museum examines one of the defining technological developments of Belle Époque France. Its dazzling collection features some truly iconic illustrations while evoking the excitement and sophistication of the age. www.vangoghmuseum.nl

The latest solo show at Amsterdam's world-class contemporary art museum, the Stedelijk, is an unabashed celebration of one of the city's best loved shutterbugs. Ed van der Elsken, who died in 1990, was an early practitioner of photographic modes we take for granted these days, including street photography. What's more, he observed Amsterdam through some of its most tumultuous transformations. Unmissable. www.stedelijk.nl/en

The arrival of the Dutch changed South Africa irreversibly. Comprising 300 curated objects and expert commentary,"Good Hope. South Africa and The Netherlands from 1600" at the Rijksmuseum is the first major exhibition to explore this most sensitive and significant chapter of colonial history (www.rijksmuseum.nl).

Key Areas

You don't have to choose between vitamin D and a shot of culture this (or any) summer in Amsterdam, thanks to the venerable tradition of open air performances in the famous Vondelpark. Taking in dance, pop music and cabaret, the majority of shows require no knowledge of Dutch to be enjoyed. (www.openluchttheater.nl/english/)

It's home to Amsterdam Fashion Week at the beginning of July, but there's much besides strutting to occupy visitors to the Westergasfabriek complex throughout the rest of the month. A host of bars with sunny terraces clamours for your attention, and the Milkshake music festival at the end of the month is popular with the LGBT crowd.

In brand recognition terms, it may play second fiddle to a certain green-canned beer, but the Bols family of spirits plays a truly extraordinary role in the history of Amsterdam - and booze. Visitors to the newly-upgraded House of Bols experience just off Museum square can learn how the Bols family invented the cocktail (and, effectively, branding) before rustling one up for themselves. Proost! www.bols.com/experience

Its aesthetic is the opposite of boastful, but Dutch design has much to recommend it. Occupying a historic building next door to one of Amsterdam's most-photographed bridges, Hôtel Droog (www.droog.com) is a conceptual design institution that can sell you a lamp that looks like a coat hanger then feed you a cracking sandwich.

Day Trips

The second week of this month is your last chance to experience (formerly) Young British Artist Martin Creed's playful intervention at the Museum Voorlinden in Wassenaar (www.voorlinden.nl). Once you've had your fill of balloon-filled rooms, head out into the exquisite gardens by master of Dutch horticultural design, Piet Oudolf.

Bright and beautiful, the Netherlands' tulip season is going out in a blaze of glory this month. The famous Keukenhof gardens in Lisse are open until 21 May, showcasing expert arrangements of the iconic bloom. It takes around an hour to get there on the bus. www.keukenhof.nl

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