Amsterdam, the capital of the Netherlands, is without a doubt one of Europe’s most appealing cities. A beguiling blend of historic canals, world-class culture, art and plenty more besides, it’s a real crowd pleaser. Its Unesco-protected canal network dates back to the 17th century, and there’s no better way to see them – and the stately houses that line their paths – than by boat. It’s also a great way to get your bearings and pick which neighbourhoods to explore, such as arty Jordaan or De Pijp – home to lots of independent boutiques, cafés and bars.
Amsterdam holidays are great for travellers who like to be kept busy. Culture vultures should start at Museumplein, home to the Van Gogh Museum, Rijksmuseum and the Stedelijk Museum. It’s also worth embracing Amsterdam’s cosier side, holing up in one of its cute canalside cafés and exploring the city’s numerous parks, including the largest, the Vondelpark.
Holidays to Amsterdam can be a real feast for the taste buds – try Dutch delicacies such as raw herring, Gouda cheese and gooey Stroopwafels, while by night the city comes to life – pick from bars, pubs, live music and restaurants. And, if you fancy discovering the Netherlands beyond Amsterdam, its technicolour tulip fields, picture-postcard windmills and dramatic coastline are all easily reached from the city. There’s no doubt about it, this energetic city charms on every level.
Van Gogh’s Sunflowers
The Van Gogh Museum houses more than a thousand artefacts – spanning paintings, drawings and letters – from the world-famous Dutch Impressionist painter, including one of his renowned Sunflowers paintings.
The Netherlands is celebrated for its tulip season, from March until May. Visit Amsterdam’s floating flower market, or head to the fields of the Bollenstreek region to see them in bloom.
Don’t miss the narrow, multi-storey houses that line Amsterdam’s canals. Many of these picturesque abodes were built in the 17th century to house wealthy merchant families.