Few can resist the grand beauty of Amsterdam’s famous canals, which thread through this place of evocative beauty and thrilling contrast. Open-minded and tolerant, Amsterdam is a place for history buffs and hedonists alike, and its diverse neighbourhoods have something for everyone - whether it’s the beachside relaxation of Bloemendaal, nocturnal thuds of Buiksloterham, or characterful charm of Jordaan.
160 serene canals serve as the arteries of this city, imbuing it with its unique essence. Cruise along concentric waterways, past cherry red and oak-wood cladded houseboats, as you learn of its Golden Age history. Culture is also deep in Amsterdam’s DNA, and the Van Gogh Museum – which pays tribute to the tortured genius of the Dutch post-impressionist artist - stands out among its leading museums and galleries. One of history’s greatest tragedies is also rendered in heart-breaking clarity at Anne Frank House. Visit the site where the precocious teenager hid from the Nazi regime for so long, and the room where she penned the most famous diary ever written.
Compact and easily walkable, Amsterdam remains consistently postcard-perfect as you watch bright bicycles trundling over ornate bridges, and stumble across hidden, tulip-decorated courtyards. ‘Gezellig’ is the local word for Amsterdam’s unhurried outlook on life. No translation can quite do the concept justice, but you’ll recognise it instinctively as hours float by in a happy haze browsing De Negen Straatjes street’s independent shops, or as you sip coffee with gooey stroopwafel. Broodje haring - a raw herring sandwich - is Amsterdam’s must-try delicacy, but many visitors find tompouce, a delicious pastry topped with vivid pink icing, a little more to their taste.