Amsterdam amazes with its characteristic architecture that is reflected on the water of the canals. You can enjoy colorful flower markets and world-famous museums afoot or by cycling in the Dutch capital.
Dam Square, the heart of the city, is a few blocks from the Central Train Station which connects the city to the airport. It is surrounded by the Neoclassical Royal Palace of Amsterdam that has functioned as a royal residence since 1808, and the 600-year-old Gothic building Nieuwe Kerk, with its colossal organ, where the royal family celebrates its ceremonies. The luxury shopping center De Bijenkorf is also located here surrounded by much simpler shops.
Renting a bicycle is the best way to explore the city. You can cycle to Prinsengracht, where the house of Anne Frank is located. In the museum, you can enter the Secret Annex where Anne hid from the Nazis for 761 days. Next, head to the National Maritime Museum where a replica of an 18th-century cargo ship is moored at the dock. The museum's interactive exhibitions show you how the sea has shaped the Dutch culture.
In the Evening
In the De Pijp neighborhood, everything revolves around the Albert Cuyp street market where 250 stalls sell everything from cheeses to tulips, shoes to cosmetics. The architecture reveals that in the past this was the neighborhood of the working class, today inhabited by students. There are splendid examples of Amsterdam School architecture, especially around Pieter Lodewijk Takstraat. By night, take one of the canal tours to enjoy a candle-lit dinner accompanied by the view of illuminated buildings and bridges.
In the Morning
The Museum Square is a complex of museums around a green lung. In the Rijksmuseum, you can admire Rembrandt’s masterpiece, The Night Watch, and Vermeer’s beautiful handling of natural light in The Milkmaid. If you have time, visit the Stedelijk, which was built in 1895 and underwent a major renovation to reopen in 2012 with an annex building called the “bathtub.” Make sure to visit the exhibitions True Luxury and Metahaven: EARTH, open until late February.
If you’ve visited the Van Gogh Museum, dedicated to the great Dutch painter, you can start looking for a place to eat. Stop by Food Crib, a food truck located just a few blocks away or walk to the Foodhallen, an indoor food market where you can find stalls that serve small dishes from Mexican food to sushi.
Before You Leave
The symbol of Holland is the tulip, which is sold in all colors as a souvenir, but a different experience is to visit Bloemenmarkt, the floating flower market. Delft pottery is a classic craft, whether in small mills or clogs. Gouda cheese is a registered trademark and is sold as small waxed wheels. Bike lovers will find the paradise of accessories of all kinds here: horns, seats, and baskets.