10 reasons to visit Amsterdam
Amsterdam, the capital of The Netherlands, lies below sea level on the coastline of Europe. It has a lot of history and culture, from its world domination in the 17th Century to its status as the tulip capital of Europe.
There’s so much happening we thought we’d highlight our top ten reasons to visit after our mini break there last month.
1. The city architecture is beautiful. Original buildings everywhere in the city centre mingle seamlessly with recent builds of similar style. It all gives a uniform and picturesque city appearance which never fails to impress at every turn.
2. The canals. They are the heart of the bustling city and everywhere enjoys spotlessly clean waterside views. And a city centre free of car fumes means a clean and fresh feel.
3. The transport network. Trams, bicycles and boats. It’s flat, it’s accessible and it’s so easy to navigate and get around. Bicycles get priority everywhere, and as everyone cycles, drivers understand cyclists needs and respect them. There is a full network of cycle lanes and millions of bicycles and places to park your two wheels.
4. The Cafe culture rocks. There are little cafes everywhere, including those you already associate with the city’s soft drugs culture. Most have relaxing views at the waters edge making them the perfect locations to chill out.
5. The hotels. It’s full of cool and quirky places to stay! We enjoyed the unique Hotel de Hallen which sits inside a converted tram depot and is packed full of cool retro decor. We were upgraded to a beautiful junior suite by the super helpful and friendly team at reception. www.hoteldehallen.com
6. Markets. There are many street markets throughout the city, including the legendary flower market and we had a wonderful market right beside our hotel. The market at De Hallen was a great place for breakfast with a big selection of breads, pastries, cheeses and fruit at amazing value market prices.
7. It’s so easy to get to from Belfast. Hop on the slightly over 1 hour flight, you arrive within hours of leaving home! The cheap and quick train connection into the city is easy to get to within the airport, then once you arrive in the city the trams are right outside. Easy as.
8. Tulips and windmills. What visit to Amsterdam is complete without visiting the fields of tulips and historic windmills. When we arrived the city was in full Tulip Festival mode with a Tulip planted in the city centre for every resident.
9. Tours. As always we sought out the FREE walking tour of the city. Searched for the white umbrella at Dam Square and enjoyed an indepth and fun walk around this historic, crazy fun city. www.freewalkingtoursamsterdam.com
Of course there are many other tours both on and off the canals, but can you really beat a free one where you tip the tour guide instead?
10. Museums. The city is coming down with museums with priceless works of art. There’s also Anne Frank’s house to visit, but you’ll need to book a visit there about 6 months in advance!
If you’ve never been, get a trip booked. It’s a wonderful city and we’ll be back again next Spring hopefully for more good times.