Few cities have the ability to juxtapose history and urban modernity with as much flair as Amsterdam. This Dutch city is one of the most popular vacation destinations in Europe, and with good reason. When you are in Amsterdam, you do not need to go out of your way to look for sightseeing locations or famous monuments. This city brings art to your doorstep. You will be bumping into masterpieces created by some of the greatest architects and artists over the centuries at every corner in this city.
If you choose to explore the city like the Amsterdammers do, two-wheeling is the way to go. Whether they are gearing up to go to work, getting ready for a date, or just stepping out to shop, locals use their bikes to commute. Renting a bicycle is a great way to get a taste of authentic Amsterdam that you can explore at your own pace. If they are not biking, the locals hop into boats to navigate the beautiful canals to get to their destinations. This is an option favored by visitors who are on an Amsterdam vacation too. Hop in an open-air canal boat or take one of the free-for-all ferries from behind the Centraal Station to enjoy the many canals and the massive harbor in the city.
Whether you choose to enjoy the modern ambience or wander into the past during your Amsterdam vacation, you will be feeling gezellig. This Dutch word means cozy or convivial, and stands for that unique moment in time when the past and the future cease to matter, and the here and now takes complete prominence. Amsterdam is perhaps the most gezellig place in the whole world. Feel gezellig on your Amsterdam vacation as you leave all your troubles behind for a few days, and just enjoy this euphoric feeling at one of the traditional brown cafés with good beer in hand.
If you are a first-time visitor to the free-spirited Dutch capital, here are our top tips to help you feel at home and enjoy the best of the city on your Amsterdam vacation.
What to See on Your Amsterdam Vacation
One of the most popular sightseeing destinations during an Amsterdam vacation is the Van Gogh Museum. This museum houses the largest art collection created by Amsterdam native Vincent Van Gogh. If Van Gogh doesn’t make you tick, walk/bike a few blocks to reach the Rijksmuseum that houses some of the very best art from the Golden Age of Amsterdam. This museum contains art works created by maestros such as Vermeer, Rembrandt, and others. If you are craving for more of Rembrandt’s works, head to the Museum het Rembrandthuis that boasts his studio packed with his etchings. The Stedelijk Museum contains more modern stocks of art, including the best of Matisse and Mondrian. If you are looking for something larger than life, head to Russia’s State Hermitage Museum which contains more than three million pieces of stellar artwork. After visiting all of these museums, you will realize that you are not even close to done – Amsterdam has more than 60 museums, the highest concentration of museums in the world!
Amsterdam is also well-known for being the city where the Frank family hid from the Nazis for more than two years. The Anne Frank Huis is a place you just cannot miss during your Amsterdam vacation. This is where Anne Frank wrote her famous diary while hiding a secret annex in the house. Her original diary is on display here, kept safe in a glass case. Amsterdam is also home to two other World War II museums – the Jewish Historical Museum in Nieuwmarkt, and the Dutch Resistance Museum in Plantage.
While the children can enjoy a day out at the NEMO Science Center or at the Amsterdam Tulip Museum, the adults can take a break at the Sexmuseum Amsterdam or the Erotic Museum in the famous Red Light District.
For panoramic views of the canals, add three of the most ethereal churches to your Amsterdam vacation itinerary – the Zuiderkerk, the Westerkerk, and the Oude Kerk (also Amsterdam’s oldest building dating back to the 1300s).
Other popular attractions that you should work into your Amsterdam vacation itinerary are the Koninklijk Paleis which is the official residence of the King Willem-Alexander, and the beautiful 47-hectare sylvan retreat Vondelpark.
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