Amsterdam - "The Venice of the North"
One of my favorite places (and what I consider my second home) is the charming city of Amsterdam. Amsterdam is unlike most European cities in that it feels small - most of the buildings in the historical center are no more than 4 or 5 stories tall and have the traditional Dutch architecture. You can easily walk from one side of the city to the other in about 15-20 minutes. And the walk is scenic especially if you follow one of the canals.
Amsterdam is a melting pot of cultures. You never know whom or what you are going to see - perhaps a cowboy driving a classic Cadillac (complete with blaring country music and bull horns) or maybe a guy riding a penny-farthing. Or perhaps the Heineken horse-and-carriage who still make deliveries to some of the old bars. Or it could be a clog-shaped boat. Yes - I've seen all of those (and more!) when in Amsterdam.
Amsterdam has an assortment of ethnic restaurants making this a foodie paradise. Or you can enjoy some Dutch specialties like herring or pannekoeken (pancakes). The craft beer market is also growing - there is a bar that serves only Dutch-made beers (bigger assortment than you may imagine) and a brewery underneath a windmill (of course!) And of course Amsterdam is known for its coffeeshops that serve more than caffeine. Wink wink.
There have been a rash of 4-/5-star hotels opening in Amsterdam recently which have increased hotel pricing citywide. However, the locations can't be beat as you will be in the center of the action - or in a quieter area - depending on your preferences. Several of the new properties have awesome rooftop bars which are worth a drink even if not staying on-site.
While in Amsterdam, it is recommended to do a day-trip to smaller towns and other areas of Holland. Ideas include Delft, Rotterdam, Keukenhof Gardens (springtime only) or the small fishing villages nearby Amsterdam.
I lived in Amsterdam and try to return each year for at least a couple of weeks. I'd love to share my love of the city with you!
Anne Frank House
Van Gogh Museum
Drinks with Views
Easily Combined With:
- Paris - @3 hours by train
- Brussels - @2 hours by train
- London - @4 hours (soon to be quicker!)
- Berlin - 6 hours by train
- Elsewhere in the Netherlands and Belgium