Whether you’re looking to celebrate New Year somewhere a little different or you’re simply looking for an early 2013 break, Amsterdam could be just the place. It’s small enough to navigate with ease, full of friendly and interesting locals and with more to do than you could possibly fit into one weekend.
Here are four of the best things to do to make the most of your Amsterdam break.
Tour the Heineken Experience
With great links to the UK, one minute you could be waiting for your flight at Birmingham airport and in just a few hours you could be sipping a cold beer at the Amsterdam Heineken Experience. Not just a museum, the Dutch beer company has put together an interactive tour to illustrate the art of the brew. Even for those not after a boozy weekend, the Heineken Experience is a great place to get into the Amsterdam spirit.
Take a river tour
While travel to Holland is possible by boat, it’s best to save your sea-loving side for the canals of Amsterdam. Cheap flights run regularly from all over the UK, so whether you’re flying from a big city like Newcastle or a regional destination like Manston airport in Kent, there’s a flight for you.
Amsterdam might be well known for having a seedy underbelly with its coffee shops and vast red light district, but in reality it is one of Europe’s most picturesque cities. For the best way to see the city, take a riverboat tour or hire your very own pedalo and explore the network of canals. And if you’re feeling really adventurous, why not park up and stop for a portion of frites for lunch?
Hire a bike
According to CNN, Amsterdam is 11th in the Mercer 2012 index of the world’s cities with the best quality of life. One look around at all of the bikes and you can see why. The luxury of a cycle path commute beats the tube or the bus any day and bikes make for a safe and exciting way for visitors to explore Amsterdam’s streets.
Hire your own bike (child seats are available) and take off. A gentle ride through the Jordaan neighbourhood is recommended thanks to its plethora of cafes, canal bridge crossings and delis. Start at the Houseboat Museum on Prinsengracht and pedal your way to the Noordermarkt market. Find fresh goods, secondhand books and quirky gifts to bring home with you.
Visit the museums
With artists like Van Gogh and Rembrandt exhibited in Amsterdam, it isn’t hard to find great art and culture. Visit the Rijksmuseum for hundreds of masterpieces by the greats of 17th century art or stop off to see Anne Frank’s house. Or you could seek out some of Amsterdam’s more irreverent cultural institutions, such as the Sex Museum, the Erotic Museum, the Torture Museum and even the Museum of Glasses. Only in Amsterdam…