Amsterdam, city of contrasts
The capital of the Netherlands, Amsterdam is a city loved by the many millions who visit each year. While most people think of canals, bikes, coffee shops and the red-light district, the city is blessed with a deep history, stunning architecture and culture around every corner.
Amsterdam’s proximity to the UK and wide variety of places to stay make it a very popular city-break destination. Accommodation options range from hostels to central 5-star hotels, and most flights from the UK take less than an hour and a half.
Amsterdam's fun-loving and free-spirited reputation means a good time is normally on the cards for visitors heading to the city. The endless cafés offer something for all tastes and persuasions, while Amsterdam's history and culture can have you wondering at the story of Anne Frank or gazing at a masterpiece by Van Gogh or Rembrandt.
When to go?
Winters tend to be pretty chilly in Amsterdam, so make the most of the bikes, the beer, the canals and the people-watching between May and September. Even in peak summer, average temperatures don't get much higher than the mid-twenties, which is perfect for a relaxing few days strolling round the city.
How to get there?
National carrier KLM flies from across the UK direct to Amsterdam Schiphol in around 90 minutes. British Airways also offers direct flights from London, as do low-cost carriers easyJet and bmibaby, which flies from Manchester, East Midlands and Birmingham.
As well as the emotionally powerful Anne Frank House and the museums dedicated to Van Gogh and Rembrandt, a walk through the red-light district is the kind of spectacle you won't see elsewhere in Western Europe. The best way to get around and sightsee is by bike, which will also allow you to venture slightly further afield. If it's a nice day, hire a bike and head out towards Edam, a route that will take you through picture-perfect Dutch countryside, windmills and all.