Blending cultural appeal, historic significance and one of the best nightlife scenes in northern Europe, Amsterdam is the quintessential city break destination. Here’s how to get beneath the skin of the Dutch capital.
On your bike
The best way to navigate those narrow canal paths and paved avenues is on two wheels. Bike hire shops are dotted all over the city, and some – such as AmsterBike (Piet Heinkade 11) and MacBike (Waterlooplein 199) – offer discounts to I Amsterdam City Card holders. Spend a romantic morning freewheeling round the Nine Streets, the Noordermarkt and the Jordaan area, or venture out into a tourist-free neighbourhood such as Amsterdam Zuid to discover a little-known side of this iconic destination. In balmy weather, bundle the bike onto a ferry and head over to the beaches of Amsterdam-Noord to spend the afternoon relaxing in the sun.
The city of van Gogh, Rembrandt and Anne Frank, Amsterdam is a hotbed of cultural activity. You shouldn’t miss the chance to visit classic museums such as the Van Gogh museum (Paulus Potterstraat 7), Anne Frank Huis (Prinsengracht 263-267) and the newly renovated Rijksmuseum (Museumstraat 1), but leave some time free to explore beyond the tourist trail. Amsterdam has some of the best independent galleries in the world, including Radar Architecture and Art (Eerste Rozendwarsstraat 17) and contemporary art hub Galerie Fons Welters (Bloemstraat 140).
Whether your idea of a good time involves a trip to the theatre or a night of raving, this multifaceted city will provide. Start your night at Amstel Amsterdam Hotel’s new A bar (Professor Tulpplein 1), which serves cocktails on a terrace overlooking the river, before booking a table at glasshouse restaurant De Kas (Kamerlingh Onneslaan 3). End your city break to Amsterdam from Glasgow Airport with an art house film at the Rialto (Ceintuurbaan 338), or dance the night away at hipster techno club Studio 80 (Rembrandtplein 17).