Amsterdam is the Netherlands’ capital city and an important European hub with a rich and multicultural character. Explore the historic harborside and admire the distinctive 19th-century architecture of the tall, narrow buildings that huddle over meandering canals. Forming a U-shape around the historic port, the city’s medieval center features charming façades that front boutique stores, art galleries, coffee shops and atmospheric bars.
The city’s best-known area is its Old Center, which is crisscrossed with arched stone bridges and cobblestone streets. Explore Dam Square and its historic landmarks, including the neoclassical Royal Palace, the Gothic Nieuwe Kerk (New Church) and the National Monument that honors victims of World War II. The square is adjacent to the city’s notorious Red Light District. The neighboring districts of Plantage and the Canal Ring feature beautifully preserved buildings from the 17th and 19th centuries, as well as leafy parks and tree-lined canals. Check out the Jewish Heritage Museum and the Amsterdam Botanic Gardens nearby Waterlooplein. A short walk will bring you to the Artis Zoo and a selection of fascinating museums. Popular museums are Stedelijk, the Van Gogh Museum and Hermitage Amsterdam.
Discover the renewed district of Jordaan, where a former working-class neighborhood transformed into a chic area for galleries, cafés and shops. Further south from here is Amsterdam’s Museum Quarter. Stretch out on the grassy lawns of Vondelpark with a cold beer or peruse the stalls at Albert Cuyp Market. Grab a table in the hip De Pijp district to experience fantastic multicultural cuisine.
Explore the city on a scenic canal boat tour or rent a bicycle to experience the streets the true Dutch way. Don’t miss trying local sweets, such as stroopwafels and licorices. Amsterdam has a fast and reliable public transit network that is comprised of buses, trams and trains. Reach the picturesque harbor city by plane to Schiphol Airport, on a cruise ship or via intercity train from several major hubs in Europe. Visit in summer to experience the city’s lively peak period or in winter to enjoy the romance of the snow-dusted Old Center.