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Spotlight on Amsterdam

  • Published 05 April 2018

 The Dutch capital is a city that certainly doesn’t do things by halves

Full of rich history, diverse culture and endless canals, Amsterdam is one of Europe’s most popular cities for a long weekend break. Nearly 1,000 years old but still offering a modern feel, the Dutch capital offers an aesthetic that Instagram certainly won’t do justice from the winding side roads to the gorgeous canal-side buildings. Amsterdam is an all-year-round destination that is just a short hour-long flight from major London airports but have you heard the news? Eurostar has recently announced its direct London to Amsterdam route that will have you in the Netherlands before you know it. Aside from the fantastically easy access to this gorgeous city, Amsterdam is a hub of adventure and excitement with so much to do that it can be difficult to squeeze into a long weekend. But luckily for you, Winged Boots is here to show you how.

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Museums Galore

Amsterdam is home to a plethora of fascinating museums which provide the standing point of the city’s rich culture and heritage. Experiencing them all in-depth in a weekend is near impossible so we recommend visiting the highlights in order to have plenty of time for other activities. Number one on the list has to be the Van Gogh Museum. Housing the largest collection of Van Gogh paintings in the world, guests can also expect to witness brilliant exhibitions documenting certain eras of Van Gogh’s life. The museum is located along the iconic Museumplein, just 20 minutes away from Centraal Station. While you’re in the area, why not check out the Rijksmuseum? On par with New York’s Met Museum and the most-visited museum in the country, Rijksmuseum boasts an extensive collection of more than 8,000 objects and works from the world’s most notable artists. The building has also just undergone a 10-year renovation of its main wing, doubling its exhibition space and inviting even more visitors than before.

You simply can’t visit Amsterdam without a quick stop at Anne Frank Huis. Full of tragically rich history, this virtually untouched biographical museum is dedicated to the young Jewish wartime diarist Anne Frank, once home to her entire family during the Second World War. Known as ‘the Secret Annex’, guests can wander around the house while reading snippets of Anne’s world-famous diary, exploring the hidden rooms and gazing at artefacts that showcase the pain and struggle during the Nazi occupation. The museum is located in central Amsterdam along the Prinsengracht canal. Guests should note that until 1 June 2018 all tickets must be bought online in advance.

On Your Bike

One step on Amsterdam soil will have you nearly knocked over by a two-wheeled vehicle! In the Dutch capital, bicycles are the number one form of transport and cyclists take priority over anyone else on the road – yes, including pedestrians so take care before crossing. But if you can’t beat them, join them! Bike riding is essential to the Amsterdam experience, allowing you to see more of the city in a short space of time in a more adventurous way than strolling along the streets. The city is full of excellent bike rental stores, especially around Centraal Station thus making the vehicles easy to return at the end of the day. Some rental hire companies even offer a bike riding tour, sending you off with an informative guide as you cycle around Amsterdam’s most fascinating sights. Remember, there are still rules of the road. All cyclists must adhere to all traffic lights and signals, use front and back lights on their vehicle after dark and stay in the bicycle lane on the right-hand side of the road. If you’re a bit sceptical riding along with the locals, our advice is to avoid cycling during rush hour (between 8am and 9am or 5pm and 6pm) when big queues at junctions have a tendency to build up. Happy biking!

Paint The Town Red

You’ve seen the pictures, you’ve heard the rumours and now it’s time to see it in the flesh. Amsterdam’s Red Light District, also known as de Wallen, is a must-visit no matter how long you’re in the city for. Despite its infamous reputation, the Netherlands’ most famous street is located in the oldest part of Amsterdam and is home to a plethora of other attractions aside from the main events. But before you check these out, roam along the length of the street illuminated by the bright red lights. We recommend going in the evening to get the full effect of the district. Remember, pictures here are not allowed for obvious reasons so don’t risk having your iPhone out because there are consequences should you get caught. Take a pit-stop at Brouwerij de Prael, a lively brewery that offers a variety of speciality ales and pilsners that are made using international brewing techniques. The pub also prides itself on its social progression by recruiting staff who are experiencing difficulties with employment. If you’re visiting the Red Light District during the day, de Oude Kerk, the oldest building in Amsterdam is an Instagram opportunity like no other along with Ons’ Lieve Heer op Solder, a beautiful catholic church.

Look Out Below

A’DAM Lookout is surely the only way to see the sparkling city in all of its glory. Located in the north of the metropolis, the Lookout is directly at the top of Amsterdam Tower and is an observation deck that provides an unobstructed view of the gorgeous Dutch capital. Gaze at the beautiful canals that sparkle under the sunshine, identify the city’s rich historical centre and take pictures of the Dutch polder landscape that’s guaranteed to have the likes rolling in. Up on the deck, guests will have an unforgettable experience with the aid of an interactive exhibition that showcases the highlights of Amsterdam’s culture and history. However, we’ve saved the best for last. Over the Edge is Europe’s highest swing, situated on the sky deck of the Lookout and perfect for those with a love for adrenaline. You’ll swing 100 metres above ground over the edge of the tower with the entire city of Amsterdam below. Sound like a bit of you? We thought so. If you’re prefer your excitement with a little less danger, we recommend heading up to the 360˚ Panorama Skybar & Restaurant to fill your stomach and quench your thirst before heading back to put your feet firmly on the ground.

Got The Munchies?

After an hour or two at Amsterdam’s notorious coffee shops, we bet you’re feeling a little bit – or a lot – peckish. Although its culinary scene was once looked down on, in recent years foodies have been travelling from far and wide to dine in the Dutch capital’s best restaurants. Ciel Bleu is an absolute must and boasts being the only restaurant with a two Michelin star rating in the whole of Amsterdam. This decadent eatery is located on the 23rd floor of the beautiful Okura Hotel, providing endlessly striking views of the city. Contemporary European cuisine is the staple here, using only the freshest and finest of seasonal ingredients to concoct a meal that boasts an utter symphony of stunning flavours. The dress code at Ciel Bleu is strictly smart casual and dinner reservations should be made in advance in order to avoid disappointment.

If you’re in the mood for some good ol’ fashioned street food that’s hot, filling and truly satisfying, you can’t go wrong with grabbing a cone of vlaamse frites, or Flemish fries. A Dutch staple, these potato treats can be found all over Amsterdam and are served with a generous dollop of your chosen sauce with the most popular options being mayonnaise and peanut sauce. Oh, and you can’t leave the Netherlands without tasting an authentic Dutch pancake. Sweet or savoury, these pancakes are truly delicious and eateries serving these delights usually have a long line but trust us when we say it’s worth the wait. Get your cheese on and fill your pancake with gouda or indulge in a sugar fix with lashings of Nutella and whipped cream – the choice is yours.

Bike riding is essential to the Amsterdam experience

Have We Convinced You?

The Netherlands is utterly stunning, perfect for every kind of traveler on the hunt for a hybrid holiday of city excitement and picturesque relaxation. Can't wait to begin planning your Amsterdam adventure? Call our personal travel managers on 0203 816 0985 and you'll be jetting off to this beautiful city faster than you can say "tulips"! 

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