Exploring Waterland from Amsterdam takes visitors out of the city center into the rural backwaters of the flat, Ijsselmeer fen country. It is a microcosm of all things Dutch; it has polders, canals, historic fishing villages, windmills, cows, cheese farms and even artisan clog makers.
The biggest public event in The Netherlands, SAIL Amsterdam is set to attract more than 1.5 millions people to celebrate the Dutch maritime tradition. The 2015 festival takes place between Wednesday August 19 and Sunday 23, and graceful tall ships will sail into the IJ amid thousands of other heritage craft for a long weekend of sporting fun and partying.
The sun is shining brightly as I make my way to the rendezvous point in central Amsterdam. And it’s just as well — I’m about to embark on an exciting cycling journey in the Amsterdam countryside, and the inexperienced cyclist that I am is hoping to have all odds in her favor.
Taking a canal bike down the waterways of the city is a pastime peculiar to Amsterdam, allowing passengers to get up close with houseboats, peer under bridges and admire the fine 17th-century mansions of the Canal Ring as they create their own sightseeing itinerary. Exploring Amsterdam’s canals by paddleboat is also physical fun for all the family.
As one of the most diverse cities in the world, Amsterdam honors this legacy with more than 300 festivals and public events each year. Every summer turns into one long street party, with a potent mix of dance, film, concerts and sport hitting the streets. Here are some of the best summer festivals in Amsterdam.
Amsterdam’s notorious coffeeshops are not known for their double espressos but rather their marijuana, hashish and dope-laced space cakes. Playing a large part in Amsterdam life – and tourism – since the 1970s, they have brought millions of euros into the city. Amsterdam’s ten best coffeeshops all have a reputation for decent prices and helpful ‘bud tender’ staff.
The best plan of attack when visiting Bruges from Amsterdam is to take a couple of tours to see the major highlights and understand the layout of this graceful mini-city. After that, Bruges has something to offer all travelers, so cherry-pick two or three sights to catch as well, according to personal preference.
There’s never enough time when visiting Amsterdam. With so many choices to fill a busy itinerary, it can be hard to justify leaving city limits. But all it takes is a quick walk through its cobblestone streets and you’ll be glad you made time for a daytrip to Maastricht.
Visitors to Amsterdam can easily take the chance to explore further afield. It is possible to discover the charms of Rotterdam, Delft and The Hague in one action-packed day, leaving from Amsterdam.
The year 2015 sees the 125th anniversary of the death of Vincent van Gogh. Amsterdam celebrates Van Gogh’s anniversary in fine style in connection with a series of museums throughout France, Belgium and The Netherlands.