There’s plenty more to the Netherlands than picturesque windmills, multi-coloured tulips, and the world-famous bicycle culture, although that’s three great reasons to visit already. Beyond the clog-wearing, cheese-making stereotypes, the Netherlands is an essential stop for art and architecture enthusiasts, and its cultural capital, Amsterdam, is a vibrant and cosmopolitan city with history and creativity around every corner.
Amsterdam is perfect for leisurely strolls along the canals. Admire Dutch masterpieces in the Rijksmuseum or the modern collection in the ‘bathtub’ shaped Stedelijk. No visit is complete without taking a peek behind the scenes in the Heineken brewery or the hiding place where Anne Frank wrote her famous diary. Further afield there are the 14th-16th century buildings of Haarlem, The Hague with its extraordinary Binnenhof Palace or the characteristic old fishing villages like Volendam on the former Zuidersee.
Step back in time and immerse yourself in idyllic 17th century Dutch landscapes of gently turning windmills and charming bridges, arching over peaceful canals. Enjoy a slower pace of life with all the comforts of modern touches.
Send your spirits soaring on this fairy-tale journey from Amsterdam’s canals through to Salzburg’s ‘Sound of Music’ hills and Italy’s most revered cities. Meet a castle owner on the romantic Rhine, a gondolier in whimsical Venice, and an Italian chef in hilltop Orvieto. This trip is a symphony of the ages, where history comes alive as you hear from passionate locals about life in some of Europe’s most beautiful cities.
An all-encompassing journey of magnificent menus, outstanding scenery and incredible cultural heritage, this itinerary brings you face-to-face with Europe’s finest attractions. Celebrate Catalonia with a small-group pintxo (tapas) tasting, enjoy a tasting of robust Tuscan reds and ascend to the top of Europe on Mount Stanserhorn to learn about regional fauna and flora from a Swiss Ranger. You will meet passionate locals along the way who will share insider knowledge and enrich your experience.
Amsterdam has been the world’s diamond capital for 400 years and it’s still a great place to buy. At the other end of the price spectrum, Dutch bulbs, tulips, hyacinths and narcissus in every colour except black. Delft pottery and tiles are another classic souvenir in bright colours as well as the traditional blue. Edam and Gouda cheeses and traditional wooden clogs are also popular souvenirs.
Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw is one if the leading concert halls in Europe. Ballet lovers can choose the classic Dutch National Ballet or the avant garde Nederlands Danstheatre. Want something more casual? Bring a bottle of wine and a blanket to join the locals at Amsterdam’s Vondel Park, where there’s free jazz, classical and cabaret performances most nights of the week.
Amsterdam is not only home to some of the world’s finest museums, but also some of the quirkiest! After Rembrandt and Van Gogh, why not seek out the Museum of Bags and Purses? And of course it wouldn't be Amsterdam without the likes of the Erotic, Hemp or Torture museums. Don’t forget to visit Amsterdam’s Red Light District, and learn the history and dynamics of the place known to locals as de Wallen.