Amsterdam

The City of Amsterdam: a Pulsing Metropolis in a Compact Cityscape. No other city has so many sights per square kilometre.

What makes Amsterdam so popular with visitors from around the world? Is it the city’s atmosphere, or famous canals? Is it its rich history, or theatres and museums? Perhaps it’s the cosy outdoor terraces, and fabulous shops and department stores? Or how about the beautiful parks, where there’s always so much to see and do? Then again – maybe it’s the freedom that Amsterdam offers with its tolerant “live and let live” mentality?

In fact, it’s all these things that make Amsterdam such a one-of-a-kind destination. So, why not explore this compact city like a local? Just put on your walking shoes, or grab a bike, and go! No other city has so many sights per square kilometre.

But Amsterdam is also a thriving urban centre – a pulsing metropolis in a compact cityscape. You’ll find that sights in the city centre are all within walking distance. You can easily discover other districts with plenty of tram, bus and metro connections to choose from. And don’t forget the fleet of ferries ready to take you across the IJ River.

Must see attractions

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Must-see attractions

Which sights shouldn’t you miss? Although Amsterdammers believe that the only thing anyone “should” be doing is “as they please”, there are a few gems that number among the city’s top sights: famous museums include the Rijksmuseum, Van Gogh Museum, Anne Frank House and the Hermitage Amsterdam. There’s the equally celebrated 17th century canal district, declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2010.

Other highlights include the cosy 17th century Jordaan district, the lively Pijp with its terrace cafés and Albert Cuyp Market, the Plantage district, where nature, culture, history and science go hand in hand, the Eastern Docklands boasting modern architecture and design, and the up-scale museum mecca that is the Oud-Zuid area. Then why not head to Westerpark area and discover Cultuurpark Westergasfabriek or the imaginative architecture of the Amsterdam School (Museum Het Ship).

Amsterdam Noord is both fascinating for its daring architecture along the banks of the IJ and the historic dike houses in the Nieuwendammerdijk neighbourhood. The district of Oud-West also has some surprises in store including historic riding academy Hollandse Manege, the seven buildings of United Europe and a giant bookcase that’s part of a housing estate.

And speaking about must-see sights – don’t miss taking a boat tour through the canals, exploring the city by bike, and enjoying sunny terrace breaks in between. But that’s not all! If you’ve been there, done that and got the t-shirt, there’s still plenty more to discover…

Organic market and picnic in the park/Parks

Start the day like an Amsterdammer. Go shopping in the cosy “9 Straatjes” or “9 Streets” area in the canal district and stop for lunch at one of the many cafés and eateries. If it happens to be Saturday, head to the organic market on Noordermarkt square in the Jordaan. Looking for some rest and relaxation? Lay your weary head in the green grass of one of the city’s parks. The best known is Vondelpark, with its multitude of joggers, sun worshippers and performers, people lounging on terraces, playing football or rollerblading.

Westerpark is a more hip and happening alternative, sprawling around the impressive industrial complex of Westergasfabriek, built in 1885. On a hot summer’s day, Oosterpark is full of families with well-stocked picnic baskets, and kids splashing around in the public wading pool till far into the evening.

Canal District: Canal houses and gardens

Amsterdam is most famous throughout the world for its canals. The reflection of the historic facades, bridges and boats in the water creates a unique atmosphere. But the city’s web of waterways also offers plenty of surprises even city residents are often unaware of.

Such as a number of canal houses that are open to visitors, featuring beautiful interiors dating from the 17th, 18th or 19th centuries. Perhaps the gardens hidden behind these houses offer the biggest surprise of all – with only the sound of chirping birds, these gardens offer an oasis of tranquillity, shutting out the hustle and bustle of the city around them.

Festivals: Experience Amsterdam’s fabulous festivals throughout the year

Although summer offers the greatest concentration of festivals, there’s bound to be a festival on that you won’t want to miss, no matter what time of year you visit Amsterdam.Highlights include the orange-coloured street party that is Queen’s Day, the prestigious international Holland Festival, the Grachtenfestival celebrating classical music with concerts in canal houses and on the waterways, the often surprising Over het IJ theatre festival, the annual Gay Pride Canal Parade, dance event Sensation at Amsterdam ArenA stadium, the Parade travelling theatre festival and the Dutch Design manifestation in September.

Where to stay

Amsterdam City Center Hotels

Amsterdam

The Amsterdam area boasts more than 350 hotels, so you’re sure to find something in a convenient location that fits your budget. Hotel accommodation ranges from simple 1-star rooms to the ultimate in 5-star luxury. Compare hotel rates and book now with our online reservation service. Some hotels are renowned for their state-of-the-art architecture, historical significance, exclusive design or original interiors.

Others stand out for their high standards and warm hospitality. Compare prices and book online, or visit one of the official Tourist Offices in the city for assistance finding a room. Many of Amsterdam’s hotels meet the highest standards for sustainability. Look for the Green Key logo to identify hotels dedicated to environmental responsibility.

Amsterdam Airport Hotels

Transport from the airport
A Direct Rail Link connects Schiphol International Airport to Amsterdam central station and is the fastest and most convenient way to get to the city center. Trains run every 10 minutes (airport train schedule) from platforms 1 and 2 in the main arrival plaza and cost just € 3.60 for a single journey.

Have change on hand to use the ticket machines to avoid the lines and € 0.50 surcharge at the ticket office. From October 2005 a fine of 35 Euro will be added to the fare if you do not have a valid ticket with you on the train.

Airport Shuttles run by Connexxion depart every 10 minutes with service to more than 100 hotels throughout the city. Tickets cost € 15,50 one way, € 25 for a return, and can be purchased inside the main arrival plaza. Guests of major hotels should first check the shuttle area to see if their hotel provides a complimentary service. The tickets be purchased at the Amsterdam Shuttle Desk in Arrivals 4 and at the bus stop A7.

Rotterdam

Holland’s second-biggest city after Amsterdam, Rotterdam offers nothing short of a truly unique appearance, since the majority of its central buildings are modern, following war damage in the 1940s.

Tourists will soon discover that recent building projects have transformed the Dutch city of Rotterdam and given it nothing short of a new lease of life, with stylish architecture and erections such as the breathtaking Euromast and its elevated panoramic restaurant.

The energy and nightlife now present in Rotterdam has had an extremely positive effect on tourism and the local community seems to thrive on the diversity and culture now apparent all over the city. The western side of Rotterdam boasts the busiest harbour in the whole of Europe and the city’s shipping industry dates from the late 16th century.

Tourists will be overwhelmed by the sights and sounds on offer here, ranging from a simple stroll along the banks of the Maas River (Nieuwe Maas) or the Oude Haven area, to enjoying an evening out at one of the endless cheap bars, which are influenced by the resident student population and regularly feature live music. Many hotels line the banks of the Nieuwe Maas, as do Rotterdam apartments, a number of which are based around the Maritime Quarter (Scheepvaartkwartier), Parkhaven district and Westzeedijk area, being close to Het Park and the Park Quay (Parkkade).

Must see attractions

Read more about Rotterdams must see attractions

Rotterdam Tourist Information: Top Sights

Whether you are shopping along the pedestrianised arcade of Lijnbaan, taking a cruise around Rotterdam’s harbour, or soaking up the sun on the city’s Boompjeskade Beach, you can be sure to find something to enjoy during your stay.

Families staying in Rotterdam will enjoy a trip to Blijdorp Zoo and its exceptional Oceanarium, while other tourists will enjoy strolling around the Arboretum Trompenburg, or the historical seaport of Delfshaven. The windmill of Delfshaven is particularly iconic and much photographed. More information about Rotterdam Tourist Attractions and Landmarks.

Culture in Rotterdam is in abundance within the area known as Museumpark (Museum Park), where many of the best museums in the city are clustered. The Kunsthal art gallery is amongst the best offerings here and situated at the southern end of the Museum Park, regularly hosting many quality art exhibitions.

Celebrating the rich maritime traditions in the Netherlands, the Maritime Museum is filled with interesting models and information. On a similar theme, Rotterdam’s Openlucht Binnenvaart Museum contains a large collection of historic waterway boats, and is conveniently close to the Mariniers Museum, on the Wijnhaven. More information about Rotterdam Museums and Art Galleries.

Famed for its canals, cafe culture, museums and Red Light District, Amsterdam makes for an extremely popular day trip from Rotterdam and is only just over an hour away, being connected by buses and trains.

Even closer is the Dutch city of The Hague, the characterful town of Dordrecht, and Kinderdijk, where a large group of working windmills are located along its winding canals. Also close to Rotterdam is the Biesbosch National Park, where various recreational activities in a rather tranquil setting offer something quite different. More information about Rotterdam Attractions Nearby.

Where to stay

Rotterdam Hotels

In Rotterdam there are different kind of hotels, from 3 star till luxury 5 star hotels.

Den Haag ''The Hauge''

Den Haag, officially known as ’s-Gravenhage (‘the Count’s Hedge’), is the Dutch seat of government and home to the royal family. Prior to 1806, Den Haag was the Dutch capital. However, that year, Louis Bonaparte installed his government in Amsterdam. Eight years later, when the French had been ousted, the government returned to Den Haag, but the title of capital remained with Amsterdam.

Den Haag today is a stately, regal place filled with palatial embassies and mansions, green boulevards and parks, prestigious art galleries, a mouthwatering culinary scene, a clutch of tasty museums, and some throbbing nightlife. Plus it’s attached to the seaside suburb of Scheveningen, worth a visit for its lively kitsch and long stretch of beach. In the 20th century Den Haag became the home of several international legal entities including the UN’s International Court of Justice and the Academy of International Law.

Must see attractions
Where to stay

Den Hague Hotels

There are a number of 9- and 18-hole golf courses in and around The Hague. With the Royal Haagsche Golf & Country Club located nearby, and Noordwijk and Kennemer a little farther along the coast, The Hague could be ‘the most exciting links golfing destination on mainland Europe’, according to the Top 100 Golf Courses of the World.

Utrecht

Utrecht is one of the Netherlands’ oldest cities – not that you’d know it when you step off the train and find yourself lost in the maze that is the Hoog Catharijne shopping centre. The Hoog is huge…and it’s attached to the station…and it seemingly goes on forever…and ever. Never fear: it’s going to be destroyed soon.

But fight your way through and you’ll emerge starry-eyed into a beautiful, vibrant, old-world city centre, ringed by striking 13th-century canal wharves. The wharves, well below street level, are unique to Utrecht, and the streets alongside brim with shops, restaurants and cafés.

In summer, Utrecht is Festival City, hosting various jazz events (you’ll see musicians on every corner) and the Netherlands Film Festival in September. Added to that, the city’s student community of 40, 000 is the largest in the country, making it one very infectious place.

Must see attractions
Where to stay

Utrecht Hotels

Utrecht is a city that offers different kind of hotels from 3 star untill beautiful 5 star hotels.