24 Dec There’s more than just the obvious in Amsterdam
It’s less than an hour’s flight away from many UK airports and you can even take the train there, which is probably part of the reason why Amsterdam receives so many UK tourists each year. And we think it’s one of the best cities for a short break, anytime of the year; let us explain why.
Okay, so first things first, let’s get Amsterdam’s seedier side out of the way, before we go on any further. For some people, the city is inextricably link with cannabis coffee shops and the red light district. Contrary to popular belief, cannabis is not actually legal in the Netherlands; it’s instead decriminalised for personal use and can be smoked in licensed coffee shops.
Whatever your views are on cannabis use, it’s undeniable that these coffee shops are part of the unique culture of this super liberal city. As for the red light district, again, many view this as an integral part of the Amsterdam experience, but you can make your own mind up on this.
Another side of Amsterdam
However, we want to reveal the other side of Amsterdam, away from the obvious vices. And the perfect first stop for this is the Rijksmuseum Museum the national museum of the Netherlands, which showcases hundreds of priceless paintings from the Dutch Golden Age, including Rembrandt and Vermeer. Close by is the Van Gogh Museum, which houses the world’s largest collection of Van Gogh artwork and the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, which is the largest modern and contemporary art museum in the Netherlands.
For those into cycling, Amsterdam should be the stuff of dreams, containing one of the largest cycle networks of any European city. The cycling culture is arguably as famous as the cities vices and is the without doubt the best way to get around the city. There are dozens of private bike hire companies located around the city and if you fancy getting out of Amsterdam for a day, there are a number of long distance cycle routes, some of which are as long as 30km.
Another icon of the city is the football team. Ajax is one of the most successful and famous clubs in the world. And the good news for any football fans is that it’s often easier than you think to get tickets to an Eredivisie league game when you’re in the city. Or if you just fancy visiting the Johan Cruyff Arena (renamed in honour of the legendary Dutch footballer after his death in 2016), then stadium tours run daily.
And talking of icons, let’s not neglect Amsterdam’s famed tulip industry. When you’re in the city you can visit the floating flower market, where stall holders sell their floral wares from inside a row of barges moored along the canal, which is a nod to the city’s maritime past. Even if you’re not in the market for any tulips or other cut flowers, it’s well worth a visit for the sights and smells alone.
Other activities that should definitely be on your to do list include paying a visit to the Anne Frank Museum, an incredibly intimate and moving experience of one of the world’s best-known victims of the Holocaust.
For some tranquillity, spend some time in Vondelpark, the largest park in Amsterdam, which also hosts many concerts throughout the summer. And for some insane opulence go on a guided tour of the Royal Palace, which as the name suggests is home to the King of the Netherlands when he’s in town, and compare the Dutch royal family’s style with the Windsor’s.
Holidays Insurance for Amsterdam
Okay, now time for the boring but important bit, if you’re planning a city break to Amsterdam, don’t forget the importance of travel insurance, even if you’re just going for a few days.
A lot of travellers think the EHIC card will provide all the coverage they need for a short trip to Europe, but this isn’t the case, as we explain here in the difference between travel insurance and the EHIC. And with prices starting from just £4.14 for 3 days of holidays insurance to Amsterdam (based on a 25 year old) with Coverontrip, get a quote today.