On each side of Amsterdam’s many canals, is a city rich with museums, great restaurants, cafés and bars. Walking or cycling around Amsterdam shows a city that is alive and vibrant and littered with surprises around every corner. The city’s 17th century architecture tells a story of the Golden Age where trade made the city but now its laid-back atmosphere makes Amsterdam one of the most bohemian, offbeat capitals of the world. p>
Amsterdam is a refreshing take on old meets new. The city brags to have some of the oldest bars in the world but sitting right next to them are an array of swanky cocktail bars and modern restaurants. Entering one of the city’s pubs, or Brown Café’s as they’re known locally, transports visitors back in time to when Amsterdam was overrun with sailors out for beer and cheap jenever.
In ‘t Aepjen is perhaps the best example of these bars from yesteryear and can trace its roots back to 1475, making it one of the oldest bars in the world. This particular bar inherited its fame from its interesting use of monkeys as currency. When sailors would come in from exotic locations such as Indonesia, they would often have no money but would have acquired wild animals. The bar eventually racked up enough of these animals to help open Artis Zoo.
For a culinary experience, the choices are endless and Amsterdam boasts 12 Michelin Starred restaurants such as Bridges, Sazanka or the tiny, 30 seater Lastage. The city is also littered with a never-ending supply of local restaurants serving up traditional Dutch food and an air of home cooking.
Amsterdam is truly a city of culture; from a cat museum to a museum on a houseboat, there is something to suit all tastes. The fans of history will have plenty to visit with Anne Frank’s House, Amsterdam Museum; whereas the fans of the bizarre will enjoy the Museum Vrolik which houses a collection of medical case studies and the Electric Ladyland, the fluorescent art museum.
To break and relax after exploring Amsterdam’s many canals, take one of the city’s many river cruises and enjoy seeing the sights from the comfort of a boat. Amsterdam has 165 canals which were originally built for transportation of goods, but now serve a great way to learn about the history of the city or enjoy a romantic, candle-lit tour.
The fact that Amsterdam is almost completely flat has made it a haven for cycling and everyone from bankers to school children turn to bikes for their optimum method of transportation. In all, Amsterdam has a great bike culture and claims to have over 800,000 bicycles in the city – which is actually more bikes than people. Taking a guided bike tour or simply renting a bike is a great way to get to know the city from the point of view of the locals.
Visit Amsterdam for a laid-back days and bustling night life and all the culture imaginable in-between. Book with Swiss Holidays to see Europe at its finest.