With every justification, Amsterdam is one of Europe’s top short-break destinations. It’s a compact, instantly likeable city, that’s appealing to look at and pleasant to walk around. An intriguing mix of the parochial and the international, it has a welcoming attitude towards visitors and a uniquely youthful orientation, shaped by the liberal counter-culture that took hold in the 1960s. Also engaging are the buzz of its open-air summer events and the intimacy of its clubs and bars, not to mention the Dutch facility with languages: just about everyone you meet in Amsterdam will be able to speak near-perfect English, on top of their own native Dutch and often French and German too.
Amsterdam has three world-famous sights, the Anne Frank Huis, the Van Gogh Museum and the Rijksmuseum, with its wonderful collection of Rembrandt paintings. In addition, there is a slew of lesser known places to visit, from the Resistance Museum through to the Royal Palace on the Dam, though for many tourists the city’s canals are its main draw – take a cruise or a stroll around the Grachtengordel and you’ll see why. Beyond the sights, Amsterdam also boasts an unparalleled selection of drinking places, be it a traditional, bare-floored brown café or one of the city’s many designer bars and grand cafés. The city’s nightlife and cultural events have a similarly innovative edge, with offerings that are at the forefront of contemporary European film, dance, drama and music. In addition, Amsterdam boasts one of the world’s leading classical orchestras, a platoon of great clubs, and one of Europe’s liveliest and largest gay scenes.