Cheap flights to Amsterdam are available from London and Manchester. International flights to Amsterdam arrive at Schiphol Airport and passengers will be required to pass through immigration. UK citizens do not need a visa to enter Amsterdam. Schiphol Station is located below the airport – the high-speed Fyra trains will bring you into Amsterdam Centraal Station within 15 minutes. The Schiphol Travel Taxi provides a convenient door to door service, with the option to share with other passengers or hire a taxi for private travel. The Zuidtangent and Interliner bus networks also provide buses into Amsterdam and surrounding areas.
Amsterdam is a city of cyclists, and to a visitor, it may even seem like there are more bicycles than people. Unlike London, where cyclists are often relegated to bike lanes barely a foot wide (if they’re lucky), the bicycle lanes in Amsterdam are spacious and well-maintained. Bikes can be rented from many outlets around the city, as well as from some hotels and hostels.
Amsterdam has an extensive public transport network, with trams, buses, ferries and the Metro all serving the city and surrounding suburbs. Purchase an OV-chipcard to use on public transport throughout the city. The OV-chipcard is similar to the Oyster card used on public transport in London and has to be topped up with credit before use. Validate the card by touching it to the reader at the beginning and end of each journey.
His work has been reproduced on tea towels and cushion covers, but the originals at the Van Gogh Museum still have the ability to mesmerise. The Rijksmuseum, just a short stroll away on Amsterdam’s Museumplein, houses a collection of Dutch artworks and historical artefacts, including Rembrandt’s mammoth painting The Nightwatch. The famous Grachtengordel – the concentric ring of canals in the centre of the city – is perfect for leisurely walks. Anne Frank Huis on Prinsengracht, stands as a sombre tribute to the horrors endured by Anne Frank and her family during World War Two. The Nieuwemarkt is a bustling square filled with shops and cafes. Many visitors to Amsterdam flock to the infamous red light district, but leave without finding out about the Bethianklooster, or Convent of Bethany. This little cloister has been restored to its original beauty, and these days is a wonderful place to enjoy chamber music.
Nieuwe Spiegelstraat is lined with interesting art galleries and antique shops crammed with interesting curios. Pop into Stenelux for that truly one-of-a-kind souvenir. The tiny shop is full of ancient fossils, preserved insects and glittering crystal geodes. Said to be the largest street market in Europe, the Albert Cuypmarkt sells everything from clothes to cameras and seafood. Dutch delicacies such as freshly-made stroopwafels and raw herring can be picked up from some stalls here. Brown cafes are the Dutch version of English pubs – so-named because of the dark-hued décor within. Order some local beers and a platter of tasty bitterballen (deepfried meat and potato balls) to accompany your drink. Bourbon Street is a haven for blues aficionados. The club has played host to musicians and bands like the Rolling Stones, Sting and the Dutch artist and musician Herman Brood.