8 reasons to book a flight to Amsterdam
Everyone loves the Dutch – I don’t know a single person to come back from the Netherlands and complain about the attitude of the locals. But there’s a lot more to the country’s most popular city and one of Europe’s most eco-friendly cities, Amsterdam, than welcoming hosts, clogs and sex shops. Here’s 8 things to do and places to see which lie off the beaten track, giving you the perfect excuse to book that flight to Amsterdam:
1) Sleep on the canals
Amsterdam is one of the few cities in which you’re not confined to sleeping on land. You can rent a room in either a houseboat or a hotel boat – it’s definitely a unique experience to step out of your bed-on-a-boat and into one of Europe’s busiest city centres!
2) Go to a cheese auction
We all know the city is famed for its association with this dairy product, and the perfect place to pick up some of the finest cheeses takes place every Friday in nearby Alkmaar. The cheese market offers hundreds of varieties, and the auction bidding is great fun to watch.
3) Dine in the dark
Use all your senses but sight with a dining experience at Ctaste. You’ll be served your meal in complete darkness, when you have to work out what exactly it is you’re eating. Probably best to stick to one glass of wine – you can only imagine the carnage of blinded diners tripping over each other in the pitch black!
4) Visit the Vrolik Museum
Not one for the faint-hearted, this museum describes itself as “a medical collection of pathological specimens, anomalous embryos, odd skulls and bones”. It is thought to house the world’s largest collection of human mutants and is a fascinating, if squeamish, visit. Not suitable for children, but free entry is offered for adults. Sounds both weird and fun, same as the smoking alien statue I saw in Amsterdam a few years ago.
5) Drink a beer in a windmill
De Gooyer windmill is one of the few working windmills left in the city. It’s located next to the IJ Brewery (Brouwerij ‘t IJ), and is the perfect spot to drink a beer while admiring the view over the river banks. I am abstinent myself so wouldn’t have a beer but the views and sense of relaxation are worth the price of a flight alone.
6) Have a picnic in Vondel Park
With an area of 120 acres, Vondel Park is one of the largest parks in the region. It’s a serene, peaceful place to wander round in the winter months, or sunbathe in during the summer. Pick up some treats for lunch, hire a bike for the day, and take a picnic there to break up your tiring cycle.
7) Visit the secret church in the attic
The Museum Our Lord in the Attic is an amazing sight to behold – a canal house dating back to the 1600s, which comes complete with a church in the attic. It’s Amsterdam’s second-oldest museum, and well worth a look around.
8) Take a day trip to Delft
Amsterdam is a very well connected city, and trains run reasonably late to ensure you can spend a full day exploring a new region. The famous painter Vermeer is buried in Delft, which also offer canal-lined streets, beautiful market places and a rich history to discover through its various museums.