29 September 2015 City in the spotlight, Insider’s Guide

City in the spotlight: Getting the most out of Amsterdam

At easyHotel, we’re all about getting maximum value from your holiday at the lowest price. So as well as pointing you in the direction of budget-friendly hotels that get you close to the action, we’ll be giving you a rundown of some of Europe’s top city break destinations – and how to pack as much fun into your visit as possible.

We’re exploring the Netherlands’ bike-crazy capital. With more canals than Venice, a bustling museum quarter and a record as one of the 25 safest cities in the world, it’s no wonder 20 million tourists flock to Amsterdam every year.

To help you squeeze in as much culture and sightseeing as you can next time you visit, here are our top ten things to do in Amsterdam:

1. Have the Heineken Experience

If you’re a fan of the frothy stuff you’ll be in Heineken heaven at the Dutch beer company’s former brewery. Take a self-guided tour of the beautiful 19th century buildings and learn about the history, marketing and brewing process of the world famous beer before stopping for a drink in the tasting bar. You can even star in a Heineken-themed music video and watch an actor swim in a vat of beer – what more could you want from a museum?

2. Get on your bike

Amsterdam locals and tourists alike love nothing more than exploring the city’s winding streets on two wheels, so why not skip public transport and rent a bicycle to get yourself around? There are lots of rental shops to choose from, like Bike City (starting at 14 for 24 hours) and Mac Bike (9.75 a day for a pedal brake bike), or you can rent a bike from reception if you’re staying at easyHotel Amsterdam. You could even book a guided bike tour and cycle round the city in a group.

3.  See Van Gough’s Sunflowers

The Van Gough Museum houses the world’s largest collection of paintings, drawings and letters by Vincent Van Gough. It’s open 9am to 6pm daily (10pm on Fridays and Saturdays) and adult tickets cost 17 euros; under 18s get in free. There are always lots of temporary exhibitions and events so it’s worth checking the website in advance to see what’s on.  

4. Visit the largest museum in the Netherlands

The stunning 19th century Rijksmuseum (‘state museum’ in English) is home to some of the most famous Dutch masterpieces and historic artifacts, from Rembrandt’s ‘The Night Watch’ to a 1965 Yves Saint Laurent dress. It’s open every day – even bank holidays – between 9am and 5pm.

5. Walk the Red Light District

A visit to one of the world’s most famous sex trade neighbourhoods might sound seedy and a little inappropriate for a weekend away, but Amsterdam’s Red Light District is actually one of the safest areas in the city and a major tourist attraction. You’ll pass prostitutes in windows (all legal and above board), spot hidden street art and even see the world’s first condom shop, ‘Condomerie’. Book a tour of the district and get answers to all the questions you were afraid to ask!

6. Step into Anne Frank’s house

No trip to Amsterdam is complete without an educational but emotional visit to the home of World War II’s most famous diarist. Walk through the annex where Anne Frank and her family hid from the Nazis and were eventually captured in 1944, and see her original diary on display.

7. Float through Amsterdam’s UNESCO canal district

Take a boat tour of the city’s 165 canals by day or night. There are several operators offering group tours, or you could hire a private boat if you’re after a more romantic ride. The hop-on hop-off Canal Bus service lets you pop back up to solid ground throughout the cruise for a spot of sightseeing.

8. Raid the rails

If you’ve got space in your suitcase, hit Amsterdam’s shopping spots and load up on designer jewellery, vintage clothes or presents for friends back home. You’ll find everything from open-air markets selling flowers and books (try the 300 vendor-strong Albert Cuyp Market in the De Pijp district) to the ‘Nine Streets’ neighbourhood full of boutiques, vintage shops and restaurants.

9. Take a stroll in the 120-acre Vondelpark

On a nice day, head to Amsterdam’s biggest park and National Heritage site and catch a classical concert in the open-air theatre (from June to August), walk through the beautiful rose garden or grab lunch at the teahouse.      

10. Do it all at your own pace

Grab a ticket for the Hop-On Hop-Off double-decker bus and learn about Amsterdam as your driver takes you to the city’s top tourist spots. Jump off when you get to an attraction that tickles your fancy, like the Stedelijk Museum of Modern Art, the Waterlooplein flea market or the Artis Royal Zoo.  

If you’re staying at the easyHotel Amsterdam, you can buy tickets to all of the above attractions and more at reception. Why waste time queuing and fumbling around for cash at every stop when you could get it all booked and paid for before you even leave your hotel?