Amsterdam: Amazing Travel Destination
by Supriya Vaidya
Amsterdam! A unique picturesque green European city !! This capital city of the Netherlands, as well as the many other parts of the country, are situated below sea level giving rise to the beautiful canal system in the country. Total 165 canals, 1281 bridges and millions of bicycles in the Amsterdam itself, make Amsterdam a must-see city in Europe. Let’s see why Amsterdam is an amazing travel destination.
What to expect when you land in Amsterdam?
When you are about to land on Amsterdam’s Schiphol airport, your plane has to descend down through the blanket of clouds. Then only you get a glimpse of Amsterdam city with its typical dutch houses situated along the banks of canals, surrounded by trees and green fields. On the way to collect your baggage, this Schiphol airport, one of the busiest airports of Europe, welcomes you with great photographs of Netherland’s famous windmills, tulips and green countryside. If you are arriving in Amsterdam by train the bicycles around Central Station welcome you. Yes, in Amsterdam you should expect clouds, windmills, tulips, and bicycles.
On most of the days of the year, Amsterdam is covered with clouds. Average temperatures are 3 Degree C in winter and 17 Degree C in summer. Winters are cold but not freezing and summers are very pleasant. But it’s always good to carry an umbrella and a light jacket with you.
Going around in Amsterdam
Schiphol airport and Central station are well connected with all parts of the city with trains, trams, buses, and boats. Municipal public transport company (GVB) provides various options to buy tickets depending on the number of days you want to spend in the city. With NS long-distance trains and international trains, Amsterdam is connected with other cities in the Netherlands and in Europe. Apart from all these options, the Netherlands is well known for its cycling paths throughout the country. You can rent a bike and go around at your own pace. Once you are settled in the city get ready for a city tour with your favorite way of transport.
Amsterdam City Center
If you have just a day or two in Amsterdam, the city center is the best place to hang around. It is full of museums, parks, restaurants, cafes, and pubs.
Amsterdam Central Station
This is the second busiest railway station of the country and it’s building is a famous Rijksmonument of Netherlands. This is the starting point of all metros and almost all trams and buses. From here you can go anywhere in the city and the surrounding areas.
At a distance of 750 meters (10 mins walk) from the central station is the dam square. It is surrounded by Royal Palace, National Monument, and Madame Tussaud’s Wax museum. This place is always busy with events, festivals, road shows and is the best meeting point. Many guided walking/cycling tours start from here. If you are interested in shopping this is the heart of shopping streets in Amsterdam.
This another open space in Amsterdam is a treat for art lovers as it is surrounded by many museums including famous Rijksmuseum, Van Gogh Museum and Stedelijk Museum. Here you can find many stalls selling paintings, restaurants as well as play area for kids. In winter a pond in front of the Rijksmuseum gets converted in the ice skating rink. This is the perfect place for a family to spend hours in any season.
Gardens in Amsterdam
There are many gardens in Amsterdam. All are good to spend time with family and friends. Vondel park, Amstel Park, Beatrix Park are few of them. Amsterdam Bos (forest in the city) has many things to offer like rowing, canoeing, boating, horse riding, cycling, swimming, farms, petting zoo, open-air theaters, and camping. If you are there in the correct season, cherry blossom park in the springs and barbeque parties in summers will definitely give you lifetime memories of Amsterdam Bos.
Museums in Amsterdam
Right from Rijksmuseum, Van Gogh Museum of paintings to the museums of purses, diamonds, science, films, theaters, photography, Heineken beer, torture and dungeon, there are all kinds of museums in the city. If you have a thirst of knowledge and history, your stay of months won’t be enough to visit many of these seventy-five museums.
Day trips from Amsterdam
Many places around Amsterdam are worth visiting.
If you want to see Holland of the 18th or 19th century with windmills in a working condition making real spices, workshops making wooden clogs for farmers or the cheese tasting farms, Zaanse Schans is the place. It can be just a half day tour from Amsterdam, easily reachable by bus from Central station and a must-see attraction.
During the season of flowers, between mid-March and mid-May, the tulip gardens of Keukenhof should be your first attraction to visit. It is the most beautiful spring garden in Europe where you get to see around 7 million tulips of different colors and many other flowers. In this season shuttle buses from Schiphol airport are arranged for visitors.
Volendam and Merken
A half day tour covering Volendam, a fishing village and Merken, the typical Dutch village can give you an idea of Dutch culture including food.
An old traditional town without roads is the identity of Giethoorn. It is located at a distance of around 120 km from Amsterdam. If you are a nature lover and like to see greenery don’t miss it in summer.
Food in Amsterdam
In Amsterdam, you can get cuisines from all over the world. As well as there are many local restaurants serving typical Dutch food.
Best time to visit Amsterdam
Amsterdam has a lot to offer to everyone irrespective of age and the season of the year. Though the tourist season is at its peak from April to September, the city is always full of visitors. A week, a month or a year is just not enough in Amsterdam.