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  • Chilling in a Brown Cafe: Spend a leisurely evening in a brown cafe, the traditional Amsterdam watering hole. After an evening of imbibing ice-cold beer in one of these, you’ll understand the meaning of the Dutch term gezelligheid. You’ll also probably find you’ve made lots of new friends, too.

  • Cruising Amsterdam’s 17th-Century Canals: Get your bearings with an hourlong canal tour of Amsterdam; you’ll see all the major waterways, many famous sights, the expanding architectural landscape north of the IJ river, the workings of the port, and many beautiful canal houses.

  • Discovering the Jordaan: Once a working-class district and now thoroughly gentrified, Amsterdam’s most photogenic quartier is chokka with narrow, tree-lined canals and cobbled streets. It has cafes and bars aplenty to discover as well as galleries and independent stores by the dozen. There are also a number of small hotels that are a treat to stay in.

  • Following the Tulip Trail: Come spring, the place to see the celebrated Dutch tulips in their full glory is Keukenhof Gardens at Lisse, about 45 minutes out of Amsterdam. Here millions of tulips and other flowers create dazzling swathes of color in the spring. Combine your visit with a trip through the bulb fields between Leiden and Haarlem.

  • Seeing Great Paintings: Everything you’ve heard about Amsterdam’s art museums is true. They are amazing; the three heavyweights are the Rijksmuseum for Dutch Old Masters, the Stedelijk for its world-beating collection of contemporary work, and the Van Gogh for…well, Van Gogh.

  • Skating on the Canals: When the thermometer drops low enough for long enough, the canals freeze over, creating picturesque highways of ice through the cities and countryside. At such times, the Dutch take to their skates. Joining them in winter could be the highlight of your trip. If it’s not cold enough to freeze, the artificial ice rink in Amsterdam’s Museumplein is a good substitute. 

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.