Lisa Mackinnon, City Break Specialist

"While visiting the picturesque city of Amsterdam a canal cruise is a must! This allows you to float through several of the famous canals while taking in the spectacular surroundings and historic landmarks – a great way to see more of the city. My top tip is to leave it until the evening when the canals are lit up making the experience very beautiful, maybe even romantic!"

Amsterdam at a glance

Founded in the late 12th century as a small fishing village on the banks of the Amstel, Amsterdam is now the largest city in the Netherlands and is undoubtedly the cultural centre. Known for its friendly, free-spirited liberalism, Amsterdam is home to a creative mix of outstanding museums, picturesque canals, the red light district and millions of bicycles.

The city is made up of 90 islands with 400 linking bridges, many of which are beautifully lit at night. Steeped in old world charm, Amsterdam is home to 7,000 historically registered buildings, many of which exist along the city’s narrow waterways. Construction of Amsterdam’s canals began in 1613 with numerous merchant houses springing up in the city centre. Today many of these historic homes and businesses have been lovingly preserved, some of which have been converted into museums and hotels, so that they continue to be a part of the Dutch landscape. 

Amsterdam is a virtual hive of eclectic experiences, with many art galleries, religious sites and gardens to explore.

Perfect if you’re looking for:

  • Historical sights
  • Café culture
  • Arts and culture

Getting around

Canal tours offer a unique perspective of many of the city’s historic buildings and bridges, while the city’s narrow streets are best navigated by bike. Known as a cyclist friendly city, it is estimated that there are more bikes in Amsterdam than people. It should come as no surprise then that special traffic lanes and signals have been devised for cyclists in the city.

Get your tailor-made city break itinerary

Osprey Holidays can create a fabulous short break to Amsterdam designed completely around your needs. We can arrange whatever you need, including:

  • All travel and transfers on days of your choice
  • Accommodation from our handpicked range of Amsterdam hotels, to suit your budget and requirements

Our award-winning team can provide expert advice and recommendations, from general questions to tiny details. Contact us now for your tailor-made itinerary.

Important information
Population 2,332,773
Languages Dutch
Currency Euro
Visa Information No visa required for EU citizens
Average temperatures

(monthly highs °C)

Interesting facts

For a really fun way to get around the city, hire a bike and join the hundreds of locals who are mad about cycling!

Distance from airports
Schiphol 18 km
Railway stations
Amsterdam Centraal

Things to do in Amsterdam

  • Rijksmuseum: The Netherland’s premier art museum, with masterpieces by Rembrandt, Vermeer and Hals.
  • Anne Frank Huis: explore the secret annexe used as a hideaway by Anne Frank and her family.
  • Van Gogh Museum: a chronicle of the painter’s life, this museum houses many of his most famous paintings, including ‘Sunflowers’.
  • Vondelpark: A large city park just south of the Leidesplein, where there are often free concerts and an open-air theatre in summer.
  • Oude Kerk: a majestic 14th century church with a world-famous organ.
  • Rembrandt House Museum: Rembrandt bought this house in 1639 and the fascinating interior looks much the same as it did when he lived there.
  • Jordaan: A lovely area to wander round, with lots of picturesque canals, cosy cafes and speciality shops.
  • Canal Tour: A great way to see the city is to take the ‘hop on, hop off’ canal boat which takes you around most of the sights.
  • Albert Cuypmarkt: the city’s largest market boasts a variety of stalls selling Dutch cheese, fruit and vegetables, as well as clothes and household goods.

Osprey Holidays Top Tip

Tickets for Anne Frank Huis can only be purchased directly from the museum, either online or by queuing at the entrance. Online tickets go on sale two months in advance and are for a specific date and timeslot between 09:00 and 15:30. Tickets for entrance between 15:30 and closing time can be purchased at the entrance on the day. There is generally a high demand for tickets and queues are likely so we recommend booking ahead. The museum is open until 22:00 during the summer months and 19:00 in the winter.

Excursions in and around Amsterdam

We offer an extensive programme of tours and excursions within the city and further afield.

Amsterdam City Tour

A Guided City Tour will introduce you to the mansions and town houses of Amsterdam city centre and allow you to discover parts of the city you might otherwise miss, including the scenic suburbs and a diamond factory. The addition of a Canal Cruise takes you through the UNESCO World Heritage canal district to admire the elegant merchants' houses, stunning facades and historic landmarks. 

Dinner and Candlelight Cruises

Select a Dinner Cruise and enjoy an exclusive 4 course dinner with wine, prepared by award winning chef Frans Kelders, while cruising through the beautifully lit canals of Amsterdam or treat yourself to a Candlelight Cruise where a guide will provide commentary while you are served local charcuterie, cheese and wine.

Marken, Volendam & Windmills Tour 

This tour takes you north of Amsterdam through the lovely Dutch countryside. First stop is Zaanse Schans, the pretty windmill village with traditional green timber houses, where you will visit a working windmill. Then on to Markermeer Lake and the lively fishing village of Volendam for free time and a visit to a cheese factory.  The tour also includes a boat trip to or from the former island of Marken where you will see the traditional method of clog making - a truly Dutch experience!

This tour can also be booked as a combination with the Amsterdam City Tour or City Tour + Canal Cruise.

Grand Holland Tour 

A comprehensive tour of The Netherlands' other cities, you will travel to Rotterdam where you will visit a food market and enjoy stunning views of the city and port from the top of the Euromast tower before moving on to Delft, home of the famous blue pottery. In Delft there will be free time for lunch before a visit to the Royal Delft Blue Experience, one of only a few remaining ceramics factories. Finally, it is on to The Hague for a guided walking tour around the picturesque Binnenhof area to see the Houses of Parliament and working palace of the Dutch King then a stop at the Peace Palace en route back to Amsterdam.

Keukenhof Gardens & Flowerfields

Every year between late March and May the 32 hectares of gardens that make up the Keukenhof are in bloom. With over 7 million bulbs planted, the Keukenhof features many different gardens of different styles, including English landscape, traditional Dutch, and Japanese. Located in Lisse, just 25 miles from Amsterdam, several tours depart daily from the city and include return transport and entrance to the gardens.  You can also choose an extended tour that takes in the nearby flowerfields.

Keukenhof 2017 takes place between 23 March and 21 May 2017. Tours will be available to book shortly.

All coach tours depart from the Lindbergh Tour and Travel Office, 26 Damrak (300 metres from Central Station). 
Canal Cruises depart from Lovers Canal Cruises, Prins Hendrikkade 25 (opposite Central Station)

We would be happy to arrange an excursion for you. To discuss options with a member of our knowledgeable team or to book, please contact us on 0131 243 8098.