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:
- Historic sights
- Café culture
- Arts and culture
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.
Dining in Amsterdam
Amsterdam is filled with all kinds of international cuisine, however, there are many Dutch foods that visitors must try! Open-air cafes in the summer time are atmospheric and are great to pass time and people watch. Dutch cheese is a firm favourite, with many charming shops selling a delightful selection of gourmet and aged cheeses.
Must-try local dishes:
- Stroopwafel - The UK supermarkets stock these thin waffles, but the freshly made ones in Amsterdam are amazing. Buttery waffles sandwich the gooey caramel syrup.
- Oorlog French Fries - A firm street food favourite, crispy fries are served in a paper cone topped with mayo, peanut sauce and raw onion.
- Herring - A typical fish in the Dutch diet, the herring is also a street food favourite, served with onions.
Shopping in Amsterdam
If you're looking for the best souvenir to bring home, or a gift for a friend, you are sure to find a great find in the city. Amsterdam is famed for creativity and so shopping is a great, unique experience with many fashion boutiques and independent gift shops to browse in.
Osprey Holidays top tips
For aerial canal views, check out the rooftops of the city's churches, the Zuiderkerk, Oude Kerk and the Westerkerk.
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!
- Featured accommodation
- Distance from airports
Schiphol 18 km
- Railway stations