As the temperatures start to rise and the sun begins to shine, it’s time to start planning your summer vacation. Europe is home to some of the most stunning destinations, from the crystal-clear waters of the Mediterranean to the snow-capped peaks of the Alps. Whether you’re a beach bum or a mountain explorer, there’s something for everyone in this diverse continent. In this ultimate guide, we’ll take you on a journey through the best summer travel spots in Europe. From the sun-soaked beaches of Spain to the picturesque villages of Italy, we’ll explore the hidden gems and must-see attractions that will make your summer vacation unforgettable. So pack your bags and get ready for an adventure – this guide has everything you need to plan the ultimate summer getaway.
The Canal Ring: Exploring the heart of the city
Amsterdam is a city of canals, and the Canal Ring is the heart of the city. This UNESCO World Heritage site is a must-see for anyone visiting Amsterdam. The Canal Ring is made up of four main canals – Singel, Herengracht, Keizersgracht, and Prinsengracht – and is lined with beautiful 17th-century houses, bridges, and houseboats.
Take a canal boat tour to see the city from a different perspective. You’ll pass by historic buildings, charming neighborhoods, and beautiful gardens. Along the way, you’ll also learn about Amsterdam’s history and culture.
If you prefer to explore on foot, take a stroll along the canals. You’ll find plenty of cafes, restaurants, and shops along the way. Don’t miss the famous flower market on Singel, where you can buy tulip bulbs and other Dutch souvenirs.
Finally, make sure to visit the Anne Frank House, located on Prinsengracht. This museum tells the story of Anne Frank, a young Jewish girl who hid with her family during World War II. It’s a moving and powerful experience, and a must-see for anyone visiting Amsterdam.
The Jordaan: Discovering Amsterdam’s bohemian neighborhood
The Jordaan is Amsterdam’s bohemian neighborhood, and it’s a must-visit for anyone looking to experience the city’s artsy side. This neighborhood is known for its narrow streets, charming courtyards, and eclectic mix of shops and cafes.
Start your visit at the Noordermarkt, a charming square that hosts a farmers market on Saturdays and a flea market on Mondays. Here, you’ll find local produce, handmade goods, and vintage treasures.
Next, wander through the neighborhood’s narrow streets and alleys. You’ll find plenty of art galleries, boutique shops, and cozy cafes. Don’t miss the Woonbootmuseum, a museum housed in a houseboat that gives visitors a glimpse into Amsterdam’s unique floating homes.
Finally, end your visit with a drink at one of the neighborhood’s many brown cafes. These traditional Dutch pubs are known for their cozy atmosphere and local character.
De Pijp: Sampling local cuisine in Amsterdam’s trendiest district
De Pijp is Amsterdam’s trendiest district, and it’s a foodie’s paradise. This neighborhood is known for its diverse mix of cuisines, from traditional Dutch dishes to international flavors.
Start your culinary tour at the Albert Cuyp Market, one of the largest outdoor markets in Europe. Here, you’ll find everything from fresh produce to exotic spices to traditional Dutch snacks like stroopwafels and herring.
Next, head to the neighborhood’s many restaurants and cafes. Don’t miss Bakers & Roasters, a popular brunch spot with a Kiwi twist, or De Japanner, a Japanese restaurant with a Dutch twist.
Finally, end your visit with a drink at one of the neighborhood’s many bars. Try the local beer at Brouwerij Troost or enjoy a cocktail at Hiding in Plain Sight, a speakeasy-style bar hidden behind a door in a wall.
Noord: Crossing the IJ river to find Amsterdam’s creative hub
Noord is Amsterdam’s creative hub, and it’s just a short ferry ride away from the city center. This neighborhood is known for its street art, industrial architecture, and vibrant cultural scene.
Start your visit by taking the free ferry from Amsterdam Central Station to Noord. The ferry ride itself is a treat, offering stunning views of the city skyline and the IJ river.
Once you arrive in Noord, head to the NDSM Wharf, a former shipyard turned cultural hotspot. Here, you’ll find street art, creative studios, and a lively bar and restaurant scene. Don’t miss Pllek, a beach bar made from shipping containers, or the IJ-hallen, Europe’s largest flea market.
Finally, end your visit at the EYE Filmmuseum, a stunning museum dedicated to film. The museum’s futuristic architecture and stunning views of the city make it a must-see for anyone visiting Amsterdam.
Vondelpark: Relaxing in Amsterdam’s most famous park
Vondelpark is Amsterdam’s most famous park, and it’s a beloved spot for locals and tourists alike. This sprawling park offers plenty of green space, walking paths, and bike trails.
Start your visit by renting a bike or a pair of rollerblades from one of the many rental shops in the park. You can also rent a boat and paddle along the park’s many waterways.
Next, find a spot to relax and take in the scenery. You’ll find plenty of benches, picnic tables, and grassy areas to choose from. Don’t miss the park’s many sculptures and art installations, including the famous “I am Amsterdam” letters.
Finally, end your visit with a drink or a meal at one of the park’s many cafes and restaurants. You’ll find everything from casual snacks to fine dining options.
Museumplein: Visiting Amsterdam’s world-renowned museums
Museumplein is Amsterdam’s museum district, and it’s home to some of the world’s most famous museums. This square is surrounded by three major museums – the Rijksmuseum, the Van Gogh Museum, and the Stedelijk Museum – as well as the Concertgebouw, one of the world’s most famous concert halls.
Start your visit at the Rijksmuseum, which houses a massive collection of Dutch art and history. Don’t miss the museum’s most famous painting, Rembrandt’s “Night Watch.”
Next, head to the Van Gogh Museum, which houses the world’s largest collection of Van Gogh’s paintings. The museum’s interactive exhibits and multimedia displays make it a must-see for any art lover.
Finally, end your visit at the Stedelijk Museum, which focuses on modern and contemporary art. The museum’s collection includes works by artists like Mondrian, Warhol, and Koons.
Hidden Gems: Off-the-beaten-path destinations in Amsterdam
While Amsterdam’s main attractions are certainly worth visiting, there are also plenty of off-the-beaten-path destinations that are worth exploring. Here are a few hidden gems to add to your itinerary:
- The Begijnhof: a quiet courtyard hidden behind a gate in the city center
- Brouwerij ‘t IJ: a windmill-turned-brewery in Noord
- Oosterdok: a hidden waterfront area with stunning views of the city
- De Nieuwe Anita: a quirky bar and music venue in De Baarsjes
- The Tropenmuseum: a museum dedicated to the culture and history of the tropics
Practical Tips: Getting around, where to stay, and what to pack
Getting around Amsterdam is easy thanks to the city’s excellent public transportation system. You can easily get around by tram, bus, or metro. Bikes are also a popular way to get around, and you can rent them from many shops throughout the city.
When it comes to where to stay, Amsterdam has plenty of options to suit every budget and travel style. From luxury hotels to budget hostels to cozy apartments, you’re sure to find something that fits your needs.
Finally, when packing for your trip, be sure to bring comfortable shoes for walking and biking, a rain jacket for Amsterdam’s unpredictable weather, and a camera to capture all the beautiful sights.
Conclusion: Why Amsterdam’s hidden gems make for an unforgettable adventure
Amsterdam is a city full of surprises, and its hidden gems are what make it truly special. From the charming courtyards of the Jordaan to the creative scene in Noord to the stunning museums of Museumplein, there’s something for everyone in this vibrant city. So pack your bags, grab your camera, and get ready for an unforgettable adventure in Amsterdam’s hidden gems.