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Everyone knows what Amsterdam is famous for, but there’s much more to this idyllic city than fine herb and nights of red-lit pleasure.

Delicate bridges and waterways weave in and out of old brick and glass buildings, and outdoor cafes line every road. There are hen and stag dos a-plenty, and hitting the main drag in Old Centre to party hard is definitely part of the experience, as is strolling through the infamous Red Light District where purring women push themselves up against windows, beckoning in paying customers. When you’re looking to chill out, visit the mesmerising Van Gogh Museum or kick back with a spliff. Yes, it’s legal here - and all part of the, er, cultural experience.

What to do:

You can’t talk about Amsterdam without mentioning the weed cafes, or ‘coffee shops’, as they call them. Even if you’re not a smoker, have a peruse of the menus that read like restaurant offerings, and marvel at all the dozens of weird and wonderful flavours (you could also try some in a hash cake). Spui Square in the Old Centre has the highest concentration of coffee shops.

Lounging in the numerous green spaces is just a way of life here. If you’re looking to exert yourself (and we mean this in the loosest sense of the word) then go for a bike ride through the ambling passageways that lead through old markets. There are numerous rental places as cycling is the main mode of transport here, but be mindful of the trams. You should also head for the district of Jordaan. It’s completely charming, crammed with mysterious bric-a-brac stalls, and top-notch galleries.

Alternatively, a brilliantly booze-fuelled way to see the city is by signing up for a ‘Beer Bike’ tour with Damtours, where you pedal around the city while sat at a mobile bar drinking beer. Genius, no?

In the Museum Quarter, you’ll find the Van Gogh Museum, as well as Rijksmuseum, which houses works by Dutch masters Vermeer and Rembrandt. The Anne Frank museum, which has preserved the actual space where she and her family hid and were eventually discovered during World War Two, is a dramatic and moving testament to her and many others’ bravery.

There are also some quirky museums, such as the Tattoo Museum, and a dedicated hemp and sex museum (what else?). Mind the bright pink plastic phallus on the way out.


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European break: Amsterdam
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