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Where to stay:

Hostels abound in the Old Centre and they’re all buzzing. Especially recommended is St Christopher’s at the Winston, which is bang in the middle of the action.

The big hostel has kinky wall art by local artists and a good-time vibe in the bar, with three drinks for the price of two every night. They also have a 24-hour desk and lockers, which is useful if you’re travelling with a group and have some early arrivals.

The Flying Pig hostels, with two city locations, are also vibrant places to stay, and they have the added bonus of a kitchen for guests. Rooms aren’t that cheap in Amsterdam, and if you want a private room expect to pay upwards of £30 a night.

More upmarket is the chic Citizen M, with locations near the airport, and also in the centre of town. This trendy boutique hotel chain has designer lounges, funky furniture and blue-lit walk in showers in every room. Prices start at £68.

Beyond Amsterdam...

If the city all becomes a bit much, there are some relaxing and interesting day trips to be had beyond the trams and coffee shops. Let’s start with windmills; they are the cultural icon of Holland after all. In the Unesco World Heritage Site of Kinderdijk, which is about an hour outside of Amsterdam, you’ll find 19 of these beauties in a row, and you can enjoy views from the riverbanks with a picnic or take a canal tour.

Zandvoort, which is a 30-minute train ride out of Amsterdam, is Holland’s version of Brighton. This seaside resort town is packed full of lively open-air bars, and the long stretches of coastline mean there’s plenty to explore. Trains run until 4am. Go to ns.nl for tickets.

Photos: Thinkstock, David Walby (flickr.com/photos/wallb) and Helen Rosemier


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European break: Amsterdam
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