Sunday, May 19, 2013

I Amsterdam - A city to explore

The stunning city of Amsterdam is hundreds of years old, steeped in history and culture, full of unusual architecture and offers a host of activities to visitors. With the launch of Etihad’s new service to Amsterdam from Abu Dhabi, we’re looking at what to do in the city.

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If arriving by plane, Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport is just a 30 minute bus ride from the heart of the city (Leidseplein) and will cost €10 (return price). Once in the city centre, getting around is very easy. Whether it’s by taxi, bus, boat, cycle or foot, making your way to your hotel won’t take long. There are a whole host of accommodation options in Amsterdam, from budget hostels to 5-star hotels but be sure to stay somewhere boutique. The unique The Toren hotel, located on the Kaizergracht just a few hundred metres from Dam Square, offers just 37 stylish rooms, making for a very personal, yet exquisite stay.

Once in the city, the IAmsterdam City Card is worth purchasing if you are looking to take in as much of the city as possible. The €52, 48 hour card offers unlimited use of public transport in Amsterdam, free entrance to 38 of Amsterdam’s museums and attractions, a free canal cruise, a detailed city map and much more. The card can be picked up once you arrive at a number of different places, including Schiphol Airport, Leidseplein and Central Station.
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If you’re only in town for a short while, a canal cruise is definitely one of the best things to do when you arrive. It not only takes you on a wonderful tour of Amsterdam, showing the sights of the city, but you’ll then have a better idea of which areas of the city you want to explore more for the rest of your trip. A canal bus is a great alternative, although it’s not guided but does offer a hop-on, hop-off, style excursion if you already know where you want to be going.

For the culture vultures, the Amsterdam Museum will tell you all about the history of this incredible city, whilst the Huis Marseille offers something for the photography fanatic. For eating options, a number of cafes and bars are available. Febo has become quite a tourist spot for its food machines, dispensing delicious food for just a few Euro. Rain is another good option, although much trendier and is situated close to Waterlooplein. This restaurant and bar offers excellent food in a modern surrounding, plus the club with its eclectic mix of global music is sure to entertain.

Of course, no trip to Amsterdam should be without a bicycle ride. The city’s narrow streets and plentiful canals offer some wonderful opportunities for exploring on two wheels. Bike tours are even available to help you make the most of your time in such a fantastic city.

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