Often called the Venice of the North, Amsterdam, the capital of the Netherlands, is one of the most beautiful cities in Europe. With its canals, its bicycles and its unique architecture, this city has something to please everyone. Marie-Michèle Doucet, FIG ambassador and founder of the travel blog “Entre 2 Escales”, had the chance to visit this wondrous city last summer. Below, 5 reasons to discover Amsterdam.
Biking in Amsterdam is a must! With more than 767 kilometers of bike lanes, the city seems to have been designed for cyclists. Rent a bicycle and explore the streets on your own, or choose from one of several companies that offer guided tours of the city.
THE JORDAAN NEIGHBOURHOOD
The highlight of my stay in Amsterdam was without hesitation my stroll in the Jordaan district. Located in the west part of the city, it is home to the Anne Frank House and adorable little shops and cafes. Did you know that the name Jordaan comes from the French word "jardin" and was brought by Protestant refugees who settled in the neighbourhood in the 17th century?
When you think of Amsterdam, you don’t necessarily think about its gastronomy. Yet the Dutch capital hides many culinary treasures. First there is the infamous apple pie from Winkel 43 in the Jordaan district. Perhaps the best I have tasted so far. There are also several good restaurants to note: Buffet van Odette *photo on left* (Prinsengracht 598), Kees (Weesperzijde 44) and Foodhallen (Bellamyplein 51), an indoor food market/resto.
In Amsterdam, the weather changes constantly, so a visit to the museum is the perfect option to escape the occasional shower. The Rijksmuseum, nicknamed the Louvre of Amsterdam, is by far the most popular with tourists. Located on the Museumplein, it offers 80 galleries and more than 8000 works of art, including an extensive collection of Dutch paintings (from Rembrandt, Van Gogh and the likes).
THE HORTUS BOTANICUS
If you need a little break away from tourists, I recommend a stop at Hortus Botanicus, Amsterdam Botanical Garden. I completely fell in love with this place which is home to more than 4000 types of trees and plants. One of the oldest botanical gardens in the world, it was founded in 1638. Here, you’ll find a greenhouse of palm trees, that dates from 1912 and a huge heated section with 3 different tropical climates.
- Currency: Euro
- Language: Dutch (a lot of people also speak English)
- In my suitcase: The PIX top!
- Best time to go: In the spring, to see the tulips
- Lodging suggestion: The Student Hotel Amsterdam City.
READ THE ADVENTURES OF MARIE-MICHÈLE ON HER BLOG, ENTRE 2 ESCALES >>