Friday, 7 December 2012 10:18 AM
Amsterdam is a fantastic city to visit, thanks to its scenic canals and variety of historic and cultural attractions. If you are heading here for the first time, you can get a little inspiration for the ultimate things to see and during your stay by reading our guide.
Van Gogh Museum
Amsterdam is a truly wonderful destination for art lovers and, arguably, there is no better gallery to visit than the Van Gogh Museum. This has the distinction of being home to the largest collection of Vincent van Gogh's work in the world, spanning approximately 500 drawings and 200 paintings.
A particularly interesting thing about visiting this museum is, as well as seeing some of the artist's most famous works, you can also learn about how he influenced fellow artists. The new wing plays host to temporary exhibitions of his contemporaries, too.
The largest museum in Amsterdam, the Rijksmuseum is another must-visit. Famous for housing seminal works by the old masters, such as Rembrandt, this establishment is a real treasure trove of masterpieces.
It is worth bearing in mind, however, that until April 13th 2013, the institution is undergoing extensive renovation work. As a result, a smaller collection of its finest pieces – totalling approximately 400 works – can be viewed in the Philips Wing.
This specially selected display is a wonderful way of seeing the very best the museum has to offer, so it is not a barrier to enjoying your visit. However, if you do want the chance to view the large full collection, time your visit for after the second half of April.
Should you be travelling before then, remember that the whole museum will be closed from March 18th to April 12th in preparation for its reopening.
Anne Frank Huis
One of the most moving attractions in Amsterdam, Anne Frank Huis is an essential part of any first visit to the city. The girl and her family hid out in Prinsengracht 263 – the annexe of a house on the beautiful Prinsengracht canal – for some two years between July 1942 and August 1944.
Today, it is ranked among the city's most popular attractions, and by coming here you will have the chance to explore the small rooms that sheltered the family until their discovery by Nazi forces. You will also be able to view an exhibition, which is situated in the new wing, dedicated to telling the story of persecution during the second world war.
Canals and cruising
As you are no doubt aware, Amsterdam is famous for its scenic canals, being home to 165 in total. To get a real feel for the city, it's well worth taking a stroll along these, with Prinsengracht often said to be the prettiest.
Another excellent thing to do is go on a canal cruise, which, as well as being a good way to enjoy the waterways, is also a fantastic means of spotting the city's top sights and simply getting your bearings. There are a host of companies that offer canal cruises, including Canal Company, Holland International and Rederiji Kooij.
Alternatively, you could opt to hire a pedal boat, which is a lot of fun – though you won't have a guide pointing out the local attractions, so it can be less informative.
These are just some of the fantastic things you can in Amsterdam. If you are still searching for accommodation, you can find all kinds of well-priced options with companies such as Holiday Nights.