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The Magic of Amsterdam

Brian and Denise Claridge discover the delights of Amsterdam on a mini-break and admire millions of colourful tulips at Keukenhof

There can be few experiences more memorable than a short break to Amsterdam, one of the most vibrant and historic cities in the world. Amsterdam has many attractions and is renowned for its world-famous museums, art galleries, Dutch masters, historic cathedrals, Anne Frank House, diamonds, tulips, cheese, canals, red light district and much more.

There are many ways of exploring the city, on foot, by cycle, tram, hop-on hop-off bus, or by canal boat. We decided the latter was a relaxing way of getting acquainted with Amsterdam.

Known as the ‘City of Canals’ its 165 canals were created over the centuries to stimulate trade and transport and reclaim land to expand the city and in 2010 Amsterdam’s canal ring was recognised as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The cost of a one hour canal boat cruise costs €16 (£12.50) per person and departs from the boat terminal opposite Amsterdam Central Train Station.

Our boat tour, with Lovers, took us through narrow canals, with picturesque houseboats and elegant merchants’ houses. Since its development in the 17th century, Amsterdam’s canal ring has grown to be one of the world’s most unique urban landscapes.

If you fancy seeing Amsterdam by night, you can wine and dine with a candle-lit cruise with cheese and wine, or a four-course dinner with drinks. It’s an opportunity to see the nightlife of Amsterdam from a different perspective. You can, if you prefer, hire a cycle to get about and join the locals who go everywhere by bike.

There are more than 800,000 bicycles in Amsterdam and cycling is by far the most popular mode of transport, made easier by the city’s network of bike paths, cycle routes and flat landscape.

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