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Amsterdam tours and excursions

Amsterdam tours

Walking tours

The Amsterdam Tourism and Convention Board offer a number of interesting walking tours. Lasting from two to three-and-a-half hours, these tours familiarise visitors with the city centre, the Jordaan, Jewish Amsterdam and the Pijp. All tours are self-guided but booklets, maps and audio guides are available to bring the routes to life.

Tel: +31 20 702 6000.
Website: https://www.iamsterdam.com/en/see-and-do/things-to-do/activities-and-excursions/walking

Bus tours

CitySightseeing Amsterdam offers a hop-on, hop-off tour that circles away from the Centraal Station and goes past sights like the Magna Plaza, Heineken Experience, the Rijksmuseum, Gassan Diamonds and a number of other important places of interest, before heading back around. Audio guides are available in 18 languages and tickets are available for 24 or 48 hours.

Tel: +31 20 420 4000.
Website: http://www.citysightseeingamsterdam.nl

Bicycle tours

Yellow Bike operates tours on two wheels, taking in everything from the Vondelpark to the Jordaan district. Other key locations include the Anne Frank house, the Rijksmuseum, Rembrandt’s house and the Red Light District. Several routes are available, including two of the city and one of the countryside. Tours are conducted in Dutch or English. All depart from Nieuwezijds Kolk 29, which is a three-minute walk from the Centraal Station.

Tel: +31 20 620 6940.
Website: http://www.yellowbike.nl

Boat tours

Probably the best way to see Amsterdam is from one of the many canal tour boats available. Operators include Stromma and Lovers, both departing from Prins Hendrikkade opposite Centraal Station. Passengers can choose either to go once in a loop or use the boats as a hop-on, hop-off way of getting around the main attractions. Other boat tours combine the cruises with visits to various museums or take in the canals by night.

Tel: +31 20 217 0500; +31 20 530 5412.
Website: http://www.lovers.nl/en

Amsterdam excursions

Castricum

A 25-minute train journey from Centraal Station, approximately 40km (25 miles) north of Amsterdam, this coastal town is wonderful for getting away from it all. Bikes are available for hire at the train station. Maps can be obtained from the station restaurant, before cycling through beautiful woodlands and meadows to reach the dunes.

Website: http://www.vvvhartvannoordholland.nl

Marken and Volendam

These pretty fishing villages are both approximately 15km (9 miles) north of Amsterdam. Marken is on an island that’s joined to the mainland by a bridge, while Volendam is situated on the banks of the Ijsselmeer. Visitors can wander through streets of quaint old houses, dress up in traditional costume and check out the Volendam fish auction. The outing can be extended into a full-day tour by stopping off for a fresh fish lunch and visiting the Volendam Museum, where one old sailor's collection of over a million cigar bands is on display. There’s frequent bus service from Centraal Station.

Tel: +31 299 363 747.
Website: http://www.vvv-volendam.nl

Haarlem

A brief train ride from Amsterdam, Haarlem makes a serene alternative to the capital. Its beautifully preserved historic core centres on the Grote Markt, a medieval square anchored by a magnificent Gothic church. Admire the paintings of 17th-century master Frans Hals at his namesake museum and then take in some hofjes (ancient courtyard complexes that formerly harboured almshouses). In warm weather, zip over to Zandvoort, a major beach resort.

Tel: +31 23 531 7325.
Website: http://visithaarlem.org/

Keukenhof Gardens

With some 4.5 million tulips and 15 kilometers (9 miles) of footpaths, Keukenhof Gardens, south of Haarlem, makes the ultimate outing for ogling Holland's famed flower. The bulb fields in and around Keukenhof burst into colour from late March to mid May.

Website: http://keukenhof.nl

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The Hoxton

The Hoxton flung its decorative doors open in 2015, shaking up the city’s mid-range hotel scene in the process. Occupying a former mayoral residence on Herengracht, the hip and handsome Hoxton is an establishment of effortless cool. Rooms retain a 17th century charm (embroidered rugs, paneled walls, wooden floors, etc.), but with mod cons (digital radios, power showers and the like). There’s a fine bar and restaurant downstairs and checkout is a hangover-friendly 1200.

Grand Hotel Amrâth Amsterdam

As a former shipping house, this five-star hotel still showcases its maritime heritage with its nautical themed stained-glass windows, original ship lanterns, and statues depicting Poseidon and Fortuna overlooking the hotel entrance. With 165 plush rooms, a wellness centre boasting two saunas, a steam room, heated swimming pool and fitness room, plus a stunningly decorated bar overlooking the charming Amsterdam canals, the Amrâth offers its guests a luxurious stay in historical surroundings.

ClinkNOORD

When Amsterdam’s shipbuilding industry went to the wall, the Noord district became a ghost of past glories. Happily, the area is in the process of regeneration, which ClinkNOORD is helping pioneer. The hostel opened to much fanfare in 2015, taking over a former Royal Dutch Shell testing lab. Rooms are a bit bland, but the hostel is good value, affable and only a short (and free) ferry ride from Central Station.

Hotel Prinsenhof

About the finest budget option available, the Prinsenhof is a homey establishment in an 18th-century canal house. Overlooking a picture-postcard section of the Prinsengracht, it stands in the pleasant southern canal belt, a quick bike ride from the nightlife centre of Rembrandtplein. Simply furnished with painted ceiling beams, the 11 guest rooms are quite cosy, though only nine are equipped with bathrooms. At these prices, they're booked far in advance.

The Dylan

Located in the western canal belt this small boutique hotel is the epitome of style and sophistication. It's housed in a former 17th-century theatre which in its heyday staged concerts conducted by Antonio Vivaldi. Today the minimalist east-meets-west designer décor of the 40 individually designed guest rooms combined with an intimate courtyard garden spectacular canal views efficient staff and an excellent restaurant ensures a luxurious stay.

Hotel de l'Europe

Standing majestically on the banks of the River Amstel, this grand old dame is still the address in town for lavish Old World luxury. From the 19th-century paintings adorning the public areas to the plush appointed guest rooms, this modern hotel maintains an old-fashioned charm. Hotel de l'Europe features the restaurant Bord'Eau which was awarded two Michelin stars, two bars, a brasserie, a café, meeting rooms and a spa.