Museumplein is home to three of Europe’s most exciting museums. Start at the exceptional Rijksmuseum (rijksmuseum.nl/en) to see Rembrandts, Vermeers and other Dutch Golden Age masters. Hop over to the Van Gogh Museum (vangoghmuseum.com/en) for the world’s largest collection of the Post-Impressionist’s paintings, drawings and letters. Then head to the Stedelijk Museum (stedelijk. nl/en) for modern masters such as Kandinsky and Pollock.
A canal cruise is a must. Do a hop-on, hop-off tour (grayline. com/tours/amsterdam) if you want to explore the city at your own pace. Otherwise, book an hour-long trip on a glass-topped boat (stromma.nl/en).
You’ll find the best boutique shopping in the beautiful 9 Streets district. For luxury designer brands, stroll the upmarket P. C. Hooftstraat near Museum Quarter. De Pijp, Amsterdam’s hipster neighbourhood, is the place to go for the coolest stores, bars and restaurants and excellent people-watching.
PAINTING THE TOWN
The city’s famous Red Light District has shaken off its grubby image and is now bustling with gentrified cafés and boutiques (but still girls in windows). Book a 1.5-hour walking tour (360amsterdamtours.com) for some history with your red-light ramblings – and never take photos.
Hire a bike. It’s the fastest, easiest and most enjoyable way to zip around the city (Lycra and helmet not compulsory). Many hotels offer complimentary bikes but if they don’t, there are plenty of rentals near the bigger squares. Cycling in the city can be chaotic so stick to the bike lanes and look out for trams (and scooters, which also use the bike lanes).
See works by 17th- century Dutch masters Rembrandt and Philips Koninck in the Rijksmuseum’s Gallery of Honour