A Trip to Amsterdam; the Saturday City

Amsterdam, the capital of The Netherlands, is famous for its red lights, coffee shops and canals. But it offers a lot more than that; a trip to Amsterdam will convince you.

trip to amsterdam

One of my favorite cities in the world is Amsterdam. I love its brick buildings, rich history, open skyline and relaxed, easy going attitude towards life. Amsterdam has so much to do that, even after so many visits, you will still find new things to do and see. The city deserves much more than just the few days travelers give it, but if a few days is all you have and you want to make the most of it, I will give you mouthwatering reasons why Amsterdam is so special.

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Top Attractions in Amsterdam

amsterdam landmarkWhen it comes to popular tourist destinations, Amsterdam is certainly unique. Despite the fact that there are thousands of tourists here every day, the daily life in Amsterdam retains its authenticity. Sit in one of the many cafes or stroll along the canal streets, and you will be able to observe it for yourself. Even though many people know Amsterdam for the Red Light District and some of the other things that you can do here, we want to make sure that you explore the cultural side of this amazing city as well. Because Amsterdam has so much more to offer.

The Rijksmuseum

The Rijksmuseum is both the most attractive and the largest museum in the Netherlands. Each year, this museum draws in more than one million visitors. After having been renovated for almost a decade, the museum reopened back in 2013. There are some spectacular Dutch Golden Age masterpieces in the collection here. Some of the most iconic pieces here include Vermeer’s “The Milkmaid” and “The Night Watch” by Rembrandt. 

Van Gogh Museum

It would be rather strange if one of the (if not the) most famous painters to have ever been born in the Netherlands did not get its own museum in Amsterdam. It is the largest collection of Van Gogh works in the world, with more than 550 sketches and some 200 paintings that can be found here. The core of the museum’s collection is comprised by selected works from contemporaries and friends and hundreds of letters written by Van Gogh himself. (more…)

The Best Shopping In All Of Amsterdam

AmsterdamWhen you think about the shopping capital of the Netherlands, there is no denying that Amsterdam is the city that comes to mind. It does not matter what you want, lavish, second-hand, cheap, luxury, modern, antique, trendy, and everything in between, there is a diverse mix of shopping options available in Amsterdam. The city’s main shopping districts all have different personalities; the different personalities are what make shopping in Amsterdam so fun.

These are some of the top Amsterdam shopping areas. Even though they almost deserve a category all their own, it does not include many of the open-air markets. Whether you want to spend some serious cash while shopping or just want to window shop, we know that you are going to enjoy these picks for the best places to shop in Amsterdam.

KNSM Island

If you are looking for modern design shopping, this is the place to be. It is located in the Eastern Harbor of Amsterdam. You can get to this young neighborhood by taking tramline 10, leading you to modern, innovative home and design shops, including Pol’s Potten and Pilat & Pilat.

De Kalverstraat

If you are looking for an authentic ‘shop until you drop’ experience, the Kalverstraat is great. The street is pedestrian only and the shopping center has an interesting mix of chain clothing stores (including Zara, Mexx, H&M, and Esprit), a pricey, chic department store (Maison de Bonneterie), Dutch staple stores like HEMA, and dozens of shoe stores. If you can handle the crowds, chances are that you are going to end up with at least one new purchase.

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The Best Places To See In Utrecht

The Domkerk CathedralForget about Amsterdam, Rotterdam, or even The Hague, if you want to see some of the most interesting sights in the Netherlands, you will want to visit Utrecht. It was once one the largest cities in the Netherlands and it is a city filled with culture and history. Many of the structures that you find in Utrecht date back all the way to the earliest settlers in the area. The city was one of the most important in the nation until Amsterdam slowly but surely began to overtake Utrecht in importance.

It might be easy to overlook the charm of Utrecht, but once you start uncovering some of the more interesting sights, you will find that the Netherlands’ most centrally located city has a great deal to offer you.

The Domkerk Cathedral

Considering that the Domkerk Cathedral (the Domtoren, often just abbreviated to the ‘de Dom’) took almost 300 years to build, it is certainly worth a visit. With 50 bells and 465 steps before you reach the top, you will be unable to ignore the Domtoren. Even though it is going to be a tough trip to the top, it is certainly worth it, especially because you will not find any better city views than up there. If you are lucky and are exploring during a clear day, you will be able to see all the way to Amsterdam.

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10 European Museums and Galleries Not to Be Missed!

The LouvreNo matter where you go in Europe, you’ll certainly find wonderful museums that should be on your must-see list! Many are quite well known and you’ve no doubt heard lots about how you can’t miss them. Others are small museums but of particular interest for one reason or another. Some will be in large cities; others in smaller towns or villages. But there are handful of museums and galleries that stand out head-and-shoulders above the rest, and you simply must make them part of your itinerary if you find yourself in the destination where they are located.

One note in regards to the list below: You’ll often find it difficult to nab tickets to these places if you wait until you get there, and will most likely find yourself in a long line, even if tickets ARE available. So, as long as know when you’re going to be there, plan to buy advance tickets if available online or through a travel professional. It’s well worth any extra dollars you might spend doing so. (more…)

First Time in Europe? Check Out these Cities First!

http://www.dreamstime.com/stock-photography-big-ben-london-photo-showing-aerial-view-city-image30368432So, you’ve decided to “go abroad”. Chances are you’ve thought about such an excursion for a really long time but perhaps you’re just not sure about what destinations are ideal for first-time visitors to Europe. There are so many choices and, no doubt, lots of places on your bucket list, but what’s best for someone who’s never traveled to Europe before.

Well, allow us to offer a few suggestions. We’ve compiled a list of the destinations that we consider among the best for newbie European travelers. You’ll find them below along with a list of reasons as to why we’ve selected these particular cities. Once you’ve read the suggestions and pondered about your travel desires, contact one of our travel agents and get started on designing your ideal European vacation. Undoubtedly, you’ll want to go back again and again, so maybe you can check off all the great cities listed below! (more…)

Europe’s Best Springtime Gardens are a Treat for the Senses

462510421Spring hasn’t yet arrived, but in certain parts of the country we’re certainly anticipating the coming of warmer weather, sunshine, and brightly-colored flowers peeking through the snow-sodden dirt. We can’t wait to smell those first aromas of spring, when the white stuff is long gone and the leaves have begun appearing on the trees, seemingly one-by-one, until they’re full again.

Flowers, of course, are the quintessential sign of spring, and many of us – no matter where we live or where we’re traveling – hope to include a springtime visit to a spectacular garden on our itinerary. In Europe, there are a number of wonderful springtime gardens that are must-sees if you are visiting the areas in which they are located, so we’re taken a few minutes to list some of the best (and our favorites!) below, just in case you find yourself nearby during late March, April, or May.

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Spend Christmas in Festive Amsterdam

159316872For many avid travelers, the opportunity to spend the December holidays at a location other than home is enough to make one’s mouth water. And for those who love Europe, the chance to celebrate Christmas – or the days before the holiday – in one of the continent’s most festive cities is truly a treat, enhanced by the opportunity to shop in traditional Christmas markets, hear holiday concerts, and simply see the city or town of their choice decorated in its winter finest.

Amsterdam is one of those places that truly comes alive during the Christmas season. And why shouldn’t it? After all, it’s the birthplace of Saint Nicholas – the model for the modern-day Santa Claus – so Christmas ought to be special in the Dutch capital city. But in addition to its close connection to the Jolly Old Elf himself, it’s simply a city that sparkles in the wintertime, with twinkling lights reflecting off the water in the canals and friendly people eager to shake your hand and offer you a warm drink to take off the chill. And, happily, it’s a spot suitable for holiday guests of all ages, despite what some might lead you to believe.

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Plenty of Kid-sized Fun in Amsterdam

138085156Mention that you’re going to Amsterdam to your friends and family with some travel smarts, and they’ll probably toss you a smirk and ask you why you would take your children to such a destination. After all, Amsterdam boasts quite a well-known “red light” district, certainly not appropriate fodder for a family vacation. And then there’s those “coffee shops”. Everyone who knows anything about international travel can tell you that they’re not peddling “cups of Joe” at those locales but, rather, offering legal cannabis, marijuana, and other substances to those who wish to indulge in “soft” drug use.

So, given all that, why bother to take your children to Amsterdam? Because this wonderful city in Holland has so much more to offer than it’s (slightly) seedy side. Whether you’ve got toddlers in tow, elementary aged children, tweens and teens, or a combination of all three along for the trip, you’ll find that there’s plenty to keep them busy and that the activities that appeal to them will also – for the most part – appeal to parents as well.  (more…)

Travel Holland’s Flower Route this Spring

Tulips and Windmill in HollandHistory tells us that the first tulip was planted in the Netherlands some 420 years ago. Since that time, the Dutch and tulips have become synonymous. Perhaps you’ve seen the photos of the expansive fields of red, orange, and yellow tulips blanketing the Dutch countryside, sun shining and windmills turning in the background. If you’re an avid gardener or amateur horticulturist, a whiz with a camera, or someone who just admires great beauty, maybe you’ve always wanted to admire that sight in person.

The time is now! Spring provides the perfect opportunity to make a tulip trip to Holland. Specifically, April – especially around mid-month – is ideal as the flowers are at their most glorious about that time of year. Holland has even provided a “Flower Route” for those who wish to spend time amid the tulips, whether you prefer to drive at your own pace or to sign up for escorted tours that include a chance to admire the springtime colors of Holland while enjoying wonderful cities, towns, and villages along the way. (more…)

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