Amsterdam (from IJmuiden), Netherlands cruise holidays
The beautiful city of Amsterdam, accessible via free transfer from IJmuiden, with its fine gabled houses, leafy canal walks, unusual boutiques and offbeat pavement cafés, is the last word in laid-back relaxation.
Amsterdam is a uniquely beautiful city with its picturesque canal network, rich history and vibrant cultural scene. Amsterdam’s neighbourhoods offer distinctive atmospheres. The city’s famous red light district in De Wallen has a unique charm and history of its own – and standing proud in its midst is Oude Kerk (the Old Church), the city’s oldest building dating back to the 1200s. Capture its true spirit by exploring the narrow winding streets, bustling bars and eclectic shops of Joordan, its fascinating old district. Visit Leidseplein Square with its street performers and ice skating rink surrounded by lovely food stalls. Amsterdam Noord, meanwhile, has blossomed into a cultural hipster hub. The charming ‘village in the city’ is a green and family-friendly place for pottering with fun activities, street markets and fresh foodie venues.
To escape from the bustle of city life, meander by foot or by bike through the green loveliness of Vondelpark or take a leisurely cruise through winding canals for a fresh perspective of the elegant townhouses and attractions, such as the famous Bloemenmarkt floating flower market. For a different view entirely, take to the skies at A’DAM Toren. The tower’s 100m-high rotating sky deck affords the best city views and, if you’re feeling daring, Europe’s highest swing, Over The Edge, will whoosh you back and forth with the cityscape below your dangling legs.
After dark, the streets of Amsterdam exude a pulsing energy and unique sparkle. Exploring by foot is the simplest way to get in on the action. Find a range of live music venues in the Leidseplein and Rembrandtplein areas and explore the area’s bustling cafés and bars. Absorb the pulsing energy of the red light district or chill in a quiet corner of a candlelit coffee shop. For late-night action, take in a concert at the majestic Concertgebouw or party the night away to the sounds of Amsterdam’s world-renowned DJs.
For a more leisurely odyssey, nothing beats an evening canal boat ride. The city’s canal network is a magical way to take in the sights after dark, the waters dancing with the light of illuminated bridges and canal-side buildings.
Other must-sees include the house of determined World War II diarist Anne Frank and the multi-level Vincent van Gogh Museum - where you progress, floor by floor, from the artist's initial sketches to view the full glory of his completed works. Art lovers will also love the Stedelijk Museum - home to major works by Picasso, Czanne, Matisse and Monet. And, if gardening is your interest, stroll around the daily Bloemenmarkt. This is the city's only remaining floating market and its riotously colourful plant and flower-laden boats are a fragrant delight.
In the run-up to Christmas, Amsterdam is the perfect place to relax into the festive season and enjoy shopping for gifts with a charming difference. The city’s many stunning squares play host to an array of neighbourhood markets boasting crafts, gifts and tasty treats for all. Don’t miss the showstopping tree at the heart of Dam square (decorated with 40,000 LED lights). Dozens of Christmas trees also adorn the floating Bloemenmarkt, while the whole city embraces the Amsterdam Light Festival: its streets and canals twinkle with lights and decorations.