Amsterdam is a city far too easily bundled into a mental package with school chums, hosteling trips, and the first giddy explorations of those things one giddily explores at a certain age. Happily, the city has many things to offer at all ages. Its parks offer recreation for all age groups, from cycling and football, to year-round skating. The history to be enjoyed is surprising, including a medieval church generously decorated with carvings that depict proverbs representing Dutch culture much better than the Bible. Amsterdam's arts community includes the working artists of the Jordaan and the celebrated museum collections representing some of the Netherlands' more famous sons: Rembrandt, Van Gogh, and de Kooning.
Anyone planning a short break in Amsterdam does well to plan out their adventure in advance. Selecting accommodation near the particular attractions that are top priority makes it possible to spend more time enjoying Amsterdam and less time travelling across the city to see everything on your list. A good tool for finding packages and other deals in Amsterdam is the eBay online marketplace.
Tip 1: Enjoy the Perfect Picnic
Locals consider the Vondelpark the city's finest; it is certainly the city's largest. Vondelpark has enough room to accommodate bicycling, football, walking, a cinema at the Nederlands Filmmuseum, and gatherings of smokers, along with the picnickers. A photo icon is the Picasso sculpture. During warm months, from June to September, the Vondelpark Openlucht theatre is also host to dance, music, and children's activities.
Tip 2: Skate Year-Round
Some people think about Hans Brinker and his silver skates when they think about the Netherlands. Some remember skating on the canals in Amsterdam and the 200 km race held annually until warm weather made canal conditions unsafe. But skating arenas still abound and during the summer, skaters and rollerbladers take to the streets. On Friday evenings, enthusiasts meet at the Nederlands Filmmuseum in Vondelpark for a 20 km, three-hour tour of the city.
Tip 3: Visit Anne Frank's House
For those who are interested in history, this moment out of Europe's most difficult era is a must. The Frank house is where the family and their friends hid for two years after they fled Germany. It includes exhibitions about the war, racism, and fascism. During the summer, the queues can be long, so arrive very early in the morning, or after 7 p.m. Other museums focusing on this period include the Dutch Resistance Museum, located opposite the zoo on Plantage Kerklaan, and the Hollandsche Schouwburg theatre, which is now a museum commemorating Jewish lives lost during World War II.
Tip 4: Watch Artists at Work in the Jordaan
More than 40 artists galleries include photography, contemporary art, sculpture, screen printing, oil painting, handmade jewellery, and more. At the Open Ateliers Jordaan, visitors may watch artists at work. Not to be missed on Mondays is the antiques fair at the Noordermarkt.
Tip 5: Explore the Eastern Docklands
Anyone who has not been to the Eastern Docklands recently has not been to the Eastern Docklands. The new state-of-the-art music complex, Muziekgebouw aan't IJ, designed by Danish architects 3xNielsen, is among the most innovative in Europe. Head there for jazz at Bimhuis, as well as performances by such leading contemporary groups as the Asko, Ives, Nieuw and Schönberg Ensembles, the Orkest de Volharding and the Amsterdam Sinfonietta. The Museum of Modern Art is in temporary housing at the docklands and other area delights include Pompadour pastry shop, the Church of St. Francis Xavier, and the flower market.
Tip 6: Ride a Horse in Amstelveen
On the southern edge of the city, horses and saddlery may be rented by the hour for riding in the Amsterdamse Bos, a lovely wooded common. Those with mobility limitations or learning disabilities are offered adaptive lessons on Saturday afternoons.
Tip 7: Take Time with Hidden Gems
Any old city has buried treasure and Amsterdam is no exception. The medieval Oude Kerk, or Old Church, for example, is not just a Catholic church somewhat the worse for wear since the Reformation. A visitor should be careful to check out the carved choir stalls that illustrate proverbs, biblical and otherwise. So the carvings urge those who see them that 'money has no value in the face of death', 'money does not come out of my behind', and other reminders that there is danger in becoming excessively focused on the matters of this world.
Zon's Hofje contains one of the city's hidden gardens that is accessible to the public. These hofjes, consisting of several residences built around courtyards, were traditionally built for widows who could not afford their own housing. Above the entrance, a stone is inscribed: "Love built us this lodging, hope remains our permanent impulse to see the sun on our souls …" Open weekdays 10-5. The Movies cinema is the oldest still in use in the city, an art deco art house theatre built in 1912. Plan to arrive early and enjoy a pre-show dinner or drink.
Tip 8: View a Favourite Artist's Work
Amsterdam's museums allow the opportunity to get up close and personal with favourite artists from Rembrandt to Warhol. The Van Gogh museum has an exceptional collection of more than 200 paintings and 500 drawings, as well as a number of works by Gauguin. The Stedelijk Museum focuses on 20th century artists, including Cezanne, Picasso, Matisse, Chagall, De Kooning, Lichtenstein, Stella, and Warhol. For the Old Masters, the place to go is the Rijksmuseum, where 40 Rembrandts and four Vermeers are among the collection. Frans Hals, Jacob deWit, and Ferdinand Bol are others displayed in the Philips Wing.
Tip 9: Consider a Package Plan
Amsterdam packages for short breaks include such opportunities as a stay in the now fashionable docklands area, home to the arts district, the Holland Casino, and the IJ theatre festival. The Eurostar runs from London to Amsterdam with a quick change in Brussels, taking less than five hours each way. Air flights from Heathrow get to Amsterdam direct in less than an hour and a half.
Tip 10: Buy Tickets in Advance Online
Whether a museum visit is planned to Madame Tussauds or an outing to another of Amsterdam's many attractions, buying tickets before arrival in the city is smart. It saves standing in queues, ensures admission to whatever has been selected as priority offerings, and avoids wasting any of the precious hours in the city. Buying tickets in advance often allows for the purchase of discounted tickets and sometimes for the purchase of tickets to multiple attractions, planning a complete day out all at once.
Using eBay to Plan a Short Trip to Amsterdam
Many people are so familiar with purchasing items on eBay that the idea of looking there for such services as travel tickets or out of town accommodation may never have occurred to them. It is, however, quite possible to locate these or even Amsterdam package holidays on the eBay marketplace.
To locate an Amsterdam holiday on eBay, key "Amsterdam" into the Search window on any page of eBay. Unfiltered, this provides a listing of everything Amsterdam, from band-related T-shirts to tulip-theme lace curtains, so look for where it is possible to select a menu category for Holidays & Travel. The options provided from this menu include hotel stays and other accommodation, package holidays, short breaks, and so on. Selecting any of these options allow the traveller to separate Short Breaks from Package Holidays from Accommodation.
Purchasing with Confidence on eBay
Many of those selling vacation travel on eBay have a long history of successful sales online through eBay. It is possible to recognise these top-rated sellers at a glance by the ribbon next to their listings. Many other sellers are also highly rated. A buyer may check out a seller by reviewing their feedback, the numerical score that summarises positive and negative comments by prior buyers. Feedback scores appear on the product pages.
Those who want to take a short break in Amsterdam can enjoy a wide range of opportunities. The city offers breaks for those who want to enjoy the arts, sports, music, history, family recreation, nature, and food. It is a delightfully well-rounded smaller city. Even though Amsterdam is relatively small, it is too large to take in over just a few days.
It is also close enough to the U.K. to be within reach for more than one vacation trip, so there is no reason to plan an Amsterdam trip as if it can never be repeated. The best way to enjoy the city if travelling on a short break is to be selective. Choose only a few attractions or activities that are located near to each other. Select accommodation near the desired activities. Expect to enjoy other activities on another outing. A person who has determined what is of interest or who wants to explore possibilities can use the eBay marketplace to advantage to find packages and other deals in Amsterdam.