Amsterdam, the Dutch capital. This city is like no other city I have ever had the pleasure of visiting. From the moment you step out of Schiphol airport and take a 20 min car ride (buses and trains are also available) to the city you will understand what I mean. Now, you may have the view that Amsterdam isn’t a very romantic city but push what you have heard/read aside for a few mere moments to let me show you what it can offer.
Amsterdam is made up of Golden Age canals, parks and seventeenth-century buildings and a mind-boggling number of push bikes. Push bikes are the local’s and tourist’s alike main mode of transport. Amsterdam is rather flat other than the curve of the bridges that cross what feels like an infinite number of canals, so bike riding is a breeze not to mention a great and cheap way to sight see. Picture you and your new spouse riding side by side down cobblestone lane ways and winding your way through lush flower and tree-lined parks. You will have no problem finding a shop to hire your bikes from. Just ensure you always lock your bikes up as theft does occur.
With all the exercising you will surely work up a thirst and hunger and Amsterdam will not disappoint. Cafes, restaurants and bars line the cobblestone streets and many overlook the canals where boats spilling with friendly locals and sightseers float on by.
The Bloemenmarkt is a must see if you love all things flowery. These flower markets are the only floating flower markets in the world and are conveniently located in the city centre. I suggest grabbing yourself a beverage and strolling through the markets as soon as they open as to avoid the crowds and you will really be able to take in the amazing aroma on a crisp early morning. While you are there, drop in to one or maybe all of the cheese shops that lay opposite to the market.
Want to learn a little about Amsterdam and Holland’s history? Why not visit the Anne Frankhuis or for a theatrical experience covering 500 years of Amsterdam’s horrible history, check out The Amsterdam Dungeon (word of warning, you may be chosen as a member of the cast!).
The city has many parks to lounge about in and they are perfect for a romantic picnic. Load up your picnic basket with some local cheeses and wine and head to Vondelpark, 47-hectares of english style gardens complete with ponds, footbridges, sculptures and meandering paths. Or if you want to picnic and people watch, Museumplein Square is the place to be, where dogs frolic and people kick about a soccer ball. This large grassy square is surrounded by famous museums such as the Van Gogh Museum, Rijksmuseum and Stedelijk Museum. While you are there check out the famous I AMSTERDAM sign located at the back of the Rijksmuseum. (Hint: The morning or late evening is the best time to see this sign as there are less tourists).
You don’t have to venture indoors to find amazing art in Amsterdam. Graffiti, stencils, stickers and sculpture to name a few can be seen on show around the city. Venture down some of the smaller unknown alleyways to find some real gems!
The city really comes alive in the late afternoon and evening, and it’s no wonder as during the Summer months the sun doesn’t set until 9-10pm. Bars and restaurants spring to life as the sun begins to set and you will be sure to find a place to wind down for the day whatever your mood.
After dinner a private canal cruise and a few glasses of wine or maybe some champagne could be on the cards. Once the sun goes down the city really begins to twinkle. As the many street lamps and lights from the buildings bounce light off the water of the canals, it really is a magical time to see the city and ever so romantic.
Amsterdam isn’t short on accommodation, no matter your budget or taste. Expedia is a great sites to get amazing deals and honest reviews. AirBnB is also a good site to find quirky and cute private accommodation for a longer stay.
Image credits: Talitha Crawford and Chloe van der Werf