Wander around the winding streets that follow Amsterdam's miles of canals towards world-class exhibition spaces in the Museum Quarter. Spend a good few hours looking at Van Gogh and Rembrandt masterpieces here. Then while away the afternoon with a refreshing Amsterdam beer. Or watch barges being stacked with tulips from the Flower Market.
Amsterdam started out life as a 12th-century fishing village. During the 17th-century Dutch Golden Age, though, it thrived as a major trading port for diamonds. Trace this legacy in Amsterdam's many diamond factories and shops. Stroll from Amsterdam Central Station into the centre to find out why Amsterdam is so popular for a city break. Start in the vibrant Red Light District with the former Jewish Quarter on your left. You'll soon hit the grand 17th-century townhouses and quiet restaurant-lined streets around elegant Leidseplein square. Continue south-west for cultural masterpieces in the Museum Quarter or drift east for the buzzing coffee houses of melting pot De Pijp.
Head straight for the world-famous museums of Amsterdam's Museum Quarter. Start at the Van Gogh Museum to see the world's largest collection of artwork by Amsterdam's most famous Impressionist. Nearby, you'll also find 17th-century Rembrandt masterpieces at the Rijkmuseum. Take a break with a picnic in the leafy Vondelpark, then spend the afternoon exploring a young diarist's war-time hideout at Anne Frank House. After dark, sip a refreshing local Amstel beer or take a quick stroll through the infamous neon-lit Red Light District. Warm up with a traditional Dutch stamppot potato stew.
Soak up the atmosphere of old Amsterdam with a trip to the quaint courtyards and alleyways of the upmarket Jordaan district or the liberal coffee houses of cosmopolitan De Pijp. For a breath of fresh air, head to Plantage, a peaceful green parkland, home to the Artis zoo together with its planetarium and geological museum. Round off a return visit with a canal cruise or hire a bicycle and make your way to the colourful tulips at Amsterdam's floating Flower Market.
Regularly voted best airport in Europe, Amsterdam Schiphol Airport doesn't disappoint, with its sleek design and efficient service. With more than 45 million passengers passing through the airport each year, it is the fourth busiest in Europe. Central Amsterdam is 15 km (9 miles) to the northeast, less than 20 minutes by train.