An hour and a half away, but a world of difference!
Amsterdam is an intruiging city, often wrongly described as a wet version of Babylon awash with sex and drugs. There are however, many different visions of this wonderful city.
Being much smaller in size and population than Dublin, and with minimal traffic in the city centre, you could be forgiven for forgetting that you were in a city with such a large global reputation.
What makes it unique is the attitude with which Amsterdammers go about their daily business: relaxed.
Just an hour and a half away, this mecca of entertainment and culture is within easy access.
Built on 90 islands, the intricate network of canals adds a beautiful trait to the city. It is surprisingly easy to get around and also surprisingly small – to get from Dam Square to the Leidesplein should take less than a fifteen minute walk.
Famous for its museums and art galleries, there is also an unrivalled range of restaurants, bars, coffee shops and nightlife, not to mention shopping.
And while you should have no problem chilling out in this global village, be wary of going with the flow too much, as you might find yourself endlessly looping round and around Amsterdam’s magnetic centre, the Red Light District.
Amsterdam – just an hour and a half away, but a world of difference!
Go to the Pijp if you crave econo-ethnic.
Cruise Haarlemmerstraat, Utrechtsestraat, Nieuwmarkt, the ‘Nine Streets’ area and Reguliersdwarsstraat if you want something posher; and only surrender to Leidseplein – there are a few exceptions – if you don’t mind being overcharged for a cardboard steak and day-old sushi.
Indonesian food became the order of the day after World War II as many Indonesian immigrants came to the Netherlands, so Surinamese / Chinese / Indonesian cuisine is quite authentic for a European city.
Unlike Dublin and its Temple Bar, Amsterdam manages to spread its nightlife hotspots around a few different areas,
Running parallel to Rokin is Kalverstraat and it’s here that you could spend all your time and your money. Clothes, shoes, books, sportswear, gadgets, more clothes and more shoes.
Serious shoppers should go west; the backstreets around the Jordaan are good for boutiques and galleries, while the Nine Streets – the lanes connecting Prinsengracht and Herengracht between Raadhuisstraat and Leidsegracht – are lined with clothes, antiques and interiors shops.
In the city centre, Leidsestraat is peppered with clothes shops; PC Hooftstraat, in the Museum Quarter, is full of designer stores; Utrechtsestraat contains the best record stores in the shape of Concerto (Nos.52-60) and Get Records (No.105), as well as some great homeware shops.
The Spiegelkwartier (near the Rijksmuseum, around Spiegelgracht) contains wallet-busting antiques shops.
Open-air retail experiences include the flea market at Waterlooplein and the general Albert Cuypmarkt in the Pijp.
On Monday mornings, the Noordermarkt in the Jordaan is packed with second-hand goods; on Saturdays it’s an organic farmers’market.
Note that many shops close on Mondays.
Tram: Albert Cuypstraat: tram 16, 20, 24 & 25
Open: Monday - Saturday 9.30 am - 5.00 pm
Waterlooplein Flea Market, a unique 300-stall outdoor bazaar is full of curiosa, general bric-a-brac, second-hand clothing, CDs, DVDs, appliances and other brand new and used goods. Speciality: second-hand clothes, curiosa.
Located: Waterlooplein, 1011 PG
Tram: 1, 2, 5, 13 from Magna Plaza or 14 from Central Station
Open: Monday - Friday 9.00 am - 5.30 pm; Saturday: 8.30 am –5.30 pm.
Schiphol station is situated directly below the airport. Via Schiphol Plaza, you can walk straight to and from the departure or arrival halls.
The quickest and easiest way to travel to the heart of the Netherlands and Amsterdam itself is by train. You arrive at Central Station in about 15 or 20 minutes.
Taxis are also available at the airport and they will drop you to the door of your hotel.