LAST BUT NOT LEAST: AMSTERDAM
Boats have been part of the fabric of Amsterdam from the very beginning – fuelling its rise from fishing village to centre of worldwide trade in the 16th century. Today, its narrow canals, criss-crossed with bridges and bordered by narrow merchants’ houses, are an immediately recognisable symbol of the city.
Although there are plenty of options for canal tours, there’s more fun to be had in renting your own vessel for an hour or two’s exploration. These can range from simple motorboats to wooden saloon boats, where you could leave navigation to the captain while you enjoy afternoon tea.
Back on dry land, you’ll quickly encounter that other ubiquitous Amsterdam presence: bikes. Impeccably dressed locals seem to glide effortlessly around the city’s cycle lanes. And with such an extensive network of paths, it’s easy to follow your own, self-guided tour. iamsterdam has put together interestingly varied routes that open out more of the city, from the historic buildings and parks on the banks of the Amstel to the striking modern architecture in Nieuw West.