There are so many sides to Amsterdam, it “can make your head whirl,” says Pauline Frommer, editorial director of the Frommer guidebooks. “It’s all jumbled together in a vivid mash-up, and even visitors on a short getaway come away feeling like they’ve had a real experience here.”
Drop off your bags at your hotel. Find a quiet spot like Hotel Seven Bridges, a charming hotel in a 300-year-old canalside house with double rooms often less than $200 — not exorbitantly priced for the luxury it offers. Then go exploring the waterways that ring Amsterdam on a boat tour that leaves regularly from docks by the train station. Now you can either raise a green bottle at the Heineken Experience, a brewery tour devoted to one of the world’s most famous beers, or imagine lifting a paintbrush at the Rembrandt House Museum, where it feels like the master has just left. For dinner, try Indonesian, a popular cuisine that reflects the country’s historic trade connections with the East, at Restaurant Blauw.