If Amsterdam’s the main course, Ijmuiden’s like a scaled-down starter. Its beaches are a major draw for kitesurfers and saltwater fishermen, and away from the port, the town itself feels quaint and traditional. Follow the North Sea Canal inland, and you’ll reach the criss-crossed bridges and canals of Amsterdam. It’s known as the Venice of the north, but its waterways are not all it’s famous for. In fact, mention the name of The Netherlands' capital city and you’ll get a whole list of associations. Clogs, cheese and windmills top the list, followed closely by cutting-edge art and coffee shops.
- Sit back and relax onboard Amsterdam’s most traditional mode of transport – a canal boat. Sightseeing cruises have been running up and down the city’s waterways since 1621.
- Discover the secret hideout where Anne Frank and her family hid from the Nazis during the Second World War. The tiny annexe is now part of a museum, where you can follow the Franks’ story from the beginning to the tragic end.
- Cast an eye over the paintings of one of the 20th century’s most influential artists. The Vincent Van Gogh museum showcases a selection of the painter’s work, including his famous Sunflowers.
SHORE EXCURSIONS► View all EXCURSIONS
Amsterdam & Canal Cruise►
This tour gives you a great taste of Amsterdam, a city famous for its shimmering canals and gabled houses. First up, you’ll be taken on a panoramic tour of the place, ticking off a bunch of top sights. You’ll drive past the eagle-adorned gates of the Royal Zoo – home to orangutans, crocodiles and giraffes. You’ll also tick off Museum Square, where the Van Gogh Museum and the Rijksmuseum are located. Loads of the city’s sights are only accessible from the water and a tour of Amsterdam just wouldn’t be complete without a cruise along the city's canals. Glide through the historic channels, passing elegant mansions, churches and warehouses dating back to the 16th and 17th centuries. You’ll also pass one of the most famous sites in Amsterdam - the house where Anne Frank famously penned her poignant diary.
Van Gogh & Amsterdam►
Get ready to discover the heart-stealing city of Amsterdam, otherwise known as the Venice of the North. You’ll leave the port by coach and start a dot-to-dot of its best bits. You’ll arrive at the Van Gogh Museum, home to the world’s richest collection of works by Vincent Van Gogh, including 200 paintings and 600 drawings. The Potato-Eater, Self Portrait as a Painter, Still Life with Sun Flowers and Cornfield with Crows are just a few of the paintings in the museum's famous collection. Your guide will be on hand to give you a great insight into the artist’s life. Afterwards, it’s time to carry on with your city tour. Admire the well-kept warehouses and homes that date from the 15th through to the 18th centuries. See the centuries-old Maritime Museum, and check out the bundled-together buildings on Java Island. The Tropen Museum, the Central Station and the Weeping Tower – where sailors’ wives once bid bon voyage to their husbands – are on the to-do list, as well. It’s a great, stress-free way to discover the city.
Windmills, Cloggs & Cheese!►
It doesn’t get any more Dutch than this. Leaving Amsterdam behind, your first stop is the windmill village of Zaanse Schans. The name Schans means ‘defending wall’ and refers to one that was built at the end of the 16th century in the war against the Spaniards. Although you can’t actually see the wall today, it’s now home to houses and businesses close to the working windmills that you’ll be visiting. Within the village, you’ll find loads of typical Dutch crafts. Stop for a while at the wooden shoe factory and see traditional clogs being made. After that, travel through the countryside for your last visit of the day - a typical cheese farm. Here, you’ll get to learn all about the age-old process of cheese-making before sampling some yourself.