Hipmunk’s Guide to Amsterdam

There’s more to Amsterdam than canals and the Van Gogh museum. While you don’t want to miss those two, don’t let your trip stop there. We’ve compiled a list of five of the best lesser-known Amsterdam attractions to help you see all this beautiful city has to offer. Enjoy your trip off the beaten path!

Amsterdam Public Library

Not just for bookworms anymore, this library boasts incredible architecture and a wide range of entertainment options. Designed by Dutch architect Jo Coenen, the library is a home to nearly 2 million books and 165,000 members. After you’ve perused the literary selection, attend a musical or theatrical performance in one of the library’s two theaters, or head to the top floor for snacks and an incredible view of the city.

Electric Ladyland

With a namesake the likes of the Jimi Hendrix Experience’s third studio album, Electric Ladyland is the world’s first museum of fluorescent art. Take a guided tour, which includes psychedelic sculpture work and demonstrations of collections of Fluorescent Minerals, or rocks that burst into dazzling colors when viewed under different wavelengths of light. The whole experience is set to the sounds of the Beatles and, of course, Mr. Hendrix.

Friday Night Skate

Friday Night Skate is a weekly, free-to-join roller skating procession that gives you a one-of-a-kind tour of Amsterdam on wheels. Join the party outside the former Filmmuseum in the Vondelpark, where groups leave at 20:15 (8:15 PM) on Fridays all year round. The route changes every week, but you’re sure to see some of the city’s best sights from a truly unique vantage point. Look out for themed skates at certain holidays, including a Halloween “Fright Night Skate”!

De Gooyer Windmill

Although the Netherlands is famous for windmills, Amsterdam proper has only a few within the city limits. De Gooyer, which is registered as a national monument, is the tallest wooden mill in the Netherlands and the perfect place to get your windmill fix. It dates from 1609, making it both a fantastic modern-day destination and a historical tribute to traditional Dutch architecture.

Stand-Up Paddling on the Canals

Stand-up paddling, a recent fitness phenomenon in the United States, has made its way to Amsterdam: explore the canals by standing on a surfboard and paddling with an oar to navigate. Not only is stand-up paddling a fantastic way to get a unique tour of the city, it’s a tough full-body workout that can help work off any vacation breakfast. Rent a board at one of many locations around the city and begin to make your way through the miles of canals for a once-in-a-lifetime touring experience.

Ready to stop reading and start sightseeing? Check out http://www.hipmunk.com/ to book your flights and find your perfect hotel.

5 European Cities to Visit This Summer

This is a guest post from Colm Hanratty, Editor of Hostelworld.com.

Beginning to plan your Summer vacation? Thinking of maybe hitting up one of Europe’s hotspots? In this guest post Hostelworld.com Editor Colm Hanratty gives us his selection of 5 of Europe’s top cities you should think about visiting on your annual summer getaway…

Amsterdam

Regularly referred to the ‘Venice of the North’ and home to over 800,000 people, Amsterdam is easily one of Europe’s most welcoming, relaxed, charming and fascinating cities. Thanks to its location on a cobweb of canals, it boasts one of the most picturesque settings in the world. It’s also where you’ll find world-class museums (one of which opens on April 14th after a decade-long renovation), stunning architecture and, of course, a buzzing nightlife making it the perfect city for a few days.

Barcelona

There are some places on the planet where you can feel an energy and a sense of excitement in the air, almost all day long. Barcelona is one of those places. From the second you hit Las Ramblas for the first time you know you’re going to enjoy yourself here. This city on the east coast of Spain is buzzing all day long, but of course it’s at night that it really comes into its own. Choose from a bar in the Barri Gotic, one in El Raval, another down by the port or just hang out on the streets and you’ll know what I’m talking about. It’s not only hedonists that will love Barcelona – thanks to one Antoni Gaudi, it is where you will find some of the world’s most fascinating architecture. It’s also where you’ll find a beach to catch rays on, a park to unwind in, tapas bars to meet locals in…the list goes on.

Prague

It’s a bit of a cliché when it comes to many cities around the world, but there really is nowhere else on earth like Prague. A perfect blend of the old and the new, the Nové Mesto (New Town) symbolises the new independent Czech Republic, while the Staré Mesto (Old Town) is one of the best preserved old towns in Europe as it remained untouched in both World Wars. While these are both on the eastern side of the River Vltava, stroll across the famous Charles Bridge to the west and you’ll encounter the Malá Strana (Lesser Town) and the city’s medieval castle. Along with all the sightseeing to do, Prague has more than its fair share of affordable restaurants, while if you search hard enough you’ll find some of the cheapest (and tastiest) beer in Europe.

London

In my opinion, there are three cities on earth that epitomize the definition of the word ‘city’ more than anywhere else. Tokyo is one, New York City is another, and London is the third. No matter what part of the city you’re in, it still has that ‘bright lights big city’ aspect to it. It’s also one of the most iconic destinations on earth. Within a couple of hours you can walk from Big Ben to Westminster Abbey to Buckingham Palace to Piccadilly Circus, stopping for fish and chips along the way of course. After dark, if you want to be in the thick of it you’re spoiled for your choice. You can go bar hopping in the West End, chill out for a beer in the East End after a curry on Brick Lane, or see what the cool kids do in Shoreditch or Hoxton. No matter what you do, you’ll never forget a visit to one of the world’s great capitals.

Budapest

I was lucky enough to have visited Budapest for four days last summer. I made sure to do two things…explore two aspects of the city that are extremely unique to the Hungarian capital – thermal baths and ruin bars. They complement each other quite well – at night you can sample local brews and meet people from all over the world in the ruin bars; bars literally built into ruins of old buildings (don’t leave without going to the most famous one called Szimpla Kert). Then during the day you can dust off the cobwebs caused by those brews in one of the city’s thermal baths. There are five in the city centre, with the Gellert Baths and the Szechenyi Baths being the most famous. But if you want to experience something visit the Rudas Baths, the most Turkish of all the baths and home to the hottest steam room I’ve never been in (I could only go to the one beside it that was 10C cooler and almost unbearable).


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