A relaxed city break in Europe feels like a contradiction in terms, but that is exactly what you can get in the small, delightful city of Amsterdam in the Netherlands.
But then Amsterdam is very much what you make of it: relaxed café life and equally relaxed attitudes are there to be enjoyed, though there's a kicking nightlife scene if you're after a heady holiday soundtrack.
There are plenty of flights to Amsterdam from UK airports and the flight time is around an hour.
The treasures of this multicultural city - such as the canals, gabled houses, museums, and oddities such as the floating flower market - are only minutes away after leaving Amsterdam's Schipol Airport (AMS). There are fast connections into the city by train (around 20 minutes) for around four euros per person. Compared to a bus journey at around 15 euros, the train is also cheap. Taxis are a reasonable option too, though the train is by far the winner for best value and fastest journey time. Car hire is available at the airport if you plan on seeing the countryside around Amsterdam, or travelling to another part of the Netherlands.
So what to see once you're in Amsterdam? Well there's historic Dam Square, the Anne Frank House, nightlife-centre Rembrandtplein (good for a local Amstel or Heineken beer), the NEMO science centre, and the world-famous canals, such as Prinsengracht, Herengracht and Singel. Plus the city's shipbuilding heritage is on proud display at the harbour.
And how to get around the sights? There's bike hire of course, easily achieved in a city of approximately 600,000 bicycles. Or you could get yourself on a canal cruise and see Amsterdam from the water.
Amsterdam is a city of museums and the excellent Van Gogh Museum, Rijksmuseum and Stedelijk Museum are worth a few hours of your city break. Jordaan, the former working-class district turned upmarket area is crammed with trendy art galleries.
While there's no ignoring the red light district in Amsterdam or the rather liberal attitude to soft drugs, if that's not what you're visiting for you can avoid this side of the city. Simply steer well clear of the well sign-posted “coffeeshops” and instead go to the famous “brown cafés” if you actually want coffee.
Whatever you want to enjoy in Amsterdam, flights are frequent from the UK and cheap prices can be found at any time of the year. Use the price-comparison tool on TravelSupermarket to start your Amsterdam adventure today.