Amsterdam, with its tree-lined canals, cobbled streets and narrow, gabled houses, is an unsurprisingly popular city for a mini-break. Once the stag-do capital of the world, the iconic city, alive with cyclists and a cosmopolitan crowd, is now a not-too-far-away destination for those looking for a heady mix of art galleries, independent shopping, design-savvy hotels and a buzzy gastronomy scene. And since 2020, when Eurostar announced the launch of a new direct route to the quaint capital of the Netherlands, the boutique-lined labyrinth of waterways is now more accessible than ever.

The city has also seen tourists shift outward to the myriad neighbourhoods surrounding central Amsterdam, from great gastronomy (Restaurant De Kas, housed in a huge greenhouse, is an insider favourite) to beautiful gardens and striking architecture, these suburbs are central Amsterdam’s underrated, yet highly discerning, cousin, and merit a visit all on their own.

Where to stay: Through a courtyard discreetly set off one of Amsterdam’s finest canals, Keizersgracht, The Dylan speaks to its guests in a language that merges past and present, blends historical architecture with achingly-cool contemporary touches, all effervescing under the beamed roofs of several buildings strung together. The fire crackles in the grate of the low-lit lounge, the city’s most well-heeled slip behind the velvet curtain for a smooth nightcap and beyond that, the swanky Vinkeles, where French classics are given an innovatively modest (and typically Dutch) treatment, is one of the area’s best-kept gastronomy secrets.

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