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Let Your Vacation Bloom in Amsterdam!

By Steven Wallace

Ah yes, Amsterdam - the city of tulips, the city of blooming festivals of color and fragrance in the springtime. However, when you travel to Amsterdam, you'll also find a teeming center of finance and culture, rivaling other European capitals. Begun as a tiny fishing village about 1200 AD, Amsterdam has grown into the capital of the Netherlands, the country that is still, today, called "Holland by many tourists unfamiliar with the fact that Holland is actually a geographical area within the Netherlands.

Regardless of what you call the country, an Amsterdam holiday can be designed according to any budget, with quality hotels in various price ranges.

If you're interested in Amsterdam on a discount budget, you might consider staying at the Golden Tulip Amsterdam - Zaandam, available for as little as $125 per night, depending upon the time of year. Close to the railway station, the Golden Tulip puts the city center just a quick, 12-minute ride away, and it's situated right in the center of many of the city's most popular attractions: museums, shopping, and even windmills and world-famous cheese markets.

With an in-house restaurant, internet access in every room, and children under 3 staying for free, you get excellent value for your money. Especially attractive to visitors is the varied breakfast selection provided by the hotel - labeled by one customer as "a vast array of tasty foods from which to choose."

Along with the great price at the Golden Tulip, a budget Amsterdam vacation is sure to include the All Day Canal Bus Pass, valid from the time purchased until noon the following day. With Amsterdam being a city of canals, travel to a wide range of sights couldn't be easier - see the Rijksmuseum, an extravaganza of arts such as the famous Netherlands dollhouses, Delftware, and even an interactive exhibition of masterpieces by some of the greatest 17th century masters: Hals, Steen, Vermeer, and Rembrandt. With the Canal Pass covering three different routes, you can climb off at any of the 14 stops, stay as long as you like, and then climb back on for a peaceful canal run to the next attraction of your choice.

On the other hand, if you're planning an extravaganza of your own for your Amsterdam holiday, consider staying at the Hotel Pulitzer, a virtual art gallery of its own, located right in scenic downtown Amsterdam and near Dam Square and the Royal Palace. Another top of the line accommodation you might return to after a fun day of sightseeing is the Dylan Hotel Amsterdam, located inside a delightfully quaint 17th century historic landmark, but having an almost pop-modern aspect to its decor. Sophisticated and welcoming at the same time, the Dylan is close to several of the most notable attractions, including the Anne Frank House and the Van Gogh Museum.

Any of these hotels provides easy access to a classic European night on the town, with one of the most enchanting options being a five-course dinner cruise aboard a luxurious motor launch, meandering along romantically illuminated nighttime Amsterdam canals. Another popular choice is the Leidseplein Theater, where you can take in the shows of Boom Chicago, a performance group known for quick wit, humor, and outstanding improvisation generated, in part, by audience suggestion. One item to note should you be considering a family vacation: cannabis, or marijuana, is legal in Amsterdam and is smoked openly in pubs and cafes throughout the city.

Whether you are carefully watching your vacation budget or you're letting it all hang out, Amsterdam will surely provide you with memories as varied as the colors of tulips in spring...and don't forget to take some of those colors home with a visit the many flowermarkets - find dried cut blooms, live plants, or even some dormant tulip bulbs. Plant them in your flower beds at home, and let memories of your Amsterdam vacation bloom anew each year.

About The Author
Michael McCormick is a savvy traveler and editor of hotel reservation website Hotel Detective.

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