Amsterdam is one of the most romantic and appealing cities in Europe, a unique urban environment that has been famous for centuries as a centre of culture, commerce, and art. Today it is also a major tourist destination, charming millions of visitors each year with its canals and cobbled streets, narrow merchant's houses and medieval churches, art galleries and historical museums - and its restaurants, bars, nightclubs and coffee-shops
The canals and streets at the heart of Amsterdam spread out like ripples of water around Dam Square and the main city avenue of the Damrak, which links the Dam to the Stationplein - where trains arrive from Schipole Airport and cities all over Europe - and the city waterfront along the IJ river. In the 17th Century, three major canals were built around the centre of the city: the Herengracht, Keizergracht, and the Prinsengracht. Bridges, connecting streets and alleys cross the web of the main canals, and it is possible to explore much of the old city on foot in a few hours. Trams and water taxis are also available, as well as bicycle rentals - Amsterdam is perfect for cycling, and has the best developed network of cycle paths in the world.