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One great way to experience a cruise is to arrive in the city your cruise leaves from a few days early and spend the extra time exploring that city. There are several river cruises that embark from Amsterdam. This lively city has many things to offer visitors before they start enjoying Europe river cruises.
Canals: The construction of the canals was first started in 1613 and there are now 100 km of canals. Guided canal tours are available or explore these exciting waterways on your own. There are also cruises down the canals for reasonable prices. The canals are full of great cafes, interesting shops, and art galleries as well as beautiful residences.
Bicycling: Amsterdam is a flat city, and it is easy to get around by bicycle. There are also many bridges and paths built only for pedestrians to make this a safe experience for exploring the city. You can rent bicycle at many different places or join a guided tour that supplies you with bicycles.
Red Light District: Explore or avoid this world famous district filled with sex shops, neon lights, and legalized prostitution where the women use store fronts to advertise their services. The police are also wandering around so the area is considered safe.
Architecture: Creation of The Old Church (Oude Kerk) was started in 1307 and it is one of the oldest buildings in Amsterdam. Most of Amsterdam was designed by three notable Dutch architects. Holland flourished during the latter part of the 17the century and there are many building still left over from this period. Most of them were designed by Jacob van Campen, Daniel Stalpaert and Philips Vingboons .
Tulips & Flower Market: If you are there between March and May you can travel about an hour outside of Amsterdam to see Tulip fields. If you are there at a different time of year be sure to check out the flower market, Bloemenmarkt to see the exquisite flowers available for sale.
Windmills: There are eight windmills to look at in Amsterdam. The De Gooyer is the tallest wooden windmill in Holland. It is no longer operational but it is a national monument. There is a brewery next door so be sure to stop in for a pint of Dutch beer after looking at the windmills.
Museums: Amsterdam has many fine museums for people to visit. Vincent Van Gogh lived in Amsterdam for a while and there is a museum that showcases some of his finest creations. This museum, the Stedelijk Museum (a showcase for modern art) and the Rijksmuseum (almost one million examples of classic Dutch art) are all located in the Museum Square.
You will also find other museums to browse through in this area such as the Coster Diamonds, House of Bols Cocktail and Genever Experience. A short distance outside of the city in the town of Zaandam, you will find a museum that showcases the traditional Dutch shoes known as clogs.
Photo credits: Wikipedia