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A canal tour makes a wonderful first impression, as the tour boats take in much of the monumental architecture that lines the Canal Belt, the four concentric semi-circles that loop around the historic centre. While any canal tour will be an experience to remember, the options are plentiful: hop aboard an open-top boat or charter a private boat or a special themed or catered tour.
The Amsterdam Museum (formerly the Amsterdam Historisch Museum) maps the last eight centuries of urban evolution using unusual found objects. Nest on the itinerary is the Museum Ons' Lieve Heer op Solder ('Our Lord in the Attic'), a delightful that has been recently restored to its 17th century glory.
The flea markets showcase the multi-ethnic spirit of Amsterdam. Traipse through the Albert Cuypmarkt, a large general market that winds its way across Pijp and it sells everything from smoked eel to Surinamese sherbets. The Dappermarkt in Oost and the Lindenmarkt in Jordaan are the other good flea markets.