The best way to break up a long-haul flight? To include a stopover along the way. Even if just for a day, it's a great way to make the journey more comfortable while squeezing in a few sights and getting a feel for a new city.
Amsterdam is a popular hub for flights en route from Australia to Europe. It's beautiful city with much to see and do. Here's a guide to just one day in the Netherlands' capital.
8am Walk the canals to take in the pretty townhouses and bridges. The three major canals were built in the 1600s. If the weather gets cold enough in winter, Amsterdamers ice skate on the canals.
9.30am The Koffiehuis De Hoek is a popular cafe serving up omelettes, pancakes and quick service. The coffee is decent, too, so fuel up for a big day.
10.30am Head to the Anne Frank Museum, the house where the young Jewish diarist hid from the Nazis. You can see how the Franks lived, with artefacts from that time including Anne’s original diary.
11.30am Climb the tower of Westerkerk church for a great view. Nearby is the Homomonument, a tribute to all persecuted gay and lesbian people. It was the first of its kind in the world – testament to Amsterdam’s progressive culture.
12.30pm Find a grocer or market (Foodhallen is nearby) for picnic supplies before heading to Vondelpark. This sprawling green space in the city centre is popular for afternoon picnics in the sun.
2pm The Rijksmuseum is packed full of Dutch art and artefacts. You’ll see art by masters such as Rembrandt and Vermeer (however, the nearby Van Gogh Museum is better for that artist).
3.30pm Catch a number 10 tram from the nearby Spiegelgracht stop to Hoogte Kadijk (you can buy a one-hour ticket on-board) to visit Brouwerij ’t IJ, a brewery and bar inside a windmill. It has a range of its own beers and runs tours in English at 3.30pm on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
4.30pm Time for some Dutch snacks. Try patatje oorlog (fries with mayonnaise, satay sauce and onion), poffertjes (mini pancakes with butter and sugar) or broodje haring (a raw herring sandwich with onion).
6pm Rent a bike from MacBike in Waterlooplein or near Vondelpark, or Bike4U’s multiple locations, and ride along the canals as night falls and the water reflects the street lights.
7pm The Dutch were once a colonial force in Indonesia, which has brought many Southeast Asian people – and their cuisine – to Amsterdam. Try Javanese at Warung Spang Makandra. Often these restaurants have a tourist menu in English, otherwise ask your waiter or a local for a translation; they’ll likely reply in perfect English.
10pm Seek out the Dutch spirit jenever in one of Amsterdam’s bars. It’s like the forefather of gin, made from juniper and a range of herbs. Try Café Slijterij Oosterling or De Drie Flesjes.