Amsterdam is well-known for its bustling districts, lively café culture and world-class museums. However, if you look a little closer, you’ll discover that the city also offers plenty more relaxing attractions, from spas to green parks, for those who prefer slowing down and taking it easy.

Our second revolutionary Edge Class ship, Celebrity Apex℠ will be staying late in Amsterdam on her first ever sailing from Southampton on 1 April 2020. There’s never been a more luxurious way to explore Amsterdam’s hidden gems. Here are ten of our favourites.

1. Vondelpark

Spanning a vast 47 acres, you’re spoilt for choice when it comes to serene spaces in Amsterdam’s most well-known park. The park was built in 1850, and features an open-air theatre, a rose garden (with over 70 varieties) and plenty of grassy spots to relax with a good book. Vondelpark is perfectly situated near the Rijksmuseum and Van Gogh Museum, offering a lush green escape away from the crowds.

2. Canal Cruise

Explore Amsterdam’s famous UNESCO-listed canal network (which is made up of 165 canals) on a relaxing cruise. Opt for a breezy daytime cruise or a romantic, candle-lit evening experience. You can learn more about the canals at the waterside Het Grachtenhuis, which illuminates the history of the waterways through interactive exhibits. 

3. Amsterdam Forest

Amsterdam Forest (also known as Amsterdamse Bos) perches on the edge of the city. The largest park in Amsterdam, it offers dense forests to hike in, peaceful meadows to laze in and meandering cycling paths. You can also row down the “bosbaan” canal, or visit the petting zoo. 

4. Scheltema Bookshop

Book-lovers, rejoice: Scheltema is one of the biggest bookshops in Europe. It comprises five stories, filled with everything from the newest fiction to classical poetry, so you’re bound to find a private corner to peruse. The bookshop opened in 1853 and has been much-loved ever since, regularly hosting literary events.  

5. Hit the spa

When you’re craving some pampering, Amsterdam doesn’t disappoint. Spa Zuiver is tucked away in Amsterdam Forest, and offers saunas, an ice room and a 40m pool in which to gently swim your cares away. Feel (literally) weightless at Koan Float, a spa offering massages as well as a therapeutic tank of salt water in which you can enjoy a tranquil “floating session”. 

6. Oude Kerk (The Old Church)

Enjoy sightseeing at a slower pace at the Oude Kerk, which is Amsterdam’s first church and oldest building (it’s been around since approximately 1306). The interior is a quiet, sacred space in which to recharge. Look out for the striking stained glass windows and 18th century organ.

7. Cycle the Jordaan area

Do as the locals do and travel by bike during your visit to Amsterdam. You’ll find quieter cycle lanes and a more laidback ambience in the hip Jordaan area of the city. Don’t miss shopping on Jordaan’s picturesque “Nine Little Streets”, which are filled with vintage boutiques. The southern part is the most peaceful, and is home to flower-filled courtyards and sleepy cafes.

8. Museum Van Loon

Been admiring the gabled houses lining the sides of canals? The Museum Van Loon offers the opportunity to explore one for yourself. It’s not as busy as the Rijksmuseum or Van Gogh Museum, so you’re likely to have the room to explore at your own pace in the once-home of regent Amsterdam family, the Van Loons.

9. Rembrandtpark

You’ll find this quiet park in Amsterdam West. Full of gentle walking paths, playgrounds and ponds, it’s a little pocket of quiet in this vibrant city. It’s also home to De Uylenburg, which is Amsterdam’s oldest petting zoo, and plenty of birdlife and other wildlife.

10. t’Nieuwe Diep

End your relaxing trip to Amsterdam at the t’Nieuwe Diep Distillery. It’s situated in the Flevopark on the less touristy east side of the city. The distillery produces almost 100 artisanal jenevers and liqueurs on-site. You can taste a few for yourself, from apple jenever to strawberry liqueur, while overlooking the distillery’s placid pond.

Discover the laidback charms of Amsterdam with us by browsing our northern European cruises.