Boris Johnson may aspire to make London the bicycle capital of Europe... but he has a long way to go to compete with Amsterdam.
Bikes are everywhere in the Dutch city.  There are multi-storey car parks full of them. From the traditional upright ‘Dutch bike’ to racing bikes and mountain bikes, this graceful city is a cyclists’ paradise.
The Venice of the North may be intersected by canals, but the myriad of flat, relatively quiet city streets, with their picturesque bridges make sightseeing a real pleasure from two wheels.
Hiring bicycles is easy to do - there are lots of rental company, including the centrally located which hires them out from 7.50 Euros a day, including insurance.
I enjoyed an hour pedalling down hidden streets and by-ways, admiring the buildings and some of the 3,500 houseboats, decorated with plants, or even sculptures, along the canals.
But if you really want to get a flavour of this most unique of European cities, you really have to board a boat.
Amsterdam was reclaimed from the sea by the enterprising Dutch a relatively short time ago in European terms.  The wealthy businessmen who traded out of the seaport, built their tall, elegant homes along the canals, leaving a distinctive architectural legacy for us to enjoy today.
I was there for a short weekend – a quick one hour hop from London Gatwick by easyJet – and I opted to start with a canal boat ride to get a feel for the city.  is just one of many cruising companies. From just 11 Euros an hour, you can choose from several tour options, most of which start from the pier in front of the city’s distinctive Central Rail Station.
Most people have their own favourite Amsterdam: history and art fans love the museums – most notably the world famous Rijksmuseum, the Van Gogh Museum or Anne Frank’s House. Foodies love the cheese. While parties of single guys and girls, love the nightlife and infamous Red Light District... not to mention those coffee houses legally serving up cannabis.
But Amsterdam is a safe, well-kept and welcoming city with something for everyone. Its broad squares, like Dam Square and Rembrandt Square which is surrounded by restaurants and bars, are a delight to explore. I stayed at the ultra modern and centrally located Movenpick Hotel, which was designed as part of a concert hall and travel complex, by the architect Claus en Kaan, situated right on the River Amstel with striking views over the city.
The Swiss owned Movenpick prides itself on great service and when I dined there on my first evening I wasn’t surprised to find my locally sourced rump steak, cooked to perfection.
Out and about I enjoyed a coffee and a pastry for around  7 Euros in a cafe by the Rijksmuseum after viewing it’s most priceless treasure, Rembrandt’s famous painting The Night Watch.
Any visitor to Ann Frank’s House – and there were hundreds queing when I went there - cannot fail to be touched by the story of the young Jewish girl who hid with from the Nazi’s in World War II. 
But there is so much to see and do in Amsterdam, a weekend barely scratches the surface.  The best way to find out, is just to go. You’re in for a treat.
Save 30% on three-night breaks at the iconic Mövenpick Hotel Amsterdam City Centre, with prices for travel in March starting from £101* per room per night, based on two sharing. Visit for further information and to book.  easyJet flies to Amsterdam from London Gatwick, London Luton and London Stansted. Flight prices start from £64.98* per person (return, including taxes based on two people on the same booking).