Just under an hour away from the UK, the Dutch city of Amsterdam is a unique destination that's easily digested in a long weekend. Characterised by an attractive network of canals that cross the city, Amsterdam is a kind of Venice of the North. But although the city has plenty of refined buildings, it also has a liberal, rebellious side, visible in the ubiquitous coffee shops that line its cobbled streets and its infamous red light district. It's also one of the most laid-back places in Europe, and one of the least smog-filled, thanks to the locals' preference of scooting about by cycle rather than car.

During the colder months, Amsterdam really comes alive - the city positively glows in the winter light and although drinking a beer outside might be best reserved for summer, there's still plenty to enjoy. Take advantage of the wealth of culture the city has to offer - must-sees include the world famous Rijksmuseum, the Van Gogh Museum and Stedelijk, all usefully located on one of Amsterdam's central streets. And when you've feasted your eyes on the city's artistic heritage and beautiful architecture, what could be better than holing up in a cosy pub with a pint or two of Amstel? Quaint but provocative, romantic but sometimes riotous, Amsterdam has something for everyone.