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The great escape


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Autumn is the perfect time to enjoy Amsterdam’s museums and apple pies “without any of the crowds”, says Sean Newsom in The Times. And it couldn’t be easier to get there: from Monday there will be two direct Eurostar trains a day from London.

Places of note Head to Museumplein, the city’s largest square, for three of the city’s finest art museums. The Rijksmuseum’s autumn exhibition, Remember Me, brings together 100 Renaissance portraits, including works by Holbein, Dürer, Titian and Veronese (until 16 January); the Stedelijk Museum has a superb collection of modern art; and the Van Gogh Museum lets you immerse yourself in the tortured painter’s life and work. The Nxt Museum, in the trendy Noord district, opened last year and showcases multimedia art. The Anne Frank House is an Amsterdam essential: it’s where the teenage diarist and her family spent 761 days hiding from the Nazis. A short walk away is the Nine Streets district, packed with boutique shops and stylish cafés. A canal cruise is one of the best ways to experience the city – Stromma is recommended, and anything but a tourist trap.

Weather Similar to the UK’s.

Famous faces Rembrandt died in Amsterdam, football superstar Johan Cruyff was born there and the Heineken brewing dynasty was established in the city.

To eat After a day of museum-hopping, treat yourself to a Michelin-starred meal at Rijks, in the Rijksmuseum: its inventive Dutch dishes include smoked beef heart, grey mullet tartare and potatoes with hay foam and pickled egg yolk. For something more low-key, Vietnamese restaurant Bo Nam serves spring rolls and spicy salmon. Head to the old-school Patisserie Holtkamp for almondy apple pies – best enjoyed on the canal – or trendy Levain et Le Vin for coffee and freshly baked buns. The dark chocolate cookies at Van Stapele Koekmakerij are so delicious that there’s always a queue, so go early to avoid disappointment.

1 To stay

De Ware Jacob is a boutique townhouse hotel, 10 minutes’ walk from Museumplein. The 19 cosy rooms have marble fireplaces and large beds. There’s a lounge room with a garden terrace for breakfast or a nightcap from the honesty bar. Doubles from £95 a night.

2 To rent

This contemporary flat is in a canalside building near the Hermitage Amsterdam and the Dutch National Opera and Ballet. It has one double bedroom, one twin, and exposed beams in the living room. From £1,246 for a week.

3 To Airbnb

Make the most of Amsterdam’s famous canals by staying on one – this houseboat in the Noord district has a double bedroom, a sofa bed for an extra guest, a waterfront terrace and bikes for rent. From £144 a night.

4 To buy

This four-bedroom flat is on the ground floor of a 17th-century house next to the Singel canal, near the Anne Frank House and a 10-minute walk from Centraal station. Recently refurbished to a superb standard, it has parquet floors, a grand marble fireplace, ornate ceilings and a landscaped garden. €3.5m.