Amsterdam is a beautiful and vibrant city that should not be missed. With its grand historical sites, buildings and tasty food culture, you will have a hard time leaving. There is so much to do and see that we had a difficult time pinpointing the best and most appropriate attractions for a 3-hour walking tour. In this blog, we want to give you a short introduction to our guaranteed sights that will be visited on our 3-hour walking tour in, but we also want to suggest some of our favorite attractions you should visit when you are not on our insightful tour.
Nova Fairy Tales 9 Guaranteed Sights
1. Anne Frank’s house
The Anne Frank house is one of the most popular sites to visit in Amsterdam. In this house, Anne and her family hid for two years during the Nazi occupation in World War II. We will not be going into the house, but we will be walking past it and talking about the story of Anne Frank and her family. If you plan on visiting the museum, remember that the queue can be very long and we recommend that you book in advance here.
2. The Jewish Quarter
This area contains many historical buildings that preserved and managed by the Jewish Cultural Quarter. We recommend that you visit some of the buildings and museums that are dedicated to the Jewish religion and the Holocaust. During our walk through this area, we will go through the history of Judaism in Amsterdam and point out to some of their historical sites and memorials.
3. Dam Square
Dam square was created in the 13th century and has become one of the most well-known and important places in Amsterdam and the Netherlands. Dam square has become a “national” square that is known to everyone living in the Netherlands. On this square, many celebrations have been held, tragedies have occurred and so much more.
4. Royal Palace
On the west end of Dam Square lies the neoclassical Royal Palace. The palace is one of three palaces that are at the monarch’s disposal by Act of Parliament. It was initially built as a city hall but later became a residence for the Dutch Royal family. Today, many events and receptions are held there, and it is open almost all year around for the public.
5. Nieuwe Kerk
Beside the Royal Palace, you will find Nieuwe Kirk or New Church, a 15th-century church. Nieuwe Kerk is a protestant church but was originally a Dutch Reformed Church parish. However, the church no longer hosts church services, but the building is used as an exhibition space and for Dutch Royal ceremonies such as weddings and investitures. The church almost burned down entirely in 1645 but was rebuilt in a Gothic style.
6. Jordaan district
This lovely neighborhood was initially a working-class area but has now become one of the most charming neighborhoods in Amsterdam. The narrow streets and quaint buildings make you feel like you’ve gone back in time. In this area, we will walk past wonderful antique shops, galleries, beautiful gardens and much more.
Westerkerk, or Western Church, is a Reformed church placed in the heart of the city. The church was built in the 17th century in a Renaissance style and the architect, Hendrick de Keyser, is buried in the church. If you get the change, you should climb up to the top of the tower, the highest church tower in Amsterdam. There, you will get an extraordinary view of the whole city, and it’s a great place to snap pictures and selfies. The church comes up in Anne Frank’s diary as she saw the tower from her attic and it brought her a source of comfort. A memorial statue of Anne Frank is located next to the church.
8. The Begijnhof
The Begijnhof is one of the oldest inner courts, or hofjes, in Amsterdam, with beautiful historical buildings and the oldest one dates back to the year 1528. It used to be home to the Beguines, a group of unmarried religious women who chose to live together. We will leave the stories and rumors up to our insightful tour guides.
9. The Nine Streets
The Nine Streets is named after the nine side streets that connect the main canals in Amsterdam, and this canal ring was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2010. The Nine Streets is a wonderful place to stroll around and admire all the beautiful shops, cafés, and restaurants.
Other Wonderful Attractions
If visiting Jordaan and the Jewish neighborhood isn’t enough for you, you should visit the fantastic neighborhood ‘De Pijp’ or the ‘Latin Quarter’. It is a vibrant district, and there you will find amazing international restaurants due to the inhabitants that come from different cultures and nationalities.
If you love street markets, you need to visit Albert Cuyptmarkt, and it is located in ‘De Pijp’ district. It is the largest street market in the Netherlands with over 300 stalls, and you will be introduced to the multicultural Amsterdam.
Usually, when people hear Amsterdam mentioned, their minds wander off to the Red Light District….. and the famous coffee shops of course. However, the area has a charm of its own and a friendly atmosphere to it. It is not as dangerous as it used to be, but please be aware of taking any photos there, that might get you in trouble. In the district, you will find plenty of sex shops, peep shows, sex museum and so much more.
If you want to get your culture on, you should visit Museumplein. The Museumplein square is home to Rijksmuseum, the Van Gogh Museum and the Stedelijk Museum of Modern Art. The square that is located between the buildings is usually bursting with activities of some sort. The Rijksmuseum is a Dutch National Art and History museum with art and historical artifacts from Dutch culture and history. The Van Gogh museum has the most extensive collection in the world from the Dutch painter Vincent Van Gogh. In 2017, it was the most visited museum in the Netherlands, and because of its popularity, we recommend that you book your ticket in advance. The Stedelijk Museum of Modern Art has a big collection of modern art, contemporary art, and design.
We are super excited about opening up tours in five new destinations this year, 2019. Are you just as excited as we are?!?! Probably not J So let us introduce our next chapter in our Nova Fairy Tale: We will be operating small group and private walking tours in Amsterdam, Brussels, Hamburg, Berlin and Munich. These cities possess such an incredible history and it’s not to be missed. Here we will give you a little sneak peek into their history and refer to some of the sites that will be on our tours, enjoy!
Amsterdam is the capital of the Netherlands and it borders Germany and Belgium. The name Amsterdam refers to the city’s origin around a dam in the river of Amstel. The Netherlands means ‘lower countries’ and it’s a relevant name for the country as about 50% of its land is below sea level. The population of Amsterdam is around 1 million but 2,5 million in the metropolitan area.
Amsterdam became a very important port in the Dutch Golden Ages (17th century) and one of their biggest trades were Diamonds. The port is the fifth largest port in Europe today. The end of the 19th century has been named the second golden age because that is when the Industrial revolution reached the city. The canals, that Amsterdam is so known for, were built in the 17th and the 19-20th century and they are on the UNESCO World Heritage List (they will be visited on our tour).
In 1940, Nazi Germany invaded the Netherlands and more than 100,000 Dutch Jews were deported to Nazi concentration camps. The most famous deportee was undoubtedly Anne Frank, who died in one of the camps. Her diary was published and it documents her time in hiding in Amsterdam, 1942-1944.
Today, Amsterdam attracts a large number of tourists from all over the world and we want to help them to get the best out of their visit with our walking tour. During this tour we’ll visit some of Amsterdam’s main attraction and tell you about its history and living habits.
You can book your 3-hour Amsterdam walking tour here.
Brussels is the capital of Belgium and its part of both the French and Flemish community of Belgium. The population of Brussels is around 1.2 million whilst the metropolitan area has over 2.1 million people.
Brussels has become a huge hub for international organizations and politics; the capital of the European Union and NATO are located within the city. Brussel also has one of the top financial centers of Europe, Euronext Brussels.
The history of Brussel is similar to other Western European countries. The city is believed to be founded around 979 and from that day the city grew rapidly due to its location by the river Senne. Brussels became a commercial center and a hub for trade routes with the other cities along the river. The Nine Year’s war with France in 1695, left Brussels with the most destructive event in the history of Brussels. There was a fire that resulted in the destruction of the Grand Place and a third of all buildings within the city. The reconstruction changed the look of the city and until this day, you can still see traces of the fire.
It wasn’t until 1830, when the Belgium revolution burst out, that Belgium gained its independence after decades of wars and many occupations by its neighboring countries. Leopald I was the first king of Belgium and he quickly began constructing many of the buildings in the city and thus, the city underwent many changes and its population grew.
During the 20th century, many fairs and conferences were held in Brussels, including three world fairs in 1910, 1935 and 1958. Brussels still remains a popular place for international events. During our tours we will show you some of the historical landmarks that have marked Brussels and Belgium’s history. Come and join us!
You can book our 3-hour Brussels walking tour here.
Hamburg is the second largest city in Germany with a population of 1.8 million people and 5 million in the metropolitan area. The city lies on the River Elbe along with River Alster and River Billie. The official name of ‘Hamburg is Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg’, which originates from its membership of the medieval Hanseatic League but the name Hamburg dates all the way back to AD 808 when a castle called Hammaburg was built to defend the citizens against Slavic incursion.
During medieval times, Hamburg got destroyed and occupied several times. The occupations and destruction came from the Vikings, Denmark, Poland but destructions also came from fires and diseases. The Black Death killed at least 60% of Hamburg’s population in 1350.
After its many occupations, Hamburg was finally freed in 1814 and gained its independency in 1815. In the 12th century Hamburg became a major port in Northern Europe due to its trade routes of the North and Baltic Sea but the city experienced true growth during the end of the 19th century when Hamburg became the second largest port, with shipping companies sailing to North and South America, Africa, India and East Asia. Hamburg was also a big departure hub for people migrating to the United States in the late 19th century and early 20th century. Hamburg suffered during the Second World War as many of the cities buildings and harbor got destroyed. The multiple air raids by the Nazi Germany killed at least 42,600 civilians. Despite these many setbacks in Hamburg’s history, the city has somehow always manages to recover and emerge wealthier after each catastrophe.
Hamburg has Europe’s third-largest port and the world’s oldest merchant bank, Berenberg Bank. Today, Hamburg has become a major international and domestic tourist destination. Not only is it a great city to visit but also a great city to live in as Hamburg was ranked 18th in the world for livability in 2016. The city has a few World Heritage Sites and it’s famous for paving the way for bands such as the Beatles. We think Hamburg is such a great city and we want everyone to get the best out of their stay here, so come and join our 3-hour walking tours and let’s explore this wonderful city together.
Book you 3-hour walking tour here.
Berlin is the capital of Germany and the country’s largest city, with 3.8 million inhabitants and 6 million in the metropolitan area. The name of the city comes from the language of West Slavic and it is related to the Old Polabian term berl-/birl- which means swamp.
The first evidence of settlements in Berlin were around 1174 and in the 12th century, the two towns of Berlin and Cölln were united as one. During the 15th century Berlin-Cölln was named the capital of the margraviate and ruled by the Hohenzollern family until the beginning of the 20th century. Within that time, the construction on the new palace began and the royal residence moved to Berlin-Cölln. During the famous Thirty Years’ War in 1618-1648, Berlin lost one third of its houses and half of its population. During the Industrial Revolution, Berlin got transformed into Germany’s main railway hub and economic center of Germany. The population of Berlin also increased and in 1871, Berlin became the capital of the German Empire.
In 1920, Berlin merged in building dozens of suburban cities, villages and estates and the result of this was that its population doubled, from 2 million to 4 million. In 1933, Adolf Hitler and the Nazi Party came to power in Germany and during the World War II a big part of Berlin got destroyed and left Berlin as the most heavily bombed city in history. In 1945, Berlin got divided into four sectors due to the victorious powers. The sectors then got split into West Berlin and East Berlin, the Soviet sector. In 1948 East Berlin blocked any routes to and from West Berlin and in 1949 the Federal Republic of Germany was founded in the West whilst the Marxist-Leninist German Democratic Republic was founded in the East. In 1961, East Berlin began its construction on the Berlin Wall. The wall fell on the 9th of November in 1989 but its remains are still largely preserved. The wall pays a big part in Nova Fairy Tales walking tours.
Today, Berlin can be considered a world city because of its culture, politics, media and science. The city’s economy is based on high-tech firms and the service sector and recently there has been an emerge of a cosmopolitan entrepreneurial scene. Berlin has world-renowned universities, museums, orchestras, and hosts many entertainment and sporting events. It’s known for its festivals, nightlife, art and the high quality of living. Amazingly, one-third of the cities area is surrounded by parks, forests, gardens, canals, rivers and lakes. Berlin is a very popular tourist destination and that is where we come in. We want to take you around and show you Berlin’s greatest historical monuments and attractions.
Join our Berlin’s 3-hour walking tour here.
Munich is the third largest city of Germany with a population of 1.5 million residence but 6 million in the metropolitan region. Munich is the capital of its region, Bavaria, and it was chosen the world’s most livable city by the Monocle’s Quality of Life Survey in 2018. The city has a very high standard of living and is a major center of art, culture, finance, technology, innovation, business, tourism and education. The name Munich comes from an Old/middle High German term Munichen, which means “by the monks” and it does in fact derive from the monks who lived in what is now known as the old town of Munich.
The first known settlement in the area of Munich was in 1158 and in the year 1506 Munich became Bavaria’s capital. The city didn’t suffer many destructions nor deaths in the medieval times but the worst disease that affected Munich was the bubonic plague which broke out in 1634-1635 and a third of Munich’s population died.
During the Nazi Party ruling, Munich became “the capital of the movement” and in 1933, when the party had taken power, they created the first concentration camp in Dachau, 16 kilometers north-west of Munich. The camp is a must-visit whilst visiting Munich but we warn you, it’s not for sensitive souls. The city was heavily bombed during the war which resulted in more than 50% of the entire city getting destroyed. However, Munich managed to restore most of its traditional cityscapes after the war. In 1972, Munich hosted the Summer Olympics where Israeli athletes were assassinated by Palestinian fedayeen in what has been called “the Munich Massacre”.
Today, Munich hosts numerous events, exhibition and more but the most famous event is probably Oktoberfest which attracts many tourists into the city. Munich is one of the fastest growing cities in Germany and the crime rate there is very low in comparison to other big cities in Germany. We absolutely adore this city and we want you to feel the same way during our tour.
Book your Munich 3-hour walking tour here.
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