With one of Europe's largest and best preserved medieval cores, Amsterdam is a stunning capital known for Golden Age mansions, world-class museums, and a well-established counterculture that blurs boundaries and lowers inhibitions.

More than 18 million tourists are drawn to the city every year. Some come for the enchanting canals (which outnumber those in Venice), tolerant vibe, and historic landmarks. Others come for tulips, cheese, and windmills. Some still are lured by Amsterdam's reputation for easy sex, drugs, and rock 'n' roll. Whatever brings you to this water-laced capital, Amsterdam will never disappoint in meeting your expectations — just be prepared to still be surprised with what it has to offer beyond the tourist trail.