Want to travel solo? Here's why Amsterdam should be top of your list
Solitary travel is on the rise, and Amsterdam is perfect for it, writes Andrea Nagel
What do you get when you cross 18th-century merchant houses with a 19th-century vicarage and a former paper factory? You might think you'd get one helluva mongrel in terms of design, style and architecture, but this is Amsterdam, where everything has a measured aesthetic - and so it works, and is the perfect place for the lone traveller.
Exploring unknown territories by yourself is not always the easiest way to travel, but Amsterdam makes being on your own a delight. The Radisson Blu Hotel, despite being part of an international hotel chain, has such a unique charm you hardly notice you're flying solo.
This is thanks to a mishmash of architecture styles, its historic restaurant De Palmboom, named after a 19th-century grocery store once on the same premises and, best of all, its Pastorie bar, a renovated former vicarage that maintains the feel and spirit of its former incarnation. Plus the huge rooms that overlook the city's famous canals contribute to your comfort.
The Telegraph recently reported that solitary travel is on the rise. More of us are opting to go it alone than ever before, but not simply as a result of having no one to go with. "More people are choosing to take a holiday by themselves because they don't want to compromise on where they go and what they do," the report says.
Part of the joy of not having a travel companion is being able to talk to locals who can give you an intimate view of the city you're in.
Judit Eijkelko-Szollosi offered priceless advice about what to do with limited time and so many options in Amsterdam and made some excellent suggestions from the De Palmboom menu.
Having moved from Budapest, Hungary, with her Dutch husband a few years before, she discovered the city slowly and dispensed information over my three-course meal.
Of course, the museum district is a must - English street artist Banksy was showing at the Modern Contemporary (Moco) Museum, a minute's walk from the Van Gogh Museum, and the Rijksmuseum, the Dutch national museum dedicated to arts and history in Amsterdam, is unmissable, she advised.
As a first-comer to Amsterdam, the famed Red Light District is a few blocks away from the hotel, as is Dam Square, the city centre.
It's the bustling heart of the city, with it's many coffee shops (read cannabis cafés) and chain stores. And De Negen Straatjes is dangerously close by (from the viewpoint of your wallet).
De Negen Straatjes is an area near the Jordaan that has all the most beautiful boutiques in the city interspersed with delicious cafés - framed by three streets stretching from Prinsengracht to the Singel.
It is called the Nine Streets because it is made up of three parallel avenues which are broken up by the Keizersgracht and Herengracht canals, making nine little sections.
After a few days of exploring the city, it was wonderful to return to the room with the pale blue curtains, lush carpeting and, best of all, the stunning view over the canals where you can lazily watch revellers enjoying canal cruises late into the night.