Known as the Venice of the North, Amsterdam is one of the most photogenic cities in Europe and conjures up images of canals, houseboats, bicycles and coffee shops. After lots of visits and hours and hours of strolling around the city, we’ve put together a list of our 17 best photo locations in Amsterdam: it’s our guide on where to take the best pictures in Amsterdam. Enjoy!
The best photo spots in Amsterdam
Due to its relatively compact circular canal layout, the city is easily explored in just a few days on foot or, even better, join the locals and rent a bike! We recommend staying as close to the city centre as possible. This will give you the most time for photographing all this stunning city has to offer.
Where to Stay in Amsterdam
Finding a great hotel in Amsterdam that won’t break the bank can be difficult due to the high cost of hotels in the city. These are our suggestions whih offer good value and a good location for anyone planning a stay in Amsterdam.
- Boutique Hotel View – located in the city and overlooking the canal this stunning boutique hotel offers large modern rooms with a classic twist. It’s a really good affordable quality hotel in central Amsterdam – check prices now!
- The Cabin @ MPS Noorderzon – For an unforgettable Amsterdam experience try The Cabin, a canal boat that offers private ensuite rooms. Located right in the middle of Amsterdam just 10 minutes walk from central station it’s a truly unique stay – check prices now!
- Courtyard by Marriott Amsterdam Arena Atlas – good value option close to the city. It’s a modern hotel with comfy rooms, a fantastic breakfast and quick access (15 minutes) to Amsterdam city centre via the metro line – check prices now!
1 | Armbrug
The historic Armbrug, or Arm Bridge, is one of the city’s most iconic and photogenic spots. Located a short walk from Amsterdam Centraal train station, this popular photo spot is usually crammed full of people so try to hit it first thing in the morning before the crowds arrive! The view from the bridge is a picture perfect postcard shot of what Amsterdam is all about!
Amsterdam best photo locations tip: One of the best spots to photograph this area is not on the bridge itself but just north of the bridge on the edge of the Red Light District. A café called Cafe Aren’t Water, which is Dutch slang for cafe on the water, offers great views of the bridge and the narrow canal houses lining the water. Grab a table, order a coffee and enjoy the view!
2 | I am Amsterdam sign
Home to the Rijksmuseum, the Vincent Van Gogh and the Stedelijk Museum, Museumplein is a great spot for a stroll and it is here you can find the famous I Am Amsterdam sign. We visited Amsterdam during the winter and so were able to capture this unique shot from a bridge over the ice rink looking across at the Rijksmuseum and the sign.
Amsterdam best photo locations tip: As huge fans of Vincent Van Gogh we wanted to visit the Van Gogh Mueseum which houses a huge collection of his works. It gets super busy so make sure to go there first thing in the morning or book your ticket in advance. The only downside is no photography is allowed inside! We used the I Am Amsterdam city pass which included entry to the Van Gogh Museum and over 40 others. Buy the I am Amsterdam card here.
3 | Groenburgwal / Staalmeestersbrug
This view of Zuiderkerk with the leading line of the canal is an iconic Amsterdam shot and only a short walk from Rembrandtplein (see our 4th photo location). With the narrow houses lining the canal it also allows a glimpse into Amsterdam life through a lens. The bridge itself is beautiful but is a victim of the love lock craze like so many bridges around the world!
4 | Rembrandtplein
The highlight of Rembrandtplein Square is the real-life depiction of Rembrandt’s masterpiece, the Nightwatch which has been recreated with sculptures of the main characters in the centre of Rembrandtsplein. It is both beautiful and a great photo opportunity! With a statute of Rembrandt overlooking the sculptures walking through the “painting” is pretty surreal. This square really comes to life at night as it’s the centre of nightclubs and pubs making it great for night photography also.
5 | Damrak Waterfront
Located on a stretch of canal between Amsterdam Centraal Station and Dam Square is Damrak, the beating heart of Amsterdam and home to the Amsterdam shot everyone wants: the dancing houses of Damrak. The houses are known as the dancing houses as a result of being built on stilts and subsidence over time has resulted in their crooked appearance. You’ll see images of these houses everywhere in Amsterdam, the airline KLM even give you them in flights as a business class souvenir! Check out the map at the bottom of this post for the exact location.
Amsterdam best photo locationst tip: the iconic colourful waterfront buildings and busy streets make it a perfect place for grabbing a seat at a cafe and indulging in a spot of people watching.
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6 | Bejinghof Béguinage
Bejinhof is an 800 year old Béguinage tucked away off a street close to the Bloemenmarkt its one of the oldest courtyards (or hofjes) in Amsterdam. The women who originally founded Bejinhof were lay religious women who did not take the nun vows of faith or chastity. Their primary focus was to care for the sick and poor of Amsterdam down through the centuries
This collection of beautiful old houses clustered around the square is a quiet oasis from the hustle and bustle of the busy streets surrounding it and it is a great place for some unique shots of the quieter side of Amsterdam.
7 | La place Café
For the best view of Amsterdam from above take a short walk from Amsterdam Centraal train station to the Openbare Library of Amsterdam. Admission is free to the library and, once you enter, take the lift straight to the top floor and the La Place Café. Grab a coffee and a seat and indulge in some of the best views of the city. The outdoor deck isn’t open in winter but, during the summer, the views from the top are truly stunning.
8 | Fo Guang Shan He Hua Temple
There is a Buddhist temple nestled in central Amsterdam among the maze of canals. The He Hua (meaning Lotus Flower) Temple is located beside the Red Light district and is a great spot for some colourful and unique photos of Amsterdam. It’s quite bizarre to go from the busy streets of Amsterdam to the serenity of a Buddhist temple so we highly recommend you check it out.
9 | Rijksmuseum
A trip to Amsterdam must include a visit to its most popular museum, the Rijksmuseum. The cavernous building of the Rijksmuseum is situated at one end of the Museumplein and you can easily spend an entire day exploring inside. In terms of photos, the building itself is the main attraction with the best angle for shots coming from the bridge in front of the building or from the Museumplein itself. During summer months the reflection photos are stunning from the Museumplein using the water feature which the ice rink replaces during the winter. The bike passageway under the museum is also great for some moody tunnel photos.
Amsterdam best photo locations tip: Similar to the Van Gogh museum we highly recommend either booking tickets in advance or going first thing in the morning when the doors open. This place can get insanely busy and the queues can last hours. It is included in the I am Amsterdam City Card which you can buy here.
10 | The street art
From murals to quotes, street art is a common sight in Amsterdam and makes for some great photo opportunities. The hip Noord District, connected to the city by frequent ferries, has an abundance of street art and we loved the famous love me wall along the canal in Groenburgwal.
11 | Bloemonmarkt
Two things spring to mind when you think of the Netherlands: bicycles and tulips! If you need a tulip fix make sure to check out the wonderfully colourful Bloemonmarkt flower market along the canal, the world’s only floating flower market. The market sells everything from vacation souvenirs and trinkets to flower bulbs and bouquets of flowers. It’s an explosion of colour, flowers and fragrance and makes for some great colour pop photos.
12 | Jordaan district
This is hands down our favourite part of Amsterdam. Originally a working-class Amsterdam neighbourhood, Jordaan is one of the most beautiful neighbourhoods in the city and a great location for street photography. Packed with beautiful houses, quiet streets and lots of cafes, we spent hours exploring the area. There are many secluded courtyards (or hofjes), coffee shops and quirky shops to discover.
13 | Pannenkoekenhuis Upstairs
A pancake house might seem like a strange place to include in a photo article but the interior of the Pannenkoekenhuis Upstairs is truly unique and a great location for photos. You’ll need to book a table in advance as it’s a really small space and demand is high. As a bonus, they serve the best pancakes we’ve ever tasted!
14 | Amsterdam Centraal Station
The main hub on Amsterdam is the beautiful Centraal Station. Over 250,000 people use the station daily so try to avoid it at peaks times as it gets really busy! Similar in architectural design to the Rijksmuseum which was built around the same time, it’s a blend of Neo-Gothic and Neo-Renaissance styles and the beautiful red brick make it a truly distinctive Amsterdam building. We didn’t have great conditions for shooting when we visited the station, however, on sunny evenings the red brick illuminates in a beautiful golden orange hue.
For the best angle walk across the bridge in front of the main entrance for a view back across the entire building
15 | Red Light District
Amsterdam’s red light district is comprised of 2 or 3 streets/canal areas in Amsterdam and it’s definitely worth taking a stroll through the red-light district at night. Obviously, it’s necessary to be very careful of what you photograph but the teeming streets and red glow make for some great for moody images.
16 | Wall Street Bull
The Wall Street Bull is another unique and rather random Amsterdam photo opportunity! This replica of the New York Wall Street ‘Charging Bull’ is located just off Damrak Street.
17 | Anne Frank Statue
The Anne Frank house is a haunting reminder of a World War Two Europe and an absolute must for anyone visiting Amsterdam. The Anne Frank House is of the former home of the now world famous little girl, Anne Frank, who hid in an Amsterdam attic and kept a diary of her family’s experience. The statue of Anne, located close to the house, is a haunting capture.