As a photographer, it's a hobby of mine finding the best places to take photos in Amsterdam. I've been living here for almost two years and I'm still finding cute streets with traditional Dutch architecture to wander down. Here are the best photo locations in Amsterdam according to one biased resident. Free map at bottom.
My go-to place for gorgeous Amsterdam photos is in my favorite neighborhood, the Jordaan. My favorite spot is the intersection of Prinseneiland and Brouwersgracht in front of the historic Papeneiland cafe. It's easy to get lost in the nearby streets, especially Palmstraat, before stepping into a historic brown cafe to enjoy the moodiness.
2. Prinseneiland Neighborhood
This small, hidden neighborhood behind Centre is a gem for photographers. With few tourists, you can shoot beautiful architecture (old warehouses) alongside historic wooden bridges. There's even a small canal-side petting zoo for kids. (Don't be scared by the dark tunnel that you need to cross underneath.)
This modern area across the IJ river is perfect for photographers who want a more modern feel to their photos. There's plenty of street art/murals around Noord. You can also visit the artist studios in NDSM for a modern/funky place to take photos. Otherwise, visit one of the modern cafes with scenic views over the river or explore the beautiful/modern EYE film museum.
I have a weakness for the gorgeous canal houses in this area. I often come here to browse at the American Book Centre (where you'll find a great photography book section). You'll also find the best cookies in Amsterdam close to here! The canal houses towards the Singel canal area always a delight to photograph.
This modern park, slightly outside of the City Center, is my favorite place to take photos outdoors. Although Vondelpark is pretty, it's hard to get a photo without people. There are also adorable bungalows across a small canal and a pretty windmill that you can visit. For shopping/hipster vibes, visit the Westergasfabriek complex for cool bars, cute local shops, and tasty food.
This iconic courtyard is one of Amsterdam's many gorgeous hidden courtyards. You need to enter a hidden door, but once you do, it gets quiet. This gorgeous complex was shared by single Catholic women who lived in something similar to a convent. You're limited to the non-resident's viewpoint, but it's a great place to shoot photos. You'll see a lot of Amsterdam photographers here with their tripods!
7. Rijksmuseum / Museumplein / iAmsterdam sign
The classic. There's quite a few iAmsterdam signs around, but the museumplein is amazing in summer. The Rijksmuseum is incredible ornate inside and outside, so many photographers enjoy shooting this scene around sunset. You can easily walk a bit further to enjoy Vondelpark's lush landscape/lakes (best in spring/summer/fall). For most visitors, the iAmsterdam sign is a MUST.
8. (Seasonal) Amsterdam Lights Festival
Between mid December and mid January, the Herengracht canal is lit up with sculptures. You'll see two parts in late December: the main part along Herengracht and the other part intended for walking tours. (FYI: the sculptures change every year, so you will not see the same ones next year.) The sculptures are usually still there in early January, but it's not guaranteed.
The light sculptures along the walking tour can be easily seen for free without a guide and you can simply follow the crowds once arriving close to the Hortus Botanicus close to sunset. Many of these are also interactive, which makes it fun. Expect crowds.
For the main part of the lights festival, you will have the best view from an open top boat (rather than a closed top boat) due to the glass reflection. It will be colder, but I was pleased with my boat trip, which included 3 glasses of gluhwein (mulled wine) and blankets. It's easy to capture the lights without a tour.
9. Brouwersgracht & Herengracht Canals
Although Prinsengracht is the most famous canal, I love biking along the Herengracht and Brouwersgracht canals. Even if you're on foot, it's possible to get some gorgeous shots by the canals!
This area is not as well known among Amsterdam instagrammers or visitors, but for those into more industrial photographs, there are some really lovely areas to shoot here, including Brouwerij 'T IJ. I'm a big fan of Amsterdam Roest, a cool cafe alongside a city beach. Perfect for those lazy summer nights.
11. Museum van Loon
This museum is a dream and there's almost nobody around, besides a gorgeous fluffy cat. Why go? Gorgeous canal house with a secret garden that connects to the other side of the canal. Is that cool or what? It also has beautiful furniture and paintings if you want to pretend that you're royalty.
12. Wake me up when I'm famous bench / De Pijp
I've seen this funny mural in so many blogger photos, so I had to hunt it down for myself. Depending on whether there's cars blocking it, you might need to avoid the bikes while taking a photo. Now, to convince someone to sleep on the bench... De Pijp is one of Amsterdam's residential gems, full of cute coffee shops and colorful houses.
Have you been to all these spots? Any other spots that you loved?
Free Map of Amsterdam's Best Spots!
Karen and Jacob. American expats and cat lovers from New York City and Kentucky who lived in Amsterdam.... Now in Paris!
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