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I’m a romantic at heart and this cold weather is making me sentimental. Jacob and I moved to Amsterdam about three and a half years ago. We got married in Amsterdam and although Amsterdam has a certain reputation, I find it to be one of the most romantic cities in Europe. I’ve included in my insider tips for my favorite romantic things to do in Amsterdam, cozy romantic hotels perfect for a couple’s weekend, and the best romantic meals in Amsterdam.
- The most romantic hotels in Amsterdam
- Romantic things to do in Amsterdam
- The most romantic restaurants/food experiences in Amsterdam
The most romantic hotels in Amsterdam
One of the most romantic hotels in Amsterdam perfect for couples on a mid-range budget is Max Brown Canal District. This cozy canal-side hotel sits in the Jordaan and you’re likely to fall in love with the views as you exit the hotel every day! For a luxurious stay, consider booking a room at Breiter House to take a step back in time in a 5* star apartment out of your wildest dreams.
Those looking for a modern edge will want to look across the IJ to Sir Adam, an iconic boutique hotel that sits in the A’DAM tower with stunning views over Amsterdam while adventure lovers can stay at the top of a one and only Crane Hotel Faralda, a former crane turned luxury hotel. When you’re done enjoying the luxe life, you can bungee off the top. 😉
Romantic things to do in Amsterdam
Explore the picturesque streets of the Jordaan
One of my favorite things to do in Amsterdam is to wander the picturesque streets of de Jordaan. This stunning neighborhood has the most hofjes (historic courtyards) in Amsterdam. On Saturdays, you can browse the street market along Lindengracht or the Noordermarkt farmers market. Click for my walking guide to the Jordaan!
Browse books at one of Amsterdam’s charming independent bookstores or at one of the book markets
For my bibliophiles, I recommend heading to one of Amsterdam’s charming independent bookstores to browse for books. I especially love the Oudemanhuispoort book market, which is in a gorgeous alleyway that used to be used as stables.
For browsing English books, I recommend the American Book Center, which has a great selection of international and Dutch titles in English. I love the intimate feeling of Boekholt de Dolfijn on Haarlemmerdijk.
Snuggle up during the Amsterdam Light Festival (winter only*)
One of the most romantic things to do is snuggle with your sweetheart while enjoying the beautiful light sculptures lit up at night. The Amsterdam Light Festival is super lovely at night and I’d recommend going on a canal cruise that includes a warm drink.
Pilot a boat through the canals
One of my favorite experiences in Amsterdam is renting a canal boat for a private boat ride. For only 50 euros, you can rent your own boat to enjoy with your significant other. It’s always nice to bring own your drinks and snacks to enjoy along the way. It’s especially romantic around sunset!
See a movie at one of Amsterdam’s beautiful art deco theatres
Date night at the movies is a classic. Amsterdam has some gorgeous movie theatres perfect for a romantic night out. My favorite theatre is Pathe Tuschinski, a stunning art deco movie theatre dating back to 1921.
From the lobby to the main theatre (Grote Zaal), every corner is beautiful. For a little extra, splurge for the Grote Zaal where you can enjoy your own private balcony.
Hold hands while enjoying a long bike riding
This is only for advanced bikers, but it’s super romantic holding hands while bike riding. Biking in Amsterdam can be a bit dangerous, so please use caution if you’re not an experienced biker. (I find biking late at night along the canals to be very calm and romantic.)
Sit out at a cafe with a tea/beer and people watch
On a beautiful day, everyone out is outside enjoying the good weather. There’s nothing like a lazy afternoon letting the time pass as you soak up the romantic atmosphere, laugh, and enjoy a lovely beverage with a view.
Go out dancing
Amsterdam has one of the most famous EDM events in the world: Amsterdam Dance Event. Even if you’re not into EDM, you’ll find clubs as well as bars suited to every taste. Whether you’re interested in taking a tango class, salsaing the night away, or dancing to indie rock, you’ll find a dance place suited to your taste.
Go hofje exploring!
One of my favorite romantic things to do in Amsterdam with my husband is to enjoy the quiet of Amsterdam’s hofjes. These historic courtyards are often hidden from street view, so finding them are guaranteed to bring you some adrenaline and give you a moment to relax.
Browse the Christmas markets*
Although the Netherlands is not always associated with Christmas markets, December is a great time to visit Amsterdam. Throughout the city, you’ll find charming Christmas markets where you can sample local treats, browse locally made goods, and sip on hot chocolate/gluhwein. Similarly, you can go ice skating along the stunning canal in front of the Rijksmuseum! Click to read more about Dutch Christmas Markets.
Take a day trip to see the tulip fields outside of Amsterdam* (April)
Technically, this isn’t in Amsterdam, however I sometimes get tired of exploring Amsterdam, which is why I love getting out of the city. The tulip fields are absolutely stunning and there is something so magical about going past kilometers of them on the trains! Unfortunately this is seasonal, but you can enjoy the flower market if you miss tulip season.
Walk along the canals
Who can deny the beauty of Amsterdam’s canals? If you’re an early bird, I recommend getting up early to enjoy the stunning colors of Amsterdam’s canals without the crowds. If you’re looking for the perfect sunset spot, I recommend heading to Keizersgracht, Brouwersgracht, or Herengracht for a quiet sunset. Still, Oudezijds Voorburgwal has its charms (above!)
Head to a concert or opera
For a dose of culture, make reservations in advance for a concert or a ballet. If you forget, consider stopping by the Concertgebouw for a free lunchtime classical concert on Wednesdays. Similarly, many churches, including the famous Westerkerk holds free organ concerts on Friday afternoons. (Check the schedule.)
Go for a long romantic bike ride to one of the small former villages in Amsterdam
Not many people realize that Amsterdam is much bigger than the historic center! If you head over to Amsterdam Noord, you can go on a scenic bike ride towards two former villages that will make you wonder how far you’re away from the Red Light District. Ransdorp is super cute!
Head to the Poezenboot for some kitty love
We both really love cats. One of my favorite budget dates in Amsterdam involves coming to the Poezenboot, a cat shelter on a canal boat. This cat shelter is full of adorable cats who are ready to be adopted. Even if you’re just visiting Amsterdam, you can still play with the cats and get a pet from some of the cats. (I recommend donating a few euros!)
Admire art at one of Amsterdam’s many museums
Can you really not mention the museums in Amsterdam? Although Jacob and I have differing taste in art, there’s something romantic and relaxing about browsing art. As Jacob isn’t the biggest fan of the Dutch masters, we typically end up at the Stedelijk museum or FOAM, which specialize in modern art and photography respectfully.
You can also peek into the smaller museums, which are often aristocratic homes turned museums. I love sitting in the garden at Museum van Loon, which has a friendly neighborhood cat who’s often there!
Go for a long walk or cycle through one of the parks
When it’s summer, there’s nothing like taking a long strong through Amsterdam’s parks. I love Vondelpark, however I also like Westerpark for a change of scenery. This urban park is the home to the Westergasfabriek, a former factory turned urban hotspot, so when you’re tired of walking, you can enjoy a cold (or warm beverage) at one of the cozy cafes.
Do like the locals and bring your own lunch (or beer) with you to enjoy in the park. I find that a romantic picnic in the park is always lovely.
Go antique shopping at the IJhallen
I’m a sucker for a good antique market. The monthly IJhallen market is a fantastic selection of goods for every budget. For a few euros, it’s always fun browsing this with a loved one (who hopefully loves antique shopping as much as you!) I usually have to be dragged out of here and there’s no telling what you’ll find at this charming flea market. (Don’t be nervous about taking the ferry to NDSM/Noord Amsterdam!)
Browse the boutiques along Amsterdam’s best shopping districts
On a slow afternoon (in good weather), I love browsing the various cute boutiques along Amsterdam’s most charming shopping streets. My go-to favorite is Haarlemmerdijk. This street was named the best shopping street in the Netherlands a few years ago. As soon as you pass Prinsengracht, it becomes a quiet paradise of independent boutiques.
The 9 Streets is a great place for more upscale market. Although this area is a bit more commercial, the Negen Straten (as it’s called in Dutch) are full of Dutch brands and independent boutiques that you won’t be able to resist stepping into.
The most romantic restaurants/food experiences in Amsterdam
Open champagne by the canals at Cafe de Jaren
One of my favorite cafes in Amsterdam is Cafe de Jaren. This stunning canalside cafe is in the same building where the Night Watch was originally painted. You can sit on the edge of the water enjoying the boats passby. For our wedding, we opened a bottle of champagne by the canals!
Have an amazing dinner
You’ll find many fantastic restaurants in Amsterdam. I’ve decided to highlight some especially romantic options for a very special date night although going out for a nice meal. We generally go for a low-key dinner out, but some occasions are worth the splurge!
If you’re looking for a lovely vegetarian meal, I’d recommend heading to de culinaire werkplaats. This restaurant owned by a married couple does themed dinners with multiple courses that are plant-based. Their imagination is endless and the food is always delicious. Be sure to reserve ahead!
Another well-known restaurant is Librije’s Zusje. This Michelin starred restaurant (2*) is a favorite of foodies visiting Amsterdam. Getting a reservation is not easy, but certainly something not to forget.
One of the most romantic places to go out to dinner in Amsterdam is on Vuurtoreneiland. This exclusive restaurant arranges a “meal in nature” in a glass building during summers. (In winter, there’s a warm restaurant.) All produces are locally sourced and it’s an experience in itself. (Dinner includes a scenic boat ride to/from Amsterdam Centrum.)
Have a cocktail at a speakeasy
Amsterdam is full of charming cocktail bars. Although gin is more popular than other beverages, you’ll find a number of speakeasies around the city. I particularly enjoy World Class Room for a romantic drink hidden away from the crowds with your own personal bartender. I also am a huge fan of Vesper, which has incredibly delicious drinks!
Have a long lazy brunch
Although brunch is a relatively new concept here, it’s been catching on rapidly. You’ll find a number of brunch as well as lunch cafes. For a fun romantic meal, G’s Jordaan is a blast if you’re looking for something less traditional. Otherwise, I’d recommend heading to Coffee & Coconuts, one of my favorite brunch places (perfect for vegans!)
Eat dessert for breakfast at one of the markets
I have a huge sweet tooth, so on a weekend (or a day off), it’s always lovely to head to one of Amsterdam’s markets (such as Albert Cuypmarkt) for brunch. Share a warm stroopwafel. (Trust me on not getting two!)
Stay in bed and order delivery
Sometimes romance is not about doing much. Some of my favorite date nights have been home after ordering Indonesian or Surinamese food through Thuisbezorgd or Deliveroo (English) prior to enjoying a movie in. Being in a relationship is sometimes about those lazy moments. (If you’re staying at a hotel, room service works too!)
Linger over gluhwein at a brown bar
My go-to date in winter is heading to a atmospheric brown bar for a warm drink. There’s nothing like cozying up in a corner while sipping on a gluhwein while enjoying a warm fire.
The brown bars in Amsterdam are not to be missed as they’re lined with gorgeous dark wood and sometimes still lit with candles. Even if you’re not a fan of alcohol, I find that sitting at a brown bar with a fresh mint tea is one of the most romantic things to do on a cold evening in Amsterdam.
Go for a chocolate tasting
Although Belgian chocolate is more famous than Dutch chocolate, you better believe that there are some great chocolatiers in Amsterdam! Puccini Bomboni as well as Vanroselen are great places to taste a couple of chocolates from Amsterdam’s best. If you’re on a lower budget, stop by Westergasfabriek to check out Tony’s Chocolonely flagship store to try their latest chocolate experiments.
Have a craft beer or jenever tasting
As a lover of craft beer, it’s always a date when we decide to try out a new craft brewery. My favorite craft breweries in Amsterdam are Oedipus and Brouwerij ‘T IJ. A tasting menu comparing your notes is always a blast.
If you’re looking for something different, head to Wynand Fockink Proeflokaal and Spirits for an intimate experience tasting the best jenevers that the Netherlands has to offer.