Amsterdam is also known as the Venice of the North, one of the cities in the world with the highest amount of canals. These are considered to be a World Heritage Site and they are the spirit and personality of Amsterdam, one of the highlights and one of the most beautiful aspects of the city.
- Magere Brug
- Singel (PC Hoofthuis)
- Leliegracht – Prinsengracht
- Keizersgracht- Herenstraat
Nowadays, you don’t even need a proper camera to take some amazing photos. Phones are everybody’s best friend, allowing you to take the best photos and edit them in seconds. However, how do you find the best spots where people take those amazing photos of the canals? Just know your way around the city to take the best photos, thanks to this article.
Best Spots: Amsterdam Canal Photos
When in Amsterdam it is not only expected but mandatory to take some awesome canal photos. Even though there are over 100 canals in the whole city, when you are in the city centre it is sometimes hard to find the perfect spot if you don’t know the city. Some of them are hidden in front of your eyes, some of them are further away from the city centre and some are new discoveries that would give you the chance to take some original photos.
Here I have made a selection of 8 of my favourite spots to take photos, to walk around and some of my favourite ones I have discovered thanks to other photographers. It is more about knowing the city so well that you see a photo and you are like, ” right! that is the place!!”. Let me help you out with that part:
This is one of my favorite locations in the city: far away from the tourists yet in the middle of the centre. The back (and the front) part of De Krijtberg, the amazing church in Singel, is one of the most iconic canal scenes: small canals, rounded arches where boats pass by, trees, typical Dutch houses and the church in the background.
Address Of This Photo Location: Leidsegracht-Herengracht 1017BR Amsterdam
2. Magere Brug
Magere Brug (Skinny Bridge) is one of the old bridges in the river Amstel that are still functioning. You will find it right in front of the Hermitage Museum, one of my favourite museums and one of my favourite views of the whole city.
Maybe Magere Brug is an obvious one but since it is not in the city centre it is not one of the first ones that come to your mind. I have personally spent many hours sitting in the middle of the bridge drawing the amazing views you get from there. Taking photos is also a much-recommended activity.
These are the reasons why this is one of my favourite places:
- Sunny days are always better.
- Amazing sunset spot
- Nighttime photography: the bridge is normally illuminated!
- You will see ships and small boats passing by
- You will also have a background of those cute Dutch 4 floor houses
- The bridge normally has flowers
Moreover, not so long ago I wrote an article about Romantic (Cheap) Dates and this spot was one of the winners too 😉
Address Of Magere Brug: Magere Brug, 1018 EG Amsterdam, Netherlands
Papiermolensluis is a location in Prinsengracht, close to Amsterdam Central Station. It is one of the many small bridges in the middle of the canals where you will find not only a bridge but the name of what that place used to be back in the day when Amsterdam was founded (read more about the history of Amsterdam here).
Papiermolesluis means Canal Lock of the Paper Windmill. It is an original photo that doesn’t only show a canal but also tells a little bit of history.
Another one of my favourite small bridges with names is Armeensebrug, in the Red Light District. There are many around there but you can actually pay attention to the whole city because it is not hard to find them, they are cute and an original photo.
Address: Both locations are bridges so you find them by searching Papiermolensluis or Armeensebrug. At the end of this article, you find a map with all the locations.
4. Singel (PC Hoofthuis)
Singel is one of my favourite canals, the oldest one of the centric canals and the smallest one, the first constructed. Like all canals, does not only pass by one side of the city but through the whole city, which means locating the place to take photos can be hard yet you will have many awesome spots.
One of my favourite views was walking from the UvA, in the PC Hoofthuis location towards Singelgracht. It is an awesome way to get to know the city right next to the most popular location.
It is one of the still busy canals, but with more residence, some cafes by the canals on a sunny day and if you are into architecture, you will also be able to take shots with the Palace in the background, cupulas, etc.
Tip 1: walking towards 9 Straatjes, where you will be able to find some of the cutest shops, not by the canal but on the side and genuinely one of the nicest places to take photos in the whole Amsterdam.
Tip 2: walking towards Spui, towards the flower market. One of my favourite cafes is De Brabaantse Aap. From there you have the view of the canal and De Kruitberg, one of my favourite churches and a beautiful view to capture on a photo. As I mentioned in the first recommendation, when it comes to amazing photos, this church is a win-win, from the front and from the back.
5. Leliegracht- Prinsengracht 243
Leliegracht is a small canal that crosses Keizergracht, Prinsengracht and Singelgracht in the middle. It is close to Anne Frank House.
Even though all of the three spots where this canal meets the other three are really beautiful, the best one is the one that crosses Prinsengracht 243, because the bridge is right in the middle.
Description of the location: On the one hand, canal, beautiful pavement, typical Dutch houses, bikes, trees… on the other hand, Westerkerk’s tower in the middle of Prinsegracht… anything else you need to take awesome photos?
This photo is taken from a Leliesluis, a small bridge crossing Prinsengracht. In the picture, you can see WesterKerk. Prinsengracht is one of the 4 big canals that are part of Canal Belt. If you take a look on the map you can see that around Amsterdam city center there are canals. These canals are called Canal Belt and they are a part of UNESCO World Heritage.
Address: Leliesluis – It’s the name of the bridge
6. Keizersgracht 462
Keizersgracht is probably one of the most popular canals to take photos. It is one of the biggest ones, the oldest ones, and the centric canals everybody knows. Due to the high amount of shops around it, it is indeed impossible not to have photos there.
My favourite spot in Keizergracht is next to the Antiquariaat Brinkman, in Raamsteeg and Singel. The whole street that brings you to the city centre is a bridge over the canals, with the beautiful tilted buildings, people cycling, and the most popular photos.
Address of photo location: 462 Keizersgracht
De Kruidenpluktuin van de Weteringbuurt is a little park next to Weteringschans in front of the Heineken factory. It is a little bit of a quiet place with willows on top of the boats, big millionary houses and a nice view of the Rijksmuseum. All that area from the Rijksmuseum to De Pijp, my favourite Dutch neighbourhood, is worth visiting for taking photos.
Especially by the water in the Singelgracht is something less touristic if you are looking for a calmer photo, more inspired, even more romantic.
TIP: Go during the brightest hours, I wouldn’t recommend it at night because the illumination is not as good as in other places UNLESS you are there to take photos of the Rijksmuseum and the water. Then it is amazing.
Damrak is the water space crossing Amsterdam Central Station, right in front of the street Damrak. It is one of the most popular areas of the city with plenty of tourist stores, restaurants and all kinds of activities.
However, most people pass by that street looking at the shops on their right, when in the left they have one of the most iconic pictures of Amsterdam ever.
If you have ever wondered where those typical photos where you see all the faces directly in contact with the water reflected and creating the perfect postcard, here it is! And if the sun shines it is beautiful!!
If you are there, I would also recommend you take a look at the Red Light District. And I mean its architecture: the Nieuwmarkt is one of the most photogenic buildings in Amsterdam.
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Unlike what people think, there is more than one reason to visit this famous controversial district in Amsterdam. All the buildings in this area are some of the oldest ever constructed in the city. Moreover, if you go at night, you will also find some of the most picturesque scenes of the whole city, buildings illuminated, small canals and a lived city.
Extra Information: Taking photos
The best place to take the best pictures will also depend on the weather. Sometimes it is worth trying out your favourite spots anyway because in 30 minutes the sun will start shining again. Sometimes, it is worth choosing wisely where to go. Here are some tips:
- The sun doesn’t always come out during winter, but if it does, it is never more than 4-4:30 pm. If you want light, visit the places earlier.
- During the months of November, December and January, you have the Light Festival, an amazing piece of art created with light sculptures on top of the canals. Find more about the locations here.
- If it rains, that is Amsterdam! So don’t worry… taking photos inside museums is allowed.
- During the summer and springtime is the time of the flowers in the Netherlands. In Vondelpark, Rembrandtpark, Museumplein and a lot of other popular places, you will find thousands of tulips. Look for the location here.
- June, July and August mean short nights. During the summer, a lot of the sunny days end up in sunsets at midnight. Or at least at 11 pm. Therefore, take advantage of the amazing light.