Amsterdam is one of the loveliest cities in Europe, tilting houses, tiled rooftops and all. However, it suffers from an utter lack of skyscrapers and viewing points. The houses are short and there is no financial district with observation decks. So what does a girl have to do to enjoy the best views in Amsterdam?
In this article, I’m sharing the spots I have collected since my move to Amsterdam over 3 years ago. So get ready for my collection of Amsterdam best views. We will be visiting Amsterdam’s best observation decks, cafes, and towers that offer stunning views over the canal-filled city.
Where to Find the Best Amsterdam Views: Top Amsterdam Panoramas
W Hotel terrace views on the Westerkerk and Royal Palace
The view from the W hotel terrace is quite lovely. The building is right in the heart of the old city, next to Dam square and the Magna Plaza shopping center. The W Amsterdam isn’t too high, which means you won’t get to see the city in miniature. However, the W Lounge offers brilliant views of the back of the Royal Palace, the elaborate rooftop of the Magna Plaza, and the Westerkerk.
Feel free to order a cup of coffee and settle in on the terrace, or pop in and sit in front of the fireplace if the weather doesn’t cooperate. Oh, did I mention that during summer you can also chill in a rooftop pool? If that sounds like your kind of a city vacation, check out other unusual things to do in Amsterdam that made the cut.
Address: W Lounge, W Amsterdam, Spuistraat 175
Opening hours: Sun-Thu 8 AM – 1 AM, Fri-Sat 8 AM – 3 AM
Amsterdam canal views from the Westerkerk tower
If you prefer your views to be hard-earned, come to Westerkerk, one of Amsterdam’s tallest churches and the burial place of the great Rembrandt. This stunning central view comes with never-ending staircases and a mandatory 9 euro church tour, which will take you all the way to the top. Annoyingly, this is one I haven’t done myself.
Ever since I grew up, I gained several annoying phobias, such as a fear of heights, and, well, staircases. I still remember the day the elevator was broken on the 14th floor of my day job. I can’t believe I didn’t quit right then and there. (Just kidding. I just hate sports.)
Anyway, the view is absolutely beautiful, and since the tower is open till late, you get a chance of witnessing Amsterdam in the soft evening light. There is no reservation system for the tours. If you’re looking for more epic views, check out the Oudekerk and Zuiderkerk. Currently, they are closed for restoration but all the information can be found here.
Address: Westertoren, Prinsengracht 281| Price: 9 EUR for 1-hour group tour
Opening hours: April – September 9 AM – 8.30 PM, October 9 AM – 6 PM
A’DAM Lookout Tower views on the river Ij
One of the defining landmarks of Amsterdam Noord is the A’DAM hotel which opened up a great viewing platform high up on the 20th floor. There is an adventurous element to it, too. You can enjoy the views like a regular person, or you can be a daredevil and swing over the edge on Europe’s highest swing. I’ve been up on the platform and enjoyed the views on the Ij river, the Central Station and the city beyond, but didn’t muster enough courage to try the swing.
This spot is a great choice for an alternative view of the city. Amsterdam Noord is quite far from the main city center, and while the view before you is vast, the finer details such as cute little Amsterdam houses will certainly be lost. The platform is 360° degrees, though, which makes it one of the best spots to get a good look at the northern part of Amsterdam. You can also watch ships crawl lazily past the Central Station and count the ferry trips as you enjoy the sunshine.
Keep in mind that entry to the viewing platform costs 16,50 EUR and the swing + entrance combo ticket costs 28.5 EUR. If you’re not sure you’re up for the swing, just grab the entrance ticket online with a discount and if you change your mind, you can buy a separate ticket for the swing on the spot.
Address: A’DAM Lookout, Overhoeksplein 5| Price: 13,50 EUR
Opening hours: 10 AM – 10 PM | Website: https://www.adamlookout.com
The secret Bijenkorf mall rooftop view
There’s no way you’ll miss the Bijenkorf — Amsterdam’s main luxury shopping mall, right on the Dam Square. I’ll bet you didn’t know, though, that if you only rode the escalators all the way up-up-up to the Bijenkorf Kitchen, you’d get a pretty decent and also free view on the old city center.
You’ll mostly see the facades of the Damrak, the busy central street, whose beauty is often overlooked because of the endless tour ticket offices, Belgian fries, and currency exchanges (Potts exchange is quite good if you’re in a pinch). Anyway, it turns out that if you just look up at the glorious facades, you will notice that this street is also really beautiful! There’s also a decent terrace that offers a rooftop view of Beurs de Berlage tower, a quiet oasis high above the crowds.
Address: de Bijenkorf Amsterdam, Dam 1 | Price: Free
Opening hours: Tue-Sat 10 AM – 9 PM, Sun-Mon 11 AM – 21 PM
NEMO rooftop terrace views on Amsterdam
The NEMO museum is a wonderland for the curious. Coincidentally, its sloped roof terrace offers amazing free views on the harbor and the city. The rooftop is perfect for enjoying the sun during brief spots of sunshine. There are water fountains and hydraulic features for the children to play with, a little cafe, and a detailed outline of the views.
You don’t need a ticket to get here either, although I absolutely recommend visiting NEMO, whether you’re an adult or a child. To enjoy the vista, simply walk up the sloping terrace stairs from the very bottom or take the free elevator. There are tables at the very top just in case you appreciate your view better with a coffee and a sandwich. The terrace has several viewing points with information on what exactly you’re seeing when you look across the way.
Address: Oosterdok 2, Amsterdam | Opening hours: 10 AM – 5.30 PM| Price: Free
Central Amsterdam views from Volkshotel Canvas terrace
If you’re looking for beautiful city views and a chill environment, head over to the Volkshotel. This hotel is located outside of the immediate city center right next to Wibautstraat metro station. However, it offers fantastic views on the heart of the city coupled with a youthful environment and a fantastic up-and-coming hotel.
The views from the upstairs bar Canvas stretch in every direction, giving you an unusual outlook on the city. There is an open-air terrace you can enjoy in good weather as well as a sun-lit gallery next to the panoramic windows stretching through the whole floor.
Address: Canvas bar, Volkshotel, Wibautstraat 150| Price: 2,7 EUR for a cappuccino
Opening hours: Mon-Thu 7 AM – 1 AM, Fri 7 AM – 2 AM, Sat 8 AM – 2 AM, Sun 8 AM – 1 AM
SkyLounge Amsterdam view at sunset
This panoramic restaurant offers great views of the Oosterdok — a wide water pass right next to Amsterdam Central Station. Enjoy across the water views of typical Amsterdam houses, the Church of Saint Nicholas, the NEMO museum, and the Shipping House used by Dutch shipping companies of the early 20th century (now known as Grand hotel Amrath).
To get to arguably the best view in Amsterdam, go up to the Sky Lounge in the Double Tree Hilton hotel. The elevator will take you to the 11-th floor open-air terrace. It can get incredibly busy here in the evenings, since the spot is absolutely perfect during the sunset hours. The bar is perfect for getting first-rate views for the price of a coffee, but I doubt you’ll be able to leave without a cocktail.
There are two balconies, one of them is great for a calm dining experience, while the other is the perfect DJ playground for a hip crowd. The Sky Lounge definitely struck me as the one place in Amsterdam where the clientele is making an effort to appear glamorous. If that sounds like your kind of crowd, why not get a room with a view? Check out the current Double Tree Hilton hotel deals here.
Address: SkyLounge Amsterdam, Oosterdoksstraat 4
Price: Cappuccino is 8 EUR (ouch), but with free refills
Opening hours: Sun-Tue 11 AM – 1 Am, Wed-Thu 11 AM – 2 AM, Fri-Sat 11 AM- 3 AM
360° Panoramic views at Cafe Blue Amsterdam
The view from Blue Amsterdam will open up only for those in the know, since it’s concealed from the naked eye. To find it, you’ve got to go into the Kalverpassage shopping center, on the busy Kalverstraat shopping street. Take the elevator to the third floor which opens up directly onto the 360° cafe.
The view is quite unique. You will see the rooftops of the very city center, to every side, from the Amstel river to the west. Thanks to the beautiful glass windows, cafe Blue is always sunlit. This is a great place for a snack or a lunch since the menu is typically Dutch, consisting of sandwiches, burgers, soup, and coffee options.
Address: 3rd floor of Kalverpassage. Entrance from Singel 457, Heiligeweg and Kalverstraat.
Opening hours: Mon 11 AM – 6.30 PM, Tue-Wed 10 AM – 6.30 PM, Thu 10 AM – 9 PM
Fri-Sat 10 AM – 6.30 PM, Sun 11.30 AM – 6.30 PM
Stunning rooftop views at Zoku terrace
One of the insta-famous spots on any decent Amsterdam itinerary, Zoku combines a cafe, a lounge, terrace, and fantastic views all in one. Known for its signature sunlit floral corridor, Zoku is like a secret garden hidden from the unsuspecting traveler. Get in the elevator and go all the way up to enjoy a cup of coffee with views of the Plantage neighborhood.
There is no entrance fee, and I’m sure you will want to stay a while when you see those views. Swing in a hammock as you watch the sun above the rooftops of Amsterdam center. Did I mention that it’s also a world-renowned studio hotel? It was on Forbes, CNN, you name it. If you feel like staying in Zoku if not forever, then at least for a night or two, check out the best deals for Zoku.
Address: Weesperstraat 105, Amsterdam
Opening hours: 7 AM – 10 PM
Free Amsterdam views in the OBA public library
If you don’t feel like paying for your view, head over to the OBA public library building next to the Sky Lounge, a short walk away from Amsterdam Centraal. The library takes up several floors and offers similar views to NEMO albeit, from behind glass windows. There is a little open terrace at the very top but the visibility is constrained by the roof feature, which allows for little wiggle room on pictures.
The library is absolutely perfect for enjoying Amsterdam views as you relax in the comfy chairs, curling up with a book. Unfortunately, the pictures won’t be as stunning through the glass windows, which can be quickly remedied with a trip to the Sky Lounge 🙂
Address: OBA library of Amsterdam, Oosterdokskade 143 | Price: Free
Opening hours: Mon-Fri 8 AM – 10 PM, Sat-Sun 10 AM – 10 PM
Best far-reaching Amsterdam views on Floor 17 skybar
The beautiful terrace views from Floor 17 of the Ramada Apollo Amsterdam Centre was a huge surprise to me. By comparison, it is the furthest from the city center. However, those meager 20-minutes of travel are enough to transform the perspective into the widest views of Amsterdam I have seen so far. There is nothing between you and the city except the lush Rembrandtpark. The city is on full display.
The hotel has a fantastic skybar and an open rooftop bringing you to a whopping 85-meter height. You can spot all the major landmarks, all the way to the A’DAM Outlook on the other end. The rooftop is open during the warm season till late night when it’s time to get the party started. In addition, there’s a fantastic selection of cocktails to match the views. Want to stay longer to enjoy the stunning views? Check out the hotel deals for Ramada right here.
Address: Ramada Apollo Amsterdam Centre, Staalmeesterslaan 410
Opening hours: 12 PM – 1 AM