Amsterdam is one of the most photogenic cities globally, but you must know where to take those incredible Instagram shots that impress your friends. I lived in Amsterdam for many years and interviewed my friends and relatives still living in Amsterdam to select the best 20 best Instagram spots in Amsterdam.
- Central Station
- Damrak Houses
- Armbrug (Oudezijds Voorburgwal)
- Oudezijds Achterburgwal
- Binnenkant / Kalkmarkt
- Skyline of City Center
- Amstel River
- Reguliersgracht (seven bridges)
- Huis aan drie grachten
- Blue Amsterdam
- Leidsegracht / Keizersgracht
- De 9 Straatjes
- Brouwersgracht / Prinsengracht
The Amsterdam Municipality is well aware of how attractive the Amsterdam canals are for tourists and ensures that there are flowers on the most photogenic bridges throughout the high season.
Map Of 20 Best Instagram Spots In Amsterdam
I created a map for you (see below) to quickly find the best 20 Instagram spots in Amsterdam.
I selected the best Instagram spots in the center of Amsterdam. Amsterdam is not a large city, and all 20 Instagram spots are within walking distance. Amsterdam also has excellent public transportation, and locals won’t hesitate to hop on and off a tram if they need to go somewhere. So get one of these Amsterdam tourist passes that include unlimited public transportation, and don’t hesitate to hop on a tram.
Alternatively, Amsterdam is ideal for exploring by bike, and you will rapidly discover that biking is the preferred way for the locals to move around Amsterdam. So hire a bike if you intend to stay a few days in Amsterdam and explore Amsterdam like the Dutch.
Hiring a bike will also allow you to explore Amsterdam’s neighborhoods outside the city center.
The 20 Best Instagram Spots In Amsterdam
We start at the central railway station in Amsterdam since most visitors to Amsterdam will arrive by train.
1. Central Station
The Amsterdam Central Railway Station is a very prominent building in the heart of Amsterdam. The Central Railway Station’s distinctive front is the building’s most photogenic aspect, although the inside is also beautiful. The Amsterdam Central Railway Station is almost 150 years old and one of the busiest places in Amsterdam.
The best shot is from across the water (Google Maps Location) with the Damrak Canal Houses at your back (see below). Unfortunately, it isn’t easy to get closer and take a picture of the beautiful details of the building because it is too crowded with people.
2. Damrak Canal Houses
These famous houses look like they only stand because they lean against each other, but they have been standing there for centuries. But unfortunately, their foundations have become a bit shaky over the centuries.
These Damrak houses are a vivid example that Amsterdam was built in the middle of a peat swamp. I have written another article about how the Dutch managed to build Amsterdam in the middle of a swamp.
There are three good locations for a fantastic shot of these Damrak houses. The first one is from where you take a picture of the Railway Station and then turn around. My favorite location (Google Maps Location) is right in front of the Damrak Houses, but you can also take a shot from the right.
The best time of the day to take this picture is in the afternoon or evening. The mornings are not good because you will face the east and the sun. You need some luck to catch the reflections in the water because it is very crowded with canal cruises.
3. Armbrug (Oudezijds Voorburgwal)
This spot is close to the Damrak houses and only 5 minutes’ walking away. The best-known place is on the Armbrug (Google Maps Location), looking north. Reflections in the water are perfect in the evening and at night.
I also like a shot from a bridge 100 meters more to the south where the Korte Niezel crosses the Oudezijds Voorburgwal because it shows the beautiful St. Nicholas Basilique a the entrance of this canal much better.
Be aware that the Oudezijds Voorburgwal and Oudezijds Achterburgwal are part of Amsterdam’s red-light district. The northern parts of these canals are still relatively quiet, but not all people will like it if you take pictures of them walking around in a red-light district.
4. Oudezijds Achterburgwal
If you stand on the Bet van Beerenbrug (Google Maps location) looking to the north with a curve in the Oudezijds Achterburgwal, you are looking at one of the most picturesque shots of Amsterdam. That location is as inner-city Amsterdam as it can get...!
5. Binnenkant / Kalkmarkt
The corner of Binnenkant / Kalkmarkt, and the bridge next to it (Google Maps location), offer incredible shots in all directions. It is somewhat broader here but still highly charming. You can pick virtually any part of this neighborhood for great pictures.
For example, you can walk over the Binnenkant to the next bridge over the Waalseilandgracht (Google Maps location) and take a picture of the Waalseilandgracht, including the Montelbaans tower. Those shots can be gorgeous, especially in the evening and at night.
6. Skyline of City Center
Amsterdam does not have much of a skyline because there are not many tall buildings in Amsterdam, at least not in Amsterdam’s center. However, one of the highest buildings in the center of Amsterdam is the St. Nicholas Basilique, which is beautiful when photographed across the water of the Oosterdok.
The best spot for this picture is in front of the Nemo museum (Google Maps location). However, that is quite far from the St. Nicholas Basilique, and you must bring more sophisticated equipment than a smartphone camera. If your smartphone’s camera is not sophisticated enough, you can walk towards St. Nicholas Basilique over the Overdokskade until you have a good shot of the Basilique.
It is nice looking from the outside to the center, and this spot provides a refreshing view of Amsterdam.
7. Amstel River
The Amstel is the river that flows into Amsterdam and gives Amsterdam its name. If you look at the first known map of Amsterdam of 1538 (above left), you will notice a dam in the river. Amsterdam’s name combines Amstel (river) and the word dam. The location of the former dam is now Dam square with the Royal Palace and the National Monument.
The Amstel river ends a bit more south these days, and the northern part of the Amstel river provides a very different perspective on Amsterdam than many other parts of Amsterdam. There are many opportunities here for fantastic pictures. I like shots from the Blauwbrug most because it provides a great view of the city center (Google Maps location).
However, more to the south, the white “skinny bridge” is also quite famous, although more shots are taken of the bridge itself than of the surrounding. If you have rented a boat, take the opportunity to explore the Amstel to the south because it is so different from most of Amsterdam with its narrow canals.
Just north of the Amstel, you can find this beautiful shot of the Groenburgwal.
The Groenburgwal is perfectly aligned with the Zuiderkerk making it one of the most beloved photos in Amsterdam. However, the best shots are made from the Staalmeestersbrug (Google Maps location), north of the Amstel.
The sun lights up the Zuiderkerk nicely on sunny days. Make the shot in the afternoon with the sun at your back or in the evening when the church is beautifully illuminated.
It is hard to find a more quintessential spot in Amsterdam than this one.
Be aware that you will often have to stand in line with other tourists to make this shot because it is one of the most beloved Instagram spots in Amsterdam.
9. Reguliersgracht (seven bridges)
The Reguliersgracht, with its seven bridges in a row, is one of the most coveted shots of Amsterdam. It is also one of the most challenging shots because the best angle is on a boat in the Herengracht. Therefore, many boats will be floating around, looking for an opportunity to make that shot.
A compromise is taking the shot south of Thorbeckeplein (Google Maps location), just south of Rembrandtplein. So stroll along the Reguliersgracht if you have time because it won’t get much more quintessential Amsterdam than here.
10. Huis aan drie grachten
The “Huis aan drie grachten” is the only house in Amsterdam surrounded by three canals (Google Maps location). The house was built around 1600, with beautiful front sides on every three sides facing a canal. You can pick your choice which side you prefer most. My favorite side is the side facing the Oudezijds Voorburgwal.
Many of the best Instagram shots in Amsterdam are shots of its canals. I wrote an article about why Amsterdam has so many canals if you want to understand that in more detail.
The Begijnhof is one of the oldest Dutch almshouses, founded in the Middle Ages and inhabited by beguines (Google Maps location). The houses are still occupied but not by beguines anymore. Its gorgeous courtyard is regularly open to the public, but you must be respectful to those living there.
The houses are truly stunning and are the perfect decor for incredible shots. Don’t forget to visit the chapel next to the Begijnhof.
12. Blue Amsterdam
Blue Amsterdam is a restaurant with the best 360-degree views over Amsterdam because it is located in the center of Amsterdam. Other lookout points, like A’dam Lookout, are much higher but much further away from the center of Amsterdam. Blue Amsterdam is high enough to provide a great view of Amsterdam while you are in the center of Amsterdam (Google Maps location).
Blue Amsterdam is worth dropping by if you stay a few days in Amsterdam. It will also be a comfortable place during the occasional rain showers, which are not uncommon in The Netherlands. I have written another article about what weather you can expect during your visit to Amsterdam.
The Bloemenmarkt is the only floating flower market globally (Google Maps location). Getting a good shot there is challenging since many tourists will stroll along. However, you can also make a shot outside to illustrate how these boats are positioned in the canal.
These days, the flower market is more focused on selling bulbs to tourists than flowers because they can carry them back home.
The Herengracht is one of Amsterdam’s most prestigious and expensive places. The mayor of Amsterdam will be one of your neighbors if you are willing to spend a few million euros to buy a house at Herengracht. Most of the homes at Herengracht were built in the early 17th century by wealthy merchants.
These houses at Herengracht are among the most beautiful canal houses in Amsterdam. Stroll past the houses in the so-called “Gouden Bocht” (golden curve) to admire the beautiful architecture of these houses here, which is stunning (Google Maps location).
The houses in the Gouden Bocht part of the Herengracht are Amsterdam’s largest and most expensive canal houses, but the Herengracht has much more charming stretches. For example, the picture below to the right is the part of the Herengracht where it connects to the Brouwersgracht.
15. Leidsegracht / Keizersgracht
This spot is one of the best-known spots in Amsterdam and is often found on postcards of Amsterdam if anyone still sends postcards. Make the shot in the afternoon with the sun on your back or in the evening when the lights on the bridges are on.
It is also close to Leidseplein, one of the favorite tourist locations, so it will be only a 5-minute walk after dinner to make that coveted night-time shot.
16. De 9 Straatjes
The prestigious houses along the main canals (Herengracht, Keizersgracht, and Prinsengracht) were built and inhabited by the many wealthy merchants of Amsterdam when they got incredibly rich in the 17th century. The tiny crossroads between those canals were inhabited by craftsmen with little shops catering to the wealthy merchants.
The “9 Straatjes” (9 Little Streets), crossroads in between the three main canals, is the name of one of the best-preserved craftsmen neighborhoods of the 17th century (Google Maps location).
The 9 Straatjes have been aptly characterized by the NY Times as “easily Amsterdam’s best shopping hub; a charming mixture of designer boutiques, vintage clothing, gift shops, and places to eat and drink. It is neighborhoods like these that make you feel comfortable in Amsterdam (Lonely Planet)
17. De Jordaan (eerste Leliedwarsstraat)
The 9 Streets are located between the main canals, but the Jordaan is adjacent to the Canal Belt. The Jordaan has a reputation for being as authentic Amsterdam as possible.
The Jordaan was also built during the expansion of Amsterdam in the early 17th century, and it was a neighborhood for workers and emigrants. In those days, the Jordaan was an impoverished neighborhood with open sewers filled with too many people who came to Amsterdam desperately looking for work.
Over the last 50-100 years, the Jordaan has become a beautifully restored neighborhood, one of the prettiest in Amsterdam. As a result, the Jordaan is now one of the best neighborhoods of Amsterdam for street photography with its intimate streets and narrow canals. One of the best shots to get is a shot of the Westerkerk from the Eerste Leliedwarsstraat (Google Maps location).
If you spend a few days in Amsterdam, you should explore the Jordaan in more detail. I wrote an article about how much a 3-day visit to Amsterdam costs if you consider that.
The tree-lined Prinsengracht is one of the three main canals in Amsterdam built in the early 17th century when Amsterdam was growing so explosively. The Prinsengracht is named after the Prince of Orange, the founder of The Netherlands, and it is one of the most picturesque canals of Amsterdam.
The area around the Westerkerk is one of the most photogenic areas in Amsterdam that you will find (Google Maps location). Anne Frank’s hiding place during the war was next to the Westerkerk.
Other parts of the Prinsengracht are equally beautiful, but the Westerkerk brings something extra to any possible picture that you can take of Prinsengracht. So walk along the Prinsengracht to find your favorite spot.
19. Brouwersgracht / Prinsengracht
The Brouwersgracht has been selected by locals as the most beautiful canal in Amsterdam and deservedly so. It is hard to find a more photogenic location and quintessential Amsterdam than this area.
Almost every spot along the Brouwersgracht is beautiful. Still, I selected the corner of the Brouwersgracht with the Prinsengracht as one of the most beautiful because of the tilted houses on its corner and the view into the Prinsengracht with the Westerkerk in the background.
You can best take a shot of the tilted houses from the Papiermolensluis bridge (Google Maps location). The second shot is a gorgeous one you can best take from the Korte Prinsengracht, looking towards the Lekkeresluis bridge and the Westerkerk (Google Maps location). You can best take both these shots in the early morning or the evening. Both will be terrific shots with great reflections in the water if the water is calm enough.
Walk along the Brouwersgracht because it is the most photogenic canal in Amsterdam. The Houses with the red shutters, the picturesque bridges, or the crossings with the Herengracht en Keizersgracht are all lovely photogenic spots where you can take fantastic pictures (Google Maps location).
The best time of the day to take pictures here is in the early morning because the water will still be calm, allowing great reflection.
What Is The Best Youtube Video About Amsterdam?
The video below is, by far, the best Youtube video about Amsterdam that I could find. There is a reason it has already been watched a few million times. I recommend watching this video to look forward to your visit to this beautiful city and the fantastic Instagram shots you will take in Amsterdam.