Every time I visit a city, especially if I don’t have much time to spend there, I always make sure I find a place where I can enjoy a view from above, to take some nice panoramic photos but also to have the feeling that “I saw it all”. When I decided to visit Amsterdam I had some trouble finding information about the best places to see the city from above, but ended up finding some really nice ones.
Being Amsterdam a flat city, there are no hills or obvious higher places that offer a panoramic view, therefore you will have to take advantage of the highest buildings in town. I hope this post will save you some time, so that you can concentrate researching every single coffee shop, museum or hotel Amsterdam has, already knowing where to go to take pictures!
Westerkerk, the “West Church” of Amsterdam, has the highest tower of the city with its 85 meters (279 feet). It may not sound impressive but remember we are in Amsterdam, the city is flat, there are no skyscrapers so 85 meters are enough for being the “Empire State Building” of Amsterdam!
It’s free to visit the church, while the downside of climbing the tower is that you have to pay (€6)… but the price includes a guided tour, and when you are inside the tower you will understand why you need a guide with you. Man, when I think of those stairs I start feeling dizzy again! But no worries it’s perfectly safe, and when you reach the top you will be rewarded with a very nice view over Amsterdam!
If you decide to give Westerkerk a go, please note not more than 6 persons are allowed on each climb. Be smart and book your visit in advance (just go to the counter and they will tell you when the free slots are), and anyway the church is in Jordaan, a beautiful district of Amsterdam, and just on the side of the Anne Frank Huis Museum, so in case you have to wait you will have plenty of things to do in the meantime.
Also, I thought I could leave my jacket at the entrance as the climb is pretty hard and I knew I was going to sweat… but once you reach the top it may be chilly. Conclusion: bring your jacket with you!
This place instantly made me want to go back to student life. So allow me to suggest you to visit this library if you have some spare time in Amsterdam, even just to enjoy the atmosphere. It’s a magnificent modern building very close to the Centraal Station. Get out of the station and go left, keep going and you will find the Openbare Bibliotheek!
The rooftop (free admission!) has a really nice bar/restaurant and a perfect view over Amsterdam, the water and NEMO Science Museum.
Having a different perspective on things sometimes leads to unique photos, and makes us notice some details that we could easily miss otherwise.
I think I took a million photos of bikes in Amsterdam, but this one definitely pops out because of the different angle!
Do you also look for the highest places in town to take panoramic shots and enjoy the views? If you have some ninja tips to add about panoramic views over Amsterdam or other cities, please feel free to share!