Romance - a single word that can conjure a myriad of images. But perhaps the most romantic experiences are the unexpected ones, those with a mysterious quality you can't quite put your finger on. Amsterdam certainly has that special something, an indescribable quality somewhere between quaint and exhilarating.
Discover Amsterdam's romantic side
Part of the romance of Amsterdam is strolling along the waterways weaving throughout the old city centre. The backdrop of centuries-old stately structures towering (and teetering) over a maze of slowly flowing canals undoubtedly exudes something magical and relaxing.
Maybe you'll explore in the quiet early morning, when soft light bathes the buildings or perhaps you'll take a stroll as the sun if setting and watch the canals gradually take on an orange glow.
An evening walk through Amsterdam with your special someone is a must. As you cross the illuminated bridges shimmering in the watery mirrors below, you can't help but feel a little weak in the knees.
Along the way you'll find countless hidden corners and cobbled alleys dotted with cafés and restaurants. In fair weather, find a spot like Spanjer en van Twist, where the romantic canal-side terrace is only wide enough to accommodate tables for two. During colder months, let the Dutch feeling of gezelligheid - a word that loosely translates to cosiness - lure you into one of the dozens of quaint cafés for a few hours of eye-gazing.
Add a little adventure
With all this water around, you'll be tempted to get out on it. For special occasions, charter a cruise on a salon boat. These elegantly restored wood panelled vessels are perfect for a private dinner. Or take the chance to get behind the wheel and play captain in your own private canal boat. What's more chivalrous than that?
Active couples visiting the city of cycles might consider renting a tandem bike. For a more relaxed approach, head to one of the city's many green parks with a picnic basket or just cuddle in the grass like the locals.
Whether its old-world charm or modern minimalism that flips your switch, here are just a few hotels to check out for a romantic stay in Amsterdam.
Seven Bridges Hotel - In a 300-year-old house on one of the most picturesque small canals, this is about as idyllic as it gets.
Amsterdam American Hotel - Enjoy stunning original Art Deco details, rooms with balconies and fluffy bathrobes at this landmark hotel on the Leidseplein.
The Dylan Amsterdam - If high style is what makes you swoon, book one of the individually designed rooms at this treasure on the Keizersgracht.
Hotel de l'Europe - Romantic not just because it's one of Amsterdam's luxurious five-star properties, but also because rumour has it former owner Freddy Heineken bought the hotel as a gift for his beloved wife.
The College Hotel - This chic boutique hotel in Amsterdam's posh Oud Zuid district also draws locals with its cool bar and acclaimed restaurant.
Hotel 717 - With only eight rooms, this guest house prides itself on personal service.
The Toren - Book the Bridal Suite or the Garden Cottage for luxury and privacy.
Of course, Amsterdam's canals don't just create a dream-like scene; you can also have sweet dreams on the water by booking a houseboat. Sip afternoon cocktails on your own floating terrace as you experience the canal life like a couple of locals.
Take it to new heights
For couples with something to celebrate (maybe you popped the question on one of those quaint canals?), ascend to Twenty Third, a cocktail bar on the top (yes, the 23rd) floor of the five-star Hotel Okura. Sample one of the nearly 20 champagnes and take in one of the best bird's-eye views of the city.