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Discover Amsterdam
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Live, Work and Study
Slot Zuylen is a castle in the village of Oud-Zuilen.
Image from Koen Smilde

Romantic escapes in the Amsterdam Area

While Amsterdam’s world-heritage Canal Ring provides the perfect backdrop to any romantic getaway, there are plenty of reasons for couples to venture outside the city limits. In fact, heading into the regions surrounding Amsterdam is a great way to escape the crowds and find lesser-known spots. Take a bike, car or boat with your significant other (or members of your own household) for a day trip or weekend away, and you’ll be richly rewarded by all that the Amsterdam Area has to offer when it comes to romance.

Castles & Gardens

Sail a boat down the Amstel

There's something about being on the water that just feels romantic. You can rent small motor-powered boats that are easy to manoeuvre from several locations in Amsterdam. The main canals tend to be overcrowded, so we recommend heading south down the River Amstel. Depending on how much time you have, steer a course through the river's bends until you reach Oudekerk aan de Amstel. This pretty village is home to a couple of good restaurants and cafés, which are great for a pitstop before you head back – grab a beer at KEK! then choose between Heisa for casual classic fare, India Port for Indian or upscale dining at SAAM.

Dine on a secluded island

Dinner for two may be a romantic cliché, but it still works every time. Instead of dining in the city, why not head off the beaten path to somewhere a little more secluded? There are not one but two islands in the Amsterdam Area offering dining experiences that are perfect for couples. At Vuurtoreneiland, you’ll eat in a converted greenhouse during the summer or a dark and cosy fort in winter. Whatever the season, you can expect outstanding local food cooked over the open fire. Meanwhile, you can visit Pampus Forteiland for casual lunches, snacks and coffee. At certain times of the year, Pampus also offers a pop-up dining experience inside the fortress. Both islands are accessible by a boat cruise as part of the dining experience.


Take a windmill canal cruise

If you’d prefer someone else to captain your boat, why not take a romantic canal cruise past Haarlem’s iconic historic buildings? Tour the River Spaarne, taking in the region’s signature sightseeing – its historic Dutch windmill, the Molen de Adriaan. Smidtje Canal Cruises sets sail in Haarlem and offers windmill tours, city tours and dining packages. Haarlem is innately romantic, so if you'd prefer something a little more intimate, why not wander down its hushed cobbled streets until you end up at one of its most romantic restaurants, 't Goede Uur, for a night of decadent fondue?

  • Couples cycling tip: Get to grips with Haarlem's historic sights and the surrounding nature reserves on this Haarlem Cycleseeing Route.

Catch an art-house movie or concert

Haarlem's Filmkoepel is an art-house cinema housed in a national monument that was once, of all things, a prison. Constructed at the end of the 19th century, the design of this stunning building was based upon panopticon principles and features a mesmerising free-standing domed ceiling. Nowadays, De Filmkoepel is the place to catch beautiful arthouse films, the best of Hollywood and everything in between. For a full day of culture together, why not see some classical music or jazz at PHIL Haarlem afterwards?

Old Holland

Ride a bicycle built for two

Tandem bikes are not just the subject of old love songs. In Amsterdam, you can actually rent them from most rental companies. Once you’ve procured your two-seater, head north on one of the free ferries that leave from behind Central Station and cross the A10 into the countryside of Waterland, home to some of the Netherlands' most romantic cycling routes. Wind through polders and pedal over tiny bridges to see the region how it’s meant to be experienced, stopping at picturesque villages along the way. Favourites include Edam, Monnickendam and Broek in Waterland.

Experience chocolate like never before

Perhaps the ultimate in romantic sweet treats is chocolate. At the Zaans Museum in Zaanse Schans, you and your special someone can enjoy the Verkade Experience – discovering chocolate cookies, hot chocolate and more. They say the way to a person’s heart is through their stomach, and who are we to disagree? Once you've suitably satisfied your chocolate cravings, this is your chance to explore the fabled Old Holland region with its picturesque fishing villages, artisan makers and lush windmill-studded landscapes.

Amsterdam Beach

Stay in a cosy sea lodge

Want to turn your day trip into a more extended stay? Book a night in a coastal cabin nestled between the Dutch dunes. Amsterdam Beach has bustling seaside towns such as Blomendaal, Zandvoort, and IJmuiden, with sandy beaches and thriving nightlife. It is also home to five stylish yet quaint sea lodges for a uniquely romantic experience. Check Qurios Holiday Park’s website for availability, and wake up with a view of the ocean and an unforgettable morning stroll along the sand.

New Land

Explore a national park

The eagle archway of nature reserve Oostvaardersplassen in Flevoland.
Image from koen smilde

The rugged expanse of National Park Nieuw Land is a unique landscape and a romantic escape for those who enjoy the wilderness and the animals that dwell within it. One of the main areas to explore is the Oostvaardersplassen, where square kilometres of protected marshlands and fields serve as a bird migration area, making it a fantastic spot for a hike or a day of birdwatching. Its ‘locals’ include birds and wild varieties of deer, cattle, foxes, hares and Konik ponies. Take a hike or bike ride to spot these animals, just the two of you, or take advantage of the many activities offered by the reserve, such as intimate full-moon walks, sea-eagle spotting tours and ‘golden hour’ safaris. End the day with food and an exceptional view of the surrounding landscape on the panoramic terrace of Paviljoen de Oostvaarders.

  • Couples cycling tip: Explore the vast expanses of New Land on two wheels via these dedicated Cycleseeing Routes through Almere and Lelystad.

Flowers of Amsterdam

Visit the Keukenhof

A couple on a tandem bike is cycling through the flower fields.
Image from Cris Toala Olivares

Flowers are inherently romantic and nowhere is the cult of the flowers, namely the tulip, celebrated in a more glorious fashion than at Keukenhof, dubbed ‘the most beautiful spring garden in the world’ and 'the garden of Europe'. Located in the bulb region south of Amsterdam, it's open for just eight weeks each year (in accordance with the tulip’s national flowering season) and boasts a staggering seven million blooms planted across a 32-hectare park. Over 500 growers present their most beautiful blooms, and leading florists create truly unique displays with them. You can easily spend an entire day in the gardens wandering in a paradise of your own but the rest of Lisse and the surrounding bulb area is equally worth exploring. Alternatively, rent a bike at the entrance to the Keukenhof and get your floral fill on two wheels.

Discover a fairytale castle

Two women and a child walking next to Keukenhof Castle.
Image from Koen Smilde

It may be perpetually outshone by its showy neighbour, but Keukenhof Castle (located straight across from the world-famous gardens) boasts an impressive history with 17th-century roots and makes for a romantic view and afternoon. Inside, you’ll find portraits, artefacts and period furniture that might help you dream of a grander future together – one where there's actually space (and money). The estate now measures some 240 hectares and is home to 15 listed buildings, an art museum, a café, a petting farm and walking paths. Grab yourself a coffee to go and stroll through the gardens – this isn't exactly your Cinderella story, but it's getting close.