Sail a boat down the Amstel
When we say ‘sail’, we don’t mean that entirely literally. 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 bends of the river until you reach Oudekerk aan de Amstel. This pretty village in Amstelveen is home to a couple of good restaurants and cafés, which are great for a pitstop before you head back.
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 windmills? Tour the River Spaarne, taking in the region’s signature sightseeing – its historic Dutch windmills. Smidtje Canal Cruises set sail in Haarlem, and offer not only windmill tours but also city tours and dining packages.
Stroll through Het Twiske
Of course, there’s no need for a bike or boat. A simple stroll can be just as romantic if you find the right route. Head north of Amsterdam to Het Twiske – a recreational nature area with something for everyone. The beach is a particular draw, where you can swim, sunbathe or enjoy a picnic in a secluded spot. Have a read of this round-up of the best outdoor swimming spots in Amsterdam for some more splashy inspiration.
Have dinner on an 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 more casual lunches, snacks and coffees. At certain times of the year, Pampus also offers a pop-up dining experience inside the fortress. Both islands are accessible by boat.
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. Wind through polders and pedal over tiny bridges to see the Amsterdam Area the way it’s meant to be experienced, stopping at picturesque villages along the way. Favourites include Ransdorp, Monnickendam and Broek in Waterland. These cycle routes have some more great ideas for scenic day trips on two wheels.
Experience chocolate like never before
Perhaps the ultimate in romantic sweet treats is chocolate. And 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?
Stay in a sea lodge
Want to turn your day trip into a longer stay? Book a night in a coastal cabin that’s nestled between the Dutch dunes. Bloemendaal is a bustling seaside town with sandy beaches and hip nightlife. It also happens to be 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.