Amsterdam (un)leashed: exploring the city with your canine friend
Amsterdam is renowned for being one of the most pet-friendly cities in Europe, and what better way to explore it than with a canine companion by your side? From bustling markets to dog-friendly restaurants and cafés, here are some spots where you won't have to sacrifice your adventures with a four-legged friend in tow. There's something for everyone (and their pup) to enjoy!
Where to sniff out some fun with your dog
Woof & Me
Even though most restaurants welcome dogs inside as well as outside, Woof & Me is a café where dogs come first. Woof & Me is the Netherlands first dog café and is sure to give you your daily dose of doggo goodness, whether you come in with a dog or not. Treat yourself to a coffee and something from the human menu while your pup picks out a tasty treat from their bark-ery or goes wild in the ball pit. If you're both feeling extra adventurous, join one of their events, like dog yoga!
De Vergulde Hond
Every now and then, you want to spoil your dog with something extra special. Whether it's just out of the blue or you’ve got something to celebrate, this is the place to go when you want just that! De Vergulde Hond, literally translating to ‘Gilded Dog’, is a pet bakery that whips up cakes and bonbons that’ll have your dog wagging their tails with excitement.
For real cookie-monsters and their sidekicks, Van Stapele is a one-stop shop for the best double chocolate chip cookies in town. And we all know chocolate may be delicious for humans, but it's not so good for our four-legged friends. But have no fear; Van Stapele has got you covered with their doggie treats! The queue can get quite long, so be sure to order your cookies and dog treats online before they run out!
Pllek is a quaint urban beach and truly a doggie paradise. Nestled on the waterfront at NDSM Wharf, it is the perfect spot for a laid-back afternoon with exceptional views over the city. Dogs do have to be kept on the leash, but there's still plenty of fun for hounds and humans alike. It’s also an excellent spot for some serious dog-watching and ultimate sunset moments!
Visiting restaurants with your dog in Amsterdam’s green spaces
Taking your dog for a walk in the park is one of life's simple pleasures. And when it's time to take a break and recharge, why not treat yourself to a refreshing drink or a delicious bite to eat with your loyal companion by your side? If you've been strolling through Vondelpark, head over to Taproom ‘t Blauwe Theehuis for a tasty Brouwerij 't IJ beer. Or, if you're exploring the West of Amsterdam, Terrasmus in Erasmuspark is a great place to let your dog run around while you enjoy some quiet time on the terrace. When you’re up in Amsterdam Noord, you’ll find Pompet in Noorderpark, a cosy cafe with a sunny terrace where you can while away the day with your dog.
Even though most museums don’t allow you to visit with your dog, there are exceptions! Art enthusiasts should be sure to check out the Museum of Humanity in Zaandam. You’ll see fascinating portraits from people all over the world that are sure to spark some interesting conversation. If you’d prefer to head out into mother nature, why not consider taking a trip to the Amsterdam Forest Theatre with your four-legged pal. The Amsterdamse Bos has been home to this open-air venue since 1985 and has delighted theatre and music fans every summer. From June through September, this charming location is the perfect spot to enjoy some live entertainment and soak up the beauty of nature.
When it comes to accommodation, there are plenty of dog-friendly hotels in Amsterdam to choose from. Want to know if a hotel allows dogs? Most hotels indicate on their website if they're dog-friendly. But here are a few top picks for overnight stays where you won't have to leave your pooch behind.
- The Hoxton- Located in the city center, the Hoxton allows one dog (up to 18kg) per room to stay with you for no extra charge. They even have a little welcome booklet for your pet with tips and recommendations!
- The Unbound - This boutique hotel in Amsterdam West’s green gardens is the perfect location to wind down with your dog for only an additional €25 per day.
- Volkshotel - This trendy hotel in Amsterdam Oost allows you to bring two dogs for an additional €15 a day. Their only request is that they aren’t the size of a giraffe.
Dog-friendly parks and off-leash areas
Almost all parks in and around the city are dog friendly. To explore some of Amsterdam's beautiful green spaces, then Vondelpark, Rembrandtpark, Oosterpark and Westerpark offer plenty of room to run and play – including some extensive off-leash areas. Or for a longer walk with your pooch, then Sloterpark has got you covered! This park, the largest in Amsterdam, offers a fantastic 5.8 km walking trail around the stunning Sloterplas lake. Further out, Amsterdamse Bos boasts multiple walking trails and wide open spaces. Alternatively, the beach at Zandvoort is another popular spot. Just a 20-minute train ride away, it's an ideal sandy stretch for a day of fetch or a relaxing soak in the sun (just remember, dogs are only allowed off leash on the beach from October to April).
Other activities to enjoy with your dog in Amsterdam
Take a scenic canal ride
Rent a canal boat and experience Amsterdam from a whole new angle. With your best friend by your side, the sights and sounds of the city will be even more breathtaking. Just remember to keep them on a tight leash - you wouldn't want them to take an unexpected swim!
Go for a bike ride with your pooch
One of the best ways to explore the city is by bike, so why not enjoy that with your dog? For the smaller dogs, you can rent a bicycle with a basket and ride around in style. If you’re up for it, you could also rent a bakfiets (cargo bike) and show your bigger dog around the city!
Visit a market
There are various markets held every day of the week around the city. Venture out and discover local food, fashion and knick-knacks! You’re also bound to find something for your furry friend.
Pro tips: practicalities & need-to-know for (p)awesome adventures
Dogs are expected to be on the leash in most places, even in the parks. You’ll find clear signs, usually reading “losloopgebied”, which indicates that your dog can roam free and let their fur fly!
Your dog & public transport
Amsterdam has great public transport, and they love dogs too. Small pups are allowed to travel for free, but big dogs need a special “dog card” on the trains, which you can easily buy online or at the train station.
Getting your shop on with your dog
Wanna do some shopping? Amsterdam has tons of options, and if a store isn't dog-friendly, they'll let you know with a sign. Also, good to keep in mind: supermarkets don’t allow dogs inside, and we wouldn't recommend leaving them outside, just in case they get whisked away!
Cleaning up after your dog
We want to keep Amsterdam sparkling clean, so please pick up after your dog. Don’t have a bag? No worries! Most parks have metal plastic bag dispensers where you can grab one for free.