Even though we're keeping a safe distance from each other, there are tons of ways to add a touch of romance to your Valentine's Day. Amsterdam is still one of the most romantic cities in the world so get inspired with these date ideas and surprise your loved one with an extra-special treat this year.
1. Glühwalk and streetfood circuit
There weren’t many socially acceptable excuses for waddling around the streets with a flagon of wine, until they invented the glühwalk. What better way to get the conversation flowing with your valentine than strolling between bars in Oud-West on the hunt for cinnamon-infused goodness? By the end of the walk you’ll be judging the other couples in Vondelpark and picking out which dog breed you’re going to get together.
Begin your circuit at Mucho Gusto Coffeebar, then see how the mulled spices compare with a second cup at Cafe Helmers. Across the canal, continue your glühwalk with a stop at Pamela to spice things up with a mulled cider before strolling down the Prinsengracht to Hans en Grietje for a final brew. Along the way, you might want to line your stomach with a bite to eat from one of the many food vendors lining the Ten Katemarkt.
For updates and curated glühwalk itineraries in other neighbourhoods, check out @gluhwalk on Instagram.
2. Who doesn’t love chocolate and macarons?
Share the love this Valentine's Day with a thoughtful purchase from your local choccy shop (either in-store or online). ‘Patisserie, Chocolaterie, and Macarons’ should really be the national motto of France, instead it's the list of what Patisserie Tout in Amsterdam-Zuid does best. Build your loved one a box of petit fours or truffles - each one a piece of art in itself. Have you tried chocolate with anise, thyme or tamarind? Puccini Bomboni combines luxurious chocolate with fruits, nuts, liqueurs and sweet spices. Every box is a veritable tasting menu of unusual flavours.
Chocolate Company, conveniently located at Central Station, offers all kinds of boxed selections, including hearts ranging in size from XL to miniature and champagne truffles. At Chocstar, you can personalise a bespoke chocolate heart, meanwhile profits from the sale of Rokbar chocolate bars flow back to women along the cocoa bean manufacturing chain. Or you could tempt the object of your affection out into the cold with a warming hot chocolate from Chocolátl or Urban Cacao in the Jordaan.
3. Go on safari… in Amsterdam
Promise your date an unforgettable safari adventure as you march them along the many hiking paths of Amsterdamse Bos in search of the ‘Bos Big 5’. The lush forests and open water of this nature area make a cosy home for marsh harriers, kingfishers, squirrels, grass snakes and even some highland cattle. If you don’t manage to spot anything, cheer each other up with a goat’s milk hot chocolate from the farm shop.
Just east of Amsterdam, Nationaal Park Nieuw Land is an area of reclaimed land made into a wetlands reserve with bird-watching opportunities abound. There’s nothing steamier than cuddling up close in an observation hut as you try to spot a rare sea eagle. Maybe your hands will brush theirs as you hand over the binoculars? Nearby, venture into Natuurpark Lelystad in search of otters, red deer, bison and maybe even a wild boar.
As if taking the ferry over to Noord wasn’t exciting enough, there are a variety of cycle routes to enjoy in and around Het Twiske Waterland. Cruise along the polders admiring extensive meadows of grazing cattle and wetlands with a variety of waterbirds. If you’re feeling peckish, grab some snacks or maybe a cheeky glühwein from one of the kiosks to fuel your cycle back.
4. Get a room (with a view)
Wake up to the sounds of the waves in a beachside bedroom or have a staycation in Amsterdam to experience the city from a new perspective. SWEETS hotel offers a quirky range of self-service bedroom suites across Amsterdam - each built in a converted canal bridge house offering you an intimate window onto the city. You might find yourself waking up eye-to-eye with a swan or watching locals zoom past on their bicycle commute.
Alternatively, snuggle down in an elegant bedroom at boutique hotel The Hoxton, each offering incredible canal views. You could also book a luxury apartment at Boat & Co in Houthavens with spectacular views over the IJ - the perfect location for romantic strolls past the moored boats, jetties and piers of this historic lumber port.
To escape the city, rent a super special beach cabin with Bloemendaal Sea Lodges set amongst miles of windswept dunes and rugged coastline. Or, nestled in the green gardens to the west of Amsterdam, The Unbound offers spacious private cabins perfectly designed for you to unwind in together. Large glass windows lead to your very own private deck or balcony with some suites boasting wood burners, an outdoor pizza oven or even a hot tub.
5. Culture from the sofa
Ulay/Marina Abramović, Breathing In/Breathing Out, 1977, performance, 19 minutes, Studenski Kulturni Center Belgrado. Courtesy of ULAY Foundation and Marina Abramović Archives
Whilst sadly the city’s galleries and museums remain closed for the time being, there is still a wealth of cultural content you can access online including talks and virtual exhibition tours. There’s certainly something quite appealing about visiting an exhibition from the comfort of your living room with a pot of tea between you.
'Ulay was Here' at The Stedelijk is a major survey of the work of Frank Uwe Laysiepen, a pioneering experimental photographer whose 12-year creative love-affair with artist Marina Abramović shaped the medium of performance art. Their intense, physically uncomfortable performances will definitely give you and your partner some ideas on how to share space during lockdown. Listen as curators talk you through the exhibition and show you key works.
Make a night of it by tuning into some of the best cultural livestreams including live theatre, jazz, comedy or classical music. Or our list of virtual tours in Amsterdam has some great activities to distract the little ones so you and your valentine can enjoy some downtime.
6. Fine-dining at home
Wine and dine your valentine by ordering a ‘finish at home’ meal box from one of the city’s top restaurants. Michelin-starred RIJKS is continuing its ‘Make-Away’ delivery service. As all of the time-consuming cookery has been done for you, impress your date by putting the final touches to each dish under the virtual supervision of the top chef. Wils offers a similar ‘At Home’ box service including a 3-course menu you can finish off in your own kitchen or pair a 3 or 5-course meal from Daalder with wine or bubbles. Recreate the taste of Italy with a meal kit from Roberto's Amsterdam or have fun with Bambino's ‘Easy Does It Dinner Package For Two’.
If you want to pull out all the stops, why not book your very own private chef to heat things up in your own kitchen? Hire one of the chef’s from De Silveren Spiegel or Aan de Poel to prepare a multi-course dinner for you complete with crockery and glassware. All you have to do is lay out the white tablecloth, light the candles and stare into each other’s eyes.