A trip to Amsterdam wouldn’t be complete without that perfect canal shot. It is the city of canals after all. But while each one has its own unique charm, some are slightly more picturesque than others. Throw in a bunch of variables like crowds of tourists, rain, lighting and unwanted delivery vans, some spots make for a better travel photo than others. On a recent trip to Amsterdam I spent a few days totting up a list of my favourite spots, and here are my top five:
Nothing screams Amsterdam like a glove-wearing mannequin, mounted on a boat and sitting in a canal with the Zuiderkerk Church clock tower in the backdrop. Although the mannequin isn’t always present, this is undoubtedly one of Amsterdam’s most iconic snaps. Standing on the old-fashioned drawbridge that crosses this canal allows for that all encompassing snap, where the canal is beautifully framed by canal houses and you’re undisturbed by passing cars. Slight drawback is that the clock tower is under repair until early 2018.
Whether you’re standing right on Lekkeresluis bridge or stood on the opposite side photographing it from the corner of Brouwersgracht / Korte Prinsengracht, this confluence of canals is a Pandora's box of potential shots. Every angle gives you a selection of canal boats, bicycles and tree-lined canals to include in your photo. It does get pretty busy here in the afternoons so head here early morning and you can snap away, undisturbed, till your heart's content.
3. Prinsenstraat / Herenstraat
If you cross Keizersgracht at the Prinsenstraat / Herenstraat bridge, you can indulge in this beautiful shot of a slightly wider canal, lined with trees and colourful canal boats. Out of all the canal boats I spotted, these were definitely the prettiest. If you’re lucky, during the spring and summer months the bridge is adorned with blooming flowers to spice up that snap. Unfortunately this is a bridge for cars, bikes and people so there might be a delivery van parked there early morning!
Just a short walk from Lekkeresluis you’ll find this cute little footbridge (aka the Milk Maid’s Bridge) crossing the Brouwersgracht Canal. Although there won’t be any stationary canal boats in your shot, you’ll definitely have the chance to snap a passing boat and maybe one or two cyclists. This is also one of Amsterdam’s most photographed footbridges with a unique history to its name.
5. Singel / Blauwburgwal
Hands down my favourite canal spot in Amsterdam. Right outside ‘Singel 102’, facing the canal you’ll be treated to a line of Amsterdam’s iconic houses, framed by a collection of colourful canal boats and, hopefully, a bright blue sky. There’s even a couple of benches and a bit of a space to sit and enjoy the view. It had just rained the day that I visited, and there were a couple of puddles to amp up my shot with a reflection, but even without this it was still pretty picture perfect.