There are two vantage points you really shouldn’t miss out on when visiting Amsterdam.
The first and most obvious is a water level view. Whatever else you do, it is well worth spending an hour on a boat seeing the streets and houses of Amsterdam from the level of the canal.
Most of the traditional, pretty canal side houses in central Amsterdam are only three or four storeys high. Much like a smaller version of Paris, the central area has very few tall buildings. Consequently any unusually tall buildings reward the adventurous with exceptional views over the surrounding rooftops.
The towers of Oude Kerk, Westerkerk and Zuiderkerk all have viewing platforms above the rooftops. A visit costs under 10 euros per person and lasts 30 minutes. No prebooking is available. You can buy tickets from the base of the relevant tower on the day you wish to visit. Please note that the tower at Zuiderkerk is closed for maintenance until March 2017.
For spectacular views over the IJ river, Amsterdam Centraal station and the whole of old town plan a visit to the A’DAM Tower. Opened in May 2016, the refurbished tower contains two restaurants, a bar and an open air observation deck nearly 100 metres above the river.
To access the tower, take the free ferry from behind Centraal Station. An entrance fee is charged which makes a meal in the Madam restaurant, which includes access to the observation areas, very good value.
Full details: A’DAM Tower
The next two viewpoints are close together and overlook each other.
The roof of the NEMO Science Centre is open during centre opening hours. Entry is free of charge. Walking up the sloping roof terrace gives a great view back towards the city centre.
More details available at: NEMO Science Centre
The last high level viewpoint is a great choice if you feel like lunch. On the top floor of the Centrale Bibliotheek or Public Library there is a cafe and balcony which are open to the public. Take the elevator or escalators up to the top floor and walk up the last flight of stairs.
The cafe / restaurant has an excellent selection of freshly cooked food, snacks and beverages.
Details: Amsterdam Public Library