10 Best waterside terraces

by Tanja
Bar on the water Amsterdam

In Amsterdam in summer, there is no delight greater than having a drink, lunch or dinner while with a view on the water. Especially on warm, sunny days, the water has a refreshing and calming effect. You can watch the many boats go by while sipping on a cocktail or munch on some traditional Dutch bitterballs. The days last long in The Netherlands, so you can spend long evenings along a waterside terrace in Amsterdam, soaking in the last of rays and watching the sunset. Many bars and restaurants offer views on the canals, but it’s not that easy to find a space on a terrace that sits along the canal. Here are 10 of the best.

1. De Waterkant

De Waterkant means The Waterside in Dutch and this is the perfect name for this bar, as it lies peacefully along the broad Singelgracht Canal. The bar has a huge outside terrace and when it is too busy, you can always sit on the ground and dangle your feet from the dock. De Waterkant looks out onto the south-westside, so this is one to catch the last rays.

Bar on the water Amsterdam
De Waterkant, waterside terrace in Amsterdam

The bar is inspired by Surinam, a former Dutch colony in South-America, so there are lots of good Surinam-inspired small bites to eat and they even have Parbo, the local beer from Surinam.

From the roadside, (it is on Marnixstraat, not far from Leidseplein), it’s rather difficult to spot this canalside bar, but you can just follow the huge Q-Park indoor parking.

De Waterkant

2. Café De Jaren

Café De Jaren (‘The Years’) is well known among the locals. De Jaren is a beautiful, bright and airy grand-cafe bar with an intellectual style (lots of magazines and newspapers to read!!). In the back, there are two patios on two levels. Both look out on the water.

De Jaren is an easy café to miss when you are a tourist because the terraces are located on the backside and cannot be seen from the entrance. But it’s well worth checking it out. It has a great, quiet terrace with an international menu and good service.

Café De Jaren

Terrace along Amsterdam canals
Café De Jaren, terrace along the Amsterdam canals

3. Spanjer & Van Twist

Spanje & Van Twist, great waterside terrace near Anne Frank House.

Like Café De Jaren, Spanjer & Van Twist has been around for, what feels like, ages. The restaurant is very nice and friendly prices, but the best is sitting outside on their terrace.

The terrace is located a little below street level along a small canal. There used to be a sluice located here to cleanse the water of the canal by creating a flow of water. This gives you the chance to be really close to the water.

Spanjer & Van Twist

4. Het Mandelahuisje

Along the IJ in Amsterdam Noord are a bunch of great terraces, all along the waterside. The Mandelahuisje is a real hidden gem. It is actually an inn and has a beautiful terrace along the IJ.

You can spend hours in their cozy beach chairs, watching ferries, cargo ships and cruise boats going by while you sip on their biological Spanish house wine, munch on some soup, cake, pizza or simple dish.

Het Mandelahuisje is also a great location for weddings.

Open from 10 till 22.00. The Mandelahuisje is located between the landing spots of the ferries (see map). An easy 8-minute walk from the free ferry and worth it!

Het Mandelahuisje

5. Meneer Nieges

Great views on the IJ at Meneer Nieges.

Meneer Nieges is the latest hipster hotspot of Amsterdam. And they have a great terrace. Apart from a not-too-complicated menu, they offer a great hangout, food at all times of the day and fun activities like open-air cinema nights. For a young crowd.

Meneer Nieges

6. Amstelhaven

Amstelhaven’s neighbor is the Amstel Hotel (go down the stairs), so clientele can be a bit on the pretentious side. The terrace of Amstelhaven is on wooden docks. You have a boat? You can moor it here. Small menu.


Terrace on the water: Amstelhaven
Amstelhaven, next door to Amstel Hotel, Amsterdam.

Brown bar Café Hesp has a large outside terrace on the Amstel river.[/caption]

7. Hesp

Hesp, Amsterdam.

Hesp is probably one of the best options is you want a view on the river Amstel.

Hesp is a classic Dutch brown bar. The outdoor patio is large, the beers are cold (30 varieties on tap and 40 on bottle), but if you come around after work-drinks time, you might not get a seat.

Order your choice of beer with a plate of bitterballs and watch the sunset on the Amstel river. Pub style food.


8. Riva

Also on the Amstel, but a bit further down the river is the classy Riva. The bar/restaurant is located on a boat and the terrace is very good. Riva is around the corner from the Amstel railway station. Riva is quite chique, so expect men who are not afraid to order a bottle of champagne for their sunglassed woman.


Riva, waterside terrace in Amsterdam.
Stylish Riva along the Amstel river.

9. Westergasterras

The Westergasfabriek is a large area with many great bars and outside dining options, but the Westergasterras gets a special mention because you can beanbag your drinks along the water. It’s a bit swampy, but still, it is water and very relaxing!


10. Edel

Edel, Amsterdam
Edel, large waterside terrace in Amsterdam

Edel is located in Amsterdam West, at the end of the Kinkerstraat. The building is interesting, made in the Amsterdam School style architecture. It used to be a school for the art of jewelry making. Especially on Friday for after-work drinks, this bar is hugely popular with a young crowd. Their terrace is huge and hugs two canals.


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