Amsterdam in the Netherlands is one of the top tourist destinations in all of Europe. But just how dog-friendly is Amsterdam for visitors? As well as some dog-friendly sightseeing ideas, I also cover catching public transport, dining out and where to stay in this Dutch city when visiting with a dog.
Dog-Friendly Sightseeing in Amsterdam
While many attractions in Amsterdam are off limits with a dog, in particular it’s world-class art museums, there’s still plenty of things you can do in Amsterdam with your dog by your side.
#1 Wander Along the Canals and Laneways
My top recommendation when visiting Amsterdam with your dog is to explore the city on foot. The highlight of our visit was spending most of the day wandering along the historic canals and laneways of its inner city. No matter what time of the year, it’s a must to do with your dog.
Most of Amsterdam is well preserved, and there’s many gorgeous historic buildings, usually very narrow and not always that straight! You can wander past the Anne Frank House with its long queues, although dogs can’t join you inside. I recommend detouring to the Begijnhof, a peaceful spot in the city.
When wandering around the city, beware of the many bike lanes, including keeping your dog well clear, ideally on a short leash. There’s also plenty of pedestrian laneways to wander down in many parts of the city, away from cars.
#2 Take a Canal Boat Tour
There are a large number of companies that offer canal boat tours in Amsterdam. While some tour companies (including Circle Line, pictured below) don’t allow pets on their tours, there are some dog-friendly canal boat companies.
One company that permits dogs onboard is Amsterdam Boat Trips. According to their FAQ, up to two pet dogs that can fit between your legs are allowed onboard per trip. Bring you own blanket for them to sit on. Note however, if someone else is allergic or afraid of dogs, you’ll need to wait for the next departure.
Another option is to take a private canal boat tour that allows dogs onboard. Get in contact with Boatboys Amsterdam to book one of their private tours.
#3 Take a Day Trip to Edam
The Netherlands is a very compact country, with Amsterdam well place for day trips to the surrounding Dutch countryside. I recommend heading to the cute town of Edam on a day trip.
Edam is best known for the cheese named after the town. You can still see a re-enactment of the historic cheese market on Wednesdays during the summer. Otherwise, just go for a wander around the cute streets of the town, with many delightful spots for selfies with your pup.
Edam is about a 30 minute drive north of Amsterdam. You can also visit the town by bus.
#4 See the Tulips at Keukenhof
The Netherlands is famous for its tulips and if you’re visiting during the spring, don’t miss out on visiting the famous tulip gardens at Keukenhof.
Keukenhof is usually open from late March to mid May, depending on the year. The dates for 2024 will be 21st March to 12th May. Unfortunately, I was far too late when I visited the Netherlands in July.
It’s just a 30 minute drive from Amsterdam to Keukenhof. Advance tickets are recommended, but dogs can join you for free. Dogs need to be leashed and are not allowed inside pavilions or restaurants. A maximum of one dog per person is allowed.
Find out more about visiting Keukenhof in this review.
5. Go For a Bike Ride
Cycling is very popular in the Netherlands, thanks to its flat landscapes and great infrastructure. And you can also go for a bike ride with your pup!
If you have a small dog, you may be able to transport them in a basket on the front, as long as they’re calm. (Far from the case for Schnitzel!)
Alternatively, look into hiring a bike trailer or a cargo bike, which have a large box for transporting everything from luggage to children. Just make sure you use a bike lock, as bike theft is common, especially in Amsterdam.
Dog-Friendly Parks in Amsterdam
Most parks in Amsterdam allow dogs. Some of the parks with off-leash areas include Vondelpark, Westerpark, Rembrandtpark and Oosterpark.
Vondelpark, the largest city park and not far from the Van Gogh Museum, even has an unofficial “dog meadow” at it’s southern end, dedicated to dogs. Just try and clear up after your pup!
Dogs on Public Transport in Amsterdam
Dogs are welcome to join you onboard public transport within Amsterdam. The public transport is run by GVB, whose pet rules are quite generous. Basically, dogs can ride for free, either on your lap, in a bag or on a short leash, with no need for a muzzle.
If you catch one of the domestic trains operated by NS, the pet policy is that small pets travelling in a carrier bag or on your lap ride for free. However, larger dogs require a “dog ticket” for the small charge of €3.30 per day. Larger dogs must be on a leash, but don’t need a muzzle, and there is a limit of one per passenger.
Dog-Friendly Dining in Amsterdam
It’s quite easy to dine out with your dog in Amsterdam, with many restaurants allowing dogs to join you inside. It’s best to visit more casual bistros and cafes, as long as it’s not too busy.
Double check at the door whether there is a sign indicating if dogs are definitely allowed (a dog symbol surrounded by a green circle) or not allowed (a dog surrounded by a red circle). Or just ask before you enter.
Alternatively, there’s plenty of outdoor terraces to sit at, particularly when the weather is fine, although most also have a roof or awning to shelter you from the frequent rain.
Some cafes in Amsterdam even have special menus just for dogs. Check out Woof & Me, the first dog cafe in Amsterdam. They have treats for both humans and dogs on the menu. It’s best to visit with only sociable dogs, as you’re sure to meet plenty of other pups.
Dog-Friendly Accommodation in Amsterdam
Note: This post contains affiliate links, which means I may receive commission if you make a purchase using the links. See my full disclaimer.
There are plenty of dog-friendly hotels in Amsterdam. One excellent pet-friendly hotel is the Kimpton De Witt Amsterdam. Just like other Kimpton properties, pets stay for free with no size restrictions.
Consider adding on a Paws for Thought package. Designed for a pawfect stay, the package includes a Lila Loves It package, a drinking bowl and dog bed by Lila Loves It, a puppucino in the onsite cafe, a special pet menu and the loan of an Instax camera to capture your stay.
Another option I recommend consider is looking into a house boat stay. We stayed on a house boat just outside of Amsterdam, and were surprised by how homely it was – it felt just like a normal house!
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About the Author
Shandos Cleaver is the founder of Travelnuity: Dog-Friendly Travel. She has travelled extensively with her Miniature Dachshund, Schnitzel, including to 33 countries across Europe, every state and territory of Australia except Tasmania, and 10 of the United States. She’s passionate about providing inspiration and information to others wanting to travel with their dogs, whether close to home or internationally.