Amsterdam or Venice for a European City Break

The chance to escape for a European City break is as wonderful as walking on water, and where better to experience that elated sensation than in the cities of Amsterdam and Venice. With beautiful streets, and perched on flowing canals, these two exciting cities make for a stunning city break. So how do they differ when comparing the two?

Scenery / Activities Amsterdam and Venice

Both Amsterdam and Venice are water-perched cities, that boast an air of romance and chic European style. Amsterdam is postcard picturesque, while Venice is venerable and extraordinary. Amsterdam and Venice’s continuously flowing waterways match the character of these cities that are in constant flux, but always with a slow-paced attitude of chilled relaxation.

best city break - amsterdamAmsterdam’s main road!
In both cities, a sunny stroll along the canals is a perfect way to spend a morning.

In Amsterdam, you can do it like the locals and cycle, whilst in Venice, the city is best explored on the water by gondola.

Amsterdam and Venice are incredible cities for art and history lovers, with world-class museums and iconic landmarks to explore. In Amsterdam, a visit to Vondel Park will not only reward you with tranquil green spaces to while away an afternoon, but it is also home to the Museum Quarter (Museumplein), showcasing the city’s best museums and galleries.

Start your tour at the Rijksmuseum to see works by Rembrandt, before exploring the largest collection of Van Gogh pieces at The Van Gogh Museum. Modern art fans can visit the Stedelijk Museum, or lovers of classical music should experience the incredible acoustics of the Concertgebouw.

Meditate on a melancholy history with a visit to the Anne Frank House Museum on the Prinsengracht canal.

In Venice, head to The Peggy Guggenheim Collection and discover one of the world’s premier private art collections. The museum’s Sculpture Garden is a splendid sight to behold. Explore the intricate history of Venice’s lace at the Museo del Merletto, or marvel at the incredible Romanesque beauty of St. Mark’s Basilica (Basilica di San Marco).

For something spectacular, visit the Palazzo Ducale (Doge’s Palace) and the Bridge of Sighs. The architectural beauty of this place is breath-taking.

Whilst Amsterdam is a collection of pretty neighbourhoods, colourful streets, and scenic canals, Venice’s architecture is imposingly impressive.

Visitors need only wander through the city to see the exquisite beauty of the city’s structures such as the Santa Maria della Salute, the Scuola Grande di San Rocco, and the Piazza San Marco.

visit romantic veniceVenice is very nice!

Venice wins this round with a score of 10/10 as it is a city built like no other, and Amsterdam scores 9/10 for its quaint beauty and free-spirited character.

Food and Restaurants Amsterdam and Venice

Both cities have a fabulous array of feasting options for every kind of occasion. From vibrant food markets, and affordable snacks, to high end cuisine and Michelin-starred spots, you won’t go hungry in either city.

Taste your way through hundreds of stalls selling the finest Venetian produce at Rialto Market, or nibble on numerous Dutch delicacies in Amsterdam’s Foodhallen.

In Venice, enjoy a creative dining experience where traditional Venetian dishes are elevated to a form of art at Osteria Campo Santa Marina. Order the tasting menu here to really sample the best this restaurant has to offer. Spend a long lunch at Terrazza Danieli and make the most of the spectacular views, or enjoy a glamorous Michelin-starred dinner at Ristorante Glam. For laid-back patio dining in the sun, head to the famous Caffé Florian.

While Venice is a haven for food-lovers, Amsterdam’s food scene is less renowned. However, it’s eclectic selection of eateries offer a worthy competition.

It’s plein to see Amsterdam has great museums!
Jansz is high end restaurant boasting canal side views and understated elegance, alongside a tasteful menu.

Take the free ferry over to Stork in Noord and enjoy sumptuous seafood and a glass of crisp white wine on the restaurant’s terrace. Head to Box Sociaal for the best burger in town.

Venice wins this round for me with 9/10 for its fantastic cuisine, and Amsterdam just behind with 8/10 with a growing selection of exquisite options.

Nightlife Amsterdam and Venice

Amsterdam and Venice are exciting European cities, with so much to explore throughout the day and night. There are plenty of after-hours options for every kind of party-goer in both of these spirited cities.

Amsterdam’s party scene is iconic, from the coffee shops to the red-light district, but this city also has an alternative nightlife selection that showcases everything from underground cool to rooftop luxury. Enjoy tasty after-dinner tipples at the award-winning Flying Dutchman Cocktail Bar, or head to Pllek and experience everything from buzzing bar vibes to rooftop cinema shows, and after-hours dancing under a disco ball. Dance the night away with a rave at Radion, or De School to experience the best of Amsterdam’s electronic music scene.

Venice is a city of a slower pace, with late dinners that stretch into long evenings, spent enjoying excellent Italian wines. Head to the chichetterie bars in Rialto or Erbaria, where sumptuous small bites are served alongside your late-night tipple.

Make the most of the warm evenings with a drink by the canal at Ae Bricoe or enjoy views over the city at the Skyline Bar.

A super-smooth method of transport!

Amsterdam wins this round with 9/10 for a party scene that is slightly more happening and Venice 8/10 for its laid-back luxury.


Both cities offer an array of accommodation options to suit everything from the lavishly romantic weekend break to a cosy escape spent in boutique boltholes. As popular tourist destinations, both Amsterdam and Venice also offer a selection of stays for every budget.

In Venice, The Gritti Palace is an iconic Grand Canal staple, boasting exquisite interiors, breath-taking views, and exemplary service, making it one of the world’s most impressive hotels. Meanwhile, the Cima Rosa Boutique Bed & Breakfast offers Grand Canal views and gorgeous rooms that won’t break the budget. For a stay that offers a balance of luxury and affordability, The St Regis Venice and the Il Palazzo Experimental are two of my favourites.

Come over to the canal-side!
Amsterdam’s canal-side hotels are some of the city’s coolest. The Hotel Pulitzer Amsterdam offers guests gorgeous waterfront views and cool interiors in a prime location.

Book your stay at one of Amsterdam’s most desirable addresses, The Hoxton Amsterdam, and enjoy industrial-chic design, a buzzing lounge bar, and beautiful views over the popular Herengracht canal.

Venice wins this round with a score of 9/10 for its beautiful hotels, and Amsterdam is close behind with 8/10 for a diverse and cool selection.





  • You really can cycle everywhere
  • Fabulous nightlife
  • Free-spirited
  • Incredible food scene
  • Beautiful hotels
  • Striking architecture


  • The city centre can get very touristy
  • Most museums are paid entry
  • Lacking in nightlife
  • It is not wheelchair (or pushchair) accessible



So how do these two magnificent European cities compare? When it comes to numbers Venice wins with a final score of 9/10 and Amsterdam scores closely behind with 8.5/10. Whilst Venice is a city of striking beauty and incredible history, Amsterdam is bustling with young and vibrant energy, and boasts beautiful parks and neighbourhoods. Visit both and all your cares are sure to float away.




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