canals is a given on any short stay in the city; there’s no question about it,
you just do it. Amsterdam was built around these historic canals and to
appreciate all the wonderful sights you have to go on the waters. There are
many canal cruise operators with a number of piers around the city so there is
bound to be one near your apartment. Choose from daily cruises, night time
cruises, private party cruises, gourmet meals or romantic dinners.
A visit to Amsterdam is never complete without
sailing its historic waterways. In seeing the canals on my first visit to
Amsterdam I just couldn’t resist the popular experience. The canals were
originally created in the early 17th century to increase trade and
expand the city, which they did perfectly, and over time have become a popular
way of experiencing the sights that were built around them. As the most popular
attraction in the city the famous Canal Bing was even listed as a UNESCO World
Heritage Site in 2010. In 2013 it is 400 years since the first spade went into
the ground for the construction of the famous Canal Belt; a great year to sail
the canals and be a part of history.
So join in with the millions every year and
discover Amsterdam from a different perspective. There are many canal tour
operators and a number of departure points throughout the city. My partner and
I went with a tour operator outside of Amsterdam central station and even
though it was approaching night time the boat was almost fully packed and the
atmosphere was relaxing. We noticed different languages being spoken but also
Dutch as Amsterdam gets a lot of tourists from all over the Netherlands. The
tour was given in Dutch but the guide did also offer English. I let my partner
do the translating while others chose for an audio guide which comes in many
Most boats are fully covered so that you can
enjoy the experience at any time of the year. As you glide through the canals
the friendly tour guides will provide interesting general and historical information.
I don’t want to spoil your tour by giving away the things you will find out for
yourselves but I can say that we were able to really appreciate the beauty of
the 17th century houses and the historical canals. We took pictures
of each humpback bridge approaching and were surprised to see some leaning
canal houses too.
As we glided through the network of canals
during the hour-or-so tour night time kicked in and the sites were even better.
The reflections of the canal houses and the street lights glittered in the
water and created a very calming atmosphere. As we passed some wonderfully
decorated canal boat houses my mind went astray and I was even imagining living
in one; maybe it was the Piscean in me or the whole romantic angle, gliding on
glittering waters with your partner on your side, but the calming aspects of
living on the water were incredibly appealing at that moment. Luckily though if
you do want to experience living in an authentic Amsterdam accommodation then
you can book one of our canal house boat apartments for the duration of your
leisure or business stay.
We were enjoying the lovely views so much that
when the tour came to an end we were quite surprised that all that time went by
so quickly and going on a night time tour of the canals with a partner is definitely
a very romantic experience. There are so many canals to see though so if you do
relay enjoy the experience then you could go again on a different route and
with a different operator so that you can cover more ground; perhaps you could
first go from outside of the station and then the second time from near
Leidseplein. The Canal company offers a 100 Highlights Cruise which passes all
of Amsterdam’s famous attractions in one hour such as the Anne Frank House,
Westerkerk and canal houses from the Golden Age.
A cruise with a
Do you fancy a dinner with the staff, a DJ
spinning the tracks at a private party with your friends, a romantic meal out
with your partner or even pancakes for the whole family? You can have all of
that on a boat because a number of canal cruise operators offer something more
than just the expected cruise. On a hot summers day you could even enjoy a BBQ
while you sail the historic canals. Or use that warm weather as an opportunity
to join the masses and bike through the city but the difference is that you
would be riding the Canal Bike through the network of canals while enjoying the
sights and having fun together.
If you plan on an activity-filled short stay and
start running bored of the public transport you could even opt for the Canal
Bus which has many stops for you to hop on and off the bus and visit the sights
such as the Anne Frank House, Leidseplein and Amsterdam Hermitage. The Canal
Bus has four different routes and tickets are valid for 24 or 48 hours. You
could also combine a cruise with a visit to another popular attraction in
Amsterdam such as the Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam Museum, Heineken Experience,
Madam Tussauds or the Rijksmuseum.
Standard Canal Cruise Cost
Adults: about €15
Children (age 4 or 5 – 12): about €7.50
Some operators offer one free standard canal cruise
for I Amsterdam Card holders.
Booking online is usually cheaper.
Canal Cruise operators
Canal, Amsterdam Canal Cruises, Blue Boat
Company, Cruise With Us, Rederij Welvaren, Boot Amsterdam, Saloon boat Hilda,
Luxury Canal Cruise, Private Boat Tours.