Canal cruising

Canal cruising

Take a canal boat tour in Amsterdam

One of the best ways to explore the city is by cruising the canal through Amsterdam’s historic waterway. Such guided boat tours provide an unforgettable perspective on the centuries-old architecture. And if the sights are accompanied by an informative tour guide, a glass of wine, or even dinner, so much the better.

Take in Amsterdam’s most beautiful and interesting sights from the water.

Get to know the city’s history, urban legends and sightseeing tips with audio guides available in several languages. Try a specialized tour for a unique experience on the water.

Experience Amsterdam from the water

While cycling may be the transport of choice for locals, seeing the city from the water is an excellent way for visitors to get their bearings. A variety of canal cruises can be chosen, each offering various kinds of tours, boats, departure points and on-board services. Amsterdam is a compact size compared to many other European towns, meaning that you can sail past many major attractions in one hour or two.

Combine a canal cruise with active sightseeing

Amsterdam, being surrounded by water, one can easily access the majority of the museums and attractions from the canal. Most canal tours are run on a hop-on and hop-off basis, an ideal way to pick key landmarks from your must-see list, to stop-off to discover the gems at the Rijksmuseum or simply refresh yourself in a coffee shop before your water adventure continues. A tour guide or audio recording in a variety of languages provides fascinating information about the tourists on board the vessel. This is an opportunity for you to receive background information and tips on everything from trading history in Amsterdam to Dutch legends and the Old Masters without having to tour everywhere.

Unique and unusual canal cruises

Cruise companies have diversified in recent years with an introduction of an endless variety of tours that make their experience even greater. The winter of Amsterdam Light Festival is the perfect place to take intimate candlelight cruises, cheese and wine tours and several packages for couples.

There are lots of things you can do on a canal cruise

The world famous Rijksmuseum, the Anne Frank House, the Royal Theater Carréand the Heineken Experience are just steps away from drop-off points on typical routes. Pre-bought tickets, such as the Holland pass, can be paired with the entrance to the top attractions in Amsterdam at discounted prices.


Some of Amsterdam’s canal cruise operators have wheelchair-friendly boats. It is always good to first check with the operators and book your channel cruise in advance because the capacity may be limited.

Buy discount tickets

In order to skip queuing, make sure you get your canal cruise booked in advance for you to be able to choose your perfect departure time.

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We recommend

If canal cruising leaves you inspired to see more of Amsterdam from the water, consider hiring a private boat to head off on your own adventure. Boats for groups are relatively simple and inexpensive to hire in Amsterdam. A boating license isn’t required for most small boats.

Besides providing a stunning backdrop to the city’s historic center, floating down Amsterdam’s canals is one of the most memorable ways to discover the city’s sights and attractions. Whether you’re a first-time or frequent visitor, everything in Amsterdam seems a bit more magical when viewed from a boat.

Most canal cruises take around an hour, in which you’ll explore Amsterdam’s UNESCO protected canal ring and discover plenty of interesting facts about the city along the way. As well as the excellent one-hour options, other types of canal cruises available include practical hop-on-hop-off services, romantic candle-lit tours, child-friendly adventures and intimate guided boat tours for smaller groups.

A few of the best-known operators include Stromma, Blue Boat, and Lovers. If you’d like to break up your canal cruise with some sightseeing, then the ‘hop-on-hop-off’ service is an excellent option.

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Hello I am Norman, Born and raised in the Amsterdam area in the Netherlands. I am a private guide and content writer how would love to show you my city. Experience the city as a local, get to know the amazing history and learn about the Dutch way of living!

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