Everyone says Amsterdam is best seen from the water. And it applies to this city with 165 canals. Since the Dutch Golden Age of the 17th century, Amsterdam was transformed from a swampy place with wooden houses to a town with gabled brick buildings, squares, and an extensive canal belt (grachtengordel).
Hop on one of these five best canal cruises in Amsterdam and discover the city of 800,000 residents, 880,000 bicycles, and experience authentic Amsterdam.
1. Hop on Hop Off with Stromma
Get a 24-hour or 48-hour hop on hop off ticket from Stromma and customize your tour of Amsterdam. The cruise takes you to these major tourist spots:
- Rijksmuseum/Van Gogh Museum
- Waterlooplein/City Hall
- Central Station West
- A’DAM LOOKOUT/Amsterdam North
- Anne Frank House/Jordaan
- NEMO/Maritime Museum
- Heineken Experience/Albert Cuyp Market
If you’re not afraid of heights, we recommend getting a Combi deal of the Hop on Hop Off ticket and A’DAM LOOKOUT premium ticket to the observation deck. A’DAM LOOKOUT is Amsterdam’s newest attraction. Thrill-seekers may want to go on ‘Over the Edge’ – Europe’s highest swing on A’DAM’s sky deck.
— Stromma Netherlands (@StrommaNL) August 29, 2017
You can choose your stops, take your time at the attractions and hop onto the boat again. In summer (July-August), the first departure at Rijksmuseum starts at 11 am and the last departure is at 9 pm. During low season, the final departure from Rijksmuseum is at 6:25 pm.
Find out more at Stromma.nl
2. Pannenkoekenboot’s 75-minute cruise
Don’t have much time but still want to enjoy a fun canal cruise that serves pancakes? Join the Pannenkoekenboot’s pancake cruise. On this 75-minute cruise, guests can feast on unlimited pancakes. Enjoy eating and decorating pancakes with cheese, salami, eggs, pineapple and other tasty toppings.
This child-friendly cruise departs from Ms. Van Riemsdijkweg in Amsterdam-North. The journey goes along IJ river showcasing the old and new buildings of Amsterdam.
Those who prefer evening cruises can book the two and a half hour pancake cruise by Pannenkoekenboot. You get pancakes, side dishes, and dessert on the night canal cruise.
Check Pannenkoekenboot’s website for prices and availability.
3. Rijksmuseum Cruise with Blue Boat Company
Want to know where Rembrandt lived and learned about the art-history of Amsterdam? Join the 75-minute Blue Boat Company and Rijksmuseum cruise. This audio-only tour will show you where Rembrandt lived, where Gerrit Berckheyde painted the famous The Bend in the Herengracht artwork and take time to discover the Amsterdam of the Golden Age.
Rijksmuseum cruise is available daily from 10 am to 6 pm. The boat departs from Stadhousderskade, opposite Hard Rock Café.
4. Private classic saloon boat
A private canal cruise just for your party is available with Private Boat Tours, a cruise company offering classic saloon boat. Private Boat Tours has four boats for hire. Choose a one or two-hour cruise. The oldest saloon boat, Belle Epoque dates back to 1910. Paradis is the smallest, built in 1920 and it is small enough to go through narrow canals in Amsterdam’s Jordaan neighborhood.
When you hire a private boat, you determine the route and time to set sail. Discover the hidden corners of Amsterdam that only small boats can pass through.
5. Luxury Friendship Amsterdam cruises
Explore the Red Light District and other popular sights on one of Friendship Amsterdam’s luxurious boats. Friendship is one of the few vessels that travel the notorious Red Light District.
Apart from the classic one-hour cruise, Friendship Amsterdam also offers high tea cruises, gin burger tour, pizza and tapas on board cruises.
We recommend the drinks on a boat package if you’re traveling or celebrating a special occasion with a group of friends or with family members. You have a choice of 90-minute or a two-hour tour. This cruise includes a hostess and a captain who is also the tour guide. Guests get a variety of snacks and drinks throughout the journey.
The boats leave from the jetty at Oudezijds Voorburgwal 230 (Grand Hotel Krasnapolsky).
Amsterdam travel tips
1. Amsterdam Schiphol International Airport (AMS) is one of the busiest airports in the world and is served by almost 100 airlines.
2. Check the time difference between your hometown and Amsterdam before leaving.
3. Buy the I amsterdam city card for more savings. With the I amsterdam city card you get free entrance to museums (Van Gogh Museum, Hermitage Museum and NEMO Science Museum are free), free one-hour canal cruise, free public transportation and discounts to Rijksmuseum and A’DAM LOOKOUT. Choose between a 1, 2 or 3-day ticket. Buy the tickets at any I amsterdam visitor center or the store inside Central Station.
When in Amsterdam make time to take in the sights on a canal cruise.