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Canal Cruises

Canal Cruises

Amsterdam Canal Cruises

Both by day and night, the canals in Amsterdam have an amazing ambiance. Both the gables and the 220 bridges that link the canals are illuminated at night.
From the comfort of your tour boat, you can see Amsterdam at its most picturesque.

Canals of Amsterdam

In Dutch a canals is “gracht” (pronounced as xraxt), and the main canals form the central canal ring (Dutch: grachtengordel). The beauties came to life in the early 1600s, after Amsterdam’s population grew beyond its medical walls and city planners put taught an ambitious sign for expansion. Far from being simply fancy or charming, or even just waterways for transport, the canals were necessary to drain and reclaim the waterlogged land.

Amsterdam’s core canals – that are listed as a World Heritage site by UNESCO – are the Singel, Herengracht, Keizersgracht and Prinsengracht. An easy way to remember the canals is that, apart from the Singel, these canals are in alphabetical order as you move outward the city.

Pass by countless monuments and historic buildings, including the mayor’s house, the grand Westerkerk, Anne Frank house and the city’s smallest house on the Singel canal.

book Amsterdam Smoke Boat Tours 

Benefits of Taking a Canal Cruise

Taking a canal cruise in Amsterdam is a fantastic way to see the city’s top attractions from a unique perspective. You can admire the stunning architecture of the 17th-century canal houses, which are characteristic of Amsterdam’s Golden Age. Many of these houses are now museums or private residences, so seeing them from the water is a special experience.

A canal cruise is also a relaxing and enjoyable experience. You can sit back and take in the sights while enjoying various onboard amenities such as food, drinks, and audio commentary. Some canal cruises offer a meal, while others have a bar onboard with a selection of drinks. The audio commentary provides information about the history and significance of the landmarks you are passing, which can enhance your understanding and appreciation of the city.

What to Expect During the Cruise

The duration of a canal cruise can vary, depending on the route and the operator. Some cruises last for an hour, while others can take up to three hours. During the cruise, you can expect to see some of Amsterdam’s top attractions, such as the Anne Frank House, the Rijksmuseum, and the Van Gogh Museum. You can also admire the many bridges that span the canals, which are often lit up at night, creating a magical atmosphere.

The type of boat you choose for your canal cruise can also affect your experience. There are different types of boats available, such as open-top boats, covered boats, and electric boats. Some boats have glass roofs or windows that can be opened, while others have open decks for better views. The boats’ features can vary, such as onboard toilets, heating, and some canal cruise companies even offer Wi-Fi.

Tips for Choosing the Right Canal Cruise

When choosing a canal cruise, there are several factors to consider. One of the most important factors is your budget. Canal cruises can vary in price, so it’s essential to choose one that fits your budget. Another factor to consider is the length of the cruise and the number of stops included. Some cruises offer more stops than others, which can affect the overall experience.

Another factor to consider is the amenities offered on the boat. Some cruises offer food and drinks, while others only provide audio commentary. Some cruises also have multilingual audio commentary, which can be useful for non-native English speakers. It’s essential to research the various canal cruise operators to find the one that best suits your needs and preferences.

Smoke Boat Amsterdam

As any weed aficionado knows, Amsterdam is one of the best places in the world to get your hands on some high-quality weed. But did you know that there’s a whole other level of weed-smoking fun to be had in the city, and it doesn’t involve sitting in a smoky coffeeshop all day? The Smoke Boat (shown above) is a canal cruise geared specifically towards weed smokers, and it’s one of the most unique ways to experience Amsterdam.

On board the Smoke Boat, you can smoke as much weed as you want without having to worry about bothering other people (or getting kicked out!). The staff are all super friendly and knowledgeable about weed, so they can help you find the perfect strain to suit your mood. Plus, the views of the city from the canal are simply gorgeous. If you’re looking for a different way to enjoy weed in Amsterdam, make sure to check out the Smoke Boat – you won’t regret it!

Golden Bend

Most boats will take you through the famous “Gouden Bocht” (Golden Bend). The most prestigious section of the breath-taking Herengracht canal. The Prinsengracht in Amsterdam is beautiful as well! When you take one of the canal cruises in Amsterdam, you’ll get to see a whole other perspective of this wonderful city. We would definitely recommend it!

Seeing Amsterdam by water is awesome!  It’s not for nothing that Amsterdammers often hop on their own boats and scroll around. Especially when the sun is out! The locals like to be on Amsterdam’s canals. They share their boats with friends or family and enjoy the city while sipping some beers and wines. Some locals are even having barbecues on their boats. Yeah, no joke! You’ll be stunned by the awesome things you could see in the canals of Amsterdam.

You could even see cars sailing around… That’s right, cars…

Amsterdam damrak

Cruise Amsterdam Red Light District

Did you know you can also explore the Red Light District via the canals?

A lot of people think that the Red Light District just contains brothels and (cannabis) coffee shops. This is not true. The Red Light District is filled with beautiful buildings, churches, nice bars with terraces, museums, fashion stores, China town and other hotspots.

Fun fact: The Red Light District is the oldest area of Amsterdam. During a canal cruise you can enjoy the beautiful buildings which are from the 16th, 17th and 18th century. Also, you’ll get to see the oldest building in Amsterdam. It’s the Old Church which was build in the 13th century… The church stands in the heart of the Red Light District… How awesome is that?

amsterdam boat tour

Hop on Hop off Canal Cruises in Amsterdam

Have you been on a tour boat tour before, come upon a fascinating historical site and thought to yourself, “I’d love to go there, but the boat kept going”? With the so called “Hop-On, Hop-Off” service you can stop and explore whenever you want. There are 14 stops at key attractions in Amsterdam. With a day pass, valid until noon the following day, you can get on and off the boat as many times as you like.

canal cruises amsterdam

The pass also gives you a discount at several museums. So, hop on!