All you need to know about Canal Cruises in Amsterdam

If It’s Tuesday, This Must Be Belgium” is a funny movie, but it’s no way to see Europe. What good is a European vacation that’s too rushed and hurried to enjoy? The best way to enjoy Europe is to choose one area and see it in a leisurely fashion. Take your time, meet the people, and actually see the sites you’re sightseeing.

For the most comfortable way to do that, take a canal cruise. They’re popular in England, the Netherlands, France, Germany, and many other parts of Europe. How about a canal cruise through Amsterdam?

Amsterdam Canal Cruise
These cruise/tour boats are everywhere in Amsterdam. This one’s heading down The Singel canal right near the Anne Frank Huis.
Flickr: Jonathan

Amsterdam has 165 canals and its canal ring was recognized as a UNESCO world heritage site in 2010. Floating down the canals, while a competent, courteous tour guide points out the sights, is a wonderful way to explore Amsterdam. If you don’t speak Dutch, tours are available in many languages.

Hotel Pulitzer Canal Boat
Hotel Pulitzer Canal Boat
Photo Credit: Cindy Higby


There are many canal boat companies, with docks all over the city, making it easy to plan your departure from almost anywhere in Amsterdam. There’s even the Canal Bus, with its hop-on, hop-off service, so you can disembark, visit a museum, go shopping, or just stroll through the streets of Amsterdam, then get back on the boat.

Many tours offer dinner cruises, from casual meals to romantic dinners. If you’re traveling with the whole family, try the Pannenkoekenboot — the pancake boat. The kids are sure to love it.

Canal Cruise in Amsterdam
Photo Credit: Trey Ratcliff

Amsterdam is full of art museums, gardens, parks, churches, shops and cafes. As you float down the canal, you can choose which places you want to visit later, from the Rijksmuseum to Anne Frank’s House, from the Vondelpark to the De Gooyer Windmill. If you’re new to canal cruising, use the cruise to orient yourself to the city. If you’re an experienced canal cruiser, you might want to rent a boat and dispense with the guided tour. But novice or expert, canal boat cruising is the best way to visit Amsterdam.

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