Canal Boat Tours, Amsterdam
Amsterdam is defined by its waterways, so it is only fitting to see the city from a boat. There are plenty of tour operators, who usually offer 1 hour round trips for a price between 10-15 €. Often, an audiosystem allows you to follow the explanation of a guide in your language of choice via headphones. When choosing a boat, I would advise to book an "open boat"-tour or at last a partly open roof as photography though the windows can be tricky. Departure times can vary, but are usually every half-hour in summer season and every hour in winter season.
I think that a canal cruise is very important for first timers in Amsterdam. There is so much to see and learn about hence it makes a great introduction to the city. I think that the pretty houses and stately buildings are delightful. You will usually get an audio guide in most languages as well which is vital to the entire exercise.
Cruises are regular and not too expensive.
In the summertime, the canals can still be dense with sailing traffic. Strictly pleasure-cruising, privately and commercially.
15000 pleasure boats are registered in Amsterdam and the city is a favourite destination for private yachts from Germany and France. Eight local marina's serve their needs and two big new ones are under construction. A few times a year, at big events like the Queen's Day and the Gay Parade, traffic jams on the canals can get quite serious. Rest assured that on an average day, canal-tour boats dominate the scene on the usually quiet waterways.
An Amsterdam Canal Cruise is most popular tourist attraction in the country. A diverse fleet of around 200 tour boats carry more than 3 million passengers a year, offering a waterborne variety of almost every form of entertainment that's available in Amsterdam.
Canal Cruises Amsterdam
From an intimate exclusive candlelight dinner with five star service on an antique ‘Saloonboat’ to Canal buses, Theatre Cruises and Disco Dances with Deejays and live music on party-ships.
If you want to explore the canals on your own, there are two options. One is to work for your mileage on a pedal-boat. Canal Company (www.canal.nl) has 200 of them available at 5 locations. Or you can experience the silent leisure of an electrically powered sloop.
It happened that the Bleu Boats cruises were at moorings in front of my hotel near the Leidseplein.
From a cruise years ago I remember that as these boats are low on water, so that they can pass under the bridges, the view on the houses along the canals is not best. The first thing one sees are the walls of the quays and the cars parked on these quays. You have to stand and strain your neck to see something of the city especially on the smaller canals called "grachten".
You will see more of the city by walking along the canals. But I admit that when it rains the boat is more comfortable.
The dinner cruise of 2 1/2 hour is priced at 67,50 € per person for a 4 course meal with drinks included. I cannot tell you if the announced "culinary highlights" are really highlights or not.
In the evening I used to drink a beer at the terrace on the Singel Gracht and it seemed that the best way of cruising on the Amsterdam canals was to get some friends having their own boat.
In Amsterdam, there are so many companies that organise canal boat tours which leave from the piers of the Damrak Street close by to the central railway station.
The history of Amsterdam is intimately connected with water. Its 165 canals were created over the centuries to stimulate trade and transport and reclaim land to expand the city. They continue define the city’s landscape and in 2010 Amsterdam's canal ring was recognized as a UNESCO world heritage site.
Besides providing a stunning backdrop to the city’s historical centre, floating down Amsterdam’s canals is one of the most memorable ways to discover the city. Whether you’re a first-time or frequent visitor, everything in Amsterdam seems a bit more magical when viewed from a boat.
I love to explore Amsterdam every time mostly by foot as walking, to see narrow streets and so, but besides, from the boat on the canal, you can catch more details rather than being on the land to see and to photograph ...
Its a "must to do" for Amsterdam ... :)
As in Strasbourg, an interesting rainy day activity in Amsterdam is to take a boat trip around the city.
I call it a rainy day activity because when the weather is nice you will obviously prefer to be out cycling rather than just sitting in a boat.
There are several companies that do canal boat tours, leaving from the piers at the street called Damrak near the central station. I took a tour by a company called Rederij Plas, which was fine but I have no way of knowing if it was better or worse than any of the other tours.
As in Strasbourg, I was the only person on the boat who had a map and was following along to keep track of where we were going. I am always amazed that nobody else does this, as one of the main purposes of such a tour is to start getting oriented and start learning your way around.
At thirty-five different places on the tour there were recorded commentaries in Dutch, German, French and English, which were fun because I could try to understand some of the Dutch (which I have never learned, but can sometimes figure out from German and English), and then use the other three languages to see if I was right.
Second photo: The Central Railway Station and Smits Koffiehuis, which is a fancy restaurant and not a "Coffee Shop".
Third photo: One of the Seven Bridges.
Fourth photo: The opera house in the rain, as seen from the tour boat.
Fifth photo: One of the tourist boats going past the opera house (not on the same day, obviously).
I figured the hop-on-hop-off canal trips wouldn't start too early (they actually started at 0915) so I didn't push too hard to wake up. When we got to the Central train station, I bought us tickets on the boat. They did not believe that my granddaughter was only 12 and she did not have her passport with her so I had to get her the 13-17 ticket which was 8 euros instead of free. We got on the boat that was there which was the Green line. Since it was a nice day, the glass cover was not on the boat and taking photos was easy We got off at the museum stop to go to the Van Gogh museum.
Coming back to the canal, we went the other way around the Rembrandt museum this time but we had just missed a boat so we had to wait. The boat that came was the red line, and I did not realize that what they did was the green line left from the west terminal and went around to the east terminal in an anti-clockwise direction. When it got to the east terminal, it was re-incarnated as the red line, which went clockwise (on different canals) to the west terminal. The only way to get from east to west was by walking. ACK
There was so much construction at the Central station that it was hard to find our way. We went the wrong way at least once as the directions were - go across two bridges and turn right, and we didn't find the second bridge right away because all the construction hid it. At one point my granddaughter said to me " If I was having as much trouble as you are, I would have given up by now"
Eventually we found it and got on the red line boat which was next. I had really wanted to ride the blue line which starts AND stops at the same place, doing a complete circuit. So we got off at the City Hall stop and waited for the Blue Line. I had thought we'd get off at City Hall again and take the red line to the Rembrandt stop and get on the green line and complete that, but my granddaughter was tired, so I gave up and got off at the end of the blue line about 1640
Canal tours are a good method of viewing any city, especially if you are short of time or experience a problem with walking.
I usually prefer to walk as that gives me control of how long I linger at an interesting sight. Furthermore in general photographs taken whilst walking are better as the image is not distorted by the glass roof of the boat.
However the day we took out tour it was raining and walking was ruled out. Dry within the boat, a good commentary and some very interesting craft on the canals made this an enjoyable hour. The canal boat passed many historic buildings which were now used by families, widows and doors open onto the canal let us have a close up view of the living room.
The canal tour also highlighted the huge number of bridges over the canals, often less than 100 metres apart and usually surrounded by numerous bikes.
Indeed it was a nice way to spend a few hours on a rainy day.
Amsterdam is famous for its canals and what better way of seeing them than from a boat. You also get a different aspect of the city from the water. Many people choose to live in houseboats.
There are many tour boats available.
One thing never forget in Amsterdam is the river boats. It's the best way to understand the chanal system, see beautiful architecture of Amsterdam and feel the athmosphere.
If you like to take photos, select a boat (company) with open area or moving roof. I mine there were none and the windows were dirty with small opening area. I were all the time on the wrong side. The captains door were open and I got some photos without automatic smoothing of the windows (last picture here is with the smooth).
As you can see from the first photo this kind of boat is not photo friedly.
Amstel’s name is derived from Aeme stelle, old Dutch for "area abounding with water".
Amstel beer is named after the river. The Amstel brewery, as a lot of other breweries, was situated close to the Amstel river because clean river water was used to produce the beer.
You can watch my 2 min 26 sec Video Amsterdam Amstel and Channels part 1 out of my Youtube channel or here on VT.
There are many Boat Tour companies offering trips on the canals in Amsterdam,some do hour long cruises,night time cruise,dinner cruise at different prices and different times.We opted for the hour long harbour and canal cruise with 'Holland International Tours' which are situated in front of the Central Station.All the boats have glass roof and side windows in case of bad weather and have recorded information in several languages telling you about the history of the sights as you motor on by.The tour is very interesting and gives you the chance to see places you would not get a good look at by foot.The tour takes you through the harbour and down several of the main canals before returning to the start point.At ten Euro's each i thought it was good value for money.
The Dutch capital Amsterdam is famous for its unique canals. The 17th century canals with the main canals (Singel, Herengracht, Keizersgracht and Prinsengracht) and a piece surrounding area on 1 August 2010 included in the UNESCO World Heritage List.
From the early days of the city have natural waterways and dug an important role in water management, transport and defense against enemy armies. In the last quarter of the 19th century, several canals were filled, for cleanliness and for more road space to offer.
The canals still have an important function in the shipping, especially for tourism purposes, such as the canal boats.
I think a trip to Amsterdam would be incomplete without going on a canal cruise. I believe the main canal cruise company is the Holland International. I'm not so sure why we didn't go on that cruise. Instead we opted for Lovers Boat that charged 10 Euro per person for a long canal cruise ride. I wouldn't know the difference, most importantly I've been cruising the canals in Amsterdam safely :)
The cruise took us around Amsterdam. Views were great!!! We saw good looking classic buildings and the cool part in front of the houses/building boats were parked making me to think that perhaps those people living in those houses/building might also own boats...how cool. Wish I have a boat too parked in front of my house. There were boat houses too...some were really nice, some the owners might be too busy to decor their boat houses. We saw Anne Frank House from somewhere, so many people were queuing. Well, we didn't get to go...maybe next time.
This is a must when in Amsterdam! The tickets are reasonable, you can buy them for 1 or 2 days and you get to hop on and off at your pleasure. There are different circuits to do. And you can also upgrade your ticket to include tickets for major attractions such as the Van Gogh Museum and Heineken Experience which allows you to go to the front of the line.