About half of the Netherlands is below sea level, which means that cruise ships depart from Amsterdam and sail through a canal with locks to reach the open seas. If you are on a cruise ship and leaving Amsterdam, be on deck to watch the ship sail to the ocean. There are fascinating things to see everywhere, like wind turbines, locks, other boats. It is one of the most interesting and active ports I have seen while cruising.
The city center of Amsterdam is characterisized by its small streets, canals and canal houses. These usually small, but tall houses with very special gable tops that can have many different shapes: bell, funnel, stepped and neck among others. Here you'll find an excellent site about historic houses and gable types.
There is a plaque at Keizersgracht 418 that says D'Luypaert, which I assume means The Leopard....These were in place before they had numbers for houses, identifying who lived where....
I heard that the D'Luypaerts were importers in the past........
These are the white plastic paddleboats you see hapless tourists paddling along bumping into houseboats along the way----it's actually funny to watch them, especially if you are renting a houseboat instead of a hotel room----sitting on your deck watching the folk splashing along---the water is not very clean remember......if interested check out the website---sometimes hard to navigate tho----they also do tours with groups of paddleboats----now that is a scary proposition! Mass traffic jams! This site also accesses their other features so check them out for other canal options...
The Herengracht (Gentleman's Canal) is is the first and the most elegant of the three major canals in the city centre of Amsterdam. The most fashionable part is called the Golden Bend, with many double wide mansions, inner gardens and coach houses on the Keizersgracht
The more than one hundred kilometers of canals in Amsterdam, about 90 islands and 1500 bridges have led the city to being termed the "Venice of the North The three main canals Herengracht, Prinsengracht, and Keizersgracht, dug in the 17th century, during the Dutch Golden Age, form a concentric belt around the city, known as the grachtengordel. Alongside the main canals are 1550 monumental buildings.
Amsterdam is world famous for its many canals (grachten) which have led it to being called the "Venice of the North".
There are many tour operators that have sightseeing cruises along these canals taking in attractions such as the well preserved 17th century merchant homes and also the famous red-light district.
Wander around the canal ring comprising of Prinsengracht and Keizersgracht for a view of Amsterdam's beautiful canals framed by the interesting facades of Dutch buildings. Each house has something different to see.
Each time Ive visited Amsterdam Ive enjoyed the sights as Ive walked about to get where Ive been wanting to go - theres always so much to look at along the way, any way..... the canals and the interesting or stunning architecture along them, the boats and houseboats, the bridges and interesting cast iron decorations, the bicycles.... even the fellow pedestrians are great for people watching!
The canal system in Amsterdam goes for miles - amazing - and its much too enjoyable to miss by heading for the public transport to take you around Amsterdam!
Just take a ride and/or walk and discover the beautiful city of Amsterdam.
It's a very charming city. I just had wished I discovered the place many years earlier and stayed for a few more days on this first trip to Amsterdam.
Amsterdam, as much as Venice or Brugge, is known for its canals lined with quaint gabled townhouses. This is the most instantly likeable thing about the city.
The townhouses are made out of dark brick typically without any stucco. Gables differ, and some sport very intricate designs. The buildings are separated from the canals by tree-lined alleys that further enhance their appeal.
Amsterdam is a walking city. If you are physically capable of walking, there is little that you will be unable to see in Amsterdam. It is a city of 200 canals and 1200 bridges. Most of the city is below sea level (don't ask me how, it is very complicated and I think that God is involved in some way). Anyway, the city is very flat; no hills to worry about. It is a very peaceful existence living along one of the canals. The views from the front of the houses and apartments are wonderful in any kind of weather. The canals are mostly tree-lined and very serene. I could live there.
Amsterdam is famous with its canals. So any tourist takes one or two picture of canals from a bridge. I did take, too. Now I think they are the best views of Amsterdam.
I recommend you to find a bridge, beware of bicycles, take a good position and take the pictures of canales with the reflections of the boat houses, old houses and trees in the water.
The canals and the narrow tall houses in different colours give Amsterdam its characteristics.
Many lucky people live in the boats and have their balcony outside or even on the roof of the boat. Many have planted numerous plants and flowers to make their own floating home look like a little paradise.
The best way to see both the canals and the houses around them is to take a canal cruise.
If it is too expensive, buy a normal one way ticket (like bus- or train ticket); you don't have to take a special cruise if you don't want to. Many of the boats are in usual everyday traffic at usual bus/boat prices available for everyone.
Amsterdam has big canals like Singel, Herengracht, Keizersgracht and Prinsengracht. Besides these waters there are a lot of smaller ones to explore.
My personal favorites:
-Bloemgracht and Egelantiersgracht
If you visit Amsterdam for the first time, a walking option is a guided tour.