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.
On some of the canals, you’ll notice that there is an abundance of houseboats. I don’t know if it is still the case, but apparently this was a way to avoid taxation. No land no taxes. It’s only surprising that there aren’t more boats.
Amsterdam is a haven for houseboats. When houseboat living came into being, it was to avoid taxes. It is still cheaper to live on a houseboat, but the taxes are pretty steep. The boats come in all sizes and shapes. They were mostly commercial boats at one time and when they had outlived their commercial usefulness, they were sold and converted to houseboats. There are houseboat rentals available for visitors who want to experience houseboat living.
The houseboat owners frequently have gardens on the roof and lounge areas both fore and aft. The cabins are like small apartments complete with small kitchens, toilets, and showers. Waste water is in holding tanks and pumped out to a sanitation truck periodically. Those who live on houseboats love it. It certainly looks like it could be a very tranquil lifestyle.
Upon arrival in Amsterdam we decided, because of limited time, to spend some of our time just walking along the various canals in the city. In Venice, Italy the canals are all haphazard, put in place where the water was, here in Amsterdam it is all in straight lines, all dictated by man. You realize one of the problems having a city built around canals when you see something on the other side of "the street" (read canal also) and you have to continue down the canal till you find a place to pass over the canal, then backtrack to the place you want to go.....
With over 75 km of canals and 1400 bridges, it is easy to enjoy the atmosphere of walking along the water. What a great lifestyle to live along the canals of Amsterdam in one of the many houseboats. Their seems to be plenty of boat tours, but we really enjoyed just strolling along the many canal banks.
In addition to Amsterdam's booming economic engines of the arts, retail sales and tourism, the city has a very active and lucrative maritime industry that includes cruise ships, container and cargo transport, commercial fishing and shipbuilding.
It is not uncommon to find a small working vessel such as the "Starlite" moored among the houseboats and pleasure craft of even the more desirable canal locations.
Just take a walk around Amsterdam and enjoy the views. Lovely old buildings, nice peaceful canals. It sure beats the busy hustle and bustle of the Damrak area and the RLD. When you need a rest just dip into a cafe or bar for some light refreshment.
where the Houseboats catch your eyes, bridges need to be walked, camera always ready. saturday afternoon in Amsterdam walking along the Canals, someone looks after the Geraniums, a colourful bird calling, pretty boy.
Walking or simply sitting by the many canals in Amsterdam is fantastic way to relax. Particularly on a warm summer day. At night, the bridges light up to amazing effect. This is one of my favourite canals, the Keizersgracht............
Amsterdam is full of canals, which offer some of the city's best scenery. We spent hours strolling along the canals through the city's neighborhoods. Our favorite canals were the ones west of the center city, between it and the Jordaan neighborhood. Most of the canals are lined with traditional canal houses, which are tall and narrow and feature decorative gables on top with cranes for lifting heavy items into the upper floors.
It is a great experience to travel by canal bus as I could see the canals and houseboat in a clear way! I am surprised to find that even cats can live on the houseboats! They even came out of the house to enjoy the sunshine! Some of them even walked closely to the water!!!
Amsterdam is as well known for its canals as any other aspect of the city. In the central downtown area, it seems there are as many canals as paved streets. According to Frommer's, there are 160 canals in the city, stretching over 47 miles -- and crossed by 1281 bridges! Amsterdam has more canals than the other famous canal city -- Venice...
The canals add to the old-world charm of the central city. Besides transportation for citizens and tourists, the canals also are the home of many residents who own houseboats.
Part of what makes Amsterdam such a charming city are the many canals. While touring the city you will come across at least 4 or 5 of them.
Along these canals you will find some of the most beautiful homes lined with trees making it very picturesque.
Amsterdam is called Venice of the north because of its many canals. The most beautiful canals are Keizersgracht, Prinsengracht and Herengracht. Along these canals you can find the most beautiful houses once belonging to doctors, lawyers, bankers and shipowners. The canals are lined by many trees, giving it a lovely touch.
Did you know that the names of these canals refer to important political people of that time.
Keizersgracht = German Emperor Maximilian I
Prinsengracht = Prince of Orange
Herengracht = noblemen