Canal boat, Amsterdam
I don't usually take tours when I visit somewhere but Amsterdam is a bit of an exception.
The canalboat tours are not over-priced and they do offer you the chance to see the lovely canalside buildings from a different perspective. And, if the weather is unpleasant, they also offer you the chance to sit and relax in the warm and dry for an hour or so!
There are plenty of operators. Some boats are moored directly in front of Centraal station and some on the Damrak a couple of minutes' walk away. Both of my trips have been taken with Redderij Kooij company, starting from the Rokin which is a bit further into the historical centre. Why? Simply because that was where me & my companions happened to be when struck by the desire to take a trip on the canals. :-)
10 euro for an hour's comfortable sit-down out of the wind and rain seems like pretty good value to me.
There are also dinner cruises and suchlike, of course. Lots of choice.
A great way to see a bit of the city with zero effort. Touristy yes, but effective and fun.
UPDATE! In January 15 we used the "canal bus" to cruise the canals. It's more pricey than a simple cruise, but you can break your journey anywhere and switch between the 3 routes.
An hour guided tour - boat ride around the city provides great insight (historical information, tips, interesting facts...). Boats have glass roof so you are safe in case it rains or is windy (it was the day I took the tour). Price was around 10 euros.
Amsterdam is the known for the canals and what is the best option to see the entire city , fast and in a different way ? - Of course - from the canals.
there are canal boats that offer a few hours ride , some of them you can go up and down in this time hop-on-off style.
The view is different from walking in the streets.
Visiting Amsterdam is not complete without a canal boat tour. One can choose between the standard tours, where a guide is telling the group about everything he knows about the town, or choose for the canal "bus". In this category there are two firms operating a hop-on/hop-off service: the Canalbus (in the canal in front of the Saint Nicolas church) and the Museum boat (next to the VVV-office (tourist info). On both there are too guides telling several things about the passed highlights.
The great thing about the canal boat experience in Amsterdam is that you can see pretty much everything from the canals. From going past the Anne Frank house & museum to the East India company's old headquaters. You get an introduction to all the places you are seeing and also get to experience what it must have been like for people when lots of transportation was via the canals.
An hour trip varies from company to company but i have always ventured towards Tui. Always busy and full of people so to me that means generally good and i have not yet been disapointed. All the boats have glass roofs which allow you to see all the sights.. even when it is raining.. which it does a lot. Seats also allow weary feet an hour or so of sitting down and still seeing the sights :)
Some of the canal trips include being able to jump on and off for 24 hours but generally everything in Central amsterdam is walkable and for me the extra premium is not worth the cost.
To get to these boat trips simply walk out of centraal station, and they should be just past the engineering works outside. Cant fail to spot them all.
One of the most popular ways to get an impression of Amsterdam is taking DE RONDVAARTBOOT (tourist boat).
You find them at the South side of the Central Station, along the Damrak and Rokin.
Waterlelie classical boat
Cruise with us
Private canal tours in classical boats; SlingerTocht recommended
De Nederlanden Company
The city is an assemblage of small islands connected by more than a thousand bridges crossing the more than a hundred canals which makes boats a popular mode of transportation.
There are several boat operators, cruise/leisure boats, hop-on hop-offs, waterbuses, and even boat hotels or accommodation. When you're in the city, chances are you'll be taking one of these.
As you might have guessed, there are other methods of travel on the canals. These methods usually come in the form of floating type things that range in size from little, to really big. First, of course, are the tour boats. There are a number of different tour boat companies. They all provide the same basic service of a guided tour of Amsterdam via canal. In some of the tours the driver presses a button and a prerecorded tour begins in three or four languages. In others the driver gives the tour and drives the boat. These tours are also in three or four languages. Many Dutch people are multi-lingual. Many speak Dutch. English, German, and French. This is out of necessity, not only for tourists, but the more important reason is the multinational corporations headquartered in the Netherlands and surrounding countries.
The next type of tour is the dinner, brunch, or night cocktail tours. These are available from most of the canal boat operators. Finally, is the hop on-hop off tour which give you 24 hours to just travel the canals getting on and off at all of the major stops.
There are also private tours offered by multiple organizations. Their literature is everywhere.
The best tour of all is a friend that really knows the city and owns a boat.
Canal boats are popular to get a view of Amsterdam. You can take a tourist boat (Rondvaartboot) from Damrak and Rokin close to the Central Station.
Other canalboat companies:
Blue Boat Company
+31 20 6791370
Boat Rental Amsterdam
+31 20 6247635
Amsterdam Boat Events
+31 20 4194141
Private Boat Tours - Klassieke salonboten
+31 20 6849338
Jaap Hannis restaurant & boten
+31 20 4189690
+31 20 7748186
Holland Sport Boat Centre
+31 20 6947527
Peter Bosgraaf Yacht and Boat Design
+31 20 4191972
HIBS Hobson Inflatable Boat Services
+31 20 6863118
+31 20 5218400
My personal absolute favor to see Amsterdam is by canal tour.
The cruise takes you along several canals and past the city’s most spectacular spots. As you glide through the historic city centre you’ll see elegant merchants residences, churches and warehouses, dating from the Golden age and steeped in history.
Departure Holland international Canal Cruises at Prins Hendrikkade 33a (opposite Central station) 1012 TM Amsterdam
Nov – March daily from 10.00 – 1900 every 30 minutes
Dec. Jan, Feb, daily from 10.00 – 18.00 every 30 minutes
The canal cruise takes 1 hour.
No reservations required
We took the cruise at Blue Boat Company at Stadhouderskade 30 (near Leidseplein)
Tel: 020 6791370
This city canal cruise takes 75 minutes.
100m outside Centraal Station to your right and straight on the canal cruisers ply their trade. I had a different cruise each day I was there, each with a different company. There is little interaction by the driver who just steers and operates a multi-language tape every few minutes. The exeption to this was the Holland International cruise, the driver told funny stories about many things we passed and made the journey ten times better. Of course this could have been because of the French TV crew on board. But if you like boat trips the scenery itself is its own reward. Each company has a slightly different route and they all last the best part of an hour. Great fun, even when its raining and an essential part of any Amsterdam trip no matter how short.
Amsterdam…a fantastic must do is to email Max before you go to Amsterdam so that you can set up a private boat trip of Amsterdam. Max has a small canal boat, which holds at most 6 people, that he uses to give private tours to “friends”. In order to become a friend you have to email him. The city of Amsterdam has stopped locals from giving private tours of the canals, so it is hard to find someone who is willing to give you such a unique glimpse of the city.
We took Max’s “slow food” organic dinner cruise. The tour started with strawberries and cream, then on to homemade soup, next the main course of salad and lamb sausages. Of course all of this is accompanied by alcoholic beverages, which you and Max can work that out beforehand…we chose wine. The meal was just fantastic. At the end we had some coffee while all the while watching the city of Amsterdam slowly float by. The dinner meal changes depending on what he can find to make. Max will also ask if you are allergic to anything. As Max is very open minded he does allow his friends to smoke on board.
We did not feel that the price was that expensive considering what the other small private boat tours cost, plus you get a chance to see Amsterdam as a friend of a local and not on one of these big bus-like-boat cruises. The cruise lasts about two and half hours long, which is longer than most cruises.
Max is just a wonderful person, as is his wife Caro who rode along on our trip to help him out. During the day time Max works for a foundation that organizes music performances in children’s day-care centers. Max enjoys giving boat rides to friend of this project. Max’s email is… email@example.com
Almost as soon as you leave the central train station, you start coming across canal tours. Do you want to sit down for another hour and tour Amsterdam’s waterways or do you want to explore a bit first on your own? If you haven’t read any guide books, it might actually make sense to take a boat tour to help orient yourself to the city. The tour operators like to take your picture as you’re boarding the boat to sell you a souvenir when you return to the dock. Although the sale pressure is high, you’re under no obligation to buy the pictures.
Make sure that you give yourself time to take a canal cruise. They are nice for relaxing and to see the city from a different point of viwe. Beware of Germans trying to take up areas of the boats for themselves.