Canal cruises

Member Rating 4 out of 5 by becks on May 28, 2003

Taking a boat cruise of the canals of Amsterdam seems to be the ultimate tourist experience. It is fun, a great way to see the city, and I’ve taken one on every single trip I’ve made to this city. Both the night and day cruises are worth it but if time or money is limited take a late afternoon cruise that ends in the dark and you can get both experiences squeezed into one.

There are several companies vying for your custom with most located in close proximity to the Central Station. Prices and routes are basically the same but I have always been more satisfied with the blue boats of Holland International - now part of TUI - than with others. Boats have see-through roofs, which apparently fog up fast when it is rainy. Commentary on virtually all boats is via pre-recorded tape in several languages - Dutch, English, German, French, and Spanish. This is of course great if you understand all five - no need for note taking or guidebooks, you’ll know the history of Amsterdam by heart at the end of the tour.

The tour takes around an hour and includes a trip through the harbor and of course various canals. Highlights include seeing the Magere Brug - a narrow double-leave drawbridge across the River Amstel, and to see the gables of the stately homes in the wealthier areas. Another highlight is the point where you can see seven round arch bridges spanning a narrow canal. This is best seen at night when lights light up the curves of the bridges.

Depending on the route you may also pass by the Anne Frank Museum where there always seems to be a queue and the Westerkerk with the glittering crown of Emperor Maximilian at the top of the steeple.

An interesting alternative to a boat tour is to take the Museumboat - this boat covers most of the same route from the Central Station but allows you to get off at five points along the way: Anne Frank Museum, Museum quarter (Rijks and Van Gogh Museums), Bloemenmarkt (Flower market), Waterlooplein and Maritime Museum. A day ticket allows for unlimited trips. The journey will take much longer than the tram but will be more interesting.

Holland International Canal Cruises
Prins Hendrikkade 33A
Amsterdam, Netherlands

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