Home CANAL CRUISES Overview of canal cruises in Amsterdam: all information

Overview of canal cruises in Amsterdam: all information

Overview of canal cruises in Amsterdam | A canal cruise in Amsterdam is equivalent to climbing the Eiffel Tower in Paris, visiting La Sagrada Familia in Barcelona and St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome. Countless offers of boat types, duration, time of day, waterways, and services exist. You can find a comprehensive list of the various canal cruises in all tickets and offers.

✅ Advance notice: This year’s Light Festival in the canals of Amsterdam will take place from November 30, 2023, to January 21, 2024. All information, tours, and tickets are in the Light Festival in Amsterdam article. Advance notice.

Classic canal cruises

Classic canal cruises

Of course, you can start with a traditional canal cruise, which almost always begins at the train station, the famous Museum Square, or the Anne Frank House. The exact mooring points are also on the respective providers’ websites.

💯 Bestseller: Lovers Canal Cruise
Central Station - Prinz Hendrikkade 25
19,00 €Book Online
Museumsplatz - Stadthouderskade 52021,00 €Book Online
Anne Frank Haus - Prinsengracht 26118.50 €Book Online

The traditional moorings are also marked accordingly.

The best way to discover the beautiful old town of the Dutch capital is from the water. You can experience the charm of the famous canals with their magnificent and ornately decorated merchants’ houses at any time of day or year.

Canal cruises in the morning and evening

Canal cruises in the morning and evening

Early birds discover the beautiful old town from the water in the morning. At any time of year, you can also experience the picturesque waterways with their historic canal houses, houseboats, small bridges, and elm trees on the banks in the evening.

Canal CruiseDeparture**Price*Ticket
🕒 In the morning - 90 minutes
📍 Prinsengracht 397
from 8:0039.00 €Book Online
🕒 Evening - 90 minutes
📍 Stadthouderkade 501
from 18:3027.00 €Book Online
📍 Prins Hendrikkade 33A
🕒 Evening canal cruise
from 17:0021.95 €Book Online

**Details of the various departure times and locations can be found on the respective provider’s website.

Special canal trips with smaller boats

Special canal trips with smaller boats

Of course, the trips in smaller and open boats, often with a snack and drinks on offer, have a unique charm. At certain times of the year, please remember to bring warm clothing and rain protection.

Canal cruises - small boatsPreis*Ticket
Open Boat Tour With
Live Guide and Unlimited Drinks
19.95 €Book Online
Classic Boat Cruise with
Live Guide, Drinks and Cheese
33.95 €Book Online
Luxury Boat Canal Cruise
with Onboard Bar
22.95 €Book Online
Luxury Cruise with Beer,
Wine, & Cocktail Option
20.00 €Book Online

The conditions for the tours with the small boats can also be found on the provider’s website. These canal cruises are sometimes only offered in English, but they still convey the extraordinary nature of Amsterdam. Always pay attention to this when booking.

Canal cruises for smaller groups

Extended family, a bowling outing, or the soccer team’s victory party. You can also get something to eat and drink, and your Amsterdam trip with an individual canal cruise will be remembered for a long time. These canal cruises are ideal for groups of 8 to 10 people or more. Details can be found on the provider’s website.

Canal cruises - Small boatsPrice*Ticket
Covered Canal Booze Cruise with Drinksfrom 25.00 €Book Online
Evening Canal Cruise w/ Pizza/Drinksfrom 49.95 €Book Online
Smoke and Lounge City Boat Cruisefrom 32.50 €Book Online
BBQ Canal Cruise Experiencefrom 59.95 €Book Online

Evening trips with food and drinks

Evening trips with food and drinks

After an exhausting day of sightseeing, you can relax in Paris with a delicious dinner in the Montmartre district, enjoy the evening flair of the trendy Mediterranean metropolis with a well-chilled sangria on La Rambla in Barcelona or round off the day at a Heurigen in Vienna. The evening canal cruise in Amsterdam is the perfect way to do this, with a relaxed atmosphere that sets it apart from the lively daytime cruises.

You can spend more time, and sometimes there’s food and drink too. For many, Amsterdam is most beautiful at dusk, when the bridges and magnificent merchants’ houses are illuminated as darkness falls. If you would like to see the city in a different light, you can find a few other suggestions for booking here in addition to a regular evening cruise.

Canal cruises - small boatsPrice*Ticket
Evening cruise with bar on board21.95 €Book Online
Evening canal cruise27.00 €Book Online
Pizza boat trip including drinks42.50 €Book Online
Amsterdam Dinner Cruise79.00 €Book Online

Suppose you are interested in such a tour, for example, for a special occasion such as a birthday, to celebrate with family and friends, or to spend a romantic evening with your partner. In that case, you should always book your tickets in advance. All tours are very different; each boat trip has its charm, so there should be something for everyone. The flair of Amsterdam in the evening is always a unique experience. You can find all the details on the provider’s website.

But if you just want to enjoy the evening as a couple, park your bike and book a romantic canal cruise.

Romantic canal cruise

It can only be really romantic as a couple. This is of course a little more expensive, but remains a unique experience and an unforgettable memory of Amsterdam.

Romantic canal cruisesPrice*Ticket
Canal cruise & Prosecco
(for two in the evening)
from 195.00 €Book Online
Romantic boat trip
by candlelight at night
from 215.00 €Book Online

Rides on the water for children

Amsterdam is perfect for a city trip with children. My article, Amsterdam for Children, also includes the classic canal cruise. The following boat trips also occur on the water and are very popular with children and young people.

  • Pfannkuchenboot – Delicious traditional Dutch pancakes, and you can eat as much as you like. It’s the best experience for children on a city trip to Amsterdam.
  • Splash A city tour in an amphibious bus takes you to the most beautiful and unusual places in Amsterdam, then, as a highlight, the Splash, a spectacular jump into the Oosterdok.
  • Harbor tour – Amsterdam is one of the largest seaports in Europe, and in this harbour landscape, you can get very close to the large ships. The trip offers spectacular impressions, especially for children.
Adventures on the waterPrice*Ticket
Harbor tour24.50 €Book Online
Splash29.00 €Book Online
Pfannkuchenboot22.50 €Book Online

*The reduced prices for young people and children can be found on the providers’ websites.

Canal cruises and museums as a combined ticket

Amsterdam, Netherlands – 22 June 2022: Rijksmuseum is the national museum of the Netherlands

Museum visits can also be booked directly together with the canal cruises. This means you can also purchase combined tickets and enjoy the stay at the attraction and the canal cruise independently of each other. The tickets can also be used on different days.

Canal cruises + MuseumPrice*Ticket
Rijksmuseum 36.00 €Book Online
Van Gogh Museum 31.50 €Book Online
Moco Museum32.45 €Book Online

Please note that booking a combined ticket may only be a one-off booking fee. The details of the offer can be found on the provider’s website.

Canal cruises and attractions as a combined ticket

As with the museums, canal cruises can be booked with other top attractions in Amsterdam. Here are a few suggestions:

Canal Cruise +Price*Ticket
Madame Tussauds39.00 €Book Online
Heineken Experience42.00 €Book Online
Body Worlds35.00 €Book Online
Xtra Cold Icebar37.00 €Book Online

It is best to get the necessary tickets at home and avoid any queues at the ticket counters. Canal cruises are the biggest tourist attraction in the Dutch metropolis.

Waiting times for the canal cruises in Amsterdam

The waiting times for a canal cruise depend on the queue at the respective ticket counter. Ticket holders can start the canal tour directly. The frequency of departures is high, but here, too, there may be a delay at certain times of the season or day.

ℹ️ Advance purchase of tickets booked online is always recommended.

Dogs on the canal cruises

Yes, in most cases, dogs are allowed on canal cruises in Amsterdam. Some companies have specific restrictions regarding the size or breed of the dog, so it is always essential to check with the company you want to book with before you make a reservation.

✅ It is also essential that dogs must always be kept on a lead and under the owner’s control. Dogs are not allowed to run around freely on the boat!

The building and its history

The 17th century is known as the golden age of the Netherlands, considered one of the world’s centres. Trade flourished, and many immigrants from many different countries settled in Amsterdam. In 1612, the construction of the first canal began, which was mainly used for the transportation of goods. At the same time, however, they also served to drain and reclaim marshland. In this way, land was to be created to construct urgently needed living space for the constantly growing population.

There had also been wide moats in Amsterdam before this, but they had been built for defensive purposes. These included the Singel and the Kloveniersburgwal. The new canals were intended to facilitate the transportation of goods to and from the city, and merchants’ houses with their warehouses and salesrooms were built directly on the canals.

✅ You can find lots of interesting facts about the construction and history of the canals in the Museum of the Canals, which is well worth a visit. Visit the centrally located 386, Herengracht, with an audio guide.

The entire system was built in three construction phases over around 80 years. First, the three main canals, Herengracht, Keizersgracht, and Prinsengracht, were built. Initially, the ditches were also used for sewage disposal, i.e., open cesspools. The smell of the waste and excrement must have been highly unpleasant, especially when temperatures were high during the summer months, as the water was only partially renewed by the changing tides. For this reason, 16 canals were drained and converted into roads between 1857 and 1895. The increase in traffic led to protests from residents, and the remaining canals were fortunately retained. Today, they are an absolute tourist magnet in Amsterdam.

✅ Tip: Tickets for a historic boat tour

The most important sections of the canal belt

The most important sections of the canal belt

The Herengracht is generally regarded as the city’s most important canal. It was built in two phases (1613 and 1664) as the innermost canal to the west and south of the old city centre and was named in honour of Amsterdam’s city lords. Even then, the most potent alderperson and influential merchants settled on the Herengracht and resided in their townhouses and prestigious city palaces. Even today, this address, especially the area around the Gouden Bocht, the Golden Bend, is still considered one of the best residential areas in Amsterdam. A one-way street is on each side of the 2.4 km long, navigable canal. In total, the Herengracht is crossed by eleven bridges.

The Keizersgracht is the middle of the three main canals and is located in the south and west of the city. It was named in honour of Emperor Maximilian I of Austria and is the widest of the waterways at 31 metres. Over 2.7 km, the canal is spanned by 14 bridges and ends in the River Amstel. The many small stores and cafés along the canal invite you to stroll. In between, you can take a break on one of the many benches and watch the hustle and bustle of the water.

The Prinsengracht was named after the Prince of Orange, William the Silent, and is the outermost and longest (3.2 km) of the main canals. It is, therefore, the furthest from the old town and, like the Heerengracht and the Keizersgracht, has an extension beyond the Amstel, with the addition Nieuwe. Many visitors consider a walk along the Prinsengracht one of the main attractions during a stay in Amsterdam. Especially in the evening, when the old canal houses in the old town are romantically illuminated, the atmosphere is uniquely beautiful. Real estate prices in this area are astronomically high and are among the most expensive in the Netherlands. For this reason, there are only a few apartments on the Prinsengracht, but mostly offices of banks, insurance companies, and hotels.

Interesting general information

Interesting general information

The total length of navigable waterways in Amsterdam is more than 80 km, and the navigable canals generally have an average depth of 2.40 metres. The canal houses stand on piles in the sandy soil and have a maximum of 4 to 5 stories. Otherwise, their weight would be too great, and they would be pressed into the soft ground.

While strolling along the waterways of Amsterdam, it is noticeable that only one type of tree has been planted here, namely elms. The reason for this lies in the roots: the elms grow relatively vertically downwards, while those of other trees also spread out to the sides and can potentially destroy the canal walls.

Amsterdam is nicknamed the Venice of the North because it has more canals and bridges than Venice. There are around 1400 bridges, which are numbered consecutively. Bridge no. 1, for example, crosses the Singel, the oldest defensive moat. For many locals and visitors to the city, the Magere Brug (narrow bridge) over the Amstel is the most beautiful and one of the most popular photo motifs in the entire Netherlands. In traditional Dutch architecture, the wooden bascule bridge is raised several times a day for larger ships, and this procedure always attracts many onlookers.

In the evening and at night, the light from its 1200 bulbs is reflected in the water, creating a romantic atmosphere. Couples meet on the bridge, and legend has it that a kiss on the bridge will make their love last forever. You can enjoy a unique view of 15 bridges simultaneously if you stand on the corner of Reguliersgracht and Herengracht, on the side with the odd-numbered houses.

Even today, the canals are unfortunately often misused to dispose of garbage, so unique crane boats are regularly deployed to clean them up. Hundreds of bicycles come to light every year, leading to the nickname bicycle grave.

Although the Dutch are a maritime people, ice skating is also one of the most popular sports in the country. In winter, the people of Amsterdam wait impatiently for cold enough days for the waterways to freeze over. When the layer of ice is thick enough, the unique pleasure of ice skating begins in the middle of the city – those who don’t dare to take the skates can, of course, also use the mirror-smooth surface for a walk.

As you stroll along the water’s edge in the streets of Amsterdam, you can’t help but notice the numerous houseboats. What began with the hippies in the 1970s has developed into a luxurious form of living in an exclusive location that average earners can no longer afford.

Is a canal cruise in Amsterdam worthwhile?

What was built around 400 years ago as a transportation route and for defensive purposes is now one of the city’s most important tourist attractions. For many visitors, the most pleasant way to tour the city is by boat.

There are numerous ways to discover Amsterdam from the water, either on your own or with a tour guide. The city’s beauty will enchant everyone, whether by pedal boat, canoe, or on larger ships.

*The provider’s current prices always apply, as price changes or discount campaigns are possible anytime.


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