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Amsterdam Canal Cruises
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Amsterdam Canal Cruise Tours

When you think of Amsterdam, nothing springs to mind more than Holland’s famous canals. Since its humble beginnings as a fishing village to the vibrant and eclectic Amsterdam of today, this city has always been connected to its riverways. Amsterdam even gained its name from the water, with the dams hugging the River Amstel the key inspiration. Formallly built during the Dutch Golden Age in the 17th century, the canals were used to expand the water blocked city centre, allowing for growth beyond the sea. Today, land that once laid under the sea now stands as part of the city, a feat only possible thanks to these UNESCO heritage-listed canals. The canals of today are a beautiful marker of times gone by, and serve as a key form of residential and tourist transport throughout the city. An important piece of history in this fishing village turned metropolis, the canals make Amsterdam what it is today.

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Our tips for Amsterdam Canal Cruises

  • See the canals in action. Many of the canals locks close three times each week to allow fresh water from the Ijsselmeer Lake to be pumped into the waterways. Head to the Amstel River’s Amstelsluizen canal to see this process up-close.
  • Get tunnel vision. A result of intricate design and construction, have a peek down the waterway through the arches of the ‘Seven Bridges’. This iconic scene comes to life after nightfall when gold lights sparkle and illuminate the bridges’ arches.
  • Get your skates on. A popular pastime during winter months, ice-skating on the canals is a truly enchanting experience. Be sure to only skate where there are other crowds doing so, as some parts of the canals ice may be thin and not safe for skating.

Good to know

Best time to visit
Amsterdam is busy year-round, with tourist frenzy reaching its peak in the summer months. For Amsterdam canal cruises, the best time to visit the city is in the spring months, when weather is pleasant and Amsterdam’s beautiful tulips line the streets.
Getting there
Spanning 100 kilometres of waterways in the city, a visit to Amsterdam means a visit to the canals themselves. No map is necessary - you can’t miss these striking feats of historical engineering.
Money saving tips
Depending on what you’re after, Amsterdam canal cruises vary in cost, and if you book in advance, can be quite cheap. If you fancy a more personal canal experience, hiring your own boat for a day may be a good option money-wise, especially if you’re sharing costs with a few friends.
Did you know?
Impress your fellow travellers with these interesting titbits about the historic Amsterdam canals…
  • With 165 canals covering 100km, Amsterdam actually has more canals than Venice. The canals crisscross 90 islands and span 1281 bridges, making exploring these intricate waterways an epic and interesting feat.
  • Bike fishing is a necessary task for authorities. Each year more than 12,000 bicycles are fished from the canals. It is believed that this must be a result of theft or vandalism, and bicycle owners are encouraged to always safe-lock their bikes, just in case.
  • There are around 2,500 houseboats floating Amsterdam’s canals, most are residential properties, though some are available for holiday rentals.

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