When in Amsterdam take a canal boat ride, Amsterdam has more canals than Venice, and is often called the Venice of the North. It also has 3 times more bridges than Venice, and I get the impression that they may well prefer Venice to be called “Amsterdam of the South”.
The people of Amsterdam are justifiably proud of their stunning tree lined canals and perhaps consider that the lagoon filled canals of Venice are not as attractive.
I for one, am a massive fan of Amsterdam and having stayed on a houseboat on the Prinsengracht canal in the stunning Jordaan area can attest to the beauty of the life both on and off the canal.
Amsterdam is a maze of canals, and it is totally enticing. Doing a cruise of the canals can give a really good perspective of life in this very stunning city. There are innumerable operators of canal cruises and most take in many of the iconic sites of Amsterdam. There is a hop on hop off canal cruise that allows you to see all of the major sites at your leisure.
Special Events on the canals of Amsterdam
The first canal cruise in the history of Amsterdam took place in 1621. Queen Elisabeth Stuart of Bohemia was welcomed into the city in a parade of highly decorated admiralty boats, with thousands of locals standing on the bridges and canal sides to welcome the Queen. There are still many special events held on these stunning canals. In 2010, Amsterdam’s canal ring was recognised as a UNESCO world heritage site.
In April, the city turns orange to celebrate King’s Day (formerly Queen’s Day) and the canals are packed with floating partygoers. In August, the highlight of the annual Gay Pride celebrations is a parade through the canals featuring decorated barges. Music and dancing. Later the same month, the focus turns to classical music with the Grachtenfestival, the Canal Festival. This is where there are performances take place on or next to the water, with the audience gathering in boats or standing alongside the canals to enjoy this event.
Stay on a canal boat in Amsterdam
Woontjalk Zuidenwind Houseboat
A lovely old cargo ship in the nautic centre of Amsterdam port. Nearby the old city with a beautiful view on the famous canals. The National Maritime Museum and the Mill of Brewery ‘t IJ in sight. Get the latest prices and Trip Advisor reviews here.
Pantheos Romantic Houseboat
It is located in one of the best locations of the city: next to the Jordaan and Anne Frank House, and close to the Westermarkt. Get the latest prices and Trip Advisor reviews here.
Houseboat Tante Piet
In the city center of Amsterdam, just off the beaten path but only five minutes away from the central station by tram. For Trip Advisor Reviews and latest prices.
Who to book you canal boat ride with?
This is where you get to really appreciate the canal houses from the perspective of why and where they were built. Watch out for how crooked some of the houses are as they are built on a sand base.
On the canal boat ride, you get to see how large and busy Amsterdam’s harbour is and remember that the Dutch were at the van guard of discovering the new world.
There are many highlights of the canal cruises such as Centraal Station, the Haarlemmersluis floodgates that are used in the nightly canal flushings, the Cat Boat which is a houseboat with a permanent population of some 100 cats. This is worth coming back to on foot to have a look at and leave a small donation.
On the canal boat ride you will also see official residence of the burgemeester, the mayor, at Herengracht 502, on the “Golden Bend” and many stunning bridges, including the famous Skinny Bridge over the Amstel, and the harbour.
On the extremely pleasant and enjoyable trip we also saw the narrowest or skinniest house in the world. We saw many of the iconic sites and museums of Amsterdam, which we returned to later.
There are short cruises around the canals, dinner cruises, cocktail cruises and even lover’s cruises. Whatever you choose this is beautiful way to appreciate a city built on its canals.
In Amsterdam the water is the mistress and the land is the vassal. Throughout the city there are as many canals and drawbridges as there are bracelets on a Gypsy’s bronzed arm
So when in When in Amsterdam take a canal boat ride.
For more information on Amsterdam and the Netherlands, visit Netherlands Tourism