Best time to visit Amsterdam

Canal Cruising in Amsterdam

The city of Amsterdam looks particularly beautiful when viewed from a boat

Best time: all year round

Canal Cruising
Canal Cruising
Canal Cruising
Canal Cruising

When other cities offer bus tours to discover local sights and attractions, Amsterdam offers a far more fascinating alternative—canal cruises. This water web consists of 165 canals. It's nearly a hundred kilometres in length overall. The cruise presents Amsterdam as it used to be centuries ago. Its neat merchant buildings lining the waterways reflect Dutch Golden Age when the trade was at the peak of its flourishment.

Along with elegant houses with elaborately decorated facades, you'll also observe beautiful churches, gables, and bridges, particularly the legendary Magere Brug or Skinny Bridge. The canal district of Amsterdam is listed among UNESCO World Heritage sites. No wonder, canal cruising is renowned as the most memorable way to discover the city.

You'll find several operators that provide canal cruises all year round. The opening hours vary slightly depending on the season. Twilight and evening cruises have their own charm. You'll see the nightlife in Amsterdam both from the outside and peep into the inside—when it gets dark, the light turns on inside of pretty boathouses showing up what's going on there.

Practical info

How long does a canal cruise in Amsterdam usually take?

Canal tours in Amsterdam take anywhere from 1-90 minutes, depending on the operator and route. Longer cruises offer dining experiences and cover lesser-known canals. Shorter tours stick to central tourist areas. Duration varies by operator and distance to be covered. Show more

What is the best time of day to go on a canal cruise in Amsterdam?

For the best experience, early morning canal tours offer some of the most stunning views of Amsterdam. Twilight or evening tours provide enchanting views of Amsterdam's nightlife from the water. Night tours have lighted buildings and impressive cityscapes but have fewer crowds than the daytime tours. Show more

Are there any specific landmarks or attractions that you can see only on a canal cruise in Amsterdam?

Some of Amsterdam's landmarks are specifically on the canals. This makes a canal cruise unique. Historical buildings constructed around the canals have noteworthy architecture. Some of the notable landmarks that you can view from a canal cruise include Magere Brug, the Rijksmuseum, the Westerkerk, and Herengracht. Show more

Can you bring food and drinks on the canal cruise boats?

While most canal cruise boats have onboard bars or snack stations, visitors can bring their food and drinks. Evening cruises offer dinner or cocktail packages, and visitors can refuse these packages and bring their food. Snacks can be brought during the tour, and visitors can consume them onboard. Show more

Do canal cruises in Amsterdam operate during the winter months?

Canal cruises in Amsterdam are available throughout the year. Winter cruises in Amsterdam offer a unique experience with activities like ice skating, winter food and drinks, and winter fairs. During winters, open-air boat sections have blankets and heaters. Visitors can move to indoor heated boat portions if it gets too cold. Show more

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Last updated: by Eleonora Provozin