Whilst a canal sightseeing trip by glass-topped boat is a "must do" in Amsterdam, there are a number of other options for getting around on Amsterdam's canals.
These include hiring your own boat, renting a pedalo, taking a water taxi or even making a special trip by gondola. Let's take a look at the various possibilities...
Canal Bike - subsidiary of Canal Company which rents out 4-seater pedalo water bikes at various spots around the centre. This is a fun and active way to explore Amsterdam's canals. Costs per person are: €8 for 1 hour, €11 for 1.5 hours and €14 for 2 hours. You have to leave a €20 deposit.
Canal Bike has moorings at Rijksmuseum, Leidseplein and Anne Frank House (Prinsengracht). In case of bad weather the boats can be fitted with rain shields. Always remember to keep to the right when travelling on the canals!
Renting a Boat in Amsterdam
There are numerous companies in Amsterdam which rent out boats of various sizes. For example, Rederij 't Smidtje (T:+31(0)20 670 6067) rents out traditional large cruising boats with skipper for 10 to 80 people. Their main docks are at Ruysdaelkade and Rijksmuseum (Stadhouderskade).
Canal Motorboats Amsterdam (T:+ 31(0)20 422 7007) rents out electric powered aluminium boats with capacity of up to 6 people which you skipper yourself. Prices are €50 for the first hour, €40 (2nd hour), €30 (3rd hour) and €20 for each successive hour after that. You need to leave a bond of €150 or credit card authorisation plus a valid ID. Free life vests provided for kids under 12. Location is a short walk from central station at Zandhoek 10A.
Mokumboot (T:+31(0)6 1468 3277) in south Amsterdam provides a similar boat rental service - prices for a 6 person boat range from €110 (3 hours, minimum period) to €240 for 8 hours, plus a deposit of €100. A larger boat (max 20 people) costs €360 (2 hours) to €610 for 4 hours. Dock at Stadionkade 73b near Parnasusweg.
Boaty (T:+31(0)6 2714 9493) is a rental company located at the Jozef Israelskade near the Okura hotel. Their electric boats seat a maximum of 6 passengers and have solar panels. Rental rates start at €79 for 3 hours and a full-day rental (10 hours) is €179 (weekdays) and €219 (weekends). Note they are closed during the winter season (mid-Oct to mid-March).
Sloepdelen (T:+31(0)20 419 1007) is an interesting boat sharing scheme in Amsterdam which offers boat rentals at reduced rates to members. The electric boats are licensed for up to 12 passengers. Premium membership costs €25 per month or €200 per year and hourly rental rates are offered at either €37.50 (peak) or €27.50 (off-peak) - off-peak is Monday to Friday 1000-1600.
Water Taxi Amsterdam - these yellow boats can take up to 8 passengers to just about any waterside address in Amsterdam.
There is also a VIP Water Taxi service run by the same company (Lovers) which offers a variety of boats for rent that can cater to up to 44 passengers.
Related article: Canal boat cruises in Amsterdam