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. For 1-2 people, costs per person are: €8 for 1 hour, €11 for 1.5 hours and €14 for 2 hours. For more than 2 people, rates per person are: €7 for 1 hour, €10 for 1.5 hours and €13 for 2 hours.
A number of group tours (minimum size 20 people) are available from €17 per person.
Canal Bike has moorings at Rijksmuseum, Leidseplein, Anne Frank House (Prinsengracht) and Leidsestraat (Keizersgracht). 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 20 to 60 people. Their main docks are at Ruysdaelkade and Rijksmuseum (Stadhouderskade).
Canal Company's Canal Hopper (T:+31(0)20 623 9886) has private boats for rent which come with a skipper. Small boats of up to 12 people are available for €150 per hour. A larger boat (pictured) with capacity for 35 can be rented for €225 per hour. Minimum rental times are 2 hours for either.
Canal Motorboats (T:+ 31(0)20 422 7007) rents out electric powered 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. 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 Amsterdam south 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. Dock at Parnasusweg/Stadionkade.
Boaty (T:+31(0)6 2714 9493) is a rental company located at the Jozef Israelskade neat the Okura hotel. Renting an electric boat (max. 6 passengers) starts at €79 for 3 hours and a full-day rental (10 hours) is €179 (weekdays) and €219 (weekends).
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 6 passengers. Membership costs €25 per month/€200 per year and rental rates are offered at either €35 or €25 per hour - off-peak is Monday to Friday 1000-1600.
Booking online is possible which gives you an access code to get the boat key from a locker. There are 2 Sloepdelen dock locations: Nassaukade 69 (in west Amsterdam) and Borneosteiger 1 (east Amsterdam). They also do standard rentals for non-members at €50 per hour (min 2 hours) - a deposit of €150 is also required.
Water Taxi Amsterdam - these yellow boats can take up to 8 passengers to just about any waterside address in Amsterdam. They can be hailed on the water or you can make a phone reservation at +31(0)20 535 6363. It is a relaxed and comfortable way to get around Amsterdam, with a mini-bar on board selling drinks. Costs €1.75 per minute in the centre of 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.
a unique experience try the Amsterdam Gondola - a traditional Venetian
boat driven by a highly trained gondolier. Rates are €140 for 1 hour, €200
for 1.5 hours and €250 for 2 hours. Additional hours are €110 per hour.
The boat takes up to 6 passengers and prosecco can be ordered at €15 per
bottle - or bring your own food and drinks. You decide where to board and the
route the gondola takes.
Related article: Canal boat cruises in Amsterdam