Amsterdam is very much a city of water with around 50 miles (80km) of canals, and well over 1,250 bridges. Taking a canal cruise on a glass-topped boat is really a must-do when visiting Amsterdam. Known as a 'rondvaart' (literally boat 'round trip') these tours will give you a different perspective on the city with its grand canals and beautiful 17th century houses.
Amsterdam's canal ring area is designated a UNESCO World Heritage site.
There are a many canal boat tour operators offering similar types of trips, from 1 hour daytime cruises to evening dinner cruises. Multi-lingual commentary recordings are available in many languages, depending on the operator. Getting on a boat can be quite relaxing if you have been walking around for a few hours.
Some of the main boat tour companies are listed here:
Rederij Lovers - Located at Prins Hendrikkade 25 near central station, Lovers offers a variety of options from 1 hour day and evening cruises (from €15), 2 hour candlelight cruise with cheese and wine (€35) and a 2 hour evening dinner cruise with drinks (€75). The company also offers its Floating Dutchman trips (€22) using an amphibious bus.
Lovers also operates the hop-on/hop-off Museum Line boat which covers some of Amsterdam's major museums including the Hermitage and the Rijksmuseum. The loop takes 2 hours with full commentary and runs between 1000 and 1700. A 24 hour ticket costs €22, children €17.
Holland International - Part of the Canal Company group with jetty at Prins Hendrikkade between central station and the Victoria hotel. Their #1 Canal Cruise (€15, children 4-12 €7.50) has personal audio available in 19 languages.
Blue Boat - Located at Stadhouderskade 30 opposite the Hard Rock Cafe. 75 minute City Canal Cruise (€15, children 5-12 half-price) with audio recording in 17 languages. 90 minute evening cruise (€17.50), 2 1/2 hour à la carte dinner cruise (€67.50, children 5-12 €45) plus a number of other custom cruise possibilities for groups.
Note, combination tickets with various museums are also offered by many of the canal tour operators which could save you a couple of euros if you plan to visit that particular museum. However, for museum visits we do recommend the purchase of a Museum Card.
See Amsterdam Canal Travel for other options including private boat hire, canal bike pedalos, water taxis and gondola tours.