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.
They are also quite relaxing if you have been walking around for a few hours.
There are a many canal boat tour operators offering similar types of trips, from 1 hour daytime cruises to night-time dinner cruises. Multi-lingual commentary recordings are available in many languages, depending on the operator.
Some of the main boat tour companies are:
Rederij Lovers - Located at Prins Hendrikkade 25 near central station, they offer a variety of options from 1 hour day and evening cruises (€14), 2 hour candlelight cruise with cheese and wine (€32.50) and a 2 hour evening dinner cruise with drinks (€69.50). The company also offers its Floating Dutchman trips (€20) 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 1.5 hours with full commentary and runs between 1000 and 1700. Costs €16, child €8.
Holland International - Part of Canal Company with jetty at Prins Hendrikkade opposite Central Station. Their #1 Canal Cruise (€14) has personal audio available in 19 languages. They also offer a number of other regular cruises:
|1 hour "100 highlights" cruise (€14), 2 hour cheese-and-wine candlelight cruise (€32.50), 2 hour evening cocktail cruise (€35) and a 2.5 hour dinner cruise with on-board chefs at €75. Private party cruises are possible with a variety of options.|
Blue Boat - Located at Stadhouderskade 30 (opposite Hard Rock Cafe). 75 minute City Canal Cruise (€15), evening cruise (€17.50), organic buffet dinner cruise (€79) plus a number of other cruises possibilities with different catering options.
|Rederij Kooij - Main jetty at Rokin (near Spui), this company has been running since 1922 and has had many famous faces on board their boats over the years. 1 hour tour costs €9, 2 hour candlelight €25 (Apr-Oct). Commentary in 8 languages. Boats powered by bio-diesel. Private hire (€220 per hour) also possible.|
Canal Bus - This is Canal Company's hop on/hop off tour around Amsterdam's main sights. 4 different routes with 20 stops. Runs approximately from 1000 to 1900. Day ticket costs €22, 24 hour ticket €24, 48 hour ticket €29.
Canal Bus also has the Canal Hopper service using electrically powered open boats with room for up to 12 passengers. This hop on/hop off service runs Thursday to Sundays during March-October, daily in July-August in fair weather.
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.
See Amsterdam Canal Travel for other options including boat hire, canal bike pedalos, water taxis and gondola tours.