Canal Tour Amsterdam

Best Boat Tours in Amsterdam

Canal Tour Amsterdam

Amsterdam Canal Tour – the Undisputed Number 1 Thing to Do!

A canal tour is a definite must do for everyone visiting Amsterdam. Without a doubt the Amsterdam city centre is one of the most beautiful in the world. The main reason for that is the gorgeous canal system. Centuries ago is was developed as a means of transport. Now the canals form the unique backdrop of the city.

There’s no better way to enjoy this than by taking a canal tour in one of its many forms. Below you will find all 9 types of boat tours, with the best offers in each category.

Amsterdam Canal Tours – 9 Types to Choose From

Canal Cruise Amsterdam

1. Canal Cruise (regular, 1 hr)

  • Experience the highlights in an efficient way
  • Includes commentary on highlights
  • Possible on a small budget
  • Wide range of departure times and locations
Canal Cruise Amsterdam Open Boat

2. Open Boat Canal Cruise (1+ hr)

  • Get a quick overview of the highlights 
  • Great view of the city on an open boat
  • With skipper and guide
  • Beverages on board
Private Boat Tour Amsterdam

3. Private Boat Tour with Skipper

  • Exclusively with your own group
  • Flexible in duration, routes and stops
  • Many catering options
  • Pick up and return wherever you like
Dinner Cruise Amsterdam

4. Dinner Cruise Amsterdam

  • Many different options: Pizza, Pancakes, Wine & Cheese, BBQ, Luxury Dinner
  • A combination of hospitality and sightseeing
  • Usually at night: great atmospheric mood
  • Fun with kids

5. Self-Drive Boat Rental

  • A boat for yourself
  • An authentic experience
  • Enjoy your own food and drinks onboard
  • Great value for money
  • A lot of freedom
Pedal Boat Amsterdam

6. Pedal Boat Amsterdam

  • Nice combination of sightseeing & action
  • Adventurous & original experience
  • Fun with kids
  • Affordable 

7. Luxury Private Canal Cruise

  • The most beatiful boats
  • The best food and drinks on board
  • Exclusively for your own party
  • Tailored to your wishes

8. Hop on Hop off Boat

  • Use as you wish within 24 hours
  • Easy to combine with other activities
  • Good value for money
  • Nice alternative for taxi or public transport
Harbour Cruise Amsterdam

9. Harbour Cruise

  • Experience the unknown side of Amsterdam
  • Interesting contrast to the old city center
  • Escape from the busy city center
  • Fascinating architecture

Find Your Favorite Amsterdam Canal Tour!


Amsterdam Canal Tour Selector

Do you need some help making the right choice? Then we recommend to consult the Amsterdam Canal Tour Selector.

To the Amsterdam Canal Tour Selector >>

The Best Deals

Are you looking for  excellent value for money? Then we recommend to go directly to the Best Amsterdam Boat Deals.

To the Best Amsterdam Boat Deals >>

Canal Tour Amsterdam – How to Enjoy it to the Fullest?

Are you planning to take a canal tour in Amsterdam? Take advantage of our 8 useful tips for a successful canal tour:

1. Familiarize yourself with the different types of canal tours

There’s nothing wrong with a standard canal cruise. However, it’s good to check if that’s really what you want. There are so many other likable options, ranging from pedal boats and self-drive electric boats to luxurious private boat tours and dinner cruises. So take some time to choose the canal tour that fits your budget, the available time, and the group you’ll be cruising with.

2. The early bird catches the worm

Most canal tours depart at fixed times. If you’re late, you’ll literally miss the boat. But if you arrive early, you’ll have the best seats to choose from: right by the window or on the outdoor deck in good weather. Even customized boat tours have specific start and end times. By arriving well in advance, you won’t waste precious cruising time.

3. Do you prefer crowds or tranquility?

The timing of your canal tour can make a large difference:
– Mornings are usually very calm on the canals, even on weekends;
– Saturday and Sunday afternoons are bustling, lively, and sometimes even a bit chaotic;
– For a romantic tour with your loved one, evenings are best when the canals are beautifully illuminated.

4. Prepare for sunshine and rain

At the risk of sounding like your mother: dress appropriately! It’s usually cooler on the water than on land. If the sun is shining, it can be quite intense without a hat, sunglasses, and sunscreen. And trust me, you’ll be glad you brought that raincoat or umbrella when a sudden summer downpour leaves you with nowhere to seek shelter on an open boat.

5. A canal tour makes you hungry (and thirsty…)

I’m not sure what it is, but sailing tends to make you crave delicious food and drinks! So make sure to arrange some snacks and beverages for the journey. For private boat tours, dinner cruises, and luxury canal cruises, you won’t need to bring anything yourself. However, for most other boat tours, it’s best to stock up on provisions in advance and bring them on board.

6. Capture the moments!

If there’s one city that’s photogenic, it’s Amsterdam, especially from the water. Colorful, vibrant, diverse, idyllic, historical, and distinctive. Make sure your mobile phone is fully charged and/or bring your camera along. Seize the right moments, and you’ll have beautiful memories for later and great content for your social media.

7. Save time and money: combine your canal tour with other attractions

Except for the hop-on hop-off canal cruise, most canal tours don’t take up the entire day. Combining your canal tour with other activities is not only efficient, but often more cost-effective than buying separate tickets. Some obvious combinations include:

  1. Canal cruise with onboard dining
  2. Blue Boat canal cruise + Heineken Experience + De Pijp district + Albert Cuyp Market
  3. Blue Boat canal cruise + Van Gogh Museum + Vondelpark
  4. Lovers canal cruise + Rijksmuseum + De Pijp district
  5. Friendship canal cruise + Red Light District
  6. Flagship canal cruise + Anne Frank House + Jordaan district
  7. Harbor cruise + NDSM area
  8. Hop-on hop-off canal cruise + everything

8. Reserve your canal tour in advance

Amsterdam keeps getting busier, and canal tours are incredibly popular among both locals and tourists. Especially during good weather, weekends, and holidays, it can be challenging to arrange a last-minute canal tour. Don’t want to miss out on your favorite cruise? Make a reservation in advance. In most cases, you can easily do this online.