Amsterdam Boat Tours & River Cruises
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Five Fun Facts For Your Amsterdam Boat Tour

Planning to tour Amsterdam by boat? It's a great way to cover the city's most treasured landmarks, but what about the river and canals themselves? Here's the lowdown on the Amstel's famous waterways.

The Amstel gave Amsterdam its name

The Amstel gave Amsterdam its name

Aeme-stelle is Old Dutch for "water area." A dam was built to stop floods in the 12th century and a fishing village known as Aemestelredamme grew around it. The rest is history!

The canals ushered in the Dutch Golden Age

The canals ushered in the Dutch Golden Age

Most of the canals were built for economic reasons. Starting in the 16th century, they provided easy transport throughout the labyrinthine city and helped to boost trade.

The Singel Canal was originally a moat

The Singel Canal was originally a moat

Not all the canals were built to fill city coffers, though. The oldest is the Singel Canal, which protected the medieval city from invasion between 1480 until 1585.

In Amsterdam, bicycles really are everywhere!

In Amsterdam, bicycles really are everywhere!

We suggest you keep your water tour above the surface. The sheer volume of discarded, rusted bikes along the canal bed is one of the reasons swimming isn't generally allowed!

The Amstel hosts some of the city's top events
Photo: Franklin Heijnen @Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

The Amstel hosts some of the city's top events

Why not time your visit to coincide with the Liberation Day concert on May 5th, the Roeivierkamp and Head of the River rowing races in March, or the floating gay pride parade in August?

Planning Your Visit

How much does it cost?

Amsterdam river cruises and canal boat rides can cost as little as €16, with hop-on hop-off options available, and even dinner. If you're after something a little more luxurious, however, why not take a look at some of the exciting dinner cruise options?

Where is the river cruise port?

Amsterdam's port is located behind the Central Station, which is easily reached by bus or metro. It consists of multiple piers, so be sure to double-check your ticket or with your tour provider for the correct one.

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What people are saying about Amsterdam

Would highly recommend to anyone. It was so romantic! Due to the current COVID restrictions there were a few of us booked for the same time but were able to space out accordingly. The view was absolutely magnificent and we were also provided earphones to listen in English if/when the tour guide spoke in Dutch so we didn’t miss a thing! So many interesting facts about the houses and gorgeous old buildings and the lights in the canal - WOW. If I could relive that night over, I would in a heartbeat.

Amsterdam: 1.5-Hour Evening Canal Cruise Reviewed by , 09/27/2020

My husband and I had a wonderful time on our boat tour. The operators of our boat, Charly and Isabel, made it an Educational and entertaining. The did their level best to get all guests involved in the hour tour. Boat was clean, instructions to get to the boat were great and the staff did have all of us social distance on the boat as well as use hand sanitizer before entering the boat. I needed assistance because I have a broken leg and they were greedy helping me get comfortable for the ride.

Amsterdam: Guided Luxury Evening Canal Cruise Reviewed by Kyle, 09/13/2020

This is a very nice tour and totally worth doing. Very good and fair price for what you get. This is really a must if you are in Amsterdam and you have the whole day available. The guides, Santiago and Mariane, together with the driver Steve are super nice and kind!! They make you trip even more enjoyable!

Nice starting location, easy to board the large boat. The cruise lasted a reasonable amount of time and we saw some great sights whilst relaxing. Social distancing was followed. We bought our own wine on board from a shop nearby and it was no problem!

Amsterdam: Canal Day Cruise Reviewed by Anonymous, 09/08/2020

We had a great trip around Amsterdam canal with our captain Stan. He told us very interesting details about the story and the landmarks in the city. Drinks are nice and there are blankets and umbrellas available if the weather is not good.

Amsterdam: Luxury Canal Cruise Reviewed by Hernan, 09/01/2020