Amsterdam boat tour – the best way to get a feel for the city.

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Amsterdam boat Tour Tips

Amsterdam boat tour
Amsterdam boat tour

Amsterdam boat tour, Loads of visitors bring back a pair of clogs from Amsterdam as a souvenir, but this city has much more to offer than wooden shoes. Canals for example – Amsterdam’s maze of waterways has almost become a symbol of the city.

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On an Amsterdam boat tour, you really do get to see quite a lot of the city in a short space of time – most tours only last 1 to 2 hours. So to get a real feel for Amsterdam a canal tour/Amsterdam boat tour should be top of your ‘must-do’ list!

Part of the city’s charm is, of course, these fabled waterways which date back to the 17th Century. These semicircular canals, which are lined with narrow red-bricked houses, established Amsterdam as a sea merchant town The Singel, the Keizersgracht, the Prinsengracht, and the Herengracht are just to name but a few.

At first glance a map of Amsterdam can look a bit confusing – the maze of streets and canals will probably leave you wondering which way to turn next, but don’t worry you’ll soon get the hang of it.

boats at night
boats at night

The canals are like busy streets and each day you’ll see tour boats, rowing boats, sailing boats, paddle boats, and barges go by. Some people actually live on the water – seriously a number of houseboats line the canals.

And if you take an Amsterdam boat tour by the canal by night you’ll see some of the residents on the deck sipping a beer with the aromas of dinner still lingering in the air. Only a certain number of ‘homes’ are allowed on the canals though so you can’t just drop anchor and call it your new abode.

If you fancy dining on the waterways of Amsterdam yourself there’s a floating Chinese restaurant called Sea Palace.

Because no trip to Amsterdam would be complete without a canal tour there’s absolutely no shortage of tour companies.

Many of these have offices along the Damrak and boats leave from near Central Station (the city’s main bus, train, tram and metro station), the Leidseplein as well as other spots in the city quite regularly.

Boats Inside
Boats Inside

Some have catering facilities onboard so you can dine as you cruise while others offer more casual cheese and wine by candlelight.

The Amsterdam boat tour is nearly always guided and you’ll get running commentary of the various sights as the boat makes its way along the canals. You’ll catch a glimpse of some of the city’s major attractions as well, including the Anne Frank House, as you go by.

What’s really nice though are the 17th Century houses that line the canals – in fact, Amsterdam’s city center is more or less dominated by these typically Dutch houses.

You’ll notice that some of them are very narrow – in fact, the narrowest is only about 1 meter wide. The reasoning behind this is that the narrower your house was the less city tax you paid.

Another feature of these houses is the gable tops. Each home had a unique and ornate gable top. When they were first built none of the houses hand numbers so it was a way to distinguish your house from your neighbors.

Amsterdam boat tour
Amsterdam boat tour

An Amsterdam boat tour is particularly nice, some might even say romantic, by night. All the bridges and boats are lit up and it really is like a Christmas scene. It’s a perfect picture of the city and one that you’ll always take with you.

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