Amsterdam — the capital of the Netherlands — captures the imagination with its beautiful and artistic heritage, canal system and historic architecture. Of all the ways to reconnoitre splendid Amsterdam, perhaps the most unusual — and efficient — option is through Amsterdam’s canals. Here, we are going to review three ways to explore the city via its iconic canals.
Cruise Amsterdam’s canals on a guided tour.
Amsterdam canal tours provide a visually stunning and memorable experience. Traveling by boat on Amsterdam’s canals always adds a magical touch to your exploration. Really, the hardest part is choosing a company. You will be inundated quite literally the moment you step out from Amsterdam Central Station. Most companies run the standard couple of loops or offer a hop-on, hop-off route through Amsterdam’s canals. A few standout options include:
Amsterdam evening canal cruise: During this 90-minute tour you will see Amsterdam bedazzled in night lights and the starry sky. See the city’s historic spots along the Golden Bend, Skinny Bridge and much more. Furthermore, the cruise is relatively affordable, one beautiful night won’t break the bank.
Amsterdam small boat canal cruise: Throughout this unique, hour-long boat adventure, you can see beautiful, 17th century merchant houses, old churches, bridges and houseboats. This canal cruise takes off from March to early November.
Private day trip from Amsterdam to Giethoorn: If you are looking for a more personal and private cruising experience, this is the tour for you. Your tour will begin from your hotel where you will be picked by your guide/driver. You will then spend the next 8 hours touring the town of Giethoorn. Since this tour is private, your schedule is very flexible and can be customized to your needs. Now, it definitely falls on the expensive side, but the experience you have will make it worth the value.
Choose your own adventure: Rent a canal boat.
Who would not want to spend a clear, sunny day cruising the relaxing Amsterdam canals with friends and family? In order to drive a rental boat, you must be at least 18 years old and provide a deposit of at least 100 dollars. Although, prices vary. An Amsterdam boat rental is ideal for people seeking an independent canal experience.
Mokum Boat: With Mokum, you can rent boats that fit 8 people for 4 hours. They provide reasonable and affordable prices. Mokum’s boats are electric, but quiet, and some boats have steering wheels, which provide much convenience. Also, if you would like a boat for a bigger party, they also have boats with room for up to 20 people and your very own driver.
Boaty: Boaty rents out boats roofed with solar panels. You will not have to worry about sun beaming on your head, because these boats provide cooling shade. Renting a 6-person boat for 4 hours costs around 100 dollars.
Canal Motorboats Amsterdam: They claim to be the oldest Amsterdam boat-rental company. Their boats accommodate up to 7 people, and don’t require a navigation license. Canal Motorboats is available all year old. Prices vary depending on the time chosen for the cruise.
Shop the Jordaan District’s “De 9 Straatjes“
Canal-side shopping on Amsterdam’s 9 Streets is something even a landlubber will enjoy. The most popular canal areas to shop in Amsterdam are located around nine little streets of the picturesque Jordaan District, called Amsterdam’s 9 Streets. The 9 Streets cross two Amsterdam canals: Herengracht and Keizersgracht. West of these two canals lies Prinsengracht canal, and Singel canal sits to the East.
Here, you’ll find locals and tourists perusing elbow-to-elbow clothing boutiques, eating at nice restaurants and canal-side cafes, visiting bookshops as well as salons.
Reestraat: Restraat is a street that is taken over by fashion and decoration shop. However, this street would not be complete without two fine restaurants, the Amsterdam Watch Company and an art gallery, Galeria Lughien.
Hartenstraat: Fashion and home decorating stores flood the street. A Karl Lagerfeld boutique serves as the anchor, along with a couple of small restaurants.
Gasthuismolensteeg: This street hosts the National Museum of Spectacles and several fashion and shoe shops.
Berenstraat: Major points interest on Berenstraat include the popular cafe, t’Zwaantje and a lingerie boutique by Marlies Dekkers. Don’t miss the unique, all-in-black bookshop Mendo.
Wolvenstraat: Wolvenstraat buzzes with fashion boutiques, vintage clothing stores, salons and cafes. Consequently, this is one of the most popular streets in the city.
Oude Spielgelstraat: Handbag stores, like Bags by Rika, Margaret M and another shop by French couturier known as L’Etoile de Saint Honore take over this street, along with an antique shop.
Runstraat: This street is normally busy at most times of day due to two beauty salons, restaurants, and a popular, old-fashioned cafe that doesn’t close until 4am on weekdays.
Huidenstraat: This is a very busy street that offers many things ranging from restaurants, fashion,and accessory shops.
Wijde Heisteg: This is one of the shortest of the nine streets. The street offers a mixture of fashion shops, lunchrooms, hairdresser, and jewelry shop.