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 my favorite three ways to explore the city via its iconic canals.
Cruise Amsterdam’s canals on a guided tour.
Amsterdam canal tours provide visitors with the most stunning and memorable experiences when traveling the city. Traveling by boat on Amsterdam’s canals always adds a magical touch to your exploration. Really, the hardest part is choosing a company because 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 get to view the beautiful city at night with the night lights along the streets and starry sky above your head. You will travel through the center of the city’s historic spots along the Golden Bend, Skinny Bridge and much more. The cruise is among one of the affordable options, so you won’t have to break the bank for this beautiful night.
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. Here are a few places that allow you rent boats to enjoy your canal cruising fun. In order to drive a boat rental, you must be at least 18 years old and provide a deposit of at least 100 dollars. Although, prices may vary. Amsterdam boat rental is an option that many people choose when they want an independent canal tour.
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 that are roofed with solar panels. You will not have to worry about sun beaming on your head, because these boats provide you with cooling shade. You can rent a boat for 6 people can cost around 100 dollars and 4 hours to enjoy your canal cruise.
Canal Motorboats Amsterdam: They claim to be the oldest Amsterdam boat rental company. Their boats can room up to 7 people, and they do not 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“
Amsterdam canal shopping is a canal activity 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.
Amsterdam’s 9 Streets are where you’ll find locals and tourists perusing elbow-to-elbow clothing boutiques, eating at nice restaurants and canal-side cafes, visiting bookshops and even getting their hair did.
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, along with Karl Lagerfeld boutique as the stamp, complete with a couple of small restaurants.
Gasthuismolensteeg: This street is the host of the National Museum of Spectacles,several fashion shops, popular, long standing sandwich shops and designer shoe boutique.
Berenstraat: The street known for eating and shopping. The major points on the street are the popular cafe, t’Zwaantje, the lingerie boutique by Marlies Dekkers,and a unique,all in black bookshop Mendo. Also, several fashion outlets for men and women.
Wolvenstraat: Wolvenstraat consists of many fashion boutiques for women and men, vintage clothing stores, a hairdresser, beauty parlor, and two cafes. 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.