If you’re planning a trip to Amsterdam, a canal cruise is a must-do activity that will give you a unique perspective of the city. The beautiful canals of Amsterdam were added to the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2010, and it’s not hard to see why. The city’s network of waterways spans over 100 kilometers and offers a picturesque view of Amsterdam’s historic architecture and landmarks.
In this article, we’ll take you through some of the best canal cruise routes in Amsterdam, and what you can expect to see on each of them.
Table of Contents
- The history of Amsterdam’s canals
- The benefits of taking a canal cruise
- Best routes for an Amsterdam canal cruise:
- The Golden Age Route
- The Red Light District Route
- The Eastern Docklands Route
- The Windmill Route
- The Amstel River Route
- Tips for a great canal cruise experience
The History of Amsterdam’s Canals
Before we dive into the best routes for an Amsterdam canal cruise, it’s essential to understand the history of the canals themselves. Amsterdam’s canal system was built during the 17th century, known as the Dutch Golden Age. The city was one of the wealthiest in the world during this time, and the canals were built to manage the increasing flow of trade, goods, and people. The canals were also built as a way to protect the city from flooding, which had been a significant problem in the past.
The Benefits of Taking a Canal Cruise
A canal cruise is an excellent way to see the city of Amsterdam from a unique perspective. You’ll get to see the city’s beautiful architecture, including the famous 17th-century canal houses, which are now UNESCO World Heritage sites. You’ll also get to see some of the city’s iconic landmarks, such as the Anne Frank House, the Rijksmuseum, and the Van Gogh Museum, from a different angle.
Best Routes for an Amsterdam Canal Cruise
The Golden Age Route
The Golden Age Route is one of the most popular routes for an Amsterdam canal cruise. This route takes you through some of the city’s most historic canals, including the Herengracht, Keizersgracht, and Prinsengracht canals. You’ll get to see some of the city’s most beautiful canal houses, which date back to the 17th century. This route is an excellent choice if you want to learn about Amsterdam’s history and see some of its most iconic architecture.
- Amsterdam Museum – Learn more about Amsterdam’s Golden Age
- Amsterdam Canal Cruises – Book a canal cruise on the Golden Age Route
The Red Light District Route
If you’re looking for something a bit more unconventional, the Red Light District Route might be for you. This route takes you through Amsterdam’s famous Red Light District, where you’ll see the city’s red-lit windows and the vibrant nightlife. You’ll also get to see some of the city’s more modern architecture, including the NEMO Science Museum, the Maritime Museum, and the Muziekgebouw concert hall.
- Red Light Secrets Museum – A museum dedicated to Amsterdam’s Red Light District
- Lovers Canal Cruises – Book a canal cruise on the Red Light District Route
The Eastern Docklands Route
The Eastern Docklands Route takes you through some of the city’s more modern architecture, including the famous Python Bridge and the Lloyd Hotel. You’ll also get to see some of the city’s more industrial areas, which have been transformed into trendy neighborhoods with great restaurants and cafes.
- Lloyd Hotel – A historic hotel in the Eastern Docklands area
- Blue Boat Company – Book a canal cruise on the Eastern Docklands Route
The Windmill Route
If you want to see Amsterdam’s countryside, the Windmill Route is an excellent choice. This route takes you out of the city center and into the countryside, where you’ll see some of the city’s iconic windmills.
The Amstel River Route
The Amstel River Route takes you along Amsterdam’s famous Amstel River. You’ll get to see some of the city’s most iconic landmarks, including the Skinny Bridge, the Royal Theatre Carré, and the Amsterdam City Hall. This route is an excellent choice if you want to see the city’s iconic landmarks from a unique perspective.
Tips for a Great Canal Cruise Experience
Here are some tips to help you get the most out of your Amsterdam canal cruise experience:
- Dress appropriately for the weather, as Amsterdam can be quite rainy and windy.
- Bring a camera to capture the stunning views of the city.
- Consider taking a guided tour to learn more about the city’s history and landmarks.
- If you want to avoid the crowds, consider taking a canal cruise early in the morning or later in the evening.
- Bring snacks and drinks on board, as some canal cruises do not offer food and drinks.
An Amsterdam canal cruise is a must-do activity if you’re planning a trip to the city. The canals of Amsterdam offer a unique perspective of the city’s historic architecture and landmarks. Whether you choose the Golden Age Route, the Red Light District Route, the Eastern Docklands Route, the Windmill Route, or the Amstel River Route, you’re sure to have an unforgettable experience.
- How long does an Amsterdam canal cruise last?
- Most canal cruises in Amsterdam last between 1-1.5 hours.
- Can I bring food and drinks on board a canal cruise?
- Yes, you can bring food and drinks on board some canal cruises, but not all.
- Is it better to take a guided or self-guided canal cruise in Amsterdam?
- It depends on your preference. A guided tour can provide you with more information about the city’s history and landmarks, but a self-guided tour can be more flexible.
- What is the best time of day to take a canal cruise in Amsterdam?
- Early morning or late evening cruises tend to be less crowded, but the best time to take a canal cruise depends on your schedule and preference.
- Are Amsterdam canal cruises accessible for people with disabilities?
- Some canal cruises in Amsterdam are accessible for people with disabilities, but it’s best to check with the specific company beforehand.