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The 7 Best Amsterdam Canal Tours [2022 Reviews]

Amsterdam is one of the biggest tourist destinations in the world, and it’s no wonder why. The history alone is fascinating, but then incorporate its delicious food, endless nightlife activities, beautiful architecture, and stunning canals and it’s incredible.

We’re going to focus a bit on the latter today, as cruises along the canal are one of the most popular activities to do. However, there are also a lot of tours available, so which one is the best? No need to wonder, as we have all the top canal cruises in Amsterdam right here!

Be sure to see our reviews of Red Light District tours.

Best Canal Cruises in Amsterdam

 Amsterdam: Romantic Canal Tour with Bubbly Amsterdam Private Canal Booze CruiseThe Ultimate Amsterdam Canal Cruise - 2hr - Small Group - Exclusive Boat

Best Romantic Tour

Best Budget Tour

Best Value Tour

editors choice
 Amsterdam: Private Canal Booze Cruise The Ultimate Amsterdam Canal Cruise - 2hr - Small Group - Exclusive Boat
Departure:Keizersgracht 198, 1015 CZJungle DockKeizersgracht 106, 1015 CV
Start:4:00 PM 12:00 PM - 7:00 PM1:00 PM, 4:00 PM, 6:30 PM
Duration:1.5 hours1.5 hours2 hours
Includes:Expert romantic tour guide and skipper, blankets and heated seats, local cheese, grapes and crackers, small bottle of Prosecco and waterLive tour guide, transport for activity duration: sightseeing cruise, beer, wine, soft drinksSnack platter, unlimited drinks (open bar), professional guide, ll taxes, fees and handling charges, snacks, bottled water, alcoholic beverages

Tour Information & Booking

Tour Information & Booking

Tour Information & Booking


Quick Answer: The 7 Best Amsterdam Canal Tours For 2022

  1. Best Romantic Tour: Amsterdam: Romantic Canal Tour with Bubbly
  2. Best Budget Tour: Amsterdam Private Canal Booze Cruise
  3. Best Value Tour: The Ultimate Amsterdam Canal Cruise – 2hr – Small Group – Exclusive Boat
  4. Best Evening Tour: Amsterdam Private Romantic Canal Cruise at Night
  5. Best Private Tour: Private Boat Tour: Champagne Canal Cruise in Amsterdam
  6. Best Family Tour: Amsterdam 90-Minute Private Family Canal Cruise
  7. Best Small Group Tour: Amsterdam Small-Group Canal Cruise Plus Snacks and Drinks

Amsterdam Canal Tour Reviews

1. Best Romantic Tour: Amsterdam: Romantic Canal Tour with Bubbly

Tour Highlights:

  • Duration: 1.5 hours
  • Departure: Keizersgracht 198, 1015 CZ
  • Departure Time: 4:00 PM
  • Includes: Expert romantic tour guide and skipper, blankets and heated seats, local cheese, grapes and crackers, small bottle of Prosecco and water

One of the best ways to see Amsterdam is from a canal cruise. There’s just something magical about floating down the calm waters as you pass by centuries-old buildings and under beautiful bridges.

The Romantic Canal Tour with Bubbly is one of the best if you’re looking for a great way to spend time with your significant other. What’s great about this tour is that you can customize it, depending on your specific interests.

Your guide will ask if you have any particular interests so they can tailor the experience to them. There are plenty of different departure times, and lasting 1.5 hours, it’s super easy to fit into even the busiest schedules. Whether you go day or night, it’s simply a magical experience you have to try at least once.

Meet up with your guide, and hop on board, where you’ll be acquainted with your local, certified skipper who is an expert in all things “Amsterdam”.

They’ll tell you all about the city’s history and specifically that of the canals. The district is UNESCO-listed, and it’s unique to just this area.

Not only that, but they provide insight into the locals’ way of life and how the canals are used present-day. There are many people who actually live in house boats docked at the sides of the canals, which is pretty cool!

As you’ll get to see so much of the city, once you’re on land you’ll find that navigating around is much easier.

More Information & Tour Booking

100% refund for cancellations within 24 hours of tour experience


2. Best Budget Tour: Amsterdam Private Canal Booze Cruise

 Amsterdam: Private Canal Booze Cruise

Tour Highlights:

  • Duration: 1.5 hours
  • Departure: Jungle Dock
  • Departure Time: 12:00 PM – 7:00 PM
  • Includes: Live tour guide, transport for activity duration: sightseeing cruise, beer, wine, soft drinks

Amsterdam is a city that’s known for having a good time, and if you’re looking for one, you’re in the right place. The Amsterdam: Private Canal Booze Cruise lasts 1.5 hours and is a great way to start off the evening or day of sightseeing.

Take a break to relax, but cruising through the gorgeous canals with a refreshing beverage in hand! Sure, there are tons of bars in the city, but trust us when we say this way is much more fun! If it’s your first time in the city, it’s a must-do!

If you’re traveling in groups, this is a nice way to get everyone together from some simultaneous excitement and sightseeing. It’s available for groups of 10 people and under. Meet up with your guide near Central Station, which is easy to get to from just about any part of the city.

Board your boat, where you’ll be able to relax on the padded seats with plenty of leg room.  There’s also a restroom on board, which is ideal if you’re going to be drinking!

Crack open a cold beer, pop open a bottle of champagne, or some simple mixed drinks while you cruise around the canals. Think of it as like an open bar because you don’t have a limit on how many drinks you can have.

You’ll pass through the Amstel River, under 7 stunning bridges and some hidden gems your skipper will point out to you. It’s a fantastic way to learn about the city, where famous landmarks are, and will make it easier to plan excursions on land based on this.

More Information & Tour Booking

100% refund for cancellations within 24 hours of tour experience


3. Best Value Tour: The Ultimate Amsterdam Canal Cruise -Small Group Exclusive Boat

The Ultimate Amsterdam Canal Cruise - 2hr - Small Group - Exclusive Boat

Tour Highlights:

  • Duration: 2 hours
  • Departure: Keizersgracht 106, 1015 CV Amsterdam
  • Departure Time: 1:00 PM, 4:00 PM, 6:30 PM
  • Includes: Snack platter, unlimited drinks (open bar), professional guide, ll taxes, fees and handling charges, snacks, bottled water, alcoholic beverages

The next one up is a bit longer than the other 2 we’ve covered so far. Clocking in at 2 hours, you’ll get to learn all about the local history, lifestyle, landmarks, and the canals, specifically.

Do it all while enjoying some delicious snacks and drinks on The Ultimate Amsterdam Canal Cruise – 2 hr – Small Group – Exclusive Boat tour. If you’ve just arrived in Amsterdam, it’s one of the best ways to get an introduction to the city.

The ride is relaxing and beautiful, and ideal for a small group (maximum of 9 people) for a customized experience and the ability to ask any questions you may have to the skipper.

Start out in Jordaan, which is a great place to explore if you want to escape the crowds and general hustle-and-bustle of the city.

It’s a lovely area to sit back, relax, and take the views in. They’ll offer you all kinds of local eats like a snack platter with fruit, cheese, cookies, and sausages.

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Wash it all down with some craft beer, wine, and non-alcoholic beverages. Pass by the city’s oldest hat factory, called the Rode Hoed (Red Hat), which now serves as an event center. Your guide will tell you all about its interesting (and lengthy!) history.

They’ll continue offering an educational commentary on the canals’ history and heritage, and how important they are.

Not only that, but you’ll get to see the gorgeous side houses that line the canals, along with the enormous mansions that sit on the bigger main canals.

The route does vary a bit, depending on the weather and time of day you book for. However, each trip is a very enjoyable experience!

 

More Information & Tour Booking

100% refund for cancellations within 24 hours of tour experience


4. Best Evening Tour: Amsterdam Private Romantic Canal Cruise at Night

 Amsterdam: Private Romantic Canal Cruise at Night

Tour Highlights:

  • Duration: 50 minutes to 90 minutes
  • Departure: At the canals (white boat with blue tops)
  • Departure Time: Variety Available
  • Includes: Private boat cruise at night, captain/storyteller, glass of mulled wine (winter), small bottle of Prosecco (summer), local cheese, grapes, crackers, and waffles, blankets

On the hunt for the perfect date night adventure? If so, there are a lot of choices to select from, but this next tour always seems to rank quite high.

The Amsterdam: Private Romantic Canal Cruise at Night tour is a great alternative to heading to a fancy restaurant, because you have it all right here on board! While the city is beautiful just about any time of day or with any weather, it’s really something different at night.

The city is all lit up, with the warm lights reflecting off of the rippling waters. It’s also a great way to preface dinner, as it won’t spoil your meal but will definitely satisfy any hunger pangs and quench your thirst.

Board your comfortable, private vessel for the next 50 to 90 minutes while you get settled and cruise down the canals. The glistening lights light the way, as your skipper tells you all kinds of fascinating stories about the city’s history, culture, and notable landmarks.

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They’ll share facts about important people from here, as well as local legends that always are fun to learn about.

With cozy blankets provided, along with some sparkling champagne, wine, cheese, and waffles, we can’t recommend this tour enough if you really want to get in some quality time with that special someone.

It’s also perfect if you want to learn more about navigating the city and how to access certain tourist hot spots.

While it’s not required, you do have the option of having the guide play some romantic music as well. It’s all up to what you and your partner would like to do – they’re all very accommodating and there to ensure you have a wonderful romantic evening.

 

More Information & Tour Booking

100% refund for cancellations within 24 hours of tour experience


5. Best Private Tour: Private Boat Tour: Champagne Canal Cruise in Amsterdam

Private Boat Tour: Champagne Canal Cruise in Amsterdam

Tour Highlights:

  • Duration: 1.5 hours
  • Departure: Oosterdokskade 8, Oosterdokskade 8, 1011 AE Amsterdam
  • Departure Time: Variety Available
  • Includes: Alcoholic beverages, soda

This next tour is perfect for couples or groups of friends and family, alike. You can reserve the boat for up to 12 people, making it a great way to spend some quality time and have a blast while doing it!

The Private Boat Tour: Champagne Canal Cruise in Amsterdam lasts 1.5 hours full of laughs, adventuring, and learning about this unique city!

Start out by meeting down at the wooden dock next to the “Sea Palace” restaurant. We found the boats to look brand-new, and are in excellent condition. It actually is one of the more luxurious boats we’ve seen, with the wooden sitting area sporting traditional windows and padded seats.

Actually, this traditional vessel is one of just a few in all of Amsterdam that holds the title of “floating monument status” due to its historic traits! If you’re curious, your guide will tell you all about this beauty.

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Enjoy unlimited champagne and sip the bubbly while you watch out over the gorgeous canals, as you cruise under bridges and past elaborately-designed homes that line each side.

The boat’s owner will tell you all about the history of the city and offer interesting anecdotes and personal stories, as well.

Enjoy attentive service as you cruise by important landmarks such as the Anne Frank House, Magere Brug, the Red Light District, National Maritime Museum, Heineken Experience, Café de Sluyswacht, Bridge of 15 Bridges, and much more.

We highly recommend checking at least some of those out once you’re on land, and now that you know how to get to them!

 

More Information & Tour Booking

100% refund for cancellations within 24 hours of tour experience


6. Best Family Tour: Amsterdam 90-Minute Private Family Canal Cruise

Amsterdam 90-Minute Private Family Canal Cruise

Tour Highlights:

  • Duration: 1.5 hours
  • Departure: Keizersgracht 198, Keizersgracht 198, 1015 CZ Amsterdam
  • Departure Time: Variety Available
  • Includes:Variety Available

If you’re looking for a fun and affordable excursion to take the entire family on, you’ve found it! The Amsterdam 90-Minute Private Family Canal Cruise tour is a fantastic way to explore the legendary Dutch canals, and see some of the most popular landmarks from a different perspective.

This is a must-do if you’re bringing the entire family along, and is great for all ages! With a max passenger limit of 10 people per boat, you can feel confident you’re going to receive personalized attention and be able to have any of your questions answered by a professional.

They captain will ask you if you have any specific interests, so they can tailor your cruise to them, too. While food and drinks aren’t served on the boat, you’re more than welcome to bring your own. After exploring, you may want to go grab some food, anyway.

This 1.5-hour tour offers quite a bit of flexibility with start times, making it easy to fit into busy schedules.

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As you cruise down the charming canals, they’ll teach you all about the city’s history, modern-day attractions, and many stories with cultural relevance. They’ll show you some hidden gems that not many tourists get to see or even know about, too!

If you’re new to the city, they’ll offer some tips on places to visit later, including any restaurant recommendations! This is a fantastic way to learn about local lifestyles here, and how the canals impact them.

They’re an excellent mode of transportation and offer a bit of relaxation away from the crowds.

 

More Information & Tour Booking

100% refund for cancellations within 24 hours of tour experience


7. Best Small Group Tour: Amsterdam Small-Group Canal Cruise Plus Snacks and Drinks

Amsterdam Small-Group Canal Cruise Plus Snacks and Drinks

Tour Highlights:

  • Duration: 2 hours
  • Departure: Keizersgracht 401, Keizersgracht 401, 1016 EK Amsterdam
  • Departure Time: Variety Available
  • Includes: Snacks, alcoholic beverages, soda, bottled water, fees and taxes

This next tour is always a blast, super affordable, and one of the most highly-rated canal cruises out there! The Amsterdam Small-Group Canal Cruise plus Snacks and Drinks tour is one everyone should try, even if you’ve already done a canal cruise before!

Lasting 2 hours long, it’s a fantastic way to have fun, eat some delicious traditional snacks, and enjoy the views without the crowds. Located right in front of the Museum for Photography, you’ll meet up with your guide where you and the rest of your group will be escorted to the boat.

Due to the space, you will be limited to groups of 12 people. We really enjoyed the configuration of this boat, which is open on the ends but has a glass covering to keep you protected just in case of rain (which can happen even in the summertime!).

It also offers unobstructed views of this gorgeous city, where you’ll be able to fully enjoy the incredible architecture and canal views.

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To keep your thirst and hunger at bay, they provide mulled wine and authentic Dutch snacks like the “bitterballen” and “stroopwafel” which are delicious and perfect if you like sweets! Start out in the old quarter of the Jordaan, which is arguably one of the prettiest areas.

Cruise along and spot landmarks such as the Anne Frank house,  Red Light District, National maritime Museum, Hortus Botanicus, and even the East Indiaman ship dating from back to the Golden Age!

You’ll even get to see various “hidden gems” that not too many tourists know about, and can go back to visit them once you’re on land.

 

More Information & Tour Booking

100% refund for cancellations within 24 hours of tour experience


Amsterdam Tour Guide

Best Amsterdam Canal Tours

Getting There

Getting to Amsterdam from the US is a breeze, as it is one of the most frequented European capitals. There are plenty of direct flights to Amsterdam from most major US cities, including New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Detroit, Washington DC, Philadelphia, Miami, and more.

KLM is the most popular airline serving Amsterdam Airport Schiphol, and sometimes they’re incredibly affordable! It all depends on the time of year you go, but you can realistically find some for under $500 from Delta, Air France, KLM, Virgin Atlantic, United, Air Canada, Lufthansa, SWISS, and others.

Getting Around

Amsterdam is an incredibly easy city to get around, due to their incredible public transportation. Even if you don’t speak Dutch, most speak English and many signs also include the English translation.

You have a network of metros, buses, trams, ferries, and trains. Walking is quite easy, however, we have to advise you to watch out for cyclists, as they are everywhere and sometimes seem to come out of nowhere if you aren’t watching.

Metro/Train – There are 5 metro routes that serve 7 major areas of the city, along with some on the outskirts of the city. 3 of those lines originate at Central Station, and are very clean and easy to get around on. They’re always perfectly on time, so make sure to get there on time. They run from 6 am to 12:30 am, and come about every 10 minutes.

Buses – With over 40 routes inside and around the city, there’s an ultra-convenient digital map on the GVB website which we highly recommend doing if you plan on using the buses. The app will tell you departures in real-time, as well as routes and stops. If you’re going to be out later than 12:30 am, the bus will save you as they run nightly from 12:30 am to 7 am every day.

Bike – This is one of the simplest and most budget-friendly ways to get around the city, as there are separate bike lanes on most larger roads and main areas of Amsterdam. Make sure you keep to the right and stop at red lights. Always keep your eyes and ears alert for trams and pedestrians who aren’t aware.

Shuttle Ferries – There are a whopping 14 different ferries that go through Amsterdam to Amsterdam-Noord. They operate 24 hours a day, every day, but range in stops from every 2 to every 30 minutes. They are free, however, so it’s a great resource to have!

Rideshare – There are plenty of rideshares available, and Uber is more convenient than a taxi if you’re heading to or from the airport.

Where to Stay

Centre – This is the best location for most people, especially if it’s your first time there. It may be a relatively compact area, but it has a lot to offer and very different areas.

Oude Centrum/Old Town – This consists of huge attractions like the Amsterdam Museum, Damrak, Rokin, Royal Palace, and some of the most impressive hotels. The Hotel The Craftsmen, Hotel TwentySeven, and others are highly recommended.

Canal Belt – Built during the 16th century, this quarter is absolutely stunning. From the bridges to the homes, it’s unlike anything else in the world. Not to mention, it’s right on some of the biggest canals, making transportation to other parts of the city a breeze. The Ambassade and Boutique Hotel The Noblemen are our top picks.

Jordaan – We said it before, but it’s a beautiful area! Here, you’ll find Anne Frank’s House, Noordermarkt, and the Amsterdam Tulip Museum. Hotel Mercier and Mr Jordaan are top picks, but the Amsterdam Wiechmann Hotel is perfect for those on a budget.

Restaurants and Eating Out

Dutch food is surprisingly delicious, and we say “surprisingly” because we feel the food isn’t spoken about enough. There are tons of fantastic traditional dishes to try, but we recommend the Pannenkoeken (buttery pancakes made in a special Dutch way), and Bitterballen (addicted balls of breaded, fried, creamy pork). Oh, and you have to stop for some fries with the curry sauce! These are perfect for grabbing and munching on as you walk around the city.

If you’re into seafood, you’re in the right place because there are tons of fresh options like raw herring, smoked eel, and fat shrimp. This is definitely a cheese-lover’s city with gouda and edam available almost anywhere you go.

If you’re into sweets, check out both Stroopwafels (syrup-filled, warm waffles) and Poffertjes which are like little griddlecakes.

While the traditional, local food is incredible and highly-recommended, this is definitely a very international city. You’ll find everything from Mexican and Italian food to Turkish and Chinese.

Nightlife and Entertainment

Amsterdam nightlife is incredible, and easily one of the best cities in the world for nocturnal entertainment. There are tons of different clubs to suit literally every style of music – especially if you’re into electronic music.

Leidseplein – This is one of the top areas for nightlife, and caters to both locals and tourists. Melkweg is a massive club that operates some of the best weekday events like Techno Tuesdays (which are rarely not packed!). Cheeky Monday is a great way to start off the week with Drum and Bass.

Café De Spuyt or De Krul are must-visits, as they’re traditional brown cafes. Paradiso is another top-notch venue in the area, along with Cooldown Café and Bubbles which are popular with young locals.

Rembrandtplein – This is another area that’s always fun to go out in, as everything is so close together and walkable. Escape, Club Air, and Claire are some of the city’s top selections for your “typical” night out. Coco’s, Club Smokey, and Prime are also popular along with the close by coffee shops.

Red Light District – This area is probably one of the more obvious neighborhoods to go adventuring around at night. The iconic red windows and notorious coffee shops are everywhere, and while this area is full of tourist traps, by taking a Red Light District tour you can see all the cool spots like Belushi’s, Hill Street Blues, and Aepjen are all fun.

Outside the City – If you’re into techno, you have to check out some of the most famous venues here – they throw massive events on a global scale. De School and Marktkantine have enormous raves!

Weather

The weather doesn’t vary a whole lot, as you can expect rain at any point. However, it is notably warmer in the summertime. It’s never really too hot, and tends to be partly cloudy. The winters do require you to bundle up though, as they can get windy, wet, and cold.

Attractions

Rijksmuseum – Founded in the late 1700’s, it was originally built to keep the country’s massive collection of art and antiquities safe. Today, you’ll find over a million artifacts ranging from back to the 1200’s to modern-day. If you’re into history, art, or literature, you’re in the right place (with over 35,000 books and manuscripts).

Anne Frank House – Be prepared, this is a pretty heavy experience. The home is quite compact and small – rather tall than wide. Much of it is the same as it was when Anne Frank lived there. While tickets often sell out, if you can manage to book a tour, you’ll get headphones to wear and listen to the stories about her and many of the other Holocaust victims.

Van Gogh Museum – Yet another hot spot for history buffs and art fans, the Van Gogh museum is dedicated to the country’s famous artist. With over almost 1,000 paintings, etchings, and drawings, you’ll get some insight into who this revolutionary artist was.

Vondelpark – This massive park covers 120 acres, and is perfect for picnicking or taking a stroll around the ponds and beautiful rose garden. However, there’s much more than just the park, itself. You’ll find various sculptures, statues, playgrounds for kids, rollerblade/bike rental places, and may even catch a concert or two!

Royal Palace – Formerly serving as the Town Hall, it was constructed in 1648 with its beautiful exterior and opulent interior complete with reliefs, ornamentation, marble sculptures, friezes, and more.

West Church – Completed in 1630, this Gothic Renaissance church stands a whopping 85 meters tall. At the very tip of the spire, you’ll see a big replica of Emperor Maximilian of Austria’s crown. Inside, you’ll be able to see a stunning organ dating back to the 1600’s and a 1906 marble column dedicated to Rembrandt.

Rembrandt House Museum – Speaking of which, the legendary artist lived in this home for 20 years, and contains many etchings and personal items from him.

Tips

1. Bring some good walking shoes. No matter what, you’re likely going to find yourself walking a lot, whether that be from bar-hopping, catching a train, or sightseeing.

2. Use public transportation. Their system is one of the best out there, and you can fully rely on it at any day, any hour of the day. It’s clean, well-maintained, convenient, and budget-friendly.

3. Watch out for cyclists. They really are everywhere. Even when you think there aren’t any, one will come blazing full-force ringing the bell to make sure you know they’re coming.

4. Try the traditional food. Local cuisine is absolutely delicious, and is very fresh and flavorful.

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The Private 1.5 hour Canal Tour in Amsterdam with your Loved One is our Editors Choice for the best canal tour in Amsterdam

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Robert Baker

Robert is a content writer and editor at World Guides to Travel where he shares his love for the great outdoors. He also writes in-depth travel blogs for other websites around the world. Robert is passionate about the environment and uses his writing to educate people about the advantages and importance of sustainable living. Robert enjoys creative writing. In 2009, his children’s novel Sally Hemings & the Good Associates won the Children’s Fiction section of the You Write On Book of the Year Award.
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