Amsterdam Boat Tours & River Cruises
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Five Fun Facts For Your Amsterdam Boat Tour

Planning to tour Amsterdam by boat? It's a great way to cover the city's most treasured landmarks, but what about the river and canals themselves? Here's the lowdown on the Amstel's famous waterways.

The Amstel gave Amsterdam its name

The Amstel gave Amsterdam its name

Aeme-stelle is Old Dutch for "water area." A dam was built to stop floods in the 12th century and a fishing village known as Aemestelredamme grew around it. The rest is history!

The canals ushered in the Dutch Golden Age

The canals ushered in the Dutch Golden Age

Most of the canals were built for economic reasons. Starting in the 16th century, they provided easy transport throughout the labyrinthine city and helped to boost trade.

The Singel Canal was originally a moat

The Singel Canal was originally a moat

Not all the canals were built to fill city coffers, though. The oldest is the Singel Canal, which protected the medieval city from invasion between 1480 until 1585.

In Amsterdam, bicycles really are everywhere!

In Amsterdam, bicycles really are everywhere!

We suggest you keep your water tour above the surface. The sheer volume of discarded, rusted bikes along the canal bed is one of the reasons swimming isn't generally allowed!

The Amstel hosts some of the city's top events
Photo: Franklin Heijnen @Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

The Amstel hosts some of the city's top events

Why not time your visit to coincide with the Liberation Day concert on May 5th, the Roeivierkamp and Head of the River rowing races in March, or the floating gay pride parade in August?

Planning Your Visit

How much does it cost?

Amsterdam river cruises and canal boat rides can cost as little as €16, with hop-on hop-off options available, and even dinner. If you're after something a little more luxurious, however, why not take a look at some of the exciting dinner cruise options?

Where is the river cruise port?

Amsterdam's port is located behind the Central Station, which is easily reached by bus or metro. It consists of multiple piers, so be sure to double-check your ticket or with your tour provider for the correct one.

What people are saying about Amsterdam

Great way to get out if the city and see the country side!

We absolutely loved this tour.. it's was awesome to visit the windmills; cheese shop; waffle shop and wooden clog shop.. was great to have the locals share their knowledge regarding their traditions and what they have been doing for many many years.. the actual bus trip was a highlight.. with Steve the singing Driver Dutch Rock and his crew!! They were all amazing and would highly recommend this tour!

Awesome staff with really delicious food!

What a treat this dinner cruise was! The captain, Boris, was very knowledgeable and entertaining. The waiters were wonderful and the food (we opted for fish) was amazing. The couple next to us got engaged when he dropped down on one knee and proposed under the kissing bridge. I can’t promise that will happen on your cruise, but it was worth the money for a special evening in Amsterdam .

Amsterdam: 4-Course Dinner Cruise Reviewed by Heidi, 09/19/2019

The tour is good to see Giethoorn lifestyle

The tour take 2-3 hrs on the bus without any drink or some snacks and there is no toilet on the bus. But overall is good to see Giethoorn villages & guide is good to explain. The one hour Amsterdam canal tour also good to do in daytime can see more than nighttime. (I took around 18.30pm then some building couldn’t see)

Less expensive to have purchased on my own

Was I supposed to receive a guided tour of the museum? We did not. Was this supposed to have included the self guided headphones with the ticket? We did not get them. This was really not a good value. Rated a 4 I let because we were happy to get tickets to the museum.

Good if you want to soak up the atmosphere

As the name of the tour suggests, this is more for people who have already done an educational tour and want something a bit more laid back. The tour guide did give us pieces of information but not a lot. We learnt most of what we knew the day before on another tour.

Amsterdam: 75 Minutes Canal Cruise Reviewed by Megan, 09/22/2019