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  • Writer's pictureJay Hicks

62 Miles of Canals, 90 Islands, and 1,500 Bridges

Experiencing Amsterdam's Waterways!

Amsterdam is a colorful city known for its beautiful canals, which are symbolic of the city. Visiting the canals of Amsterdam is a unique experience that allows you to explore the city from a different perspective. The canals were originally built in the 17th century during the Dutch Golden Age and are now a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

One of the best ways to experience the canals of Amsterdam is by taking a boat tour. There are many companies that offer guided tours of the canals, allowing you to learn about the history and architecture of the city while cruising through the waterways. You can also rent a pedal boat and explore the canals at your own pace, giving you the freedom to stop and take in the sights along the way.


The canals are lined with picturesque buildings, many of which lean slightly forward due to the soft ground on which Amsterdam was built. These buildings are adorned with colorful facades and intricate gables, adding to the charm of the canals. As you glide along the water, you will pass under iconic bridges such as the Magere Brug (Skinny Bridge) and the picturesque seven bridges of Reguliersgracht.


In addition to the stunning architecture, the canals are also home to many houseboats that are moored along the water's edge. The houseboats is an unique feature of Amsterdam's canal system, offering a glimpse into the city's bohemian lifestyle. Some houseboats are available for rent as accommodations, allowing you to experience life on the water firsthand.


Taking a canal trip by sightseeing boat is a must-do experience for anyone visiting Amsterdam.  Most are reasonably priced from €15-25, depending on add-ons for drinks and cheeses.  To get an up-close look at the canal, bridges, walls and gates, the boat tour is a must.  Taking the canal tours allows you to see the historical and beautiful canal houses, understand Amsterdam’s history, and experience the culture. You may want to book a small boat tour or evening dinner cruise in advance.  For dinner cruises, there’s only one boat per evening.


Most tours depart from Damrak and Central Station, the Ann Frank House, and the Rijksmuseum.  Taking the canal tour during the day will allow you to see more of the city.  But the night tour has lots of ambiance, with romance and an enchanting atmosphere, with the city lights providing the perfect backdrop for the canals and landmarks.  Check closely for your preferences.  Some boats allow drinking and even smoking.  So, determine if that appeals to you or not, before you buy the tickets.


Whether you choose to take a boat tour, rent a pedal boat, or simply stroll along the canals on foot, you will be captivated by the beauty and history of these historic waterways. The canals are a testament to Amsterdam's rich cultural heritage and are sure to leave a lasting impression. So relax, have some wine and cheese and enjoy one of Amsterdam's most famous landmark - or should we say watermark?

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