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10 Best Canal Cruises in Amsterdam

Picture-perfect Amsterdam cityscape

Amsterdam is famous for its canals. These waterways play a vital role in transportation throughout the city, and their stories are woven into the history of the Netherlands.

When visiting Amsterdam, a canal cruise is a must. You can use boat tours to get around the city, have a unique sightseeing experience, or find hidden gems you can explore on foot later in your trip.

The best canal cruise Amsterdam has to offer really depends on your preferences. There are so many canal city tours to choose from it might be tricky to find the right one for you!

You can select a canal tour with a stop at the Anne Frank House or Rijksmuseum, or take a romantic dinner cruise. You could take a group boat tour featuring Amsterdam’s iconic sights and interesting facts, or an exclusive night tour with a private skipper. The choices are endless!

Canal cruises can be a great way to see the city lights or get a unique view of Amsterdam from the water, and they’re an absolute must for your trip to the city. Here is a closer look at how to choose the best canal cruises in Amsterdam.

TL;DR Best Canal Cruises in Amsterdam

A Look at Amsterdam’s Canals

Picture-perfect Amsterdam cityscape
Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers

The Dutch capital has 60 miles (100 km) of canals. These waterways began in the 17th century to provide transport around the city, offer natural defenses, and help lower flood risks.

There are three primary canals: Herengracht, Prinsengracht, and Keizersgracht. Each creates a canal ring that circles through the city. Because of their age, many historic attractions sit right next to these canals.

Popular tours often point out these famous landmarks. If you see something particularly interesting, you can get a closer look on your own or with an Amsterdam walking tour.

Beyond the main canals, smaller canals crisscross the city. These include Zwanenburgwal and Brouwersgracht in central Amsterdam. You can also ride on the Amstel River or visit some of the city’s newer canals.

Brantasgracht, Lamonggracht, Majanggracht, and Seranggracht are new canals running through residential areas. These are options if you want to take a canal boat in Amsterdam away from the popular tourist sites.

See Related: Best Time to Visit Amsterdam: When Should You Visit?

Best Canal Tours in Amsterdam

Here are 10 of the most popular and best-reviewed canal tours in Amsterdam.

1. Best Short Cruise: Rijksmuseum Combination 1-Hour Cruise

Rijksmuseum Canal Cruise in Amsterdam
Tours & Tickets /

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