Things to do in Amsterdam

Your Definitive Guide To Finding The Perfect Amsterdam Canal Cruise

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You know the warm and fuzzy feeling you have when you are totally at ease? That’s what being in Amsterdam will give you- a sense of conviviality, or what the locals call Gezellig. This open-heartedness of the Dutch Capital attracts more than five million tourists every year. Nicknamed the Venice of the North, the unparalleled beauty of this ancient canal city originates from the rich cultural and artistic history that flows along its intricate network of canals and bridges. No trip to the Dutch capital is complete without experiencing an Amsterdam Canal Cruise and in this article we will walk you through all you need to know before you select a canal cruise.

What Makes An Amsterdam Canal Cruise Special?

The origin of present-day Amsterdam can be traced back to the 12th Century. It was then known as Aemstelredamme, a ‘dam in river Amstel’ which was built across the saltwater inlet called IJ by the fisher folk who lived along the river banks. Records suggest that it was in the early 1300’s that the canal city’s name evolved from Amstelland to Amsterdam. At the turn of the 17th Century, Amsterdam entered the Golden Age. With the maritime success at its peak, and trade and business flourishing, the city saw an unprecedented urban expansion during this time.

The concentric semi-circular canal ring that was built in the 17th Century includes Prinsengracht, Keizersgracht, Herengracht and Jordaan. The canal ring was declared as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2010. The complete loop of canals in Amsterdam is made up of 165 canals with a combined length of over 100 kilometers. These 400 years-old canal networks connect every part of Amsterdam with the help of more than 1700 bridges. One of the best ways to experience the historical marvel that is Amsterdam is by cruising through the city’s waterways. In this article, we will tell you all that you need to know about choosing the perfect cruise option.

How To Pick The Best Amsterdam Canal Cruise

If you are headed to Amsterdam, and want to explore the city in its entirety, getting on a canal cruise would be your best bet. However, remember to consider some of the following factors before making a booking.

Location and Route

Most of the cruises start from Stadhouderskade 501, Amsterdam. If you are planning multiple cruise experiences, it may be a good idea to book an accommodation near the pier. What may also influence your choice of cruise is the route you wish to sail through. The canals are lined by examples of great architecture and the buildings with a forward tilt are a sight to behold.

Time of Day

The various cruise operators in the city offer customized canal cruise experiences throughout the day. In a day time cruise you can witness the architectural beauty of Amsterdam in great detail. For those looking to be dazzled by the night lamps and their captivating reflections in the flowing water channels, some time on the more soothing and romantic night-time cruise will be perfect.


Amsterdam’s canal cruises have something to suit every mood- from casual evenings with pizzas and burgers, to relaxing sails with cocktails and candle-lit dinners. If you are travelling with your young ones, you can opt for the canal cruise that have exclusive routines for children. All in all, the selection of experiences available on-board different canal cruises in Amsterdam is a promise of making memories worth remembering.


A visit to Amsterdam promises a lot of fun with a healthy dose of history. You can combine the two elements by opting for a combo that will take you around the city on a canal cruise. You will also have priority access to some of the city’s landmark museums and art galleries.

Other Factors

If you are big on experiencing the local culture, go over Amsterdam's festival calendar before planning a trip. One of the highlights is the Grachtenfestival (Canal Festival). It is a ten-day classical music festival that is held in the month of August and witnesses a jam-packed audience in the canals.

10 Best Amsterdam Canal Cruise Tickets

We know how daunting it can be to plan the perfect trip. To help you plan, we have here a list of the best and most preferred Amsterdam Canal Cruise tickets.

Amsterdam Canal Cruises

These are the most popular and economical options, the no frills canal cruises that simply sifts through the canal, showcasing the best of Amsterdam. All you have to do is figure out the time of the day you'd like for the cruise and grab your Amsterdam Canal Cruise tickets. Quick and easy, but oh so worth every penny!

Most Popular Amsterdam Canal Cruises

Evening Canal Cruise

Amsterdam has a dreamlike quality to it which enhances as the sun starts to set and the ancient streets and waterways are illuminated by ornate lamps and the moonlight. You can be part of a magical evening by booking a place on one of the evening canal cruises.

In the 60 minutes you spend on this cruise, you will pass through the most famous landmarks of Amsterdam. The multi-lingual audio guide will tell you all about the city and its many structures. What’s more is that this cruise also sails through the red-light district of Amsterdam, an area where no day time cruise will take you. All this, while you enjoy a drink onboard.

1 Hour Day/Evening Canal Cruise

• 60-minute cruise on the famous canals of Amsterdam under the starry sky.
• Cruise through the red light district, a location where no day cruises take you to.
• Personal audio guide in 17 different languages.

Amsterdam City Canal Cruise

The Dutch capital is known for its many structures with ornate baroque façade. This cruise will take you back in history as you pass though as many as 1550 monumental buildings in the 75 minutes you spend onboard. The audio guide will fill you in on the history of the city and landmarks like the Golden Bend, Overhoeks and Music Building. This will be your chance to witness the city's progression from the 17th to 21st Century.

What sets this cruise apart is the treat it offers to its young passengers. Children onboard the cruise can listen to stories on their audio sets. The interactive experience includes everything from mission booklets to eye-patches.

Amsterdam City Canal Cruise

• 75-minute cruise down the Amsterdam canals a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
• Audio commentary in 21 languages.
• Witness up to 1550 monumental buildings and edifices and take in the rich baroque works along the banks.
• Special kids cruise with the children's ticket.

75 Mins Day Canal Cruise

Experience Amsterdam from the canals as you go on a 75-minute cruise covering the best parts of this historic city. Take in the Dutch Baroque architecture that spreads across the canal banks and feel the artistic expression radiate from this UNESCO World Heritage Site. Witness not just the 17th-century renaissance age; but also the modern age 21st-century look of Amsterdam. From the Golden Bend to the Overhoeks, Music Building at the harbor to the VOC ship, this day cruise covers it all.

On this economically priced 75 minute boat tour, take in the Golden Age architecture of Amsterdam with audio commentary in 21 languages.

75 Mins Day Canal Cruise

• 75-minute day cruise
• Audio Commentary on board in 21 languages
• Special kids cruise (audio & booklet) for children below the age of 12

Hop-On-Hop-Off Canal Cruise

The best way to see the sights in a city is to do it at your own pace. he Hop-on-hop-off Canal Cruise allows you that flexibility. You can buy a ticket that is valid for 24 hours or 48 hours. It gives you unlimited access to the sightseeing boats in the city. You can board these GPS and WiFi enabled cruises from 10 different stops in Amsterdam.

There are two routes defined for these cruises and the stops on both the green and blue line are different. You might want to check the timings of the cruise along with the stops you want to explore on a certain day.

Hop-On-Hop-Off Canal Cruise

• Choose either a 24h/48h hop-on hop-off boat ticket.
• Unlimited access to the sightseeing boats in Amsterdam.
• 10 Hop-on Hop-off stops allowing you complete maneuverability within the city.
• Onboard GPS guide and Wifi.

Amsterdam Lights Festival: Water Color Cruise

Enjoy a delightful Water Color Cruise during the Amsterdam Lights Festival, the unique festival with artwork illuminated by light and displayed around the city. Comfortable seats, audio guide options in English and Dutch, and a chance to see some of the best artwork from around the world are what you can look forward to. With this year's theme being "The Medium is the Message", your cruise gives you the chance to get up close and personal and see all the lights from the best angle possible and to really see the medium in a whole new light.

Also take advantage of our limited discounted price offer, which is valid from November 29th, 2018 to January 20th, 2019! Grab your tickets early for discounts and don't miss out on the special cruise.

Amsterdam Lights Festival: Water Color Cruise

• A special cruise that passes alongside the sculptures and light artifacts of the Amsterdam Light Festival
• Information onboard is available in English with an audio guide in Dutch & English
• Special discounted offers valid till January 20th, 2019

Amsterdam Culinary Cruises

For those who like to devour a meal while floating on the canal in a glass boat, the Amsterdam Culinary Cruises are your best bet. These cruises allow you to dine and wine on the boat while you consume breathtaking views of Amsterdam City. Be warned, you won't know where to look - the food on your plate or sights outside!?!

Most Popular Amsterdam Culinary Cruises

Evening Canal Cruise with 4-Course Dinner and Drinks

Set sail on a luxury boat that will take you through the iconic canal network in the city under the glow of twilight. Amidst the fairytale-like illuminated buildings and in the comfort of the luxury boat, sink into a perfect evening. Enjoy plenty photo ops as you pass by the city's Enjoy views of the charming medieval bridges, 17th-century houseboats, and stately antique mansions all in their illuminated splendor. Settle in for an unforgettable 4 course dinner that’s been crafted by an award-winning Chef! Through your meal, you can sip on wine, beer, or soft drinks. This dinner cruise of 2-hours will take you to the most beautiful, most atmospheric and enchantingly illuminated places in Amsterdam. Running commentary is provided by the captain.

Evening Canal Cruise with 4-Course Dinner and Drinks

• Cruise on Amsterdam's historic canals under the illuminated beauty of the night for 2 hours
• Enjoy an amazing 4-course meal with unlimited drinks from a fine selection of beverages
• Immerse yourself into the captivating history and culture of Amsterdam with multilingual commentary onboard.

Dutch Wine & Cheese Candlelight Cruise

Europe is known for its vineyards and delicious cheese. The Dutch Wine and Cheese Cruise offers an experience to take in this culture and an unlimited supply of Holland’s brand of wine, beer and soft drinks, with platters of cheese and charcuterie for you to enjoy.

The spectacular sights that will decorate your window will seem more magical and a little less mysterious as a multi-lingual guide will take you through the history of the elaborate network of bridges and buildings. We promise that you will be transported to a dreamland as you take in the glittering night-time beauty of Amsterdam and its canal districts.

Dutch Wine & Cheese Candlelight Cruise

• Treat yourself to a romantic evening on a luxurious cruise boat on the illuminated canals.
• Enjoy excellent local charcuterie and cheese, including global favorite Old Amsterdam.
• Indulge in unlimited beer, wine, water or soft drinks throughout the entire tour to top off a great sightseeing experience of the magnificent Dutch capital.

Amsterdam Pizza Cruise

Sign up for a night of sightseeing and pizza as you step aboard a cozy boat. You can turn your gaze towards the wonderfully lit 17th-century canals or you can even take in the vintage houses that gracefully stand by the waters.

Enjoy unlimited drinks onboard the cruise as well as a special home-made brownie as you take in the sights. Be accompanied by expert guides who speak fluent Spanish, German and English who will help you dive into the captivating history and culture of Amsterdam.

Amsterdam Pizza Cruise

• Cruise on the Amsterdam Canals and take in the mesmerizing views of the Amsterdam canals all around you on this delightful 90-minute cruise.
• Indulge in one who pizza per person.
• Enjoy Unlimited drinks onboard.
• Multilingual guide.

Amsterdam Burger Cruise

This tour takes you through the iconic canals of the 'Venice of the North' fringed with elegant architecture. This two-hour cruise is one of the best ways to experience the spirit of Amsterdam. Your English or Spanish guide will keep you entertained with fascinating facts about the historical buildings that line either side of the canal.

Around thirty minutes into the cruise, your charcoal-grilled burger will be served. You can enjoy your burger with a cold glass of beer and some homemade brownies. The boat has a wide variety of alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks that are completely free during the cruise. Experience Amsterdam in a whole new light on this serene cruise!

Amsterdam Burger Cruise

• Cruise on the Amsterdam Canals and take in the mesmerizing views of the Amsterdam canals all around you on this delightful 90-minute cruise.
• Indulge in one who pizza per person.
• Enjoy Unlimited drinks onboard.
• Multilingual guide.

Amsterdam Combo Cruises

The money savers! If you're looking for combo deals that will save you a few euros and allows you to experience a more of Amsterdam for less, choose your pick from our combo cruises. You won't regret it one bit.

Most Popular Amsterdam Cruise Combos

City Canal Cruises & Rijksmuseum Direct Entry

A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Amsterdam Canals are a breathtaking sight. Adorned by Baroque-style architecture on either side of the bank, witness more than 1550 monuments and edifices along the banks and discover the joys of the ‘Venice of the North.’ The Rijksmuseum is the largest art museum in Amsterdam featuring 8,000 objects on art and history from a collection of over a million objects. Walk through the halls adorned by works from genius artists and feel the emotions in their paintings reflect through these lifeless works.

With this sweet, super-saver combo, not only do you get to tour the heart of the Dutch capital via its world famous canals, but also visit the famed Rijksmuseum, both being two of the most best-selling and highly recommended attractions in Amsterdam.

City Canal Cruises & Rijksmuseum Direct Entry

• Enjoy the Dutch Capital from the Water on this 75-Minute Canal Cruise.
• Experience the Rich Dutch History at the Rijksmuseum
• Audio commentary device available in 21 lanugages

City Canal Cruise & Heineken Experience Direct Entry

Enjoy the best of Amsterdam with this special combo which combines the breathtaking cruise down the Amsterdam canal with an immersive experience at the brewery of the world-famous beer, Heineken. The scenic views on the waterfront are a sight to behold as you travel through time on the cruise which covers the best of Amsterdam - from the 17th century Golden Age to the modern era of Amsterdam. After the cruise, learn the secrets about the world-famous Pilsner brew which made it one of the three largest beer producers in the world. Walk into the brewery which closed in 1988 to cater to its fans and be a part of the Heineken club. A modern museum, the brewery still houses old photographs, decorations, and brass beer tanks and more!

City Canal Cruise & Heineken Experience Direct Entry

• 75 minute Relaxing cruise along Amsterdam's canals.
• Skip-the-line Heineken Experience ticket.
• 90-minute self-guided tour of the Heineken brewery.

You can discover many more enchanting Amsterdam Canal Cruise deals at Headout and make your Amsterdam holiday one to remember.

Know Before Going On An Amsterdam Canal Cruise

Here are some handy tips that may help you make the most of our time in Amsterdam, if you are planning a canal cruise:

Book In Advance
Amsterdam is much loved among tourists. And it may be possible that there are thousands of others flocking to get on a canal cruise right when you are there. To ensure that you have the best experience here, grab your Amsterdam Canal Cruise Tickets pre-hand and maybe pre- book your seats as well ( if possible).

Consider Skip the Line Tickets & Combo Deals
A visit to Amsterdam can be complete only when you visit at least the most famous of its museums. But the popularity of these art havens mean that the ticket counters are always flooded with people waiting in line. You can book a canal cruise combo in advance to gain priority access to museums like Rijksmuseum, the Heineken Museum and other landmarks like Anne Frank’s house.

For Travel Flexibility, Try The Hop-On-Hop-Off Cruise
For those who like to travel at their own pace, the Hop-on-hop-off cruise would be the perfect choice. It gives you the flexibility of roaming about at your own pace. The ticket costs are quite reasonable for such an experience.

Make Use Of The Audio Guides
Most of the canal cruises are equipped with multi-lingual audio guides. These come in handy when you want to understand the sights and their history. It is a good idea to make use of this resource to experience Amsterdam and the city’s journey to what it is today.

We hope that this guide on Amsterdam’s Canal Cruises will help you plan the perfect holiday. Have a gezellig time in the Dutch capital!

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