Amsterdam: Canal cruise options

Posted in: Amsterdam Sights


A Canal Bus station near the Nemo Science Center. Photo by weesen.
A Canal Bus station near the Nemo Science Center. Photo by weesen.

You’ve walked through the charming little streets of Amsterdam, but have you explored the city’s charming waterways? Sure you can (and will!) walk them, but cruising down the canals on a boat is a fun and exciting way to soak up a bit of the Dutch culture. After all, canal cruising was the preferred means of travel for nobility in the old days.

Here are three canal cruising options for Amsterdam:

Canal Bus: Hop-on, hop-off cruise

Amsterdam offers various cruise options for tourists, but Canal Bus stands out for its numerous benefits. This company offers canal cruises on three select routes, and passengers can hop on and off the boats at any of the 14 boat stops for the duration of the day. Because a number of popular attractions and shopping areas are scattered along these routes, it can be a rather scenic way of exploring Amsterdam’s most famous sights.

To get cruising, buy a Canal Bus day pass. The day pass will cost a not-so-Cheapo €20 for adults, €10 for children between 5-12, and €15 per person in a group of ten people or more (children under four get free admission). Tickets are 10% cheaper if purchased online in advance.

If you purchase the I amsterdam card, which offers free admission to a wide variety of museums (including the Hermitage, the Van Gogh Museum, and the Amsterdams Historisch Museum) and provides free unlimited public transportation, you’ll receive a 25% discount for Canal Bus passes.

Look for Canal Bus ticket shops at major tourist spots, including Central Station, Rijksmuseum, Leidseplein, Anne Frank House, the Amsterdam Tourist Information Offices, and the NZ Hollands Koffiehuis. Furthermore, you can also buy these passes at most hotels. The Canal Bus office is located at Weteringschans 26-1 hoog, and is open 8:30 AM – 6 PM.

Cheaper options: Blue Boat Company

If you prefer a traditional cruise tour to the hop-on, hop-off option, the City Canal Cruise operated by the Blue Boat Company is the cheapest choice. For €12, you’ll get a 75-minute journey along Amsterdam’s canals, complete with audio commentary.

As an added bonus, the canal cruise is free with the purchase of the I amsterdam card. Tickets are available at the boat docks, or online.

Holland International’s “Highlights” Cruise

Like the City Canal Cruise, Holland International’s 100 Highlights Cruise sails past many of the city’s most famous sites, including churches and merchants’ houses. Holland International’s one-hour cruise costs €12.50, and is also free with the i Amsterdam card.


About the author

About the author: Amy K Goemans is a writer and web developer based in Rotterdam, Netherlands. Her travel experiences include Europe and Southern Africa with occasional visits to Asia. Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Antwerp, and Durban are currently her top favorite cities.

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