The history of Amsterdam is intimately connected with water. Its 165 canals were created over the centuries to stimulate trade and transport and reclaim land to expand the city. They continue define the city’s landscape and in 2010 Amsterdam's canal ring was recognised as a UNESCO world heritage site.
Besides providing a stunning backdrop to the city’s historical centre, floating down Amsterdam’s canals is one of the most memorable ways to discover the city's sights and attractions. Whether you’re a first-time or frequent visitor, everything in Amsterdam seems a bit more magical when viewed from a boat.
Most canal cruises take around an hour, in which you'll explore Amsterdam's UNESCO protected canal ring and discover plenty of interesting facts about the city along the way. As well as the excellent one-hour options, other types of canal cruises available include practical hop-on-hop-off services, romantic candle-lit tours, child-friendly adventures and intimate guided boat tours for smaller groups.
A few of the best-known operators include Holland International, Canal, Blue Boat, Rederij Kooij, Rederij Plas and Lovers. If you’d like to break up your canal cruise with some sightseeing, then the ‘hop-on hop-off’ service offered by Canal Bus is an excellent option.
See Amsterdam from the water
A city of canals
Since its development in the 17th century, Amsterdam’s UNESCO protected canal ring has grown to be one of the world’s most unique urban landscapes.Explore the canals
Private boat hire
Prefer to explore the canals at your own pace? Find out how to how to hire a boat and be your own captain!Hire a boat
Free canal tours
Did you know you can save a boatload on canal cruising with the I amsterdam City Card?See what's included
Choose your cruise
Take a look at Amsterdam's best canal cruise operators, offering everything from hop on, hop off tickets to romantic candlelight tours.Browse canal tours