The Ultimate Guide to Canal Cruise in Amsterdam


A Canal Cruise through the Jordaan in Amsterdam

A Canal Cruise through the Jordaan in Amsterdam

Amsterdam's Jordaan neighborhood's charming canals is best experienced by scenic boat tour past merchants homes and secret courtyards. In this guide we will compare operators, routes, prices, and booking tips for the perfect Canal Cruise through the Jordaan in Amsterdam!

Gliding through Amsterdam’s atmospheric waterways on a scenic boat tour is the perfect way to experience the hidden charm of the Jordaan neighborhood – the gabled Golden Age warehouses, curved bridges arching over endless ripples, and sprawling houseboats illustrate this “Venice of the North” moniker. 

In this comprehensive guide we will cover everything you need to know to plan your perfect Jordaan canal cruise, including cruise types, top providers, tickets and booking details, departure points, operating hours, tour duration options, money-saving discounts and tips, user reviews, FAQs, pros and cons, and pricing tables – all the insider knowledge to take in this off-the-beaten-path nautical journey through one of Amsterdam’s most iconic and eclectic districts.

Amsterdam Jordaan Canal Cruise - Cruise Types

The main types of Jordaan canal cruises to choose from are this:

  • Open Boat Tour – An open boat with benches offering 360 degree views of the canals. Most economical option.
  • Covered Boat Tour – A boat with a glass roof and enclosed seating providing protection from the elements.
  • Small Boat Tour – More intimate and exclusive tour on a small boat holding only groups up to 12. Higher price.
  • Evening/Night Boat Tour – Special evening cruises to see the Jordaan and canal system after dark. Some include drinks or dinner.

The Jordaan neighborhood’s scenic network of canals and historic architecture has attracted canal tour operators for decades, catering to both tourists and locals alike. The classic Amsterdam canal cruise experience utilizes open-air boats, usually holding 20-50 passengers seated along rows of wooden benches lining both sides of the vessel. These boats maximize sightseeing views with nearly 360 degree visibility and often include helpful audio commentary on the cultural landmarks and architectural styles showcased from the water.

However, Amsterdam’s variable weather can put a damper on exposed deck cruising. This has led many tour providers to also offer boats with indoor or partially sheltered seating and large picture windows to stay cozy when the elements become challenging. Travelers prone to seasickness may also prefer the stabilized enclosed cabin cruiser options canal cruise styles.

For those desiring a more exclusive small group experience, several upscale Jordaan tour operators run limited-capacity cruises on refined yachts designed specially for navigating Amsterdam’s narrow waterways Amsterdam canal cruises. Guests can sit beside the captain in the cabin or climb to an observation deck for prime scenery shots along the charming Brouwersgracht Brouwersgracht canal and Prinsengracht canals Prinsengracht canal defining this historic district.

So whether opting for economical open seating or premium style comfort, gliding through the atmospherically charming Jordaan by boat remains a highlight for many on their Amsterdam itinerary Amsterdam canal cruising. The intimacy of the neighborhood’s tree-lined corridors blinking with cozy cafes, hidden courtyard gems, and the joys of daily life converging canal-side make for ideal laid-back cruising.

Cruise in Jordaan Amsterdam - Tickets & Prices

When budgeting for the splurge, ticket pricing largely depends on the style of cruise, group size, amenities, and time of year. The most economical classic open-air canal tour option generally runs €16-24 per adult in the low to shoulder spring and fall seasons. 

These public tours typically accommodate groups of 20-50 passengers without reservations needed. For a bit more protection from the elements, expect to pay €22-35 per person for an enclosed, temperature-regulated cruiser – more expensive but less weather-dependent.

Upgrading to a private 1-2 hour small group premium yacht experience just touring your own party could start around €175 total for groups up to 12, making it more reasonable when splitting the bill. 

Customizing a truly decadent multi-course candlelit dinner or wine tasting cruise just for your special group pushes pricing towards €100+ per person. Cruise operators also offer seasonal discounts and combo deals on occasion – like €10 off for online ticketing or bundling an open boat 60 minute Jordaan canal tour with discounted entry to area museums.

Where You Should Buy Tickets for Jordan Canal Cruise

The best way to purchase tickets to cruises in Jordaan Amsterdam, is by well-known platforms which offer tickets sale in advance and discounts. Some of the most popular ones are “Tiqets” which is considered a very well-known online tickets platform, or “Getyourguide” which is also a very popular website.

Most tour operators sell tickets directly through their individual websites, usually offering an online discount of 10-15% off walk-up rates. For those that enjoy the old school travel booking experience, most docking areas have physical ticket booth windows. The main departure docks at Prins Hendrikkade 1012 AD across from Central Station and at Stationsplein near the Anne Frank House have knowledgable attendants selling all types of cruise offerings. 

They can outline the varied tour routes and highlight seasonal promotions not always advertised online. Walk-up ticket purchases are definitely convenient but subject to availability at busy travel times. Advance online booking helps ensure your ideal departure time is secured

Cruise Through the Jordaan in Amsterdam - Top Providers

Some top-rated canal cruise operators running frequent Jordaan tours include:

Companies like Blue Boat, Friendship Tours, Holland International, and Lazy Jack Canal Cruises receive consistent 5-star ratings for their classic open-air daily public tours showcasing the scenic tree-lined Brouwersgracht and intersecting canals. Experienced skippers navigate the nuanced routes while insightful guides keep commentary entertaining.

Those wanting a more exclusive small group experience consistently rank Lovers Canal Cruises and Wetlands as top notch for their specialty multi-lingual private Jordaan tours on specialty yachts holding under 20 passengers. Both companies boast superlative service and customize timing to client needs instead of rigid schedules.

For those tourists prioritizing luxury, the 4 and 5 star themed cruises from Hofbogen Dinner Cruises and Magical Amsterdam Tours set the gold standard for upscale evening wining and dining while afloat.


Jordaan Cruises Operating Hours

Cruise operating hours and schedules do vary by season and style of tour. The classic open-air daytime public canal tours run most frequently, with departures spacing as quickly as every 30 minutes during peak spring and summer seasons. 

These generally operate between 9am and 6pm when daylight permits maximum sightseeing. Most tours last 1-1.5 hours. Travelers desiring smaller groups may prefer weekdays when crowds thin slightly.

For those prioritizing sunset views or seeking a romantic cruise under Amsterdam’s famous evening canal lights, dozens of specialty cruises cater to night owls as well. Scheduled dinner, drinks, and evening sightseeing cruises typically cast off between 6pm and 10pm.

July in particular sees dozens of operators extend hours till nearly midnight when twilight stretches late. Custom private chartered cruises offer the most flexibility for timing, route, and duration – albeit for a premium price. Year-round daily departures span early morning hours before 10am until the wee hours on select party boats

jordann cruise

How to Get There?

The launch point for most canal cruises touring Amsterdam’s idyllic Jordaan neighborhood is conveniently located right in the city center. The main departure dock at Prins Hendrikkade 1012 AD sits diagonally across from Central Station, fronting the waters of the Amstel River. 

It’s an under 7 minute walk from the station – just cross the street and head left towards the river. Signage for the dock ticket booths leads the way. For travelers not originating from Centraal Station, the dock can also be easily accessed by tram or foot from elsewhere in the central zone. Lines 13, 14 and 17 all have a Prins Hendrikkade stop a moment’s stroll from the boarding area. 

Coming from landmarks like the Anne Frank House, Royal Palace or the tram station at Dam Square, it’s less than a 15 minute walk following the river southwest. Private tour operators may utilize other boarding locations, but will arrange nearby hotel pick-ups.

Jordaan Cruises Departure Point

The vast majority of canal cruises highlighting Amsterdam’s scenic Jordaan district embark from the centrally located departure dock at Prins Hendrikkade, just across from Central Station. This main boarding site allows most tours to initially head west, entering the Singelgracht – the innermost ring of the Amsterdam Canal Belt. Heading clockwise, boats cruise through charming Nine Streets shopping district, passing the Anne Frank House.

Upon entering the more northern Brouwersgracht canal, scenic views of the desired peaceful Jordaan neighborhood unfold. Trees, arched bridges, and locals going about daily life along the idyllic waterways create the area’s signature charm. After approximately 30-45 minutes exploring Jordaan’s highlights, boats loop back out southward, often navigating the Herengracht “Gentleman’s Canal” or central Keizersgracht on the return voyage towards home port.

Total tour durations average 90 minutes to fully appreciate the iconic canalscape. While other routes exist, this efficient departure point loop allows cruisers ample time to admire Amsterdam’s smaller Jordaan quarter canals compared to tours just circling the bustling city center loops. Check an operator’s exact route for deviations.

The Duration

Most standard open-air daytime public tours of the Jordaan span 60-90 minutes, including hotel pickups and dropping passengers back off. This allows for a leisurely pace to admire neighborhood canal highlights without rushing before looping back south towards central boarding docks. Travelers short on time may find 30-45 minute express routing cruises that breeze through the area.

For those craving a more in-depth experience, small group private cruises typically range from 2-3 hours in duration. These allow disembarking for brief walking detours of area shops and sites not possible on rigid public tours. Pre-dusk evening sightseeing tours often last 2 hours to enjoy twilight views. 

Luxurious private evening dinner, drinks and party cruises can stretch 3 hours or more to fully embrace the after-dark vibe. Budget ample time when booking to avoid disappointment – a 60 minute group cruise and 120 minute private charter provide vastly different depth of exploring the Jordaan’s canal magic.

What is the Best Time for an Amsterdam Canal Cruise

Insider Tips

  • Book a small group private charter instead of crowded public tours for more flexibility, more guide interaction, and to better access peaceful side canals
  • Weekday mornings typically see smaller crowds if avoiding masses is preferred
  • Pack layers even on sunny spring days – canal winds get brisk
  • And capture your memories – most providers let you bring drinks and snacks unlike museum visits

To experience the neighborhood’s atmosphere:

  • Sit up front or disembark where possible to soak in street life – cheese shops, hidden cafes and cheeky window displays all dazzle canal-side
  • Capture iconic Amsterdam scenes but also zoom in on details like old lamps, tiny houseboats, and architectural flourishes to make photos pop
  • Don’t forget to look up – the Jordaan hides unique architectural gems on upper floors and rooftops too!

User Reviews

“We took the early evening Jordaan cruise and it was so relaxing gliding by the houseboats lit up at sunset. Our guide entertained us with fun stories of the neighborhood’s history.”

“I loved seeing the tiny alleyways and hidden courtyards of the Jordaan from the water perspective. Felt less touristy than just doing the main inner city canals.”

“We booked a private yacht tour of the Jordaan backstreets and felt it was worth every euro! Being able to disembark and explore shops not packed with crowds was a highlight.”

“Our small boat tour showed us parts of Amsterdam we never knew existed! Cruising slowly under tiny bridges really captures the magic.”

“The Jordaan evening cruise should not be missed – amazing lights reflecting on the calm waters. They also served great Dutch gin which really set the mood!”

The Jordaan cruises cater equally well for couples looking for romance as well as families. The smaller boats create an intimacy you don’t get on the big crowded tours.”

Best Canal Cruises in Amsterdam


Are drinks or food provided? 

Most standard daytime tours do not provide food or drinks beyond basic water and coffee. Alcohol and meals are generally only served on designated dinner/evening cruises. Feel free to BYO snacks!

How long do tours last? 

Typical Jordaan cruises range from 60-90 minutes roundtrip to appreciate the area. Express tours can be only 45 minutes while private chartered tours can be 2 hours or longer.

Do we need reservations? 

Advance booking is recommended for public tours during peak season to guarantee your desired departure time. Small private group tours absolutely require advance reservations.

What languages are tours offered in? 

Most tours offer live or audio commentary in at least English and Dutch. Many companies also offer German, Spanish, French, Italian and other languages. Inquire when booking if language support is important.

Can we go inside buildings along the canals? 

Standard routing does not allow disembarking to enter buildings. Private/custom tours may allow quick photo stops but are focused on the boat sightseeing experience.

Is commentary provided on the history and sights? 

Yes, insightful narration from a live guide or audio track is provided detailing key landmarks, history, and interesting insights about the Jordaan sights.

Are pets allowed? 

Most tour companies do not allow passengers to bring their pets aboard. Service animals are typically permitted. Check with the specific provider about their pet policies when booking.

Is there inside seating or protection from weather? 

Many boats have indoor, temperature controlled seating areas in addition to open air topside seating. This allows touring rain or shine. Bundle up if breezy!

More useful information about Amsterdam Canal Cruises

We are a group of travelers who love to explore and write about Amsterdam. Over the years, we have gained extensive experience with cruising over the Canals in Amsterdam. Here, you could find all the essential information you need to know about Amsterdam Canal Cruises, including the different types of cruise, prices, tickets, operating hours, departure points, and many more.


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