The Ultimate Guide to Canal Cruise in Amsterdam


Amsterdam City Canal Cruise – This is what you need to know!

Amsterdam City Canal Cruise

City Canal Cruise is the most popular cruise in Amsterdam Canals. What are your options? How much will it cost you? What are the departure times and duration? And what to expect en board? Here is all you need to know about City Canal Cruises in Amsterdam!

Gliding through Amsterdam’s picturesque, UNESCO-listed canal network is an iconic way to explore the city. Daytime canal cruises lasting 60-90 minutes take you through scenic waterways past top landmarks and charming architecture. Expert guides highlight fascinating histories while you soak in views of bridges, gabled canal houses, and houseboats.

See the city from a unique on-the-water perspective and learn about Amsterdam’s culture on these laid-back sightseeing tours. Daytime canal cruises provide lasting memories and help you discover what makes Amsterdam such a captivating capital.

In this guide, we’ve covered all the information you need to know before booking your cruise tickets. Let’s get started

Types of Daytime Canal Cruises in Amsterdam

Amsterdam offers numerous daytime canal cruise options to suit different interests:

  • Traditional Sightseeing Cruises: The classic canal tour with live/recorded commentary spotlighting major sights and history.
  • Themed Cruises: Specialty tours like wine tastings, Dutch pancake cruises, or kid-friendly options.
  • Hop-On Hop-Off Cruises: Flexible cruises allowing you to disembark at stops and explore on your own schedule.
  • Dinner Cruises: Multi-course meal served onboard during an evening sightseeing cruise.
  • Private Tours: Custom private cruises for an exclusive experience with just your group.
  • Boat Rentals: Pilot your own private electric boat or small open boat through the canals.

City Canal Cruise in Amsterdam - Booking Tickets in Advance

It’s highly advisable to book your canal cruise tickets online in advance. Walk-up availability may be limited during peak spring and summer months.

Tickets average around €16 for adults and €8 for children on standard daytime cruises. Specialty and private tours cost more. Booking early can also allow you to take advantage of discounts.

There are many platforms which offer to order Amsterdam canal cruise tickets in advance. Some of the most popular ones are “Tiqets” which is a Netherlands company, or “Getyourguide” which consider a very well-known online tickets platform.

Here are some of the most popular Amsterdam Canal Cruises:

Amsterdam City Canal Cruise - Departure Times and Duration

Daytime canal cruises typically run from 9:30AM to 5PM daily. Boarding is 15-30 minutes prior to your scheduled departure time.

Tours generally last 60-90 minutes, offering ample time to admire Amsterdam’s top waterside sights while learning about the city’s culture and heritage from guides.

For a more extended experience, hop-on hop-off cruises allow you to stay aboard as long as you want throughout the day. These flexible tickets permit you to disembark and re-board at various stops.

Top Departure Locations in Amsterdam's City Center

Many daytime canal cruises depart from centrally located docks around the city. Popular departure points include:

  • Across from Central Station – Boats like Friendship, Lovers, and Rederij P. Kooij
  • Anne Frank House – Those Dam Boat Guys and Blue Boat Company
  • Near Dam Square – Holland International boats
  • Next to Hermitage Museum – Gray Line Amsterdam, Stromma
  • by Amsterdam RAI Convention Center – Canal Bus

Some companies also provide hotel pick-up/drop-off service for an additional fee.

Company Departure Locations
Friendship Amsterdam Prins Hendrikkade across from Central Station
Rederij Kooij De Ruijterkade near Dam Square
Canal Bus Prins Hendrikkade near Central Station, RAI Amsterdam
Gray Line Boorlaan by the Hermitage Museum
Lovers Keizersgracht across from Anne Frank House

Popular Sights Spotlighted on City Canal Cruises

Gliding through Amsterdam’s atmospheric waterways, you’ll be immersed in iconic sights:

  • The Skinny Bridge – Cruise under the charming Magere Brug spanning the river Amstel.
  • Anne Frank House – See the secret annex where the diarist hid during WWII.
  • Historic Mansions – Gaze at elegant canal houses from Amsterdam’s 17th century Golden Age heyday.
  • Houseboat Museum – Peek inside Amsterdam’s unique floating houseboat culture.
  • Westerkerk – Admire the towering 17th century Protestant church where Rembrandt is buried.
  • Seven Bridges – Watch seven picturesque bridges arch over the Reguliersgracht canal.
  • Royal Palace – Appreciate the opulent former City Hall and current royal residence on Dam Square.

Insider Tips to Maximize Your Experience

Follow these tips for making the most of your daytime canal cruise:

  • Book tickets early to secure discount fares and desired departure times. Show up 15 minutes prior to boarding.
  • Opt for a mid-day cruise to enjoy the best light and avoid crowds. Mornings and late afternoons are busier.
  • Dress warmly in layers, even in summer. It can get breezy on the open water. Bring sunscreen too.
  • Grab a seat at the front or back for optimal open views down the canal. Side seats can get blocked.
  • Purchase the snack or drink included on your ticket. Savoring them as you take in gorgeous scenery enhances the experience.
  • Don’t be shy to engage with your guide and ask questions during commentary! They love sharing insider knowledge.
  • Consider splurging on a small private electric boat for a unique way to independently explore the canals.

Frequently Asked Questions About Daytime Canal Cruises

Here are answers to some commonly asked questions:

How long do daytime canal cruises last?

Most cruises run 60-90 minutes to provide ample sightseeing time. Hop-on hop-off cruises allow you to stay on all day.

When is the best time of day to take a cruise?

Late morning to early afternoon (10am-2pm) offers fewer crowds and the best light. Avoid right at opening or closing time.

What languages are the cruises offered in?

In addition to live guides, most cruises offer recorded commentary in 10+ languages – usually English, Dutch, French, German, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, Chinese, Japanese, and Russian.

Can you eat and drink on the canal cruises?

Policies vary, but many cruises offer snacks and drinks for purchase onboard. Some also include a complimentary drink or snack. Check with the company.

Is there discounted pricing for children and students?

Yes, most companies offer discounted child tickets ages 4-12 years old. Student discounts are also commonly available with a valid ID.

Are private and custom canal cruises available?

Many companies can arrange private boat rentals and tours that can be customized to your group and preferences. Ideal for special occasions.

Do the boats have bathrooms?

Most canal cruise boats have an onboard toilet facilities available for passenger use.

Reviews and recommendations from real users about Amsterdam City Canal Cruises

“We learned so much about Amsterdam’s history and culture on this cruise. The guide was fantastic and views were unbeatable”.

“Took a pancake cruise with my family and it was a huge hit! The perfect activity with kids.

“Amazing way to take in all of Amsterdam’s top attractions. We saw more than we could have on foot”.

“The relaxed pace and gorgeous views of this daytime cruise made it one of my favorite parts of visiting”.

Experience Amsterdam from the Water

Gliding through Amsterdam’s UNESCO-protected canal ring, picturesque waterways, and beloved landmarks, daytime canal cruises allow you to sit back and soak in this charming city from a unique on-the-water perspective. These scenic tours last 60-90 minutes but provide memories to cherish forever.

City Canal Cruises - Pros and Cons


  • See the top sights of Amsterdam from a unique perspective on the canals
  • Learn about Amsterdam’s history, culture, and architecture from live or audio commentary
  • Relaxed way to take in views of canal houses, bridges, and houseboats
  • Several departure points in central Amsterdam near major attractions
  • Ability to pre-book tickets online for schedule flexibility
  • Both covered and open-air boats available
  • Snacks and drinks available for purchase onboard
  • Family-friendly activity popular with kids
  • Some cruises have multilingual commentary or audio guides



  • Daytime cruises can be crowded and busy during peak tourist season
  • Commentary quality and guides can vary between cruise companies
  • Outdoor activity dependent on weather conditions
  • Limited food/beverage options – no full meal service
  • Public seating is first come, first served – no seat reservations
  • Route is fixed with no customization or stops
  • Not ideal for travelers prone to motion sickness
  • Stroller storage and wheelchair access limited on some boats
  • Evenings and night cruises can run late for younger kids
  • More expensive than seeing the city on foot yourself


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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