The Ultimate Guide to Canal Cruise in Amsterdam


Amsterdam Evening Canal Cruise – Which one will you choose?

Amsterdam Evening Canal Cruise

Evening Cruise in Amsterdam Canals is one of the best things you can do while traveling Amsterdam. What can you expect? How much will it cost you? which one you should choose? and what is the departure location? Here is all you need to know!

As dusk falls over Amsterdam, the city transforms into a glittering wonderland. Evening canal cruises let you experience the magic of the city’s waterways illuminated against the night sky. For about two hours, marvel at how the bridges, canal houses, and landmarks shine as darkness descends.

Most tours begin in the city center, then set off to float by top sights like the Anne Frank House, Westerkerk church, and charming Skinny Bridge. The canal ring becomes even more picturesque after dark, with reflections of lights dancing across the water.

Some cruises enhance the experience with onboard dinners or drinks. Savoring Dutch cuisine while admiring Amsterdam’s canal-side architecture makes for an unforgettable night. Other options provide audio commentary about the sights and history.

When visiting Amsterdam, make sure to see the canals in their most enchanting state – at twilight. These special evening adventures showcase the city’s true beauty and elegance.

Amsterdam Evening Canal Cruises - Types of Evening Canal Cruises

With canal cruises being so popular in Amsterdam, you have plenty of options to choose from. Here are some of the most popular types of evening cruises:

  • Traditional Evening Sightseeing Cruises: These cruises focus on showcasing Amsterdam’s best-known sights illuminated after dark. They last around 90 minutes and include commentary.
  • Dinner Cruises: Combining a multi-course meal with canal views, dinner cruises let you dine while admiring Amsterdam’s architecture glowing at night.
  • Drinks & Entertainment Cruises: Options like wine tastings, open bar cruises, and floating dance parties mix drinks and fun with exploring the evening canals.
  • Private Tours: Book your own private vessel for an exclusive evening cruise tailored to your wishes. Ideal for groups.
  • Specialty & Themed Cruises: Some cruises offer unique experiences like pizza dinners, cheese tastings, or even pancake buffets onboard.

Evening Canal Cruise in Amsterdam - Departure Times and Duration

Most evening cruises depart between 6PM and 9PM, capturing the city as sunset fades to twilight. Boarding time is typically 15-30 minutes prior to departure.

The duration ranges from 1-2 hours, providing plenty of time to soak in views of illuminated landmarks while learning about Amsterdam’s past. Cruises generally sail for 60-90 minutes.

For a late night experience, special midnight cruises are also available during summer months. These tours capitalize on Amsterdam’s “White Nights,” when lingering twilight creates a magical atmosphere.

Here are some of the most popular Amsterdam Evening Canal Cruises:

Amsterdam Evening Canal Cruises - Booking Tickets

It’s highly recommended to book evening canal cruise tickets online in advance through tour company websites. Walk-up tickets may be available, but could sell out, especially during spring and summer.

Ticket prices vary by cruise type, but average around €17 for adults and €10 for children on standard sightseeing tours. Dinner, drinks, and private cruises cost more, while late-night and off-season cruises may be cheaper.

Many companies offer discounts for advance online booking, child tickets, groups, and students. Be sure to check for any available promo codes that could save you money.

Cruise Company Price Features
Blue Boat Company €17 adults, €10 children Live commentary, snacks available
Gray Line Amsterdam €20 adults, €12 children Recorded commentary in 19 languages
Lovers Canal Cruises €25 adults, €15 children Multicourse dinner included
Those Dam Boat Guys €15 adults, €8 children BYOB allowed
We Are Amsterdam €30 adults only Unlimited drinks included

Departure Locations

Most evening canal cruises depart from docks around Amsterdam’s city center. Popular embarkation points include:

  • Rederij P. Kooij: Rokin near Dam Square
  • Blue Boat Company: Between Central Station and Damrak
  • Those Dam Boat Guys: Anne Frank House dock
  • Lovers: Dock near Anne Frank House
  • Gray Line Amsterdam: Across from Central Station

Many companies offer hotel pick-up services for an added fee. This convenient option has you get picked up and dropped off right from your accommodation.

What to expect from an evening canal cruise in Amsterdam?

Evening canal cruises offer a relaxed, enjoyable way to experience Amsterdam’s top sights illuminated after dark. Here’s what to expect during your 90-minute tour:

  • Panoramic windows provide ideal viewing of landmarks like the Skinny Bridge glowing against the night sky. Make sure to have your camera ready!
  • Informative live or recorded commentary points out top attractions and delves into their history. Listen to engaging insights about Amsterdam’s culture and past.
  • Climate-controlled interiors with cushioned seats keep you comfortable regardless of weather conditions outside.
  • Food, drinks, and restrooms are available on most cruises. Offerings range from full multi-course dinners to snacks and beverages for purchase.
  • Friendly, knowledgeable staff make the experience smooth and enjoyable. Don’t be shy to ask questions!

What will you see?

Gliding through Amsterdam’s UNESCO-listed canal ring, evening cruises spotlight many of the city’s top sights illuminated after dark:

  • Anne Frank House – The secret annex where Anne Frank hid glows against the Prinsengracht canal.
  • Magere Brug – This charming “Skinny Bridge” with twinkling lights is one of Amsterdam’s most photographed landmarks.
  • Royal Palace of Amsterdam – The monarch’s palace and former town hall casts a stately presence along the canal.
  • Canal Houses – Feast your eyes on elegant mansions from Amsterdam’s Golden Age lined with lights.
  • Seven Bridges – See where seven bridges elegantly arch over the Reguliersgracht canal.
  • Houseboat Museum – Step inside Amsterdam’s floating houseboat history.

Insider Tips

Follow these tips to make the most of your evening canal cruise experience:

  • Book tickets in advance online to secure your spot and get the best price. Show up 15 minutes prior to departure time.
  • Dress warmly in layers and bring a jacket or blanket. Temperatures can feel chillier on the open water at night.
  • To avoid crowds, book a late or early cruise during off-peak hours like May, October, or weekdays.
  • Splurge on a private cruise if celebrating a special occasion. You can customize the route and experience.
  • Photograph landmarks from unique angles as you pass under bridges or by canal edges.
  • Sit near the back or front for the best open views. Side seats can get blocked by other passengers.
  • Enjoy the Complimentary snack or drink included with many cruises as you soak in the stunning evening scenery.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are answers to some commonly asked questions about Amsterdam evening canal cruises:

How long do evening canal cruises last?

Most evening cruises run between 60-90 minutes, providing enough time to soak in top sights illuminated at night.

When is the best time to take an evening canal cruise?

The hours just after sunset, from 8-10PM, are ideal. Cruises occurring during “White Nights” in summer also offer magical extended twilight.

What is the weather like on evening cruises?

Because they’re on the open water, evening cruises can feel brisk and chilly compared to on land. Dress warmly and in layers.

What language are the cruises offered in?

Most cruises offer live or recorded commentary in multiple languages, usually including English, Dutch, German, Spanish, French, and Chinese.

Can you bring food and drinks onboard?

Policies vary, but many cruises include complimentary snacks and drinks or have beverages available for purchase. Some allow BYOB.

Should children take evening cruises?

Yes, evening cruises can be great for families. Most boats feature kid-friendly commentary. Book dinnertime cruises to align with children’s schedules.

Can you customize or private book evening cruises?

Many companies offer private evening cruises that can be customized to your preferences, from routes to catering. Ideal for groups or special occasions.

Do cruises run year-round?

While April-October are the most popular months, many companies offer evening cruises year-round. Boat interiors are climate-controlled.

Is commentary provided on evening cruises?

Yes, live or recorded narration in multiple languages is provided to highlight sights and offer insights into Amsterdam’s history and culture.

Amsterdam Evening Canal Cruises - Reviews and recommendations

Here are first-hand reviews from travelers who have experienced Amsterdam evening canal cruises:

“This after-dark cruise was a highlight of visiting Amsterdam! The city is so beautiful lit up at night along the canals. Would absolutely recommend”.

“Super relaxing way to see the top sights and learn about the city’s history. The onboard dinner was delicious too – a great added touch!”.

“Got stunning photos of bridges and buildings all lit up on this evening cruise. The staff was friendly and commentary very informative”.

“One of the most unique and romantic experiences of my trip. Amsterdam really comes to life along the canals after sunset”.

“Great family-friendly way to see Amsterdam at night. Our kids loved waving to people sitting along the canals”.

“Did the cheese and wine evening cruise. The perfect activity for my wife’s birthday while visiting Amsterdam!”.

Soak in the Romance and Beauty of Illuminated Amsterdam

An evening canal cruise allows you to experience Amsterdam’s beauty from a truly magical perspective. See this charming city shine under the stars and twinkling lights on a memorable tour through the atmospheric waterways. 

From sightseeing to dining to entertainment cruises, Amsterdam offers many wonderful ways to admire the city after dark from the uniqueness vantage point of its canal network.

Evening Canal Cruises in Amsterdam - Pros and Cons


  • See the city and landmarks illuminated at night – very romantic ambiance
  • Avoid crowds and busier daytime hours
  • Cooler temperatures can be more comfortable than hot mid-day
  • Evening light is great for photos and reflections in the water
  • Passengers tend to be more relaxed and in an enjoyable mood
  • Some cruises feature live music, dining, or drinks which adds to the experience
  • Gets you out on the water at a different time of day for varied views
  • Often less crowded and fewer children/families than day cruises


  • Darkness limits visibility of landmarks and scenery compared to daylight
  • Boat paths are not well lit so harder to see canal details
  • Added risk of getting chilled after sunset, especially with winds off the water
  • Some travelers may find navigating Amsterdam tricky after dark when cruises end
  • Potential for rowdier drinking-focused cruises in the evenings
  • Limited commentary and sightseeing value compared to day cruises
  • Evening tours can run late, not ideal for travelers who turn in early
  • May not be suitable for young children who get tired early
  • More expensive than simply walking around Amsterdam at night 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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