The Ultimate Guide to Canal Cruise in Amsterdam


5 Best Canal Cruises in Amsterdam you don’t want to miss!

Best Canal Cruises in Amsterdam

From romantic sunset sails to family-friendly cruises, Amsterdam offers iconic tours along its scenic UNESCO-listed canals for all interests. This guide spotlights top-rated daytime, evening, specialty, and private cruises you won't want to miss.

Gliding through Amsterdam atop a boat, meandering by scenic bridges and gabled canal houses, offers a quintessential way to explore the city. With dozens of cruise companies plying the city’s UNESCO-protected waterways, it can be tricky to choose the perfect canal tour.

We’ve compiled this guide to highlight truly unforgettable Amsterdam canal cruise experiences across a range of styles. Whether you’re seeking a romantic sunset sail, delicious dinner cruise, or just the best overall daytime tour, these cruises guarantee incredible views and memories.

1 Hour Canal Cruise from Central Station - Lovers Company

This 1-hour canal cruise operated by Lovers canal Cruise company, is without a doubt the most popular cruise in Amsterdam and a great way to see city’s top sights and architecture from the water. Their glass-covered saloon boats depart from just across from Amsterdam Central station, providing easy accessibility.

During this cruise, you’ll glide by famous Amsterdam landmarks including the Anne Frank House, the Skinny Bridge, the historic gabled canal homes, and the revitalized Eastern Docklands area. An audio guide is available with commentary in 19 languages.

The Friendship boats have both indoor heated seating and outdoor viewing decks so you can choose your vantage point. Restrooms and a licensed bar are available onboard.

This Tiqets canal cruise runs daily with frequent departure times starting from 9.00 AM to 22.00 PM. Tickets can be purchased on Tiqets for €16.50 for adults and €9.50 for children ages 4-12.

Positive reviews praise the convenience of departure location, smooth operations, and views of top attractions from the water. It’s a great simple option for getting oriented in Amsterdam and seeing main sights without breaking the bank.


  • Convenient central location departing across from Amsterdam Centraal station
  • Ability to book ahead through Tiqets and scan mobile ticket to board
  • Commentary available in 19 different languages
  • Heated indoor saloon cabin and outdoor standing deck viewing options
  • Restrooms available onboard
  • Licensed bar selling drinks and snacks
  • Cruise route passes by major Amsterdam landmarks and attractions
  • Frequent daily departure times to choose from
  • Value pricing and discounts for children under 12


  • No dining or elaborate amenities onboard
  • Route is fixed with no customization ability
  • Can feel crowded and rushed during peak tourism times
  • Commentary is pre-recorded rather than live guide
  • Outdoor standing deck has no seats
  • Bars and some commentary may not be suitable for young kids
  • Not ideal for travelers with mobility constraints

1 Hour Night Canal Cruise from Central Station - Lovers company

This cruise is another top seller cruises in Amsterdam operated by Lovers canal Cruise company by evening and nights hours. This boat tour takes you through the scenic UNESCO-listed canals of Amsterdam on a glass-topped boat. Experience the city’s iconic bridges, architecture, and sights lit up at night while learning about the history and culture from live commentary.

The boat has both indoor and outdoor seating with panoramic windows, allowing you to sit back and relax or stand outside for perfect views and photo opportunities. Blankets are available on colder nights. The indoor cabin has cozy seats and tables.

The cruise follows a route through the atmospheric canal ring, gliding under lovely illuminated bridges. Highlights along the route include the Amstel River, Magere Brug (Skinny Bridge), the Royal Palace, the Pulitzer Hotel, the National Monument, and the historic city center.

The cruise boards daily from 5PM to 10PM from Amsterdam central station. Boarding starts 30 minutes prior to the departure time. Drinks like wine, beer, soft drinks and juices can be purchased on board. Snacks available include cheese, sweets, chips and crackers. The boat has an accessible bathroom and is wheelchair friendly.

Live commentary is provided in 12 languages about Amsterdam’s rich history, diverse architecture, culture, and more. Guides share local insights into this iconic city.


  • Unique way to see Amsterdam’s iconic canals and architecture lit up at night
  • Panoramic views of the UNESCO-listed canal ring from the glass-topped boat
  • Cozy indoor cabin with seats and tables to relax during the cruise
  • Live commentary provided in 12 languages gives cultural insights
  • Drinks and snacks available for purchase on board
  • Convenient centralized boarding area in the city center
  • Wheelchair accessible boat and restroom


  • Duration is only 60 minutes, which may feel short to some
  • Departure times are limited from 5PM
  • Commentary is provided out loud, which may be distracting to some
  • Weather conditions like rain or cold may hinder outdoor viewing
  • Crowding and long lines during peak tourist season
  • Additional costs for drinks, snacks and blanket rentals
  • Potential motion sickness from boat movement


Blue Boat Canal Cruise from Hard Rock Café - Blue Boat Company

This cruise which operated by Blue Boat Company, is also one of the top-seller cruises in Amsterdam. This cruise is a 75-minute canal cruise that departs from the Hard Rock Café in Amsterdam near Dam Square in the city center. 

The cruise takes place on a covered boat and goes through Amsterdam’s famous canals, providing views of the city from the water. The cruise passes through major canals including Prinsengracht, Keizersgracht, Herengracht, and Singel. 

You’ll see sights like the Anne Frank House, Nine Little Streets, and the Skinny Bridge. A snackbox with Dutch treats like stroopwafels, cookies, liquorice, and chocolate is included with the ticket. Drinks can be purchased separately on board. 

There is multilingual audio commentary provided during the cruise. The ticket price is €15 for adults and €7.50 for children ages 4-12. Discounts are available for students and seniors.

The cruise has an overall rating of 4/5 stars on tiqets. Positive reviews mention the relaxing boat ride, informative audio guide, and value for money. Many reviewers said it was a great low-cost way to see Amsterdam by canal. Areas for improvement include wishing for more seating on the boat deck and supplying additional snacks/drinks beyond the snackbox.


  • Provides scenic views of Amsterdam’s iconic canals and landmarks
  • Good value canal cruise option at €15 per adult ticket
  • Informative audio guide included in multiple languages
  • Snackbox with Dutch treats included
  • Convenient central departure point at Hard Rock Cafe near Dam Square
  • Easy booking through tiqets website


  • Limited seating and space on the boat deck
  • No food/drinks except for snackbox included
  • Mixed reviews on guide commentary and overall boat experience
  • Some reviewers found cheaper canal cruise deals elsewhere
  • Duration is only 75 minutes which is short for some

This combination deal is very popular among families in Amsterdam. This combined Madame Tussauds and canal cruise ticket, allows you to experience two popular Amsterdam attractions in one. It’s a great option for those looking to see the city by water while also seeing lifelike wax models of famous figures.

Madame Tussauds is located in the heart of Amsterdam and is home to wax figures of international stars, world leaders, sports heroes, and historical figures. Some of the figures you’ll see include Barack Obama, Lady Gaga, Brad Pitt, and the Dutch royal family.

After exploring the museum, the ticket includes a 1-hour canal cruise with Lovers company. The cruise takes you through Amsterdam’s famous canal ring, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. You’ll float by historic buildings, houseboats, and under charming bridges as you learn about Amsterdam’s history and culture from live commentary available in 19 languages.

Dinner cruise is the ultimate romantic way to enjoy Amsterdam and this cruise particular, is one of the top-seller cruise in Amsterdam, offers a 2-hour evening tour along the city’s picturesque waterways while enjoying a set 3-course meal on board. Passengers are seated at intimate tables for two to take in views of the illuminated bridges, canal houses, and houseboats during the cruise.

The fixed menu features a choice of meat, fish, or vegetarian dish for the main course prepared by the boat’s chef. Appetizers and dessert are also provided. Drinks including beer, wine, and soft drinks are included without additional charge.

The cruise boat boards from central station and passes by top attractions like the Anne Frank House and the iconic canal belt while making its way towards the Amstel River. The evening canal dinner cruise aims to provide a cozy, romantic atmosphere for couples or small groups. The €79 individual ticket price covers the set menu and drinks.

Rather than a detailed narrated tour, the boat ride focuses on the scenic views, dining experience, and general atmosphere of Amsterdam after dark. The cruise provides a unique way to experience Amsterdam’s canals without crowds.


  • Unique vantage point to see Amsterdam’s top sights from the canal perspective
  • Intimate, cozy ambiance perfect for a date night or special occasion
  • Set menu lets you focus on the views rather than choosing dishes
  • Inclusive drinks and dining package offers convenience


  • Fixed menu doesn’t allow for personal food preferences or dietary needs
  • Schedule may not work for travelers who prefer earlier or later dinners
  • Less flexibility than an independent boat rental or BYO picnic cruise
  • May feel overly romantic or formal for some groups or travelers

Insider tips for ordering a canal cruise in Amsterdam

  • Book in advance, especially during peak season. Canal cruise tickets can sell out quickly during busy tourist seasons. Booking ahead ensures you get a spot.
  • Consider booking a small boat cruise. The larger tour boats can feel crowded and impersonal. Opting for a smaller boat with fewer people allows for a more intimate, customized experience.
  • Look into evening cruises. Seeing Amsterdam’s canals and architecture lit up at night is magical. Evening cruises tend to be more relaxed and romantic.
  • Ask about by-the-glass drinks or open bar options. Having drinks included makes a canal cruise feel more special and fun. Just be careful not to overindulge!
  • Choose a cruise that goes into the harbor. Most canal cruises stay within the main inner city, but some go out into the Amsterdam harbor for a unique perspective of the city.
  • Book a cruise that includes food or snacks. Many canal cruises include basic food like cheese, crackers, and wine. It adds to the experience.
  • Consider cruises with live commentary. Having a guide explain the history and sites along the canals enhances the experience.
  • Check the weather and dress accordingly. Cruises continue rain or shine, so bring layers and be prepared.
  • Look for discounts online. You can sometimes find cheaper fares by booking online, even directly through the cruise company’s website.

Frequently Asked Questions

Should I book tickets in advance?

Yes, booking at least a few days in advance is recommended, or weeks early during peak tourist season to guarantee a spot.

Can I show up and buy a last minute ticket?

You can try, but tickets often sell out entirely during busy times. Booking ahead is highly recommended.

What if it rains? Will I get a refund?

Most companies will not offer refunds for rain. Cruises operate rain or shine, so check the forecast and dress accordingly.

When are the cheapest times to book?

Tickets tend to be cheaper in the off-season from November to March. Summer has peak pricing.

Are discounts available?

Yes, many companies offer discounts for children, students, seniors, groups, and online bookings. Ask when purchasing tickets.

Can I cancel or change my ticket?
Cancellation and change policies vary. There is often a fee or tickets are non-refundable. Check individual company policies.

How early should I arrive before departure?

Arrive at least 15-20 minutes prior so you have time to check in and board. Times may vary.

Do I need to print my ticket?

E-tickets on your phone or a voucher code are usually acceptable, but printed tickets can’t hurt.

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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