Boat Tours#10 in Best Things To Do in Amsterdam
Few things are as representative of Amsterdam as its picturesque canals. Home to 165 waterways (including the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Amsterdam Canal District), the city prides itself on its impressive canal system.
It's easy to see the canals during a bike tour or while walking around the city center, but for a closer look at the water network, sign up for a canal cruise. Many tour operators offer different kinds of boat tours around downtown Amsterdam. The following are some of the city's most popular options:
Friendship Amsterdam: For a brief introduction to Amsterdam's canals, book a standard excursion with Friendship Amsterdam. According to previous patrons, this tour company's luxury canal cruise features entertaining and informative narration from a guide, plus superb drinks (charges apply). The hourlong journey – which is available multiple times daily (weather permitting) – includes exploring several smaller canals in an authentic, open-air boat. It costs 15 euros (less than $17) per adult and 8.50 euros (about $9.50) for children 4 to 12; no fees apply for kids 3 and younger.
Lindbergh Tour & Travel: Whether you're in search of a specialty boat tour or a more traditional cruise, Lindbergh Tour & Travel has you covered. This Amsterdam-based outfitter offers everything from classic canal cruises in enclosed or semi-open vessels to dinner cruises (including ones with pizza or burger themes) to hop-on, hop-off sightseeing cruises. Although a few past travelers said the onboard commentary was a bit boring or brief at times, most enjoyed their outings. Boat tours generally last one to two hours. Expect to pay 18 to 92.50 euros (roughly $20 to $104) per adult and 10 to 50 euros (about $11 to $56) for each child age 4 to 13. Tickets are not required for kids younger than 4, and reduced rates for adults are available for select cruises booked in advance online.
Flagship Amsterdam: Travelers who want to treat themselves to a high-end tour of Amsterdam's canals will likely enjoy a guided tour with Flagship Amsterdam. This tour operator offers intimate canal outings in open or closed boats (depending on the season). Charges apply for drinks purchased on board; however, attendees said their cocktails were tasty and reasonably priced. Flagship Amsterdam's boats depart several times daily from a dock next to the Anne Frank House. Trips last approximately one hour, and fees range from 10 to 16 euros (roughly $11 to $18), depending on age.
Stromma: One of Amsterdam's most well-known boat tour companies is Stromma. Cruise options include standard excursions on boats with enclosed or open-air cabins, as well as dinner cruises that serve cheese, pizza or a four-course meal made with seasonal ingredients. Overall, past travelers lamented the lackluster audio commentary available on Stromma's vessels, but those on food-focused boat tours appreciated the delectable dishes and friendly service they received on board. The longest outing lasts 2 ½ hours, though most tours are no more than 1 ½ hours long. Standard cruises cost at least 16.50 euros (about $18.50) per adult and 8.25 euros (roughly $9) for children 4 to 12; boat tours that serve food cost 42.50 to 95 euros (or $48 to $107) per person.
Blue Boat Company: Vacationers offer mixed feedback about Blue Boat Company's canal cruises: Some praise the friendly staff and relaxing atmosphere, while others say the audio guide isn't the most entertaining and the ticket prices are steep. However, those with an I amsterdam City Card can enjoy a complimentary City Canal Cruise. If you don't have a card that covers admission, expect to pay a minimum of 18.50 euros (less than $21) per adult and 9 euros (about $10) per child age 5 to 12. Discounts are available online, and kids 4 and younger cruise for free. In addition to the standard City Canal Cruise, visitors have access to themed boat tours (think: kids pirate cruises and Rembrandt-focused excursions). Each boat tour lasts at least one hour.
Additional details about tour options and schedules are available on each tour company's website, as well as the Amsterdam tourism website. You can also find more information about boat tours on Viator's website.
More Best Things To Do in Amsterdam
Located southwest of the city center, the 116-acre Vondelpark is the favorite leafy retreat of just about everyone. Not only is it the largest city park in Amsterdam, it's also one of the most revered in all of the Netherlands. Most recent travelers said they enjoyed people-watching and picnicking at the park, but other reviewers recommend avoiding a late-night visit as the park can be a little frightening once the sun sets. During the day, though, the park is filled with couples, families and friends, and is definitely worth a visit.
Ponds, fields and playgrounds are connected by winding paths, which also run by an open-air theater, a rollerblade rental, a rose garden, several cafes and a range of statues and sculptures. Open dawn to dusk, you can take trams 1, 2 or 5 to the Leidseplein, and you'll have just a quick two-minute walk to reach the park's entrance. The park is free to visit.
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