Amsterdam Travel, Canal Tours Day Trips

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Located 1.5 meters below sea level, with 165 canals and 1,281 bridges (eight of which are ancient wooden drawbridges), Amsterdam's nickname, 'Venice of the North,' is very well deserved. Part of Amsterdam's lure is the charming network of canals that divide the city streets into intricate grids; not only are they beautiful, but viewing Amsterdam from the water exposes a more peaceful side of the city. Amsterdam travel doesn't get much more authentic than hopping on board a canal boat to explore over 100 kilometers of waterway.

Travel in Amsterdam ; explore the city's canals

A relaxing way to experience the canals is to join a group guided tour on one of the city's 70 canal boats. Amsterdam travel tours usually depart every hour and length can vary; some last 60 to 90 minutes while others involve dinner, perfect for a romantic early evening cruise. Multi lingual tour guides present and explain all the attractions in English, French, German and Dutch. Prices can be as low as €5.50 to €7 but watch out on the main street of Damrak, where prices can be extremely inflated. Compare costs at the ticket booths in Centraal station and along Damrak and Rokin or consult the tourist board, or VVV, to avoid overpaying.

If you're up for the exercise, hire one of the city's 120 canal bikes from a number of booths located in Westerkerk, in the Leidseplein neighbourhood, on Leidsestraat and at the Rijksmuseum in Museumplein. Canal bikes (which are basically floating self propelled bicycles) let you pedal your way peacefully through the city's canals at your own pace; the five main routes take you through the canal belt are Herengracht, Prinsengracht, Keizersgracht, Singelgracht and Singel. Canal bikes hold between two to four passengers and rental includes a map, route suggestions and information on the attractions and sites you'll see above you.

Perhaps the need for speed has you looking into hiring an electric speed boat. You can find boats at two booths; one is located on Kloveniersburgwal (at the corner of Leidsestraat and Prinsengracht) at Nieumarket. The other booth is at the Munt Tower. Boating regulations and speed restrictions apply; if you prefer to let someone else do the driving, take a specialty cruise or board a canal boat bus. A number of hotels have their own boat services and docks.