Amsterdam Canal Cruise – Not As Touristy As It Sounds

It hardly gets more touristy than this, right?

Because I usually prefer to tick off a handful of landmarks off my proverbial bucket list and then set off to discover the city’s cool, more authentic neighborhoods, hopping on a canal cruise was of course never part of my master plan in Amsterdam. Not that there’s anything wrong with it – it’s just not something I would normally do (mostly because I’m cheap and dislike paying for attractions).

Amsterdam was the 7th city on my grand Northern Europe Eurail trip, and at that point I had been battling the flu for a few days. I didn’t have it in me to explore the city on my own two feet, but I couldn’t bare the idea of sleeping it off in my hotel room. What a waste that would have been! The cruise was exactly what I needed. And bonus points for the very entertaining guide on board!

Amsterdam Canal Cruise

Amsterdam Canal Cruise

This is one of the unique perspectives that only canal cruises offer: the Seven Bridges point. It’s the only spot in the whole city where you can see seven bridges line up behind the other in the distance. Sure, you sort of need a magnifying glass to actually see the said bridges, but still. Pretty awesome.

Amsterdam Canal Cruise Amsterdam Canal Cruise

One of the biggest problems with the canals is what goes in and on it – on purpose or by accident. Up until a few years ago, there were no railings around the canal, meaning that anything with a set of wheels could simply roll into the canal overnight and disappear in the dark waters forever. Incidentally, over 75,000 bikes are found in the canals of Amsterdam every year! Insurance companies eventually decided that enough was enough, and that they were no longer going to pay for incidents involving canals. This had to be about money right? Because Netherlands.

Speaking of dirt… Rumor has it that the Heineken brewery uses canal water for its beer production – but only for international client! Locals can drink regular, pollution-free Heineken. Urban legend, I hope?

Amsterdam Canal Cruise Amsterdam Canal Cruise Amsterdam Canal Cruise

Another interesting fact that I learned during the canal cruise was about Anne Frank’s House – did you know that the renovations were made possible because Steven Spielberg donated the profits generated by The Schindler’s List to the museum? The Anne Frank House Museum is one of the most interesting, oddly fascinating and moving museums I have ever visited.

Amsterdam Canal Cruise 4 Amsterdam Canal Cruise Amsterdam Canal Cruise 4Amsterdam Canal Cruise 4

This is the legendary bicycle-park near Amsterdam Centraal station – more than 10,000 bikes park there daily, and it’s not even close to what the real demand is. Our guide estimated that around 15,000 more spaces would be necessary to accommodate everybody, in this section of the city only. Amsterdam does not kid with its bikes – more than just a lethal danger to lunatic tourists, they’re an intrinsic part of the city’s identity, just as the canals.

Disclaimer: I was a guest of Visit Amsterdam & Eurail.com – but I genuinely enjoyed my canal cruise (it really does offer gorgeous scenery, and also I’m very lazy).
 

19 Comments on Amsterdam Canal Cruise – Not As Touristy As It Sounds

  1. Andrea
    March 20, 2013 at 5:07 pm (5 years ago)

    I can’t believe I’ve been to Amsterdam like 5 times and have never done this…

    Reply
    • Marie-Eve Vallieres
      March 28, 2013 at 10:15 am (4 years ago)

      You should! Especially if it’s raining.

      Reply
  2. Aggy
    March 20, 2013 at 7:18 pm (5 years ago)

    I did when I was a little kid, barely remember anything, should definitely do it again. Love the pictures!

    Reply
    • Marie-Eve Vallieres
      March 28, 2013 at 10:14 am (4 years ago)

      Definitely do it again. It’s fantastic!

      Reply
  3. Michelle
    March 21, 2013 at 11:42 pm (5 years ago)

    The only thing I like more than an open-top bus tour is a river/canal tour!

    Reply
    • Marie-Eve Vallieres
      March 28, 2013 at 10:14 am (4 years ago)

      Me too! So much more fun.

      Reply
  4. Alouise
    March 22, 2013 at 3:00 am (5 years ago)

    I did a canal cruise in Amsterdam too, but it was an evening, booze kind of cruise so I sadly don’t remember a lot of the sites we went by. I’d definitely love to take a canal cruise in Amsterdam during the day.

    Reply
    • Marie-Eve Vallieres
      March 28, 2013 at 10:13 am (4 years ago)

      That’s a funny story! :) Indeed, you should visit again in the day, it’s awesome!

      Reply
  5. Jenna
    March 22, 2013 at 9:01 pm (5 years ago)

    I haven’t been to Amsterdam yet, but I did take canal cruise in Ghent. I was a little hesitant too, but it turned out to be a lot of fun, and it gives a unique perspective of the city!

    Reply
    • Marie-Eve Vallieres
      March 28, 2013 at 10:13 am (4 years ago)

      I think it’s probably even more impressive than Ghent, just by the size of the city!

      Reply
  6. Lesley Peterson
    March 23, 2013 at 3:38 am (5 years ago)

    Loved these pics, Marie! Seeing Amsterdam from the water is a must, a new perspective on one of my favorite cities.

    Reply
    • Marie-Eve Vallieres
      March 28, 2013 at 10:13 am (4 years ago)

      Thanks Lesley!

      Reply
  7. Laura @Travelocafe
    March 25, 2013 at 6:25 pm (4 years ago)

    I love the way you have presented Amsterdam. I have almost made it back there last winter, but something came up… uh, better luck maybe in summer…

    Reply
    • Marie-Eve Vallieres
      March 28, 2013 at 10:12 am (4 years ago)

      Amsterdam must be lovely in the summer!

      Reply
  8. Abby
    March 29, 2013 at 7:27 am (4 years ago)

    Gorgeous! Not enough people write about Amsterdam’s beauty. I was struck by it during my (short) visit there many years ago. Of course, when I was there, there was an awful trash strike, so the beauty was sort of camouflaged lol.

    Reply
    • Marie-Eve Vallieres
      April 8, 2013 at 12:58 pm (4 years ago)

      Amsterdam is gorgeous – except for its central island around the train station. I hate this place! :-P

      Reply
  9. Meredith@GreenGlobalTravel
    April 18, 2013 at 12:57 am (4 years ago)

    Stunning! Amsterdam is so picturesque! Brings back nostalgic memories of strolling through the canals.

    Reply
    • Marie-Eve Vallieres
      April 18, 2013 at 10:12 am (4 years ago)

      Thanks! Amsterdam is very, VERY photogenic, even from a boat!

      Reply

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