Cruising the Ridiculously Pretty Canals of Amsterdam

Cruising the Ridiculously Pretty Canals of Amsterdam


I had a really over-the-top summer. I got married (!), hiked the Austrian Alps, drank wine in Paris, went boating in Cinque Terre and cheered Germany on in a World Cup victory. I’ve now set an unattainable bar for all future summers, haven’t I?

One of my favorite evenings this summer though was spent on the canals of Amsterdam. I realize at this point it’s apparent that I can’t quite keep my mouth shut about one of my favorite cities in Europe. It is SO much more than an ultra-liberal/red-light-district-tooting destination, I can’t speak highly enough about how great this place is. The FOOD, the architecture, the people, everything in Amsterdam is memorable.

Now, about that canal cruise…


Last time we were in Amsterdam Dan and I went on a guided canal cruise along with a mass of other tourists. Dan tried his best not to fall asleep to the drone of the automated English guide blaring his headset while I had naively attempted to take pictures of the canals through the scuffed glass windows. It wasn’t very fun and certainly not worth 15E per person.

This visit though, I had something completely different in mind. Enter: Boaty Rentals. For 89E you can rent zippy little 6 passenger boat for up to 4 hours, following any one of the recommended routes or create your own.

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The six of us (my family, aunt and my Dad’s oldest friend) boarded at 5PM for an evening troll through the canals with wine, snacks and sandwiches in hand. The weather was that perfect can’t-even-feel-it temperature as we began our cruise down one of the main channels gazing with envy at all the charming houseboats. What a life!

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As we journeyed further into the inner fan of the canals our pours of wine grew more generous. My Dad’s dear friend is true riot and had us rolling and crying with laughter as he jokingly called out for help in Dutch to passing boats.

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The wine ran out far too quickly, so we did what any silly bunch would do. We snuggled up against the side of the canal, my Mom and sister hopped off, found a grocery store and replenished our stock. Problem solved.


Between the laughter and wine, I went bananas taking pictures of the ever-so-lovely canals at blue hour (i.e. the besssst time for pictures – that time at dusk with the sky turns beautiful blue).

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That evening on the canal is undoubtedly one of those that I will not soon forget. Great company, a beautiful cruise and the freedom of being out on the open water. It was perfect. On your next visit to Amsterdam, I sincerely recommend you do the same!