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!


  • I can not wait to go to Amsterdam in 2016!

  • I would much rather be able to do my own thing as well so this boat renting sounds like an exceelent idea. Love those great evenings with family and friends where its full of laughter, good food, and those views aren’t to bas either!

  • Oh I wish I would have found this when we went to Amsterdam, although we only had 3 people. I love the freedom of it! Next time 😉

  • Wow! You have certainly had a summer to remember. Here’s to many more 🙂

  • This looks amazing! I was in Amsterdam just a few weeks ago and I so wish I’d known about this, it would have definitely been towards the top of my to-do list. Anyhow, I’m glad you had a time! 🙂

  • This sounds like SO much fun! I am headed to Amsterdam for the first time in 48 hours so I’m frantically taking notes over here 🙂

  • That looks fab! So much better than the crowded tourist boats – and not even that expensive if you fill the boat!

    Sometime Traveller

  • Amsterdam is gorgeous! The canal cruise looks lovely!

  • Seriously awesome! I’ve always wondered if there was something like this in Amsterdam and now I know – oh happy day!

  • I really enjoyed just wandering around the canals in Amsterdam. I never took the boat cruise though or these little boats. Nice idea, but I’m a little too uncomfortable in the water. I like my walking 🙂

  • Beautiful pictures! I can’t wait to do this one day!

  • Beauuuuutiful!! I’m loving the mental image of jumping off the boat to reload on wine – sounds like your family has some solid priorities 😉

  • Wow, you have had a pretty epic summer! This boat ride looks so fun! I mentioned before that Amsterdam was one city I didn’t fall in love with, but I do absolutely love boat rides – I think if I had my family along, bottles of wine, dusk, and this boat ride, I could be persuaded otherwise 🙂 Looks like such good quality time with family with a dose of gorgeous scenery!

  • Ah! I love Amsterdam! I went a few times but never ended up cruising the canal the way I wanted to! But I don’t think that would have compared to this anyway! This just looks like everything I love about Europe in general, tucked into an afternoon! 🙂

  • I just loveee being on the water! Lovely pictures!!!

  • Sounds SO amazing!! What a smart way to go…sounds much better than the touristy route. Love the pictures!

  • I love seeing this aspect of Amsterdam. Sounds like you had a very amazing and memorable time!