One of the best ways to see Amsterdam is cruising through its canals by boat. As you can imagine there are a lot of companies offering tours but as I mentioned in my post 10 things you must do in Amsterdam not all tours are created equal. After researching various companies I found a major difference which I’ll share below as well as my favorite tour and the one that I recommend you book.
which boat to book?
there are a few different styles
You will want to book an open boat which is the main difference between other companies and the company that I booked. Most companies don’t offer an open boat but instead a glass top boat which has tiny windows on the sides so your view of Amsterdam’s historic monuments is somewhat obstructed. I’ll explain the differences a bit more below and also add a few companies that offer open boat tours with a local.
WHY NOT TO BOOK A GLASS -TOP BOAT:
Aside from an obstructed view, glass-top boats are also much larger so they’re limited to which canals they can cross under due to strict water rules. Amsterdam is a boat city so much like driving cars; boats use signals to let one another pass and there are un-spoken boat courtesy and etiquettes that take place.
The company I chose also offers glass-top boats with an audio guide in 21 languages (free earphones supplied) but I recommend spending a few euros more for their open boat tour where you’ll hear live commentary from the guide/boat driver, not earphones.
WHY YOU SHOULD BOOK AN OPEN-BOAT:
Remember, these boats are smaller which allows them to cross under every bridge, giving you an authentic experience. I especially loved that my boat offered a basket of blankets so that everyone could get cozy during the 75- minute canal cruise.
I highly recommend arriving early to grab a seat on the bow of the boat (across from the driver) for maximum obstruction-free views. For reference, all of the photos and videos in this post were taken while sitting there.