Canal Cruising in Amsterdam

Renting a boat in Amsterdam does not require experience nor a licenseūüė≥. ¬†Small private boats can be rented hourly to explore the city’s canals without having to worry about traffic. ¬†It seemed to be a popular activity for any type of gathering- from family reunions to bachelor party groups. ¬†Amsterdam, which is the capital of the Netherlands, has also been called the “Venice of the North” because it¬†has more than one hundred kilometers of canals. ¬†These canals thus create¬†about 90 islands with approximately 1500 bridges connecting them all together. ¬†The canals in Amsterdam not only serve as additional pathways for transportation, but they also assist with water removal.

amsterdam canals

The canals were built in the 17th century to help create more useful space in the city. ¬†Herengracht canal was called the Golden Bend because many of Amsterdam’s elite and affluent residents bought land along here to build homes. ¬†The famous Anne Frank House, which you should get tickets for ahead of time unless you don’t mind a 3 hour wait, is located along the¬†Prinsengracht¬†canal. ¬†See our post on another great way to explore Amsterdam which is by renting a bike and riding along the canals.


Biking Amsterdam

Amsterdam is one of the most bicycle friendly cities in the world.  Over 60 percent of inner city trips are made by bike and the designated bike lanes can make even the most fearful biker (myself) comfortable.  A 24 hour bike rental, depending on the agency you choose, will cost about 12 to 15 euros, but will more than pay for itself as you can nearly access all parts of the city via bike.  Remember to lock your bike carefully and make a note of its location.  There are so many bike riders in this city, it is easy for the bikes to look the same after a long day of exploring.  Although the yellow and red tour bikes definitely make you stand out as a tourist, they are easy to locate amongst a sea of Dutch bikes.

My bright yellow bike.
My bright yellow bike.

While biking to the must -see Van Gogh Museum, be sure to take the more scenic route through Vondelpark, which has several ponds and an open air theatre. ¬†After a couple days of biking, you may want to relax by exploring the city via a canal cruise. ¬†Between the canals and the bike lanes, renting a car here is not the best idea. ¬†If you can’t find a cheap flight to Amsterdam, fly into nearby Brussels, explore Belgium’s many beers in¬†Bruges and then take the train over to Amsterdam.