Oh Amsterdam. How much I enjoy you! City of grachten, once refuge for sailors – you make my heart beat faster. Okay, okay. Enough of poetic talk. There are many reasons why Amsterdam is so beautiful and an experience in itself and it offers quite a few things to see. How do you go sightseeing in Amsterdam? There are several ways to learn to love Amsterdam:
- by foot on your own
- by foot with a tourguide (check out the free walking tour)
- by sightseeing bus
- by riding around the tram
- by renting a bike
- by a canal cruise (on a boat)
- …you get the idea.
Since this has been my third time in Amsterdam, I decided I’d finally take a tour. And both were canal cruises, a tour around and through Amsterdam on a boat. Now…they were two different boats on a cloudy day and I found that I liked one more than the other. But both had their advantages and disadvantages, of which I want to write now.
When you leave the Central Station in Amsterdam and walk down the main street where trams drive, you’ll see a row of boats (or just their empty spot if they are out on a tour) on the left hand side. If you know the Grasshopper, it’s pretty much opposite of it. If you want the name of what the place with all those boats is called, it’s the “Damrak”. There, I took the tour from the Rederij Plas.
Rederij Plas Canal Cruise
For just 10€ for an hour the tour is a steal, a good price compared to other tours (comparison with the other canal cruise below). It rides around showing you places you might not have gone to if you were on your own without any tour. For example I didn’t know there is an old caribbean styled ship around Amsterdam. Or a ship looking building! It seems it’s all around boats and ships and sea-life, as you may also have noticed by all the seagulls flying around Amsterdam and stealing your food ( 😛 ) . Either way, this tour is good for rainy days because the boat is closed, with a roof. You can bring food and drink with you to consume but you’ll be busy listening to the guide in 4 languages (english, dutch, german, french) and looking out the (openable) windows anyway. This is your typical, tourist-y and old-people-friendly boat tour.
Friendship Luxury Canal Cruises
(don’t get irritated by “luxury”)
Friendship Rederij Amsterdam offers a more unique tour. They have five different boats from different times and two of them even have a toilet (I wasn’t on one that offered that luxury, but you don’t really need it either.) This company, except one, offers open-air tours, which makes it very appealing for anyone who wants to take a lot of pictures from different angles and views (or for people who’d like to smoke, which is possible if it doesn’t bother the other guests). They also pride themselves with giving “the ultimate winter experience”. It was a cold day when I took this canal cruise, but they are such sweet hosts they gave red, cozy blankets for everyone who wanted one. On this boat, you can buy (warm and cold) drinks too. However, they only give english guides, compared to the other tour, but it’s a “warmer” and more romantic (and even more personal) canal cruise. You can rent them for private tours as well (pretty costly), but of course you can get on the boat for the regular ride, which I took for 15€ for an hour. Since this boat is smaller than the one Rederij Plas uses, this boat rides through the narrower canals too.
They have a website too: Friendship Amsterdam
All in all, I liked the Friendship Canal Cruise more. I really liked that it was open and also that I could, despite or because of the cold, enjoy a Glühwein (/mulled wine) on board, wrapped in a blanket while looking at Amsterdam from the water. It was pretty cozy and homy. 🙂
Which one would you choose and why?