Amsterdam Canal Tour
Keizersgracht Canal, Amsterdam © Massimo Catarinella
Amsterdam's famous canal tours are an essential experience for visitors to the city, and continue to delight and amaze tourists from all over the world. Amsterdam's UNESCO-listed canals were essential to the city's transport and defensive strategies in the 17th century, but these days their function is largely aesthetic, providing a picturesque method of seeing the historic city centre from its characteristic waterways. Tourists looking to take a canal tour of Amsterdam have two main options: the large glass-topped canal boats, which can accommodate hundreds of tourists and travel along predetermined routes; or a more personal tour, like those run by the St. Nicolaas Boat Club, a non-profit organisation. The St. Nicolaas Boat Club makes use of the traditional tuindersvletten boats (once used to transport vegetables and animals around Amsterdam), which can only accommodate 10 people per tour and which can navigate the tiniest canals and fit under the lowest bridges in the city. Tour guides in these smaller craft commonly ask visitors to nominate 10 Amsterdam sights they want to see and will construct tours around these highlights.