We've entered the peak of summer here in Amsterdam and that means it's the perfect time for a boat ride! Over the years, boating through Amsterdam's canals has become a one of my most frequent and treasured past times. Nothing beats a (preferably sunny!) day out on the water. Boating offers you a alternative peak at Amsterdam, where you can watch life unfold along the canals or just enjoy the company you're floating around with. As a frequent passenger myself, I can't emphasize enough that Amsterdam is best enjoyed from a boat, with good friends and bottle of bubbles!
The only thing better than having your own boat is having friends with boats, or better yet, friends with a boat company! My buddies, Alec, Jesse and Neil are a high-spirited crew of Californian and Canadian expats who combined their boating expertise, wacky personalities and love for Amsterdam into a full time gig by launching Those Dam Boat Guys. I often spot the guys having a great time on the water while showing visitors around the city. So, when they recently invited me along for a ride, my answer was an enthusiastic, 'Yes!'
Whether you're a tourist or local, boating is the best way to leisurely enjoy our city's charming canals. In the quintessential gezelligheid spirit of Amsterdam, Those Dam Boat Guys offer local expertise with a light-hearted and scenic tour of the city. In other words, their unique, laid back tours are the complete opposite of those big, obnoxious tourist boats that frequently clog up the canals. Skeptical? Check out their Trip Advisor reviews.
Those Dam Boat Guys encourage passengers to bring all their favorites on board (including babies and children). So, round up a few friends and prepare to make some new ones during the tour. Remember to bring your own snacks and feel free to drink and smoke what what you like on board (it is Amsterdam, after all).
Seating 10 passengers, their open, electric boats offer a unobstructed, 360 degree view of the city during each 90 minute tour. Instead of being trapped under glass and plugged into a boring audio tape, you'll experience a cozy ride, interact with passersby and learn the history of Amsterdam from one of their entertaining captains.
The meet-up point is near Cafe Wester, so we kicked things off with a canal side picnic and grabed pizzas and prosecco nearby. Funny enough, we even spotted Captain Neil as he returned his current tour group the back to shore. With our bellies full, we walked over by the Westerkerk and Anne Frank museum before meeting up with the rest of our group.
We hopped on board near the Anne Frank museum and headed east along Keizersgracht. Not even five minutes passed before we cracked open a few bottles of booze and started getting to know the other passengers from Australia and Spain. Captain Neil, the Canadian funnyman in charge, answered our questions and kept us entertained with a humorous twist on the history of Amsterdam.
Ready to boat like a local with Those Dam Boat Guys? Canal tours depart multiple times, daily from 12pm.
Haven't seen enough canal photos yet? Click the link below to see more of our tour ... Happy boating!
Carved out in the 17th century, Amsterdam's canal belt is one of it's most prominent features. In fact, they're special enough to be named a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Snaking through the city center, the Herengracht, Prinsengracht, and Keizersgracht are the three main canals, dating back to the height of the Dutch golden age. In summer, the tree lined canals form a beautiful canopy of leaves around wobbly brick buildings that have become more crooked and squished together over time.
From the Keizersgracht, we crossed over the Amstel River and further on through the eastern side of Amsterdam, featuring sights like the Windmill de Grooyer at the Brouwerij 't Ij. We passed the Artis Zoo and said 'Hello!' to a few happy giraffes and saw the old VOC ship at the Scheepsvaart Musuem before heading back into the center for a peek at the oh-so-lovely bridge along the Groenburgwal before going passing Amsterdam's famous floating flower market and heading back towards the Jordaan. What a lovely tour!
Those Dam Boat Guys | Multiple departures daily from 12pm
€25 adults / €23 students | Book public tickets and private tours online