A travel blog of Ireland, Europe, and New Zealand

Amsterdam canals

We recently spent a long weekend in Amsterdam, arriving at 4:30 on the Friday afternoon and by 8pm we were out cruising the canals, not wanting to miss a moment of the short time available to us on this trip. We knew that there were some waterways in Amsterdam but did not realise just how extensive they are and how vital they are to the city. Amsterdam is particularly photogenic from the perspective of a boat and so there are lots of photos to come in this post!

It had been a cloudy day but by early evening the sun came out and at 8pm when the cruise started, the sun was just starting to set, providing that soft light which is evident in the first three  photos below.


Am04The moon was about three-quarters full as well and occasionally I was able to get it within shot.

Am03Most of the canals had roadways or at least paths alongside them but occasionally we would turn down a narrower section where the houses were hard up against the water, allowing the residents to take advantage of their very narrow balconies.

Am05There are a lot of open air cafes along the canal banks to take advantage of the water views but there are also places which let people do their own thing, socialising or just sitting.

Am10Then moving out towards the Amstel river from which the city gets its name we went past the Sea Palace, a floating Chinese restaurant which surely has to be the biggest in The Netherlands, if not in Europe, seating 1000 diners.

Am06By now the eastern sky was a stunning yellow-orange which enabled me to get a good silhouette shot of the landscape, looking very exotic with its domes and minarets.

Am07There are a variety of interesting architectures in Amsterdam, made even more picturesque by the setting sun. And if you think there is something odd about the second photo below, you’re right. Many of the buildings lean in different directions from the perpendicular, partly because of issues with subsiding land but also, I think because they were deliberately built that way, particularly the leaning forward ones.

Am08Am09By now it was starting to get quite dark but there were still a few photo opportunities as we wended our way slowly back to our starting point in the Jordaan district.

Am11 Am12 Am13What a magic evening! There are many tour boat operators on the Amsterdam canals and the one that we chose, after a bit of research, was an outfit called Those Dam Boat Guys. They are No. 1 of 72 boat tours on Tripadvisor and they definitely deserve their place at the top. We were in a small open boat with just 10 people plus the very knowledgeable and entertaining captain, David. And being such a small group, the interaction was great, no doubt helped along by the wine! We were probably not their usual demographic but felt quite at home with the other twenty-something and thirty-something passengers. A great start to the trip.

4 thoughts on “Amsterdam canals

  1. mel

    Gorgeous ! Nearly as lovely as RARO !!! We have seen whales spouting off the lagoon but a bit far away to see close up.
    Photos when I get home as no connection for the camera.

  2. Hewitt Harrison

    Some wonderful photos as always – thank you! Brought back a lot of memories for me. Amsterdam is a city I would love to visit again. Loved the photo of the “lovers’ boat with the couples standing intimately (well, perhaps that’s too strong a description!) on the bridge above!!

  3. Moira

    I loved this blog. I went to Amsterdam a couple of times about 40 years ago and I can see that so much of it in the pictures is exactly as I remember. It looks and sounds like a marvellous experience. xxx

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