A Guide to Planning the Best Amsterdam Boat Tour for Families

Amsterdam, one of the most visited cities in Europe, is renowned for its picturesque canals, fascinating past, and lovely architecture. Taking an Amsterdam boat tour is one of the greatest ways to see this city. A canal cruise in Amsterdam is a special opportunity that will give you and your family the chance to see the city from a fresh angle and make lifelong memories.

This comprehensive guide will cover all the information you require to organize a boat tour for families in Amsterdam, including the ideal time to visit, what to anticipate, and how to maximize your experience.

Amsterdam Boat Tour drifting in canal of amsterdam with houseboats in background.

Preparation for an Amsterdam Boat Tour

When planning an Amsterdam canal cruise, preparation is key. To make the most out of your Amsterdam boat tour experience, it is essential to consider the purpose of the tour, research available boat tours, determine the size of the boat required, and choose a reputable boat tour company. In this section, we will dive into each of these elements in more detail to help you get started.

A. Determine the Purpose of the Canal Cruise

The first step in preparing for a boat tour in Amsterdam is to determine the purpose of the tour. Are you looking for a scenic tour to take in the city’s sights and sounds? Or, are you more interested in a cultural tour to learn about the city’s history and architecture? Perhaps you’re looking for a fun and educational tour for the kids.

Whatever your goal, it is important to know what you want to get out of the tour, so you can choose the right one for you.

B. Research Available Boat Tours in Amsterdam

Once you have determined the purpose of your boat tour, it’s time to research the available boat tours in Amsterdam. The city has a wide range of options to choose from, including canal cruises, sightseeing tours, and themed tours. Do your research and compare the different tours available to find the one that best meets your needs.

C. Private Boat Tour vs Public Canal cruise

Whether you would want to pick a private or public canal cruise will depend on the size of your group and the type of tour you are interested in. For example, if you are travelling with a large group, you may want to go for one of the private boat tours. You can have the whole boat, captain, and host for yourselves! On the other hand, if you are travelling as a couple or small family, a public canal cruise might be a better option.

D. Choose a Reputable Boat Tour Company

Finally, it’s important to choose a reputable boat tour company. Research the companies available, read reviews from previous customers, and check for any safety or licensing certifications. A reputable boat tour company will ensure a safe and enjoyable experience for you and your family.


E. When to Go on a Family Boat Tour

The summer months, from June to August, are the best times to take a boat excursion in Amsterdam. The weather is nice at this time of year, and the Amsterdam canals are buzzing with activity.

However, it is also the busiest travel period, so anticipate crowds. Avoiding peak tourist season and choosing a tour during the spring or fall, when the weather is still beautiful and the crowds are lower, may be the best option if you’re travelling with young children.

F. What to Expect on an Amsterdam Boat Tour

The Sights

The Herengracht, Prinsengracht, and Keizersgracht are just a few of the notable canals you will explore during a boat tour in Amsterdam, which normally lasts between one and two hours. You’ll visit some of Amsterdam’s most well-known sites on the tour, including the Skinny Bridge, the Westerkerk, and the Anne Frank House.

Guided Open Boat Tour Amsterdam

The majority of boat tours are guided, and the guides will share details about Amsterdam’s past and present. Make sure to inquire in advance, as some trips may also provide audio guides in different languages.

A lot of the Amsterdam boat tours are on open boats. An open boat cruise will give you the best views and really allow you to take in the city’s lively atmosphere. While some of the canal tours are on a closed boat, we definitely recommend finding a company that also offers tours on a small open boat with a guided tour.

Drinks Included

Some boat cruises offer drinks on board, so everyone can enjoy a drink as they all sit back and witness the meandering canals of this captivating city. Whether you choose craft beer, bubbly, or something classic such as Irish Coffee – these boat tours with drinks included are sure to bring out your inner Dutchman! Of course, there will be soft drinks to keep the kids happy as well. So, pull up the gangplank, grab your oars (or beers) and set sail on the boat tour of Amsterdam that is just right for you.

G. What to Bring

Bring the following essentials before setting off on your boat trip through the city centre:

  • Even on a cool day, the sun may be very strong on the water, so wear sunscreen and caps.
  • Snacks are typically not included in boat tours, so it is recommended to pack your own. Some boat tours offer snacks and meals on board, such as the pizza cruise or the Amsterdam Dinner Cruise.
  • Warm clothes — even on a warm day, on the water it can feel chilly, so make sure to pack a jacket or sweater.
  • Bring a camera with you so you may record all the incredible views and memories.

The Best Boat Tours Amsterdam Has to Offer

If you are looking for the best boat tour Amsterdam has to offer, here are a few suggestions:

The Private Canal Cruise

For a truly private experience, the only way to go is with a private canal cruise in Amsterdam. Instead of trying to elbow your way through throngs of tourists vying for the same spot on board a public boat, you can select one of the private cruises dedicated just to your friends or family. Whether you choose an intimate private dinner tour along the canals, or an Amsterdam evening cruise with complimentary drinks and snacks, these private tours make sure you never have to worry about space or crowds.

Boat Tour Amsterdam with Drinks

Amsterdam’s canals are dotted with plenty of options to take a boat tour and experience the beauty of its waterways. For parents who want their family’s boat tour extra special, book a canal cruise with drinks included! Dedicate a few hours to exploring the city from the water remarkably; when you arrive at select stops, enjoy an assortment of locally-brewed beer and luxurious hot chocolate for the tasteful little ones.

Not only will this amazing option provide beautiful memories for your family, but you also get to come home feeling full and happy after an adventurous day. So next time you’re in Amsterdam, it’s worth doing some research and carefully selecting which canal cruise to take—especially if drinks are involved!

Luxury Canal Cruise Amsterdam

When planning the ultimate Amsterdam boat tour for you and your family, luxury should always top the list! A luxury canal cruise is the perfect way to enjoy all Amsterdam has to offer from unique local views, yummy food, and drinks, as well as a luxury boat experience. Imagine this – being able to spend quality time with your family while taking in stunning sights of Amsterdam’s canals, windmills and gorgeous trees from the comfort of an exquisite luxury ship. Who wouldn’t want that classic Dutch adventure?

Booking a luxury canal cruise is truly an unbeatable option when it comes to creating long-lasting memories for yourself and your family!

Amsterdam Light Festival Cruise

Amsterdam is one of the most beautiful cities in Europe, and a canal cruise is the perfect way to appreciate great views and spend quality time with your family. For a truly unique experience, consider booking an Amsterdam Light Festival Canal Cruise during the months of December or January. You’d be able to take in the incredible sights Amsterdam has to offer while surrounded by a sea of twinkling lights – literally!

4 Tips to Maximize Your Boat Tour Experience

  1. Avoid the crowds; it’s preferable to take a boat excursion during off-peak times, such as early in the morning or late in the afternoon.
  2. Choose a guided canal cruise; they are a fantastic way to learn about Amsterdam. Some are in multiple languages!
  3. Bring snacks and drinks; doing so will save you time and money and guarantee that you and your family eat and keep hydrated throughout the journey.
  4. Get off the boat; well, this might seem weird for a blog about boat tours in Amsterdam, but what we mean is, you get a great impression of the city in a just an hour or two. This makes it a great way to add some activities and sights to see on your itinerary. A great way to see the city in an efficient wy is by joining the locals on a bike! So check out this Amsterdam Bike Tour.

Final Musings

For families visiting Amsterdam, a boat cruise is a must-do activity. It’s a special and entertaining way to discover this gorgeous city and make lifelong memories! Not sure which canal boat tour Amsterdam has to offer is best for you and your family? Get in touch with our dedicated team of locals to help you on your way.