Canal Coolness


This past weekend I discovered a new way to see the city of Amsterdam. Bike, foot, car, tram, bus, train, metro, wet, less wet, sober, less-than-sober - it's all been done already.

Where it's really at is renting a boat on a warm, sunny Saturday morning and touring the canals for 3 hours with friends, tunes, and food.

While the larger canal tour boats cram in the tourists and offer a passive way to see the city (and it's perfectly fine to take such a tour once as well, especially with your mom), a far more interesting and active way to do it is via personal rental boat.

We hit the waters with, a small operator in Amsterdam. After a friendly greeting with a 10-minute tutorial and waterproof map, we were off.

The starting point

Another boat of intrepid explorers

There's no need for special license, and the electric-powered (i.e. quiet and green) aluminum tubs putter along at a very slow pace (I think ducks paddled past and taunted us on more than one occasion - trash-quacking us as they did so).

But no matter - the idea is to chill, bring your own eats and drinks, and enjoy the scenery. There are not many cities you can do this in either, which adds to the appeal.

You can rent a boat for the morning, the afternoon or the whole day, although in the morning it is more tranquil in terms of traffic on the water and it's also nice to witness the city waking up.

We fit 5 people comfortably, and could easily have had one or two more. And for three hours at a cost of 79 Euros in total... let's just say that there aren't many more enjoyable things you can do in Amsterdam for less than 20E per person. Much less for 3 hours straight.

One of the many homes on the water