We’ve always dreamt of boating through the canals of Amsterdam. Thanks to Canal Motorboats, we could finally make that dream come true. The countless canals of Amsterdam make a boat trip just perfect. We think it’s the best way to experience the city! You’re passing under lots of bridges and are surrounded by the pretty gingerbread houses all the time. Renting a boat is an absolute must-do during your trip in Amsterdam.

Boat rental in Amsterdam

Canal Motorboats

We rented the blue boat from Canal Motorboats for 4 hours. The blue boat is a comfortable electric boat with space for up to 6 people. We brought a lot of stuff with us on the boat (even a small suitcase) and there was plenty of space for that. The boat is equipped with small pillows (one each), life jackets and a map. You don’t need a license to drive the boat and the boat is very easy to navigate. As a less experienced boat driver, Mika had no problems navigating the blue boat in the canals.

You’re free to choose any route you want to. In 4 hours we covered (in this order) the Prinsengracht, Amstel river, Oudezijds Voorburgwal, Oosterdok, Oudeschans, back to the Amstel River and the Herengracht. We took tons of photos so you’re probably able to cover more canals than we did in 4 hours. Time really flew by and we could have easily spent another 4 hours in the boat.

Picnic on the boat in Amsterdam, the Netherlands

Canal Motorboats is open all year round from 10.00-22.00. Although some may argue that summer is the best season to drive a boat in Amsterdam, actually all seasons are charming (and even in summer warm sunny weather is not guaranteed). Make sure to check the weather forecast (even in summer) and bring appropriate clothing and an umbrella (you never know when it rains in the Netherlands). We rented our boat the first weekend of September and it rained a few times, but it was never cold. Luckily, we came prepared with jackets and umbrellas. The late opening hours of Canal Motorboats allow for boat trips during sunset and after dark, which we’d love to experience another time!

Rainy weather on the boat in Amsterdam, the Netherlands

You can easily rent a boat through the website of Canal Motorboats. Make sure to check their website for prices and availability. We had an amazing experience with Canal Motorboats and can’t recommend them enough!

Eco Boats Amsterdam

Eco Boats Amsterdam is a boat rental company that’s located right next to Canal Motorboats. The electrical Eco Boats are powered by green energy. The boats offer space for up to 6 people and are equipped with pillows, blankets and a map. You don’t need a license to drive the Eco Boats. Check out the website of Eco Boats Amsterdam for prices, availability and to make a reservation.

Instagrammable spots from the water


Of course we had to check out some of the famous Instagrammable spots from the water. The first spot we passed by was Papiermolensluis. From up the bridge, you have a nice view of the pretty houses across the canal. Yet, the view from the water didn’t disappoint at all! We were afraid that part of the houses would be blocked by the street, but fortunately this isn’t the case. We think we like the perspective from the water even better!

Papiermolensluis by boat in Amsterdam, the Netherlands

Papiermolensluis from the water

Papiermolensluis in Amsterdam, the Netherlands

Papiermolensluis from the street


The next Instagrammable spot on our route was the Westerkerk. The Renaissance-styled church is immediately visible when getting onto the Prinsengracht. Being located right next to the canal, the Westerkerk is the perfect spot for photos. We always snap some photos of the Westerkerk every time we visit Amsterdam. So we obviously had to take these photos from the water this time as well.

Westerkerk by boat in Amsterdam, the Netherlands

Westerkerk from the water

Westerkerk in Amsterdam, the Netherlands

Westerkerk from the street

Magere Brug

Probably the most famous bridge in Amsterdam is the Magere Brug (Skinny Bridge). From street level, there are multiple ways to get a nice perspective of the bridge. The perspective from the water in our opinion is the best though. It’s worth checking out the bridge at night too, as it’s beautifully lit.

Magere Brug by boat in Amsterdam, the Netherlands

Magere Brug from the water

Magere Brug in Amsterdam, the Netherlands

Magere Brug from the street


Another famous Instagrammable spot we wish we could have checked out from the water is Damrak. Unfortunately, Damrak isn’t accessible for recreational boats. It still remains one of our favorite photo spots in Amsterdam.

Damrak in Amsterdam, the Netherlands

Besides these well-known spots, every part of the canals (and river) you drive on, is Instagrammable.

Romantic boat ride in Amsterdam, the Netherlands

Just a random spot somewhere on the Herengracht, but such a pretty backdrop if you ask us!

Renting a boat is a must on your (next) visit to Amsterdam. We brought food, snacks and had the most perfect day on the water!

Is boating through the canals of Amsterdam on your bucket list? Let us know in the comments below!

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