Canal Belt Overview

Lined with lovely 17th-century buildings, cozy cafes, and stunning bridges, the canal belt offers some of the most picture-perfect sceneries you can relish and capture in Amsterdam. A boat cruise is the best way to have immersive experiences around the canal belt, allowing you to enjoy the city from a vantage point.

Amsterdam's famous canal belt is home to several significant cultural attractions and some of the finest specimens of Dutch Golden Age architecture, making it city’s popular tourist destination. The network in the form of rings gave the city its recognizable crescent shape during the Dutch Golden Age. Deemed a UNESCO World Heritage Site, this network is referred to as the "Grachtengordel" (the canal belt) and is made up of four canals the Singel, the Keizersgracht, the Prinsengracht, and the Herengracht.

The canal network was constructed in the mid-17th century to boost trade in Amsterdam, but it also served as a barrier against invaders. The canal ring was mostly frequented by traders, therefore many businesspeople constructed lavish palaces to settle there. Many of these structures are still in existence today and have become iconic attractions. After becoming a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2010, the historical canal belt has gained popularity among tourists seeking the Best Europe Packages.

Canal Belt boasts several important cultural institutions, including the Anne Frank House, FOAM, Huis Marseille, Het Grachtenhuis, Museum Willet-Holthuysen, as well as some of the most famous restaurants, cafes, markets, and hotels. Take a tour of these places to learn about the city's rich history or go on a canal cruise to observe them from the best vantage point while sipping champagne and taking in the scenery.

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• Take a boat cruise to enjoy the tranquil scenery and explore the magnificent buildings around the canal belt.
• Learn about the 400-year history connected to canals which is one of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
• Discover the history, culture, and traditions of the city by visiting museums including the Anne Frank House, Huis Marseille, and Het Grachtenhuis.
• Stroll along the canal side markets such as Waterlooplein and the floating Flower Market to get a sense of local products and food.
• Marvel at any of the famous bridges over the canal belt, like Torensluisbrug and Blauwbrug to spend some memorable moments and enjoy the scenery.
• Head to Negen Straatjes and soak in the lively ambiance while browsing its boutiques, shops, vintage stores, bookstores, galleries, and delicacy stores.
• Treat yourself to a delectable meal at one of the canalside eateries such as Belhamel, Jansz, and Breda while taking in the scenery.

How To Reach

By Bus - Taking a bus to reach the canals in Amsterdam is the most cost effective way. You can take the buses 22, 305, 314, 347, 40, 41 which has their route passing through the canals 

By Train - IC, ICD, SPR transit lines have routes that pass near Amsterdam Canal Cruise.

By Metro -  If you are coming from meteor, then take the lines who have route no - 51, 53, 54.

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Best Time To Visit

The warmer spring to summer months (April to August) are the best times to visit the canal belt, explore its attractions, and partake in activities available there. The weather is perfect during this period for outdoor excursions. The best time of day, however, is the early morning or late afternoon, when the views of the rising or setting sun add to the splendor of the canals.

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Other Essential Information

Tips to Visit

  • Early in the morning is the best time to visit the canal belt since you will have more time to explore and see everything, and the rising sun panorama adds to the beauty of the canals and environs.
  • Make a list of places you want to visit during your excursion to make things simpler for you.
  • Try the delicacies from street vendors and browse the souvenir stores that dot the belt to have a truly local experience.
  • Opt for a guided walking, bike, or boat tour to explore the canal belt like a local.
  • Purchase the Go City, Amsterdam city. Card to get the advantage of discounted entry to attractions as well as unlimited use of public trams and buses.

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Point of Interest for Canal Belt
Canal Cruise Amsterdam

Canal Cruise Amsterdam

Amsterdam Canal Belt boasts numerous architectural marvels that look magnificent when witnessed from the water and leave a lasting impression. Choose from a variety of cruises to float down the immaculate canals and enjoy the breathtaking views from the vantage point. Most of these canal cruises last for an hour giving you plenty of time to explore Amsterdam's UNESCO-protected canal ring and learn a range of fascinating facts about the city. You may also upgrade your cruise experience by adding lunch or dinner to it.

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Amsterdam City Swim

Amsterdam City Swim

An open water competition called the Amsterdam City Swim (ACS) is held every year in the canals of Amsterdam. In this charitable swimming competition, participants swim either 5 or 10 kilometers to generate money for the fight against Lou Gehrig's disease. This event started in 2009 and has become an annual affair that takes place on the first Sunday of September each year. To raise money, both adults and children participate in this swimming competition, which draws swimmers from across the world.

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Amsterdam Light Festival Boat Tours

Amsterdam Light Festival Boat Tours

The annual Amsterdam Light Festival showcases illuminated works of art in the captivating Amsterdam landscape. Travel along the designated route of the Amsterdam Light Festival, where the most incredible light sculptures and installations will brighten the canals. You can take excellent full-view shots and enjoy unrestricted views of the artworks while traveling in a tiny, open boat. The tour guide on this boat trip will inform you about all the light sculptures and places you pass.

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Entertainment Squares

Entertainment Squares

The major entertainment destinations of Amsterdam are also located along the canal belt. Some of the most well-known squares close to the canal belt are Rembrandt Square, Waterlooplein, Leidse Square, and the Muntplein, which are all loaded with eateries, bars, cafes, coffee shops, theaters, and clubs. These offer a variety of entertainment activities and tempt residents and guests to hang out with friends, take the family on a day outing, or go on a date.

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Enjoy Shopping

Enjoy Shopping

The area surrounding Central Station near the canal belt boasts some nice locations to go shopping for international brands to locally made products. From 9 Streets, Nieuwendijk to Kalverstraat, these shopping streets are packed with branded stores and trendy boutiques, such as Zara, H&M, JD Sports, Urban Outfitters, etc. They also feature lovely cafes where you can try some regional cuisine or have a wonderful coffee with a friend. These are some of the top shopping areas in the city where you may spend hours.

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 Dining and Drinking

Dining and Drinking

With so many restaurants, cafes, bars, and clubs offering local to global dishes and beers to fine wines, there is no dearth of places near the canal belt to enjoy a delightful dining and drinking experience. Some of the best restaurants with water views include Belhamel, Jansz, and Breda, offering both great ambiance and food. The Waterkant, Café de Jaren, and Hannekes Boom are all bars that stay open late and offer a lively atmosphere adjacent to canals and a range of spirits.

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Tourism Board Alliances

Canal Belt FAQs

What are the best activities and attractions in Amsterdam that you can book via Thrillophilia?

The following are the best attractions and activities in Amsterdam that you can book via Thrillophilia:

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