Amsterdam Canals, Netherlands

Keizersgracht (canal), Amsterdam. Netherlands

Keizersgracht (canal). Photo by Lies-Thru-a-Lens.

A look at Amsterdam’s canals

Amsterdam’s primary canals are Prinsengracht, Herengracht and Keizersgracht and you haven’t experienced the city until you’ve been boating on one of these waterways, preferably in your own hire craft, but take a tourist boat if time or money are in short supply.

The Carré theatre beside the Amstel River lock gates, Amsterdam, Netherlands, Europe

The Carré theatre beside the Amstel River lock gates. Photo by Andreas Praefcke.

Tourists on a canal in Amsterdam, Netherlands, Europe

Now that’s my idea of a good afternoon’s tourism! A small motorboat, a mid-size girlfriend and a big cushion. Photo by Kham Tran.

Stunning architecture somewhere along the canal ring, Amsterdam, Netherlands, Europe

Stunning architecture somwhere along the Canal Ring. Amsterdam all becomes a bit of a blur after a while. . .

Swans on a canal in in Amsterdam, Netherlands, Europe

Tourists and locals mixing it up. Photo by Takeaway.

Keukenhof Gardens, a half an hour ride from Amsterdam, Netherlands

Keukenhof Gardens, a half an hour ride from Amsterdam is the world’s largest flower garden and absolutely stunning in springtime.

Keukenhof Gardens ONLY OPENS 20 March – 18 May. It’s near Lisse, southwest of Amsterdam. Cycle there, drive there or take a direct bus from Schiphol airport (bus 858) or from Leiden Central Station (bus 854).

Don’t forget to check out Amsterdam’s Bloemenmarkt flower market on the Singel canal if flowers are an interest or try huge Vondel Park if you simply want an open space to run around in or feel the need to spend more time by water within Amsterdam city limits. Vondel has many lakes, water features, sculptures, a playground, an open-air theatre, bars and cafés.

Other possible day trips out of Amsterdam include visiting the historic windmills of Zaanse Schans and the quaint fishing villages of Marken and Volendam (a common package tour taking about 5 hours); cycling to Delft and/or the Hague.

Concert-Gebouw, a 19th century theatre and concert hall in Amsterdam, Netherlands

Concert-Gebouw, a 19th century theatre and concert hall. Photo by Hpschaefer.

Concertgebouw is famed for its outstanding acoustics and offers free, short concerts on Wednesday afternoons during the summertime, June – September, usually as practice before a major paid performance later on.

Keizersgracht (canal) lights at night, Amsterdam, Netherlands

Keizersgracht (canal). Photo by Massimo Catarinella.

And so farewell to our dour (well, the older folk) but permissive Dutch cousins in the ‘Dam.