This is the best and funniest way to discover the city of Amsterdam. You need to rent a boat!! If the weather is nice, meaning it’s a sunny day and more than 25 degrees, you will see many boats on the canal and even people taking a bath in the Amstel river. It will be a new and amazing perspective of the city!
The only requirement to rent a boat is the age, you have to be over 18. On this post, I’ll tell you some tips, rules, boat renting companies… and also a beautiful route to do and many points of interest.
Rent a boat in Amsterdam
Where can I rent a boat?
There are several companies in Amsterdam but I’ve only tried two of them:
They have many locations in Amsterdam (Amstel river, Westerpark, city center…). You can rent boats for up to 30 people! But if you want to steer, that’s only allowed in boats for max 8 people. The price for 2 hours is 90 euro. These boats are comfortable and easier to drive than the ones from MotorBoats (the other option) because they have a steering wheel. If you go with children this should be your preferred option. I think is safer for kids because of the seat configuration (facing the center of the boat) and because there is more space for they to move.
Website: Mokumboot – Amsterdam Boat Rental
Their location is near the Central Station of Amsterdam and they rent boats for 7 people maximum although they have big boats as well. The price for the smaller boats is cheaper than the first option if you only want one hour renting. These boats aren’t as comfortable as the others and instead of steering wheel, they have a typical rudder (look the picture of the boats here).
Website: Canal MotorBoats
Both companies require a deposit and also they both will give you a map of the city with routes and all you need to know. All the boats have life vests just in case you need them.
Besides, these boats are fully electric, nice news for the environment!! For more information about these companies and how to make a book check their websites.
Tips and rules, sailing on the canals of Amsterdam
- You don’t need boating license for renting a small boat.
- The driver can’t sail under the influence of alcohol.
- You need to stay on the right side of the canal, like you were driving a car in the Netherlands.
- The biggest boat and the boats coming for the right have priority.
- The speed for all the canals is limited to 6 km/h but don’t worry because it’s the maximum speed of the boats you can rent.
- Reduce the speed when approaching bridges and bends.
- There are forbidden areas where you can’t sail: IJ and Kostverlorenvaart. The IJ is the big river behind the Central Station of Amsterdam, where the cruises sail. The Kostverlorenvaart is a canal in the west side of Amsterdam, you can cross it, but not going along this canal.
- Don’t shout and don’t play loud music. There are people living in boats on the canal, so respect them.
- You can bring some food and drinks for the trip or you can also stop in a dock and go to the supermarket.
- There are cool places in Amsterdam to take a break and drink or eat. Check my map below to find: Waterkant, Pizzeria San Marco (you can buy a pizza from the boat!!!), Hannekes Boom, Brouwerij ‘t IJ.
- How many hours do I need to make a route? It depends on the starting point and what you want to do during the trip. If you start at the city center and you don’t plan to stop, I think 2 hours is enough. You will do a nice route not too far to the center. But if you rent the boat in the Amstel river and you want to go to the Waterkant or Hannekes Boom to get a drink, you’ll need more time.
- You should pay also attention to see the tourist points like: Magere Brug, Westerkerk and Anne Frank Huis, Rijksmuseum, the Dancing Ladies, the house with the narrowest façade in Amsterdam (Singel 7), the Red District, the Flower Market, Kloveniersburgwal 26, bridge of 15 bridges, etc. All these points are on the map.
- Although the day may be warm, you should bring a jacket because, when the sun goes down or you are in a shadow, the temperature over the canal may be cold. On the other hand, if it is very warm bring a cap!
- The price is per boat so the more you are the less you pay per person.
- If you have allergies and it is spring or summer remember to bring antihistamine.
A sailing route in Amsterdam – Map
The next map shows one of the routes that I’ve done in Amsterdam. It’s a long route, it takes around 4 hours.
You can download the map and use it in offline mode following the steps in Take my Google maps for your trip and check them while offline or, if you have data connection, you can add the map to your favorites in Google Maps by clicking the star (after the name of the map ‘Rent a boat in Amsterdam’ there is a star, click there).
Special days to rent a boat in Amsterdam
Keep in mind that it may be more difficult to rent a boat during special days like:
- Amsterdam Light Festival – Between November and January
- King’s Day in Amsterdam or in Dutch ‘Koningsdag’ – 27 of April
- Pride Amsterdam, Canal Parade – Between July and August (some canals can be blocked during the Canal Parade)
- Sinterklaas, Canal Parade – November (some canals can be blocked)
➽ More activities in the Netherlands on Extra Netherlands.
Any contribution or question is welcome, please write a comment!