Canal Cruising in Amsterdam

On many of our long walks and bike rides throughout the city, my brother and I kept seeing people peddling around the canals on these little self-propelled water boats laughing...and struggling.  Maybe you remember the little pedal boat I speak of, from your childhood at the local lake, I know I do!  Anyway, we really wanted to rent one and explore the canals of Amsterdam for ourselves, so we tracked down a rental stations and shazam!

It was really fun, I'm glad we did it.  It was a little exhausting, even for my brother who is Mr. Sportsman and is in tip top shape.  Maneuvering the canals is not a matter for the lazy when you're on these little things, you've got to paddle!  I should also mention how busy the canals are.  We were in Amsterdam during a public holiday, so there were a lot of people in the parks, on the streets, and cruisin' down the canals!  We saw it all, including wine and cheese parties on adorable little motorboats and flat pallet boats with living room furniture sitting on top full of canal loungers!  There are so many unique and beautiful boats in Amsterdam, you can spot them better when you're out on the canal itself amongst them, and not just hypnotized by the view from far on a bridge.  

For example, this view…  I hardly noticed the canal boat rental station…

First, we ended up being good tourist samaritans and paddling out to rescue a boat that had gotten loose as the group of people disembarked in laughter and forgot to tie it up.  Here's the view from our little paddle boat once we'd dealt with that ordeal and paddled out into the canal...

Getting the hang of things took a little bit of patience, since maneuvering the canals in Amsterdam is no joke.  There were so many boats going back and forth, and we often found ourselves shrinking back against the corners of intersections near the bridge to avoid and wait out larger boat traffic jams.  Things cleared up once we got to one of the outermost canal rings that runs along the Rijksmuseum.

Clearly, I don't have too much proof of these amusing boat traffic jams because I was busy maneuvering and vigorously paddling at those times…  Also, I'm clumsy and probably would have fumbled my camera into the water in no time had I attempted multi-tasking at stressful moments.  As it is, I was wise and did not take my good camera, only my phone and pocket sized Canon.  There is a video of this hilarious experience, but I don't dare share it with the world, ha!  

We passed under lots of different bridges...

Paddling along a canal called Singelgrachtkering, this is approaching the Amsterdam Casino:

A nice smattering of vivid foliage all around...

After passing the casino on the left above, we saw some really gorgeous buildings along the canal...

As you can see, the sun came out in pockets throughout this canal boat ride.  This is when we were passing the Rijksmuseum:

At each turn, lovely street and tree-lined canals, a plethora of little bridges...

Colorful shutters and window frames galore!

Partygoers on a boat flying the Dutch flag:

Once in a while there was an ornate bridge like this:


As for those unique and charming little boats I mentioned earlier, take your pick...


A Dutch Klomp (Clog) boat!

The ones pictured above and below are my favorites!


For some reason, this one makes me think of Gilligan's Island:

And then there were all those people out cruising the canals like us, except they were mostly on handy little motorboats...

…with wine and cheese, and music!

Oh, and comfy sofas too...

The living room pallet boat was pretty great, I wish I could have taken a ride on that.

How could I forget the ducks?  Beautiful Mallards and Eurasian Coots swimming around everywhere.  I showed the striking Eurasian Coot in my first post on Amsterdam and my post on the wonderful Vondelpark.

This woman was lost in her book, which is nice to see...

Oh, and there was a lone kayaker!  Which reminds me, I must write about my kayaking experience down in The Florida Keys at my uncle's house.  I took some incredible sunset photos that I must show you!  In the meantime, I have some pretty amazing sunset photos full of returning kayakers that I shot on the coast of Spain in San Sebastian at the beach.  All in good time, all in good time!


There's just so much to see in Amsterdam, there's no way I could pack it all into one post.  I'll have my final post on Amsterdam for you tomorrow…  After that I'm moving on to Ghent, Belgium, which was one of my favorite cities to photograph!

DJ Kaskade: Live at Club Air in Amsterdam
Amsterdam: The Museumplein and Meeting DJ Kaskade
Amsterdam: Coffeeshops, Naughty Shops, and the Red Light District
Amsterdam: A Day in the Life of Vondelpark

(All images in this post are the original photographs of the author of this blog. Do not copy or reuse any images on this site without written consent from

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