See Amsterdam from the water
Photo: Courtesy of Blue Boat Company
A hundred sights to see in one sedate, picture-postcard journey
Word to the wise: Avoid booking dinner cruises, as the food is often bland and the service impersonal. Savour the views, then book a good restaurant for later.
Visiting a 'Venice of the North' means that taking a canal cruise is mandatory, and it's the easiest, and most pleasurable, way to see Amsterdam. There are dozens of boat operators plying for trade - mostly around Central Station - who offer numerous packages like 'cruise by candlelight', 'museum cruise', 'diamond cruise', and even the 'Amsterdam Dungeon cruise'. Most of these, though, are tourist traps, designed to get you to spend more money, as the boat drops you conveniently at the entrance to a certain museum, or expensive restaurant, with staff waiting on the quayside, offering 'discounts' to those coming off the boat.
If you wish to just see the sights without any hidden agenda, opt for the straight day or night cruises, which punt you around the canals at a nice, leisurely pace. There's no need to book, just turn up at the quayside and hop on. Most boats come with optional audio tours, as well as licensed bars.