There are certain things in life we just have to face.
Food that is good for you so rarely tastes as appealing as food that is not; people get older and wrinklier as long as they’re alive; when you go to Amsterdam, it will probably be raining.
Of course, there are many options for rainy days when you’re in a city, especially one as full-to-the-brim as Amsterdam. Find a cafe, sip a coffee, and people watch. Eat some bitterballen under the heated and umbrella-covered Leidseplein. Go shopping, visit one of the many museums, or, hell: embrace the plain reality of Dutch weather and just soldier on in your outdoor exploring.
All of these things are viable options. I’d like to share one more with you.
Like so many other super cheesy things in our world, canal tours of Amsterdam are so popular for good reason — or actually, a few good reasons. They show you a great deal of the city center; they give your feet (and the cyclists who keep almost running into you) a break; and they teach you a thing or two about the area’s history and culture.
They also offer a nice way to acquaint yourself with the city’s layout — especially if it’s your first visit, and/or you’re as hopeless with direction as a certain humble, unnamed blogger.
And, most pertinent to today’s post, a little rain doesn’t matter at all. In fact, if you ask me, it even adds a little something to the atmosphere.
Many of the canal boats are covered, so you won’t have to worry about getting wet. It’s the perfect way to stay “inside” during bad weather, without sacrificing a minute of sightseeing time. Even if you spend the rest of the day inside a cafe, you won’t feel like you “missed out” on the city at all.
There are several companies running canal tours throughout Amsterdam, and most of the names sound vaguely the same. I’ve done two, and they only had one major difference: the first one featured a voice-over that said everything in Dutch, then repeated it in German and English; the second one provided everyone with their own set of ear buds that you could plug in at your seat, and allowed you to choose a language.
I preferred the latter, but if you’re with friends and want to chit-chat while you ride, it’s probably not your best option. If you have a preference either way, make sure you check before buying your tickets.
Cost: May differ slightly between companies, but both times I paid around €15 for the standard 75 minute tour. (There are also “deluxe” tours, champagne tours, pizza tours, etc. Obviously, any extras will cost more.) Some companies give discounts for online bookings or groups.
I’d tell you where to find the canal tours, but it’s not really necessary. They’ll find you.