Amsterdam is a city that requires some time to soak well in its history, leisure options, its streets and its monuments and museums. We have already recommended on other occasions things to see, to do and to where to eat and do our shopping in the capital of Holland, but what happens if we only have a few hours to make a very basic tour of its streets.
Almost all cities have a handy and easy option, the tour bus. But in Amsterdam, with over one hundred kilometers of canals , the bus two plants is transformed into a long river cruise and stocky, of which sometimes hardly think that will happen, without running aground, the bow of one of its bridges. In addition, regardless of the walk through the Red Light District, hop on one of the tourist boats is certainly the most typical to do in the city.
What you are on a canal cruise?
There are at least half a dozen companies offering tours circular ring canals of the city, declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. They can be approached from different points of the town (in my case, I chose cruises leaving from Damrak), and usually follow a very similar path. Last one hour and throughout the trip, will explain the history of Amsterdam and the history of the channels, especially between the Middle Ages and the heyday of the capital, in the seventeenth century.
There are four concentric canals surrounding the city: Singel, the innermost, Herengracht, Prinsengracht and Keizersgracht. This ring was built to better take advantage of the intense commercial activity of the port, it celebrated its 400th anniversary in 2013, and there are always plenty of boats of all kinds browsing them. In weekend, for example, it is common to see groups of friends or families, having dinner or a drink on a boat, over the inhabitants of the city that used to go home. Traffic channels can be quite intense.
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The cruise experience is curious, though the look that offers city is superficial. Those who travel all over the Herengracht much focus on the importance of merchants and Dutch companies in the seventeenth century, and yes that explain curious aspects of the architecture of the houses built along the canal, as the reason a few of them are inclined to one side or the various types of facades gables crowning.
The last part of the journey itself is interesting because it leads us to the IJsselmeer, or Lake IJ, formerly the Bay of Amsterdam. Now, it is one of the places where you can see the most modern buildings in the city, from the EYE Film Institute, the Museum of Science NEMO. It is located on the back of the central station, and it may not be a place we go to visit if we stick to the center of Amsterdam or the museum quarter.
No need to hop on an organized cruise around the channels, because it also is possible to rent small boats for us to move on our own. In addition, these cruises offer all kinds of varieties on their way: nocturnal, romantic, open boats … Even with a menu of pizza and ice cream. In Amsterdam, you can find everything.