Dutch people are truly geniuses when it comes to building and making.
Amsterdam is a proper example of a a city built on water in every sense of the word. There are 165 canals in the city and 10 of them from 17th century are placed in UNESCO’s World Heritage list. On each canal there are interesting and historic sights, most of them you can only see and experience fully from the boat’s point of view. (For example Reguliersgracht-7 bridges)
The city is just something else; much more special from canal point of view. That’s why taking a canal cruise is really a must when in Amsterdam.
However, keep in mind that Amsterdam Canal Cruise is the most popular tourist attraction in the country with over 200 tour boats and 3 million passengers a year. You can find all kinds and varieties of canal cruises of almost every form of entertainment that this city offers. But, you will find much crowd too.
Regardless to a huge choice of canal tours, I would always choose a pedal boat.
In this post, I will explain you all the good sides of pedal boats and all the bad sides in comparison to Amsterdam Canal Cruise. In the end, I hope you will have a clear imagine of what’s best for you.
Sooo, let’s get cruisin’! 🙂
1. THE MOST AFFORDABLE WAY
Amsterdam is the no. 1 cycling city in the world and you can even cycle through the canals. Since 1984 you can explore canals with mentioned pedal boats also known as pedalos, water bikes or even canal bikes. There are 100 of pedal boats around the city.
The cost of renting a pedalo for 1 hour is only €10 or €9 if you book it online. If you want to have it longer, you have to pay a bit more. Beware that upon arrival, a €20 deposit is required. You can even return your pedal boat to another location but in that case, but €10 will be deducted from your deposit or even €20 depending on the company.
When you compare the price to any other way of exploring canals, pedalo is the leading for being the cheapest.
TRAVEL TIP: Last departure is at 16:00 hrs but depending on the weather operating times may vary so make sure to be there as early as possible. (opening at 09:00). Please check the official website for possible changes of working hours etc.
2. YOUR OWN PEACE
There’s nothing better than freedom, right? You can go exploring canals by pedalo with your friend, partner or even group of friends and family. Most pedalos are equipped to catty up to four passengers. That means, no unwanted passengers, noise or anything like that. Plus, you can choose your own tour and paths where you want to go.
TRAVEL TIP: As part of the rental you’ll be given advice on how to manoeuvre safely among canal traffic, a free guidebook including a map of the best routes through the city and the major attractions. I’ve read on the official website that stuff is giving you a rain hood if the weather turn unpleasant while you’re out on the water. We didn’t get it (it was a clear, summer sky), so make sure you ask for it if necessary because you’ve read it on their site.
3. IT’S HEALTHY FOR YOU
Okay, I know that many of you forget about healthy diets and way of living when you’re on vacation. But why not merging good with the useful?
Pedal boat is like free gym but also you don’t have to go fast. Pay a bit more, and cycle slower while enjoying the views.
TRAVEL TIP: It is true that pedal boat will be harder for people who are not in such a good shape, but if you go in group of three or four persons, you can always switch while others are resting.
4. YOU CAN TAKE NICE PHOTOS
Don’t get me wrong. You can take nice photos from any city, canal cruise but you will probably be bothered by the windows. I took once canal cruise with that long, red city boat for €14 accompanied with plenty of people. I got a seat next to a window but it was a window. A dirty window. The boat did had open roof but I couldn’t do much with it.
However, later I’ve seen other canal cruise options like semi-open boat cruise, dinner cruise, hop on-hop off bus + boat tour that are having less windows or none like private boat tour or electric, open boat tour, but they are all more expensive than pedal boat.
TRAVEL TIP: Get Amsterdam Pass if you want to see more attractions around the city because it will save you plenty of money!
5. SUSTAINABLE AMSTERDAM CANAL TOUR
Personally, I think it’s very important to preserve the splendor of each city whether you are local or just visiting. That’s why almost all boats that are offering canal cruises are equipped with electric engines or are solar powered.
However, pedal boat doesn’t have an electric engine but it does have your legs that are ready to do some action! 🙂
TRAVEL TIP: Don’t get discouraged, you can do it! 🙂
BAD SIDES OF PEDAL BOAT
- NO COVER: In case of rain, you are most likely to get wet if you don’t have a rain hood, rain suit or at least an umbrella
- NO AUDIO GUIDE: While other city canal cruises are offering audio guides and headphones with up to 19 languages, in pedal boat you are your own guide. Unless you know a local person that will come with you or you can always rely on Google.
- FREE DRINKS: Some city canal cruises are offering free drinks, but usually those are much more expensive. On the other hand, if you choose pedal boat and departure between 9-12 am at Stromma Leidseplein (Leidsebosje 2) it does include a free coffee or tea! Other Stromma pedal bike locations: Stromma Shop Rijksmuseum, Stadhouderskade 520 & Stromma Shop Westerkerk, Prinsengracht 279.
To conclude, I was cruising Amsterdam canals with city-cruise boats, private boats and pedal boats. I wrote this article based on my impressions and a bit of exploring. To be frank again, pedalo is definitely the best choice to cruise around Amsterdam canals.
I hope this article was helpful for you to decide what to choose when visiting Dutch capital.
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