On arrival in Amsterdam it can be quite a 'culture' shock. Avoiding being hit by a bike or tram, luckily there are very few cars. I found the best way to see this great city is from the water. We took an early afternoon cruise for about 75 mins along the wonderful waterways with a commentary, in a few languages, describing the history, architecture etc etc of Amsterdam. Money well spent on this modern, warm (and we needed it in December), comfortable canal cruiser.
Pay 10 euros at Reederij P. Kooij and you'll get a nice one-hour boat tour through Amsterdam. It's nothing special, just a regular boat tour like you would expect it to be. The seats are fine and you can order drinks if you like. The guide speaks Dutch, English, German, and French (maybe Spanish? I forgot..).
I did this tour because of a international friend but I would recommend this to every Dutchie as well. It's fun to see your city like this, from the water, while getting history lessons and information about the houses and buildings. It's fun to look through tourists eyes sometime. Also, I think 10 euros is reasonable. I'm not up to date about boat tour prices these days but 10 for a hour of chilling and entertainment isn't bad right??
We really enjoyed our tour! The glass-topped boat winds its way through the different neighborhoods, pointing out a lot of interesting landmarks throughout Amsterdam, and even goes through a lock and out into the bay, to get a good look at Renzo Piano's NEMO museum (the green building shaped like a ship) and that crazy white Amsterdam Film Museum. The pilot had some pretty impressive skills getting us through tight spots!
The boat was comfortable and clean, with beer and soft drinks served on board. Narration was in Dutch, English, and French. We got discounted tickets through our hotel, but would have gladly paid full price. Oh, well - bigger tip for the driver!
Being a local I didn't think of taking a boat tour until I had some friends over from the US. It really was an eye-opener! I learned so much about my city in that one hour and fell in love with it all over again. Kooij is one of the most well known tour operators in Amsterdam. Knowledgeable, friendly staff, wonderful tours. A must do in Amsterdam... and not just for tourists!
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