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Tours in Amsterdam - Walking and/or Canal boat tours

I'm planning for 5 days in Amsterdam from 4/24 - 4/28. I've bought tickets for Keukenhof gardens! Now I want to know more about canal boat tours. What has been your experience? Do you have a tour company you can recommend? I just looked up DamBoat Guys and they sound quite entertaining. Anyone use them?
I think someone told me about the Dam Guy Walking tours. Any thoughts and ideas about Canal tours and Walking tours in Amsterdam?
Thanks in advance!

Posted by
21849 posts

We have done both but don't remember the company but both were excellent. We arranged both through the TI after we arrived. The city walking tour focused on the city core, red-light district, etc. The canal tour was broader going from the city center, through many of the canals and into the harbor. They didn't overlap. It is not called TI but it is the tourist information office across from the train station.

Posted by
228 posts

Frank , you're right that it is not called IT . The real name is VVV which is indeed a Tourist Information office .

Posted by
2143 posts

Frank and grrt,
That's good to know that we can wait till we actually are in Amsterdam. I am concerned the weather will be a factor but if walk up tickets are available then we can play it by ear.
Anyone know the name of a good tour company?
You are so helpful!

Posted by
69 posts

My father and I really enjoyed our Dam Boat Guys tour in 2015, when they were a relatively new company. Our guide was very friendly, entertaining, and gave us a lot of wonderful information about the city. We enjoyed being able to see parts of the city that we would not have been able to see on one of the larger tour boats, as well as the opportunity to ask questions in a small group setting. Hope that helps!

Posted by
2143 posts

Thank you, Kristen. I'm glad to hear about your boat tour with the Dam Boat guys! A smaller group appeals to me and it is covered against the cold and elements. April I hear is coolish and wet, or can be.
Did you buy your tickets before you arrived in Amsterdam?

Posted by
3936 posts

Make sure you pack some light gloves/layers. We were there last year Apr 9-13 and tho our arrival day was beautiful and mild (out in just a tshirt), the weather turned cool and windy the next day and continued thru the rest of our travel thru NL - I regret not taking some light gloves and most days had 3 layers - usually a t-shirt, a microfleece pullover and my spring jacket, which has a bit of a lining.

We didn't do any walking tours, but did a canal boat with Blue Boat - mostly because they were the first ones we came along when walking from our accoms towards the canals. the nice thing about it was we were able to get a combo ticket incl the Rijksmuseum, allowing us to bypass the ticket line there. Otherwise, it was OK, I guess.

Posted by
2143 posts

Nicole,
Thanks for your suggestions to pack light gloves and jackets for the changeable weather there. We will be in Paris for 4 days before we go to Amsterdam and are planning to be sure to have layers equipped for rain and cold. Rick also mentions the Blue Boat Company in his guidebook I'm thinking we will just wait till we arrive to purchase tours. Just bought our Eiffel Tower tickets, Lift and up to the 2nd floor, at night. Should be wonderful! Just hope it's not foggy or rainy, oh well, we will be in Paris!! Who cares?
I may have already mentioned in another post that I have already purchased our Combi-tickets to Keukenhof Gardens. Very excited about it, another adventure!

Posted by
3936 posts

I was really regretting not having gloves when we went to Kinderdijk - tho the day was sunny, the winds were so cold, I couldn't stop shivering. By the time we got to Paris on Apr 21 - it was so warm and sunny I actually got a bit of a sunburn! So hard to plan.

I can't even recall which Blue Boat we did. We just showed up first thing and got tickets, but the boat/tour we wanted was pretty full, and there was nowhere for hubby and I to sit together. So we went back in and switched to a diff one - which was heading up past the Rijks, but they were doing some work on the bridge and it had to turn around and go back. We went out on the Amstel, and it stopped at a Diamond Exchange (I believe it was) and pretty much the whole boat got off and there were maybe a dozen people who went back to the docks.

Posted by
2143 posts

Nicole,
We are traveling in the opposite direction from your trip - Paris to Amsterdam. I still am planning for cool, cold and/or rainy weather. It does make packing a challenge and I usually suffer angst when I'm actually doing the packing. Uncertain weather conditions can lead to overpacking. sigh!

Thanks for your info, we will definitely keep it in mind.

Posted by
82 posts

We did two walking tours with That Dam Guide. He limits his groups to 10 and he's a fantastic guide! We signed up for the city tour and we enjoyed it so much we signed up right then for his red light district tour that same evening. There were only 8 of us for that one and 6 of us were from the morning tour! Definitely book a tour with him. His name was Mark.

Posted by
69 posts

Hi, Judy,
We did book our tour ahead of time, buying tickets online a few days in advance. Looking back at my notes, it appears that they sent an email receipt with a QR code ticket attached. I believe I printed that, just in case, but actually showed them the ticket on my phone. The company is owned by a few Canadian and American gentlemen, and our guide, Alec, is an American who moved to Amsterdam a few years prior to our tour (which is now a few years ago). I believe he said that he used to work for a bike tour company in Amsterdam before he and his two friends decided to start their own boat tour company. He was very friendly, accommodating, and full of information! His sense of humor was evident from the beginning, which made for a fun, light-hearted adventure. We learned a lot about the history of the city of Amsterdam, took several gorgeous photos of the city, and even got to go under the lowest bridge in the city (we had to duck so that we were completely inside the boat). We were able to bring our own snacks and drinks, Alec had each of us introduce ourselves a bit, he clearly had a passion for the city that he was happy to share, and did not hesitate to answer any and all of our questions.
Even in mid-June, however, both my dad and I were in long pants and jackets (and I was chilly). It was a windy day, but definitely bundle up if you do the boat tour!

Posted by
2143 posts

Kristen,
Thanks for the additional information about the Dam Boat Guys tour and the weather being coldish in mid-June. We're going late April so we will definitely have our layers ready for any weather eventuality! I watched a couple of the YouTube videos the Dam Boat Guys have on their website and they are hilarious, their sense of humor is infectious! I look forward to doing this.

Posted by
961 posts

Judy - we have taken the canal cruise with TDBG. The group was larger than normal (20) because it was for the winter light festival. I know they restrict the size of their tours during other times of the year. We enjoyed the tour much more than riding in the glass covered boat like on the RS tour.
The city walking tour with TDG is great. We also took his countryside tour which was marvelous!!! It is expensive but well worth it. We visited Monnickendam, strolled, had apple pie, visited a Beemster cheese dairy where we had wine and cheese tasting, visited a working windmill, etc. In addition we also took a WWII and the Holocaust in Amsterdam tour with Peter Schaapman and it was excellent, ending close to the Verzetsmuseum. Have a wonderful trip!

Posted by
2143 posts

Nance,
Thanks for this valuable information. I'm going to look into the TDG tour and the countryside tour you mentioned. Also, the WWII and Holocaust tour sounds interesting. I am planning to go to the Dutch Resistance Museum on our own. I'm not aware of the Verzetsmuseum, is it part of Peter Schaapman's tour?
How many days were you in Amsterdam?

I looked in RS guidebook to Amsterdam & The Netherlands and see that Verzetsmuseum is German (I think) for Dutch Resistance Museum.

Posted by
961 posts

"I'm going to look into the TDG tour and the countryside tour you mentioned. Also, the WWII and Holocaust tour sounds interesting. I am planning to go to the Dutch Resistance Museum on our own. I'm not aware of the Verzetsmuseum, is it part of Peter Schaapman's tour? How many days were you in Amsterdam?

No, no museums are part of the History Walk, but you end up about a block from the Verzetsmuseum (the Dutch resistance museum) so it would be worth combining the walk followed by the museum. Across the street on the way to the resistance museum is the Hollandsche Schouwburg. Here is a link about that building. Hollandsche Schouwberg
There is a small cafe right next door to Verzetsmuseum where you can get a decent lunch. There is also a dining room at The Plantage across the street next to the Artis Museum. The menu looked good but we didn't stay to eat as it looked time consuming due to crowds that day. Next door to The Plantage is Micropia, an extremely interesting museum about microbes.

We've stayed in Amsterdam about eight weeks now during three different trips.

Posted by
2143 posts

Nance,
Thanks for the detailed information, I will keep it at hand.
I like the sound of the cafe next to the Resistance Museum for a good lunch. This will be my first visit to Amsterdam, it has been on my list for a long time!