Wine, Cheese, and Houseboats: Are Amsterdam Canal Boat Tours Worth It? 🍷🧀🚤

Last Updated on July 16, 2024

Amsterdam Canal Pinterest Pin #1
Wine and cheese canal tour in Amsterdam

Amsterdam, with its iconic canals, is a city that begs to be explored from the water. Whether you’re a history buff, a lover of architecture, or just looking for a relaxing way to see the city, a canal boat tour offers something for everyone.

While visiting, I took a wine and cheese canal tour in Amsterdam and found it to be one of the most enjoyable aspects of my trip to The Netherlands.

Here’s why booking one is totally worth it:

A Brief History of Amsterdam’s Canals

Amsterdam’s iconic canals date back to the 17th century during the Dutch Golden Age. The canals served multiple purposes: facilitating trade, aiding in transportation, managing water levels, and defending the city. Today, Amsterdam is home to 165 waterways including the Canal Ring: a UNESCO World Heritage site and an integral part of Amsterdam’s charm.

Rocky at Amsterdam's canals

Why They’re There: The canals were designed for practical reasons but have become a defining feature of Amsterdam, contributing to its unique landscape and historical significance.

What You’ll See: As you cruise the canals, you’ll see a blend of historical and modern architecture, picturesque bridges, and vibrant houseboats that tell the story of Amsterdam’s rich past.

The Charm of Houseboats

Houseboats in Amsterdam

Amsterdam’s houseboats are a unique aspect of its canal life. Originally converted from old transport barges post-World War II due to a housing shortage, these floating homes have evolved into modern, regulated residences.

Why Houseboats?: They offer a distinctive lifestyle, blending the tranquility of water with the vibrancy of city life. Today, there are about 2,500 houseboats in Amsterdam, each with its own character and charm.

Modern Amenities: Despite their traditional appearance, many houseboats are equipped with all modern amenities, making them a popular choice for both locals and tourists.

My Wine & Cheese Canal Boat Tour

Boarding a wine and cheese canal tour in Amsterdam

To truly experience the magic of Amsterdam’s canals, I opted for a wine and cheese canal boat tour. Here’s a detailed account of this delightful journey:

Cheese and wine canal tour Amsterdam

Setting Sail

The tour began in the early afternoon, which really worked out to be perfect timing for us since we had the entire rest of the day to explore places we learned about during the tour!

The boat was cozy and well-appointed, with large windows offering panoramic views of the canal scenery.

Wine and Cheese Selection 🍷🧀

Cheese served during the canal tour

We were served an exquisite selection of Dutch cheeses such as Gouda, Edam, and other kinds, paired with a variety of fine wines.

The rich flavors of the cheese and the smooth taste of the wine complemented each other perfectly, making for a delightful tasting experience.

Dutch cheese with flag of The Netherlands

Scenic Views and Landmarks

As we glided through the canals, we passed several iconic landmarks, including:

  • Charming Houseboats: Each with its unique design and story.
  • Stopera: An impressive building that houses both the city hall and the Dutch National Opera & Ballet. This is where the world’s first gay marriage took place! 🏳️‍🌈
Opera in Amsterdam


The atmosphere on the boat was relaxed and informative. A huge shoutout to our skipper Albert and tour hosts Sara and Riane, who were both fantastic hosts. Sara was so especially kind to us! 🥰

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They shared fascinating stories and historical facts about the canals and the buildings we passed, making the experience both enjoyable and educational. 😊

Why You Should Consider a Canal Boat Tour


A canal boat tour is a must-do activity in Amsterdam. Here’s why:

  • Unique Perspective: Viewing the city from the water offers a different and beautiful perspective. (Look, you may even see a coot like in the photo above!)
  • Relaxation: The gentle rocking of the boat and the serene environment provide a perfect way to unwind.
  • Cultural Immersion: Learning about the history and significance of the canals and houseboats gives you a deeper appreciation of Amsterdam.
People on the canal tour with me

Exploring Amsterdam’s canals through an organized boat tour is an experience that combines history, culture, and relaxation. My wine and cheese canal boat tour was a highlight of my trip, offering memorable views and delicious tastes.

If you’re planning a visit to Amsterdam, don’t miss the chance to glide through its beautiful canals and soak in the charm of this unique city.

Rocky and Andy at Amsterdam's canals

If you’re planning a visit to Amsterdam, don’t miss the chance to glide through its beautiful canals and soak in the charm of this unique city. 🇳🇱

Rocky and Schatze roam Amsterdam

Whether you’re a first-time visitor or a seasoned traveler, Amsterdam’s canals offer a fresh perspective and unforgettable moments.

Keep following along for more travel stories and tips from my adventures around the world. 🌍

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Amsterdam Canal Pinterest Pin #3


      1. I LOVE the fact that Amsterdam is so open to the LGBTQ (etc etc) members of our human race. I sent my own son there about twenty years ago…..he’s been in a long term relationship (now married) to Luca. Lovely man and couldn’t ask for a better spouse to my son. Have fun there.

        1. I absolutely love that. Thank you for sharing!!! Amsterdam is a great place for the community and I’d recommend it to anyone! Also, your son sounds very lucky to have such supportive people in his life like you and his husband Luca!

  1. I’ve taken canal boat tours, but no food or drink, sadly! However, I did go to a cheese shop in Amsterdam, where I sampled tons of incredible Dutch cheeses (including the legendary Gouda)! I can imagine the boat tour was a very gastronomic experience, all the while atmospheric in scenery along the water. Good vibes!

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The Rocky Safari