Amsterdam might be most famous for its winding canals and pretty locks, but it’s the Amstel River that the city was first built around, even deriving its name from its early settlement at the ‘Amstel Dam’.

Today the river runs through the center of the city, lined with landmark buildings, stately mansions and colorful houseboats. A walk along the riverside pathway takes in a number of key sights: the regal Carré theatre, still a popular performance house; the post-modernist Stopera city hall and opera house, with its contemporary glass facade; and the neo-baroque domes of the St Nicolas church, all face the river front. A number of landmark bridges also cross the river, the most famous of which is the Magere Brug, or the ‘Skinny Bridge’, a white painted bascule bridge, rebuilt in the early 1900s. Don’t miss out on renowned tourist attractions like the Hermitage Museum, the Amsterdam Museum and Waterlooplein, either – all lie along the shores of the Amstel.

Throughout the year a number of festivities center around the Amstel River – the Bevrijdingsdag (liberation day) celebrations are televised from here; the Gay Pride Canal Parade brings a dash of color to the waters and the annual New Year light-show dazzles crowds along the riverbanks.

Tours & Tickets

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Best Highlights of Amsterdam Sightseeing Cruise

4.5 star rating: Recommended 254 Reviews

Get a comprehensive overview of Amsterdam's top sights on this 1-hour canal cruise. See the Golden Bend, the Anne Frank House, the Skinny Bridge, ...  Read more

Location: Amsterdam, Netherlands
Duration: 60 minutes (approx.)

From USD $17.33

Amsterdam City Sightseeing Tour

4 star rating: Recommended 322 Reviews

Get your bearings on this 3-hour Amsterdam city tour, perfect for first-time visitors. On your morning or afternoon tour, see top Amsterdam attractions ...  Read more

Location: Amsterdam, Netherlands
Duration: Varies

From USD $27.07

Amsterdam Light Festival Cruise from a Glass-Topped Canal Barge Including Dutch Snacks

Admire the spectacular Amsterdam Light Festival while savoring a hearty meal on this holiday canal cruise. Listen to illuminating commentary about the 30 light ...  Read more

Location: Amsterdam, Netherlands
Duration: 75 minutes

From USD $26.53

Amsterdam Super Saver: City Sightseeing Tour and Half-Day Trip to Delft and The Hague

4 star rating: Recommended 34 Reviews

This Amsterdam Super Saver combines two half-day tours into one memorable day, giving you a great value for your money. Start the morning with a fully guided ...  Read more

Location: Amsterdam, Netherlands
Duration: 8 hours (approx.)

From USD $64.97
$75.80 Save $10.83

Amsterdam Canal Cruise by Small Open Boat

4.5 star rating: Recommended 12 Reviews

Explore Amsterdam’s narrowest waterways on this 75-minute canal cruise. Thanks to your boat’s small size, discover hidden corners that other cruises can’t ...  Read more

Location: Amsterdam, Netherlands
Duration: 60 minutes (approx.)

From USD $17.33

Amsterdam Super Saver 1: Keukenhof Gardens Day Trip and Amsterdam City Tour

4 star rating: Recommended 102 Reviews

For the complete Amsterdam experience, combine a city sightseeing tour with a trip to the Keukenhof Gardens. On a 2.5-hour morning coach tour, drive along ...  Read more

Location: Amsterdam, Netherlands
Duration: 7 hours 30 minutes (approx.)

From USD $70.39
$81.22 Save $10.83

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