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Canal Ring

Amsterdam
Amsterdam featuring a river or creek, boating and a city

Taking a boat trip is one of the best ways to discover the historic monuments and elegant architecture along the canals of the city dubbed “The Venice of the North”.

The Canal Ring, or Grachtengordel as it is called in Dutch, is central to Amsterdam’s identity. This 400 year old network of waterways is bordered by hundreds of monuments, restored warehouses and iconic gabled houses. Taking a boat cruise is one of the best ways to see the city

The Canal Ring is semi-circular and is made up of three main canals: the Herengracht, the Prinsengracht and the Keizersgracht. Back in the 17th century, they were originally built to drain the land so that the city could extend its boundaries. They also quickly developed as routes for importing goods into the city centre by barge. The money generated by this booming trade fuelled Holland’s Golden Age, leading to the building of all the waterfront housing and grand monuments characterising this area. In 2010, the Canal Ring was included in UNESCO’s World Heritage List.

Hire a bike and follow the route of the Canal Ring, though, the most popular way to navigate the waterways is on a canal boat cruise. There are short excursions, hop-on, hop-off tours with the Canal Bus or even night-time dinner cruises.

On the Canal Ring, there are over 1,500 historic buildings waiting to be discovered. Visit the Het Grachtenhaus, the Museum of the Canals, with its multimedia displays charting the history of the Canal Ring, or take in the sight of the elegant merchants’ mansions, museums and art galleries that line the route. There are also hundreds of bridges spanning the canals, which are illuminated at night, creating a romantic ambience.

The water is also the focus of many seasonal events. According to Amsterdam’s residents, a good winter is one where the canals freeze over, and ice-skating can replace cycling as the transport of choice. If you’re visiting at the end of April, you’ll see boats packed with revellers celebrating Queen’s Day, and in August don’t miss the world-famous Canal Parade, the main event in the city’s annual Gay Pride festival.

Canal boat tours depart from various points around the Canal Ring. Tickets can be purchased on-site or via tour operators’ websites.


Popular places to visit in Canal Ring

Top activities in Canal Ring


Top hotels in Canal Ring

Mercure Hotel Amsterdam Centre Canal District
Mercure Hotel Amsterdam Centre Canal District
4 out of 5
Noorderstraat 46, Amsterdam
Fully refundable
The price is AU$129 per night from 1 Aug. to 1 Aug.
Located in Amsterdam City Centre, this eco-friendly hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Spiegelkwartier and Heineken Experience. Rijksmuseum and Albert Cuyp ...
4.2/5Very Good! (982 reviews)
"Very good hotel, great location. No problems during our stay. I would recommend it."

Reviewed on 11 Jul. 2021

Mercure Hotel Amsterdam Centre Canal District
Pulitzer Amsterdam
Pulitzer Amsterdam
5 out of 5
Prinsengracht 323, Amsterdam
Fully refundableReserve now, pay when you stay
The price is AU$564 per night from 1 Aug. to 1 Aug.
This family-friendly Amsterdam hotel is located near the airport, within a 5-minute walk of The 9 Streets and Anne Frank House. Madame Tussauds and Royal Palace ...
4.7/5Exceptional! (993 reviews)
Gorgeous hotel, highly recommend.
"Georgeous hotel in a perfect location in Amsterdam. Absolutely recommend - we were lucky enough to be upgraded from a 'Cosy Suite' to a full suite with a canal view - they also left some wine with a card and some cute balloons for our anniversary. Highly recommend a stay here - only downfall I will ..."

Reviewed on 10 Oct. 2020

Pulitzer Amsterdam
NH City Centre Amsterdam
NH City Centre Amsterdam
4 out of 5
Spuistraat 288-292, Amsterdam
The price is AU$167 per night from 22 Aug. to 22 Aug.
Located in Amsterdam City Centre, this eco-friendly hotel is steps away from Begijnhof, Amsterdam Museum and The 9 Streets. Madame Tussauds and Royal Palace ...
4.3/5Excellent! (995 reviews)
"Excelent hotel nice staff great location good breakfast"

Reviewed on 22 Jul. 2021

NH City Centre Amsterdam
Hotel Estheréa
Hotel Estheréa
4 out of 5
Singel 303-309, Amsterdam
The price is AU$174 per night from 28 Jul. to 28 Jul.
Located in Amsterdam City Centre, this historic hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Madame Tussauds, Dam Square and Anne Frank House. Leidseplein and Vondelpark ...
4.8/5Exceptional! (1,184 reviews)
"Centrally located, beautifully decorated rooms and amazing staff!"

Reviewed on 21 Jul. 2021

Hotel Estheréa
The Hoxton, Amsterdam
The Hoxton, Amsterdam
4 out of 5
Herengracht 255, Amsterdam
Fully refundableReserve now, pay when you stay
The price is AU$246 per night from 1 Aug. to 1 Aug.
Located in Amsterdam City Centre, this hotel is steps away from Herengracht Canal and The 9 Streets. Madame Tussauds and Royal Palace are also within 10 minutes. ...
4.7/5Exceptional! (835 reviews)
"Great people for the staff. Pristine condition of property. PET FRIENDLY with our 2 large dogs. Great location for seeing the city. Definitely recommend!!"

Reviewed on 31 May 2021

The Hoxton, Amsterdam
Ambassade Hotel
Ambassade Hotel
4 out of 5
Herengracht 341, Amsterdam
Fully refundableReserve now, pay when you stay
The price is AU$182 per night from 1 Aug. to 1 Aug.
This family-friendly Amsterdam hotel is located on the waterfront, within a 10-minute walk of Amsterdam Museum, Flower Market and Kalverstraat. Royal Palace ...
4.7/5Exceptional! (693 reviews)
"This hotel is a little secret gem. unquestionably one of just a few of the exceptionally delightful boutique hotels i have enjoyed in over 40 years of travel. The staff could not possibly provide service any better in any way at all. Bravo!"

Reviewed on 6 Jul. 2021

Ambassade Hotel
Lowest nightly price found within the past 24 hours based on a 1 night stay for 2 adults. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.

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Canal Ring

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