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Canal RingAmsterdam

Visit these semi-circular canals built in the 17th century to see why Amsterdam got the nickname “The Venice of the North.”

Walk or cycle around the Canal Ring for half a day and you’ll come across countless monuments, restored warehouses, houseboats and fine examples of the gabled homes that are typical of Amsterdam. The quickest way to tour the Canal Ring is by a canal boat cruise, which is also a great way to hear interesting facts and stories about the history of the Dutch capital.

The inner canal district, between the IJ River and Singelgracht, is an internationally protected heritage site. The first canals dug around the Dam in the 13th century protected the city from inland waters from the North Sea. The Singel was the city’s outer edge during the Middle Ages. In the 17th century, the Dutch Golden Age, the industrious Amsterdammers built the semi-circular Canal Ring that you can still see today. Barges used the canals to bring goods from all over the world to inner-city locations. The ring consists of three main canals, the Herengracht, Prinsengracht and Keizersgracht.

Hundreds of bridges span the canals, connecting the cobblestone streets and main thoroughfares of the old city. Illuminated at night, the arched bridges are a romantic sight. When the sun is out, the canals fill up with pleasure boats. Twice a year, during the Gay Parade and the King’s holiday, decorated boats full of dressed-up party people entertain the crowds.

For the Dutch, a good winter is when the canals freeze over and they can ice skate instead of cycle to work. This time of year vendors sell hot chocolate and oliebollen, the Dutch equivalent to doughnuts. Any other times of year, the canal cruises show tourists the best spots in the inner city, such as the Seven Bridges viewpoint and the Golden Bend with its elegant mansions. Various tour operators offer English-narrated canal boat cruises, with the Canal Bus allowing you to hop-on and hop-off at the main tourist attractions.

If you rent a bike you can cover most of the Canal Ring loop in one day. There are over 1,500 monumental buildings to admire, including leaning gabled houses with ornamental staircases, inviting old shops and churches.

Top hotels in Canal Ring

Estimated price for 1 night / 2 adults
Pulitzer Amsterdam
Pulitzer Amsterdam
5 out of 5
Prinsengracht 323, Amsterdam
The price is €455 per night

This family-friendly Amsterdam hotel is located near the airport, within a 5-minute walk of The 9 Streets, Anne Frank House and Herengracht Canal. Madame Tussauds ...

4.7/5Exceptional! (1,028 reviews)

"Very modern , clean , sleek , super friendly staff & great location !"…"

Reviewed on 2 Mar 2020

Pulitzer Amsterdam
Boutique Hotel La Belle Vue
Boutique Hotel La Belle Vue
2.5 out of 5
Raadhuisstraat 37/2, Amsterdam, Noord-Holland
The price is €28 per night

Located in Amsterdam City Centre, this hotel is within a 5-minute walk of Herengracht Canal, Anne Frank House and The 9 Streets. Royal Palace and Madame Tussauds ...

2.8/5 (441 reviews)
Central

"Very steep staircase"…"

Reviewed on 12 Jan 2020

Boutique Hotel La Belle Vue
Eden Hotel Amsterdam
Eden Hotel Amsterdam
3.5 out of 5
Amstel 144, Amsterdam
Free cancellationReserve now, pay when you stay
The price is €109 per night

Located in Amsterdam City Centre, this hotel is within a 5-minute walk of Rembrandt Square and Hermitage Amsterdam. Flower Market and Amsterdam Museum are also ...

3.9/5Very Good! (2,457 reviews)

"Excellent location right next to a tram stop so it was easy to get around. Room was a good size with a very comfortable bed. Cleanliness was excellent. It was quiet in the evenings and felt very safe and secure."…"

Reviewed on 16 Mar 2020

Eden Hotel Amsterdam
Waldorf Astoria Amsterdam
Waldorf Astoria Amsterdam
5 out of 5
Herengracht 542-556, Amsterdam

Located in Amsterdam City Centre, this luxury hotel is steps away from Rembrandt Square and Willet-Holthuysen Museum. Theater Tuschinski and Hermitage Amsterdam ...

4.8/5Exceptional! (274 reviews)

"Great property great staff. Nothing could’ve been better."…"

Reviewed on 8 Feb 2020

Waldorf Astoria Amsterdam
Zoku Amsterdam
Zoku Amsterdam
4 out of 5
Weesperstraat 105, Amsterdam
Free cancellationReserve now, pay when you stay
The price is €97 per night

Located in Amsterdam City Centre, this eco-friendly hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Skinny Bridge (Magere Brug) and Hortus Botanicus. Artis and Dam Square ...

4.7/5Exceptional! (393 reviews)

"Great location, easy check in and check out. Rooftop lounge was amazing."…"

Reviewed on 18 Feb 2020

Zoku Amsterdam
Hotel Nes
Hotel Nes
3 out of 5
Kloveniersburgwal 137-139, Amsterdam, North Holland
The price is €85 per night

Located in Amsterdam City Centre, this hotel is within a 5-minute walk of Rembrandt Square and Flower Market. Amsterdam Museum and Madame Tussauds are also within ...

3.7/5Good! (436 reviews)

"Staff was really polite and friendly, hotel location is great"…"

Reviewed on 10 Mar 2020

Hotel Nes

Popular places to visit in Canal Ring

Anne Frank House
Image for Anne Frank House

Anne Frank House

4.5/5(778 reviews)

See where this brave and famous Jewish teenager hid from the Nazis during World War II and recorded her world-famous diary.

Flower Market
Image for Flower Market

Flower Market

4/5(1,434 reviews)

Enjoy the colors and fragrance of typical Dutch flowers, or buy bulbs and souvenirs while browsing the floating flower stalls on one of Amsterdam’s oldest canals.

Top things to do in Canal Ring

Willet-Holthuysen Museum Tickets
Image for Willet-Holthuysen Museum Tickets

Willet-Holthuysen Museum Tickets

80% of travellers recommend
€12
Per adult
Amsterdam Combo: XtraCold Icebar & 1-Hour Canal Cruise
Image for Amsterdam Combo: XtraCold Icebar & 1-Hour Canal Cruise

Amsterdam Combo: XtraCold Icebar & 1-Hour Canal Cruise

€31
Per adult
Early Morning Cruise— All Canals to Ourselves
Image for Early Morning Cruise— All Canals to Ourselves

Early Morning Cruise— All Canals to Ourselves

100% of travellers recommend
€32
Per adult
Amsterdam XtraCold Icebar Tickets with Drinks
Image for Amsterdam XtraCold Icebar Tickets with Drinks

Amsterdam XtraCold Icebar Tickets with Drinks

80% of travellers recommend
€23
Per adult
Amsterdam Small Group Walking Tour
Image for Amsterdam Small Group Walking Tour

Amsterdam Small Group Walking Tour

100% of travellers recommend
€37
Per adult
Amsterdam Canal Cruise— Cruise Like a Local
Image for Amsterdam Canal Cruise— Cruise Like a Local

Amsterdam Canal Cruise— Cruise Like a Local

€39
Per adult

Other areas in Amsterdam

De Pijp featuring heritage architecture

De Pijp

4.5/5Wonderful!(133 area reviews)

Known for its abundant dining options and interesting museums, there's plenty to explore in De Pijp. Top attractions like Albert Cuyp Market and Sarphatipark are major draws, and you can catch the metro at 2e van der Helststraat Stop or Ceintuurbaan Stop to see more of the city.

De Pijp
Amsterdam North
Dominik Gehl on trover

Amsterdam North

4/5Very Good!(88 area reviews)

Amsterdam North is a destination travellers like for its waterfront views, and you might hop aboard the metro at Noord Station or Noorderpark Station to explore sights like NDSM Werf.

Amsterdam North
Amsterdam-Zuidoost showing boating and a river or creek

Zuidoost

4/5Very Good!(206 area reviews)

Known for its ample dining options and great live music, there's plenty to explore in Zuidoost. You can visit top attractions like Johan Cruyff Arena and Ziggo Dome, and jump on the metro at Gaasperplas Station or Kraaiennest Station to see more of the city.

Zuidoost