What better city to visit on a river cruise than stunning Amsterdam?

Often called the “Venice of the North,” Amsterdam is one of Europe’s loveliest cosmopolitan cities with captivating beauty and a uniquely enduring charm. You can visit this vibrant city as part of your Rhine River or Dutch & Belgian Waterways river cruise as well as on optional land package before or after your sailing.

A City of Canals and Bridges

At a mere 800 years old, Amsterdam is a relatively new city by most European standards. A hub of activity during the Dutch Golden Age, Amsterdam quickly sought a way to maximize land and stimulate trade and transport and created a labyrinthine-like network of over 165 man-made canals, wrapping the city with a combined length of roughly 60 miles. Now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the area includes 1,281 bridges (including its most famous: the Skinny Bridge aka Magere Brug), 1,550 so-called ‘monumental buildings,’ 2,500 houseboats (and some of these structures have remarkably been afloat for over a hundred years themselves) and miles of colorful, quaint cobblestone streets.

AmaWaterways allows you to explore these iconic canals in a variety of ways. On your river cruise, you can take a special canal cruise through Amsterdam and observe bridges such as the Skinny Bridge up close. As part of select Amsterdam land packages, you may take a canal tour in Haarlem, the capital of North Holland and one of the most photogenic cities in the Netherlands.

Dutch Windmills

Of course, one of the other most quintessential Amsterdam sightings is a windmill. The imagery of the windmill is so ubiquitous here – and once such an integral part of Dutch life that a holiday has even been designed to commemorate them (May 11th). Your pre- or post-cruise land package in Amsterdam may include a visit to Zaanse Schans, where you can witness the authentic windmills relocated to this area. The relocated historic windmills, antique wooden houses, mills, barns and workshops created a picturesque piece of Dutch history on the River Zaan, showcasing a new residential area that brings the 18th and 19th centuries to life.

The Charms of Jordaan

Amsterdam’s vibrant Jordaan neighborhood is one of the most picturesque and charming in the city. Originally created as a working-class district, with cheaper rents drawing in students, artists and the less well-to-do, the development was not as structured as those of wealthier zones. But nowadays, this haphazard planning with oddly interconnected streets and canals is one of Jordaan’s most charming features. A leisurely stroll among its maze-like streets, colorful building façades, quaint eetcafés (similar to a Parisian bistro in sophistication and casual atmosphere), hip bars, gourmet restaurants, specialty shops and art galleries is a lovely way to spend the day. A few times a week, locals wander through lovely Jordaanese open-air markets, selling everything from organic produce to clothing.

This wonderful neighborhood can be visited during the river cruise portion of your journey on select sailings. Enjoy a tour through this famous shopping district and take in highlights as the Noordermarkt, the Karthuizerhof (one of the loveliest inner courtyards in the city) and the “9 streets,” an area famous for its shops, cafes and bistros.

The Bells of Westerchurch

Weave through canal and flower-lined streets and listen to the bells toll from the nearby Westerchurch (also known as Westerkerk). These are the bells Anne Frank could hear and which she would reference in her famous diary while hiding from the Nazis. Her house is also located on the edge of the Jordaan district. Another famous resident here was Rembrandt, who moved here in 1658 to take advantage of the then-cheaper rents. He was later buried at Westerkerk. Your Jordaan district tour, available on select itineraries, will begin at this famous location. You may also hear these iconic bells chime as you explore Amsterdam on our guided walking tour, an excursion included as part of our optional Amsterdam land packages.

Jewish History in Amsterdam

Another popular attraction in Amsterdam is the Portuguese Synagogue, which celebrates the city’s rich Jewish culture and history of tolerance. The Netherlands (and Amsterdam in particular) welcomed the Jews that were exiled during the Inquisition. The community thrived during the Dutch Golden Age and built one of the grandest synagogues in Europe at the time, housing one of the world’s largest Jewish libraries filled with original and rare texts.

Enjoy a specially curated tour of Jewish heritage during our unique Seven River Journeys debuting in 2023 and 2024, or contact your travel advisor to see how you may be able to add this optional tour to your land package or river cruise experience for a nominal fee.

Discover Amsterdam from its idyllic windmills to its charming canals when you reserve our Rhine River and Dutch & Belgian Waterways sailings. Experience more of Amsterdam by adding our optional land package to our Best of Holland & Belgium and Tulip Time itineraries.

What's included in your land package:

  • 2 nights hotel in Amsterdam at either the Barbizon Palace or Anantara Grand Hotel Krasnapolsky Amsterdam (or similar)
  • Amsterdam city walking tour
  • Haarlem visit OR Zaanse Schans visit (depending on accompanying river cruise itinerary)
  • Daily breakfast at the hotel
  • Complimentary transfers between your hotel and river cruise ship
  • The services of one of our wonderful Cruise Managers throughout your river cruise and land journey

Enjoy this wonderful land package for free on select sailings reserved before December 31, 2022. To learn more about this special, limited-time offer, see our Complimentary Land Package Offer page.

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