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Canal Boat Holidays Holland

Explore the world-renowned waterways of Amsterdam with your own private boat on a self-drive basis.
NO experience necessary as you will be taught to sail before you go!

Holland, Amsterdam & Friesland

Canal Boat Holidays Holland – Enter a world of beauty by the sea in Friesland-Amsterdam. The water is a way of life in Holland, a nation born of the sea and the rivers that flow across its pastoral flatlands. On an Amsterdam canal, you will cruise leisurely past turning windmills, fields of colourful tulips, quaint villages, cosmopolitan cities, and it will usher you into a realm unique in boating. It’s a place to explore at your own pace, inviting you to ease into an unhurried journey like no other.


The waters of Holland are vast, totalling roughly 269 waterways equalling 3,732 kilometres (2,319 miles)! The canals range from the enormous North Sea Canal that stretches 24 kilometres (15 miles) from the ocean to bustling Amsterdam to quiet fingers of blue amidst lush green fields. More than 25 percent of Holland is below sea level, necessitating a network of dikes to keep the water out. The Rhine, Meuse and Scheldt rivers all flow through Holland, creating a beautiful delta.

An Amsterdam canal cruise unfolds along the north and west waters. As you travel, you’ll see a unique swath of pretty sand dunes fronting the sea, and, by way of more Amsterdam info, the Lakeland district has more connected inland lakes than found in any other nation in Europe! It’s an ideal playground for watersports, which are hugely popular! It’s great for canal boating too!


Canal Boat Holidays Holland - canal map
Canal Boat Holidays Holland - country map
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NOTE: Canal Boat Seasons Validity

2021 season for this region
Starts on 1st April and ends on 31st October 2021.

2022 season for this region
Starts on 1st April and ends on 31st October 2022.



Situated in the south of Amsterdam, Vinekveen is the perfect place to start a cruise in the area. The Vinkeseense Plassen is an important recreational lake for many activities like swimming, diving & yachting.

Amsterdam (Must See)

Wobbly houses in Amsterdam

Amsterdam, the largest city in Holland, will welcome you with all of its treasures, its monuments, and its history. Take a moment to visit this unique and eclectic city.

Edam (Must See)

Edam cheeses

Edam is worldwide known thanks to the cheese with the same name which was done here. Don’t miss the cheese market in peak summer on Wednesday morning.


Take a stroll through Alkmaar’s beautiful city centre to discover the many museums, shops and cafes that line the historic canal banks. Don’t miss the famous cheese market, held every Friday morning from April to September this market has been taking place for centuries, and is sure to be a highlight of any trip to Alkmaar. 

Zaanse Schans

For anyone interested in Dutch history the Zaanse Schans is a must see. Beautifully preserved 18th and 19th century buildings from all over the Zaanstreek region have been moved to this spot, so you can experience first hand what life was like in old Holland. There are fully functioning wilndmills, bakeries and even a clog workshop – all with a story to tell. 

Lisse (Must See)

Keukenhof flower garden in Lisse

Lisse is known as the Holland’s flower-growing area. Enjoy the amazing view of the surrounding flowered fields during spring. From March to May, at time tulipare flewring, the famous Keukenhof, one of the largest flower gardens of the world, which also hosts a Castle which is open all-year-round.


The charming town of Leiden is surrounded by many small, tree-lined canals. The historical town center contains impressive buildings and churches that you can’t miss. Spend some time to walk in the numerous parks and to visit the Hortus Botanicus and other gardens of the town.


Stacked Gouda cheeses at the cheese market

Famous thanks to the cheese of the same name, Gouda hosts a traditional cheese market every Thursday morning. The town is rich in history and heritage and hosts one of the oldest city halls of the country. Don’t miss the Saint John Church famous for its stained glass windows.


Spend some time to visit the historic protected city center and the famous ‘Heksenwaag’ (witches’ scales) where people accused of witchcraft were offered an honest chance of priving their innocence


Situated along the Vecht River Maarssen was a key place for the peat-bog in the Middle Age. Later some rich families of Amsterdam have built some country houses nearby that you could still see. The town is now more a suburb of Utrecht but you can still visit historical village of Maarssen-Dorp in the East side of the town.


De Haar castle, Utrecht

Utrecht is Holland’s fourth city and the old section has many attractions. The famous medieval church, St. Martin’s Cathedral, is half of its former self as a result of the terrible hurricane of 1674. Canals, lined with terraces and greenery, give the city its charm; it’s a nice place for a leisurely walk.


Weesp, a dynamic city, has many treasures for you. Downtown, you will have the chance to see many landmarks, and also discover the local specialities such as chocolate, beer, and the renowned Jenever gin.


Muiden is a walled city with an impressive heritage. The Muiderslot Castle is a wonder of the Middle Ages that has survived throughout the centuries. Discover the numerous monuments and vestiges of Muiden, and enjoy its quietness.


Although Huizen is one of the biggest cities in the area, it is surrounded by beautiful countryside. You can visit the old Huizen, the picturesque fishing harbour, or go for a bike ride or a hike.


Elburg is a medieval town with a lot of hidden treasures. Walking in the winding streets, you will have the opportunity to see the huge old city gate, a vestige of the past. Elburg is a very friendly and dynamic town, especially during the Midweekfeesten.


A very charming town known as the “Venice of the North”. Giethoorn will enchant you with its beautiful riverside setting. It is a welcoming place and a joy to explore.


The Orchid Farm (Orchideeënhoeve) in Luttelgeest is a must see if passing this way. Beautiful orchids and butterflies provide a feast for the eyes – travel through the tropics in the Malaysian garden, the butterfly valley and the new Lory garden, full of colourful rainbow lorikeets. The kids can enjoy themselves in the mangrove playground.


Lemmer is a beautiful town, decorated by colourful houses along the canal banks. The city is well-known in Holland for its watersports.


Our Hindeloopen-Stavoren base is split across two marinas with our larger boats departing from and returning to our marina in Stavoren and the rest of our Dutch fleet from/to our marina in Hindeloopen. The towns of Hindeoopen and Stavoren are very similar in size and character and are an equal cruising distance to the waterway intersection that leads to the rest of the Friesland region.


Workum is a beautiful little seaside city with numerous medieval monuments like the Gertrudis church. You should also visit Werenfridus Church.


The rich history of Bolsward city can be admired through its dozens of national monuments such as the 17th century Bolsward Town Hall, a magnificent red-brick building, or the 15th century Martinikerk, the church, which is home to intricate wooden carvings and pulpit carved from a single oak tree. A ten-minute walk from the town centre is one of the country’s smallest breweries, producing ‘US Heit’ beers and several whiskies. Be sure to catch a tour (Thu to Sat – reserve online

Sneek (Must See)

Sneek watergate

Sneek is a dynamic city in the area. It has interesting architecture, especially the great gate of the waterport and the city hall, which is built in a rococo style. Also, visit the Roman Catholic Church, which is a national monument.


As the capital of Friesland, there are plenty of things to see and do in Leeuwarden. The Nature Museum is located in a 17th century building and is dedicated to exhibitions around the local nature and wildlife. Friesland’s breed of cattle is renowned across the world, and the Friday cattle market and annual show are still held regularly. The Oldehover Tower (which leans even more precariously than the Tower of Pisa) offers uninterrupted views of the local countryside, once you climb its 183 steps. At one time there were over 130 windmills standing in the city.


In the living room of a lovely Friesian canalside house is the world’s oldest functioning planetarium. This accurately moving model of the solar system was built between 1774 and 1781 by Eise Eisinga. Visit this wonderful museum, see Eisinga’s amazing creations and learn about the planets as well as the determination and brilliance of this amazing man. Franeker itself is a typical Friesland city with a handful of interesting museums, a city hall and an inviting array of cafés and restaurants


This quaint fishing town is known for the hundreds of sculptures dotted about the city. Make sure to visit the “Stone Man”, a two-headed statue created in 1774, then head to the beach across the road where you can swim, kitesurf or hire a canoe. The town remains a major port for shrimp and prawn fishing, and you’ll find plenty of restaurants where you can sample the daily catch. If you’re a nature lover, why not catch the ferry to the West Frisian Islands or cycle to the beautiful nature reserve, the Hegewiersterfjild, where you’ll discover various birds and fish?

Canal Boat Holidays Holland is the perfect boating region for:

History and Heritage Boffins
Dutch clogs in a shop The Friesland-Amsterdam region is replete with history and heritage, especially in Amsterdam and Utrecht! Check out Amsterdam’s Anne Frank House, the Royal Palace and Dom Square! In historic Utrecht, don’t miss the tour of Stadskasteel Oudaen, a fortified house turned into a brewery!

Paddle boarding in Germany The Lakeland district is famous for watersports holidays throughout Europe! Boating is not just a pastime in Friesland-Amsterdam, it’s a way of life! Check out the watersports hires in Sneek and Grouw. Canoe, kayak, jet ski and sail!

Red cycle and red doorHolland isn’t known for its hills, making it ideal for bicycle tours in Friesland-Amsterdam! Cruise past fields of tulips and rustic-looking restored windmills. Stop in a waterside village for steamed mussels or oysters on the half-shell! Lift a pint and watch the world go by!

FAQ - Frequently asked Questions

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A brief history of the cruise area

Amsterdam began in about 1200 as a fishing village, and the first dam was built at roughly the same time. By 1400, the town had become a major trading port. It continued to grow and in the 1700s Amsterdam served a major European financial hub. As part of its expansion, three concentric semicircular canals were built around the city centre. Narrow streets and smaller canals followed, transforming Amsterdam with more than 90 islands and 1,280 bridges!

Cruising Advice

Navigating in Holland is easy and suitable for beginners.

Water Locks

Lockkeepers operate all locks and lifting bridges. Keep small change handy because there is a charge of 1.50-2.50 euros to pass through the locks.

Bridges/locks in the Woodsend Area operate from 25th March to 31st October. Before 1st April, boating is possible in Friesland but locks/bridges are closed on Sundays.

Bridges/locks between Vinkeveen and Amsterdam operate from the 1st April. Locks closed on Sundays 01-15 April and 15-31 October.

Opening hours: Locks are closed for lunch between 12:00-13:00 (1:00 p.m.) and for tea between 16:15-17:15 (4:15-5:15 p.m.).

Public holidays: Locks are closed on some public holidays. Hindeloopen-Stavoren: Before 1st April, boating possible in Friesland but locks/bridges are closed on Sundays.

Vinkeveen: Bridges/locks between Vinkeveen and Amsterdam operate from the 1st April. Closed on Sundays 01-15 April and 15-31 October.


You may moor alongside in the canals in ports. You’ll find marinas with shore power and other services. Small charges may apply. To visit Amsterdam, moor at Weesp and take a train to the city centre. Alternatively, you can moor at Six Haven Marina across from the Amsterdam Central Station and take a free 24-hour ferry to the city centre.

Getting to the Le Boat Bases

To find out how to get to each of our bases in this boating region, as well as what facilities and amenities are available at each base or nearby, click on the relevant base below:

What is included in the price?

  • Hire of the boat and its onboard equipment
  • A fully equipped kitchen
  • Towels and linen for all passengers
  • A boat handling demonstration prior to departure
  • Technical support
  • On-board maps and visitor information
  • Passage through locks

What is NOT included?

  • Optional holiday extras
  • Boat damage waiver
  • Running costs (diesel, gas, engine wear, and tear) – charged by the engine hour.
  • Travel to and from the base(s)
  • Waterside services if you use them (i.e. moorings where a charge is applicable, pump-out if needed, water, etc)
  • Cancellation plan & any travel/personal insurance
  • Food and drink
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