So you arrive in Amsterdam at Centraal Station and walk out to get a glimpse of the city. Don’t look too long though – because you might get hit by any number of bikes, trams, cars, buses or mopeds zooming along in front of the station. There are kiosks selling hotdogs and souvenirs, as well as offering boat tours along Amsterdam’s canals. These boats are large, encased in glass, climate-controlled and point out places of interests in multiple languages. If this is sounds like your scene, click here. If not, read on.
For the alternative, consider the friendly volunteers of The St. Nicholaas Boat Club . These tours are smaller, less formal and totally worth your time. Head over to Mike’s Bike Tours to check out the schedule and sign up for a tour. Do not call Mike’s-they are merely a meeting point for the tour; they have nothing to do with St. Nicholaas. Tours depart from Mike’s daily and last about an hour and a half. The boats seat 12, including the tour guides, and they will take as few as 1 or 2 people.
The tour guides will take you through the city’s canals giving you an intimate view of the streets, buildings, bridges and sights. There is some narrative, but it is sparse. The guides would rather have conversation with you then lecture to you. They are there to have fun, just like you, and it is in that spirit that they encourage you to bring your own food, drink and “smoke.” If this sounds sketchy, we assure you it is not. St. Nicholaas is volunteer outfit, so they are not a proper business and this gives the whole experience a much more personal feel. As a non-profit, they cannot charge you for the tour, but please, pay the 10 euro per person suggested donation-it is money well spent.
When you get to town, head over to Mike’s Bike Tours to check out the schedule and sign up for a tour that fits in with your itinerary. Weather in Amsterdam is rarely hot, so bring a jacket as it is cooler on the water. And remember to BYO if you are game…
These volunteers run the best boat tour in Amsterdam.