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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.


Popular places to visit in Canal Ring

Top things to do in Canal Ring


Top hotels in Canal Ring

Hotel Estheréa
Hotel Estheréa
4 out of 5
Singel 303-309, Amsterdam
The price is £83 per night from 7 Feb to 8 Feb

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! (1,283 reviews)

"Staff and service was excellent even during COVID restrictions."…"

Reviewed on 30 Dec 2020

Hotel Estheréa
Hotel Mercier
Hotel Mercier
4 out of 5
Rozenstraat 12, Amsterdam, Noord Holland
The price is £57 per night from 1 Feb to 2 Feb

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

4.5/5Wonderful! (651 reviews)

"excellent hotel very centrally located but quiet, nice garden on property"…"

Reviewed on 4 Nov 2020

Hotel Mercier
Pulitzer Amsterdam
Pulitzer Amsterdam
5 out of 5
Prinsengracht 323, Amsterdam
The price is £263 per night from 24 Jan to 25 Jan

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! (998 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
The Hoxton, Amsterdam
The Hoxton, Amsterdam
4 out of 5
Herengracht 255, Amsterdam
The price is £118 per night from 8 Feb to 9 Feb

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! (828 reviews)
Great stay in stylish surroundings

"Lovely stay. The room was stylish and cosy, plenty of space (standard room), bed extremely comfortable. We had a canal view room and it was very quiet thanks to the double glazed windows. In addition the bar/restaurant space is very welcoming and the staff friendly. Would definitely stay again!"…"

Reviewed on 14 Oct 2020

The Hoxton, Amsterdam
Waldorf Astoria Amsterdam
Waldorf Astoria Amsterdam
5 out of 5
Herengracht 542-556, Amsterdam
The price is £430 per night from 17 Feb to 18 Feb

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! (277 reviews)

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

Reviewed on 8 Feb 2020

Waldorf Astoria Amsterdam
De L'Europe Amsterdam
De L'Europe Amsterdam
5 out of 5
Nieuwe Doelenstraat 2-14, Amsterdam
The price is £371 per night from 11 Feb to 12 Feb

Located in Amsterdam City Centre, this luxury hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Flower Market and Dam Square. Heineken Experience and Rijksmuseum are also ...

4.7/5Exceptional! (770 reviews)
Brilliant hotel, brilliant service.

"Traveled to Amsterdam with my sister! The De L’Europe is beautiful, clean, quiet with an amazing, helpful staff. Our deluxe room was sumptuous—the perfect retreat from the city."…"

Reviewed on 26 Jan 2020

De L'Europe Amsterdam
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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