During our time in Amsterdam we often saw people boating through the canals. It’s a relatively popular form of leisure transit. While locals seemed to treat their boats as picnic spots – spending time meandering down the canals while drinking wine and snacking – we also spotted many (presumed) tourists paddle boating.
After spending a few hours indoors at the Stedelijk, we were ready to get some sun and try out paddle boating.
You can see this video of our exploits:
Overall the process was fairly straightforward. Along the canals there are a variety of kiosks where you can rent a boat. You get a map and some instructions on how to ‘drive’, which canals you’re allowed to traverse, and which kiosks are valid “drop off” sites. From there, you’re on your own. As long as you get the boat home in time, there’s nothing to worry about.
Navigating the paddle boat was definitely a bit more challenging than I’d anticipated but eventually we figured it out, and we loved it. It was so relaxing and calming to boat through the canals and view the city from a new perspective. The rental company’s guide also included some fun facts about sites along the route, so again we were learning.
And on the topic of learning, we also found this article about the history of Amsterdam’s city design. Yes, they are famous for being very cyclist and pedestrian friendly, but this wasn’t always the case. Walking and paddle boating around such a beautiful place, it’s easy to imagine that this place is just magical by nature. But in fact the accessibility of Amsterdam is the result of specific choices made by the people of Amsterdam.
We wrapped up our day with dinner and drinks at a local hangout called Cafe de Prins. All in all, an excellent day in an excellent city.
Check out our photos below!