Amsterdam is my home and there’s no other city I’d rather live in (ok, for now!). Amsterdam is one of the most cosmopolitan cities in the world with a vibrant arts, culinary and cultural scene, and it’s all within a relatively small area. There are world-famous museums like the Rijksmuseum, Anne Frank House and the Van Gogh Museum, and the city’s equally famous nightlife and tolerant attitude. One of the best things I enjoy about Amsterdam is its UNESCO World Heritage canals and the beautiful houses and buildings which line them. If there’s one thing to do in Amsterdam that I absolutely love and will never tire of, it’s a stroll along the canals at any time of the year or a leisurely cruise on a summer evening.
The history of the Amsterdam canals goes back to the Middle Ages when they were created to manage the flow of water and for defensive purposes. During the city’s Golden Age in the 17th century, Amsterdam’s system of canals was expanded dramatically. More than 100 kilometers of canals (grachten) were dug and 1,500 bridges were built like a concentric web surrounding the old city centre, with the Dam Square at its heart. This massive project, completed in about 1660, expanded the size of the city by four times and allowed merchants from around the world to deliver goods straight to the houses of the city’s rich. This project changed the face of the city forever and is nowadays, arguably, the prime attraction in Amsterdam.
Photos of Amsterdam canals
Scrolling through my many Instagram photos of Amsterdam, I realised that I take LOTS of photos of the canals – I can’t help it and I’m sure you understand why! I sifted through my photos and selected some of them, taken during my walks throughout the year. I hope you enjoy these scenes as much as I did! I’ve also included a city map below to show you where these photos were taken.
Explore Amsterdam at your own leisure with the IAmsterdam City Card which provides free public transportation, free admission to selected museums and attractions, a free canal cruise and lots of discounts.
Read about a luxury weekend in Amsterdam.
Check out more photos of winter in Amsterdam.
Read about how I spent my birthday in Amsterdam
Read more about Amsterdam on Velvet Escape.
Spots to take beautiful photos of Amsterdam canals
View Amsterdam canals in a larger map
It’s a simply magical experience to stay in a houseboat on one of the canals or the Amstel River. My favourite is the 2 Houseboat Suites (Booking.com) on the Prinsengracht canal. There are just two suites: Rembrandt and Van Gogh. In addition to the lovely hosts and a fantastic location in the historic city centre, this newly-built boat has large windows, a comfortable bed and all the amenities that will make your stay comfortable, such as an en-suite bathroom, heated floors, a Nespresso coffee-maker and mini-bar.
Read about other places to visit in the Netherlands
- Day trips from Amsterdam
- A drive around the tulip fields
- Holland at its best
- A weekend in Rotterdam
- Delightful Delft
- Charming Amersfoort
- Things to see in Gouda