Boats and canals are a way of life in Holland, and boating on Dutch waterways lets you see the real Holland. Travel the landscape of famous painters, admire traditional windmills, use the many waterside cycle routes, and moor at neatly kept marinas.
Cruising is very relaxed from spring tulip time to autumn, with many locks left open throughout the summer months, and the occasional lift bridge a good place to meet fellow travellers. Moor close to the many canal-side bars and cafes offering good food and traditional Dutch hospitality.
The Friesland region in north Holland has many glistening lakes for watersports and friendly towns and coastal villages to explore such as Grouw, Workum or Makkum, and Bolsward.
Easy cruising on friendly waterways
Navigate the canals and waterways to Amsterdam and explore this exciting cosmopolitan city. See Old Masters at the Rijksmuseum or the Van Gogh exhibition, or just soak up the amazing sights.
In Amsterdam you can moor in the marina, a ferry ride across the ship canal from the central station. You can cruise your boat through the city canals, but care is needed, plus permit purchase. Or take one of the many canal cruise trips. Maybe take the regular train to Amsterdam from Weesp, about 10 minutes by rail.
North of Amsterdam you can cruise to Edam, famous for its distinctive cheese, and cross the Zaan country, full of windmills and rich in wildlife.
The famous Keukenhof Gardens are west of Amsterdam, near Haarlem, with millions of tulips, daffodils, hyacinths and other bulbs flowering in Spring.
South from Amsterdam cruise the River Vecht past ancient townhouses lining the canal through Loosdrecht to the great art centre of Utrecht. Moor at the quaysides or by the cathedral (limited height) and climb the 465 steps in the Dom Tower. Further on reach beautiful Gouda where the marina is in the middle of the old town.
The Dutch waterways give you many miles of lock-free cruising, with many opportunities for cycling in the flat countryside. A boating holiday is the best way to see the real Holland.