About Holland, Amsterdam and Friesland

Enter a world of beauty by the sea in Friesland-Amsterdam

The water is a way of life in Holland, a nation born of the sea and the rivers that flow across its pastoral flat lands. An Amsterdam canal cruise past slowly turning windmills, fields of colorful tulips, quaint villages and cosmopolitan cities ushers you into a realm unique in boating. It’s a place to explore at your leisure, inviting you to ease into an unhurried journey like no other.

 

Map showing where the Friesland & Holland boating region is in the Netherlands

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If you are unable to find your perfect vacation on our website please contact our Boating Experts who may be able to help create a bespoke offering for you.

Holland, Amsterdam and Friesland map

Holland, Amsterdam and Friesland Region map

 = Le Boat Base           = Canal           = Navigable river           = No navigation beyond this point

The perfect boating region for...

History & Heritage

Dutch clogs in a shop

The Friesland-Amsterdam region is replete with history and heritage, especially in Amsterdam and Utrecht! Check out Amsterdam's Anne Frank House, the Royal Palace and Dom Square! In historic Utrecht, don't miss the tour of Stadskasteel Oudaen, a fortified house turned into a brewery!

Water Sports

Two boys Paddleboarding

The Lakeland district is famous for watersports vacations throughout Europe! Boating is not just a pastime in Friesland-Amsterdam, it's a way of life! Check out the watersports rents in Sneek and Grouw! Canoe, kayak, jet ski and sail!

Cycling

Red cycle and red door

Holland isn't known for its hills, making it ideal for bicycle tours in Friesland-Amsterdam! Cruise past fields of tulips and rustic-looking restored windmills. Stop in a waterside village for steamed mussels or oysters on the half-shell! Lift a pint and watch the world go by!

Useful information

Download our region guide

Check out our region guideWe've produced a handy PDF guide for this region to give you an overview of all the stops and things to do along the waterway.

Download our region guide

The waters of Holland are vast, totalling roughly 269 waterways equalling 3,732 kilometres (2,319 miles)! The canals range from the enormous North Sea Canal that stretches 24 kilometres (15 miles) from the ocean to Amsterdam to quiet fingers of blue amidst lush green fields. More than 25 percent of Holland is below sea level, necessitating a network of dikes to keep the water out. The Rhine, Meuse and Scheldt rivers all flow through Holland, creating a beautiful delta.

An Amsterdam canal cruise unfolds along the north and west waters. As you travel, you’ll see a unique swath of pretty sand dunes fronting the sea, and, by way of more Amsterdam info, the Lakeland district has more connected inland lakes than found in any other nation in Europe! It’s an ideal playground for watersports, which are hugely popular! It’s great for canal boating too!

Amsterdam began in about 1200 as a fishing village, and the first dam was built at roughly the same time. By 1400, the town had become a major trading port. It continued to grow and in the 1700s Amsterdam served a major European financial hub. As part of its expansion, three concentric semicircular canals were built around the city centre. Narrow streets and smaller canals followed, transforming Amsterdam with more than 90 islands and 1,280 bridges!

Take a look at our waterway and lock closures page to find out if there are any scheduled cruising restrictions that will affect your vacation plans.

Navigating in Holland is easy and suitable for beginners.

Lock keepers operate all locks and some lifting bridges. Keep small change handy because sometimes there is a charge. Lock/bridge fee between €1 and €7. Depends on area and different per bridge/lock. Most bridges are free of charge.

 

Please be advised that you will need to call ahead to arrange access to certain locks & bridges in Holland. It’s therefore important that you have a mobile phone that works in Europe for the duration of your cruise. We recommend purchasing a European SIM card prior to your arrival at the base for check-in.

 

Opening hours: Locks are closed for lunch around 12:00-13:00 and for tea around 16:30-17:30.

 

Public holidays: Locks are closed on some public holidays.

In Hindeloopen area locks/bridges are open: 1st April to 31st October: Daily. Before 1st April: Closed on Sunday.

In Vinkeveen area locks/bridges are open: 15th April to 15th October: Daily. 1st - 15th April & 15th - 31st October: open with an appointment, lock closed on Sunday.

 

Closure dates: Please be aware about the lock closure dates by local authorities. During that day(s), you won’t be able to go through the locks. For more details and questions, please contact our sales team.

 

Hindeloopen area: Bridges/locks operate from 25th March to 31st October. Before 1st April, boating is possible in Friesland but locks/bridges are closed on Sundays. Vinkeveen area: Bridges/locks between Vinkeveen and Amsterdam operate from the 1st April. Closed on Sundays 1st - 15th April and 15th - 31st October.

You may moor alongside in the canals in ports. You’ll find marinas with shore power and other services. Small charges may apply.

To visit Amsterdam coming from the East (Hindeloopen), moor at Weesp and take a train to the city center. To visit Amsterdam coming from the South (Vinkeveen), best mooring option is ‘’Sixhaven’’. There is a ferry (free of charge, 24/7 service) that will take you to the central station. From here you can walk in about 10 minutes to the center of Amsterdam. The mooring costsin Sixhaven depends on the size of the boat. For a 15 meter boat you pay €30,60 a night.

To find out how to get to each of our bases in this boating region, as well as what facilities and amenities are available at each base or nearby, click on the relevant base below:

 
  • Rental of the boat and its onboard equipment
  • A fully equipped kitchen
  • Towels and linen for all passengers
  • A boat handling demontration prior to departure
  • Technical support
  • On-board maps and visitor information
  • Optional vacation extras
  • Boat damage waiver
  • Running costs (diesel, gas, engine wear and tear) - charged by the engine hour
  • Passage through locks (small fee applies - payable locally)
  • Travel to and from the base(s)
  • Waterside services if you use them (i.e. moorings where a charge is applicable, pump-out if needed, water, etc)
  • Cancellation plan & any travel/personal insurance
  • Food and drink

Interactive map of Holland, Amsterdam and Friesland

Le Boat base = Le Boat base  Point of interest = Point of interest

Great to see...

Situated in the south of Amsterdam, Vinekveen is the perfect place to start a cruise in the area. The Vinkeseense Plassen is an important recreational lake for many activities like swimming, diving & yachting.
Must see
Wobbly houses in Amsterdam
Amsterdam, the largest city in Holland, will welcome you with all of its treasures, its monuments, and its history. Take a moment to visit this unique and eclectic city.
Must see
Edam cheeses

Edam is known worldwide thanks to the cheese of the same name which is produced here. Don't miss the cheese market in peak summer on Wednesday morning!

Take a stroll through Alkmaar's beautiful city centre to discover the many museums, shops and cafes that line the historic canal banks. Don't miss the famous cheese market, held every Friday morning from April to September. This market has been taking place for centuries, and is sure to be a highlight of any trip to Alkmaar. 

For anyone interested in Dutch history, the Zaanse Schans is a must see. Beautifully preserved 18th and 19th century buildings from all over the Zaanstreek region have been moved to this spot so you can experience first hand what life was like in old Holland. There are fully functioning windmills, bakeries and even a clog workshop - all with a story to tell. 

Must see
Keukenhof flower garden in Lisse

Lisse is known as Holland's most prominent flower-growing area. The amazing view of the surrounding flowered fields is enjoyed best in spring. From March to May, a tulipare flewring takes place at the famous Keukenhof, one of the largest flower gardens in the world! Lisse's dazzling castle is open throughout the year. 

The charming town of Leiden is made of small canals and its historical town center contains impressive buildings and churches that you won't want to miss. Why not spend some time walking in the numerous parks and visit the beautiful Hortus Botanicus.

Must see
Stacked Gouda cheeses at the cheese market

Famous thanks to the cheese of the same name, Gouda hosts a traditional cheese market every Thursday morning. The town also has a rich history and patrimoine and boasts one of the oldest city halls of the country. Don't miss the Saint John Church, famous for its stained glass windows.

The historic protected city center is famous for the 'Heksenwaag' (witches' scales) where people accused of witchcraft were offered a chance of proving their innocence, and it is most certainly worth a visit.

Situated along the Vecht River, Maarsen was a key place for the peat-bog in the Middle Ages. Years later, some rich familes of Amsterdam built some country houses nearby that are most certainly worth seeing. While the town is now more a suburb of Utrecht, you can still visit the historical village of Maarssen-Dorp in the East side of the town.

Must see
De Haar castle,Utrecht

Utrecht is Holland's fourth city and the old town has many attractions. Its famous medieval church, St. Martin's Cathedral, is half of its former self as a result of the terrible hurricane of 1674, but is still worth seeing. Canals, lined with terraces and greenery, give the city its charm; making it a lovely place to stop for a walk.

Weesp, a dynamic city, has many treasures for you. Downtown you will have the chance to see many landmarks, and also discover the local specialities such as chocolate, beer, and local jenever.

Muiden is a walled city with an impressive heritage. The Muiderslot Castle is a wonder of the Middle Ages that has survived throughout the centuries. Discover the numerous monuments and vestiges of Muiden, and enjoy its quietness.
Although Huizen is one of the biggest cities in the area, it is surrounded by beautiful countryside. You can visit the old Huizen, the picturesque fishing harbour, or go for a bike ride or a hike.

Elburg is a medieval town with a lot of hidden treasures. Walking in its winding streets, you will have the opportunity to see the huge old city gate, a vestige of the past. Elburg is a very friendly and dynamic town, especially during the Midweekfeesten.

A very charming town known as the 'Venice of the North', Giethoorn will enchant you with its beautiful riverside setting. It is a welcoming place and a joy to explore.

The Orchid Farm (Orchideeënhoeve) in Luttelgeest is a must see if passing this way. Beautiful orchids and butterflies provide a feast for the eyes – travel through the tropics in the Malaysian garden, the butterfly valley and the new Lory garden, full of colourful rainbow lorikeets. The kids can enjoy themselves in the mangrove playground.

Lemmer is a beautiful town, decorated by colorful houses along the canal banks. The city is well-known in Holland for its watersports.

Hindeloopen is on the shores of the IJsselmeer with a long maritime history, quirky cobbled streets and ranked as one of Europe’s most beautiful villages.

Workum is a beautiful little seaside city with numerous medieval monuments like the Gertrudis Church. You should also visit Werenfridus Church.

The rich history of Bolsward city can be admired through its dozens of national monuments such as the 17th century Bolsward Town Hall, a magnificent red-brick building, or the 15th century Martinikerk, the church, which is home to intricate wooden carvings and pulpit carved from a single oak tree. A ten-minute walk from the town centre is one of the country’s smallest breweries, producing ‘US Heit’ beers and several whiskies. Be sure to catch a tour (Thu to Sat - reserve online https://www.usheit.com ).

Must see
Sneek watergate

Sneek is a dynamic city. It has interesting architecture, especially the great gate of the waterport and the city hall, which is built in a rococo style. Also, visit the Roman Catholic Church, which is a national monument.

As the capital of Friesland, there are plenty of things to see and do in Leeuwarden. The Nature Museum is located in a 17th century building and is dedicated to exhibitions around the local nature and wildlife. Friesland’s breed of cattle is renowned across the world, and the Friday cattle market and annual show are still held regularly. The Oldehover Tower (which leans even more precariously than the Tower of Pisa) offers uninterrupted views of the local countryside, once you climb its 183 steps. At one time there were over 130 windmills standing in the city.

In the living room of a lovely Friesian canalside house is the world’s oldest functioning planetarium. This accurately moving model of the solar system was built between 1774 and 1781 by Eise Eisinga. Visit this wonderful museum, see Eisinga’s amazing creations and learn about the planets as well as the determination and brilliance of this amazing man. Franeker itself is a typical Friesland city with a handful of interesting museums, a city hall and an inviting array of cafés and restaurants

This quaint fishing town is known for the hundreds of sculptures dotted about the city. Make sure to visit the “Stone Man”, a two-headed statue created in 1774, then head to the beach across the road where you can swim, kitesurf or hire a canoe. The town remains a major port for shrimp and prawn fishing, and you’ll find plenty of restaurants where you can sample the daily catch. If you’re a nature lover, why not catch the ferry to the West Frisian Islands or cycle to the beautiful nature reserve, the Hegewiersterfjild, where you’ll discover various birds and fish?

Route suggestions

To help you get an idea of how far you can travel in the time you have, here's a selection of routes to and from our bases in this region. You dont have to stop at all the places listed or follow the route exactly. So long as you return your boat to your end base by the date you've booked - you're free to enjoy your cruise however you like. For a comfortable pace, allowing you time to regularly stop and explore, we'd recommend an average of 2 - 4 hours cruising each day.

Please note: Any route suggestions and itineraries on the Le Boat website are examples only and any of the suggested potential routes, attractions, restaurants, towns, villages or sections of the waterway included in them may not always be open or accessible at time of cruising.

 = Click the arrow icon on each route suggestion, to flip the 'card' and reveal more details.