Amsterdam’s most beautifuls canals: discovering the city’s most picturesque qaterways

When I think of Amsterdam, the first image that springs to mind is its iconic canals. Over the years, our appreciation for these historic and culturally significant waterways has deepened, especially since they were designated a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2010. Strolling along these picturesque and romantic canals has turned many ordinary walks into extraordinary experiences. With over 160 canals weaving through the city, it can be daunting to decide which ones are the most breathtaking and worth visiting. After much contemplation, we have narrowed it down to five personal favourites. Each of these canals is unique, offering its own blend of beauty, charm, and memorable experiences. We hope you get the chance to explore them all during your visit to Amsterdam and find as much delight in them as we do!




Beer anyone? The Brouwersgracht in Amsterdam is a canal steeped in history and charm. Once the bustling commercial heart of the city, this canal was lined with breweries that produced some of Amsterdam’s finest beers. The old brewery houses, many of which still stand today, served as warehouses for the cereal grains essential to beer production. While brewing has since moved to other locations, the area retains its vibrant spirit. Today, you can enjoy a beer at one of the renowned local pubs overlooking the canal, soaking in the atmosphere of a bygone era.

Many Dutch people consider the Brouwersgracht to be the most beautiful canal in the city. In fact, it even won a beauty contest organized by the newspaper “Het Parool.” What do I love about this canal? The lovingly restored historic houses, the charming houseboats that line both sides, the majestic trees that provide a lush canopy, the bridges adorned with flower boxes and bicycles, and the stunning views at intersections with other major canals all contribute to its allure. 

In summer, the Brouwersgracht is particularly enchanting with its vibrant colors and lively ambiance. It’s a place where history, beauty, and the everyday life of Amsterdam blend seamlessly, making it my favorite canal in the city. Whether you’re a history buff, a beer enthusiast, or simply looking to experience the quintessential charm of Amsterdam, the Brouwersgracht is a must-visit.





Nestled in the heart of Amsterdam is a little pearl that captures the city’s essence perfectly: the Groenburgwal. This enchanting spot is located between the Amstel River, the Muntplein, and the Stopera, making it a central yet serene escape. One of the most charming features of the Groenburgwal is its picturesque drawbridge, from which you can enjoy a stunning view of the Zuiderkerk tower rising in the background.

In spring and summer, the canal is framed by lush, green foliage, creating a vibrant and inviting atmosphere. Historically, this area was home to weaving factories where wool was washed, carded, and spun. The echoes of its industrious past add a layer of depth to its present-day tranquility.

Today, the Groenburgwal is a romantic crossing, popular with couples who leave lovelocks on the drawbridge as a symbol of their everlasting love. The bridge, adorned with these tokens of affection, adds a unique and personal touch to the already picturesque setting. 

Whether you’re strolling along the canal, pausing on the drawbridge to take in the view, or simply enjoying the peaceful ambiance, the Groenburgwal offers a perfect blend of historical significance and romantic charm. This hidden gem is a must-visit for anyone looking to experience the timeless beauty and intimate corners of Amsterdam.





When you visit Amsterdam, one canal you simply cannot miss is the Prinsengracht. Located in the lively Jordaan district, this canal is home to two of the city’s most iconic landmarks: the Anne Frank House and the Westerkerk. Four centuries have passed since the canal’s construction, and it remains a vibrant area bustling with life. Along its banks, you’ll find a mix of offices, hotels, churches, cafes, restaurants, galleries, houses, and unique houseboats.

The houseboats on the Prinsengracht are particularly special. Many are old merchant ships that have been meticulously converted into distinctive urban dwellings. Taking a cruise along this canal is almost a must-do when visiting Amsterdam. Gliding through its waters, especially on a sunny day, offers a delightful and memorable experience.

If you want to witness the Prinsengracht at its most vibrant, plan your visit during King’s Day on April 27 or the Pride celebrations on the first Saturday of August. During these festivities, the canal comes alive with joyous celebrations, colorful decorations, and a festive atmosphere that captures the spirit of Amsterdam. 

Whether you’re exploring the historic sites, enjoying a leisurely boat ride, or soaking in the lively ambiance during a festival, the Prinsengracht offers a quintessential Amsterdam experience that shouldn’t be missed.





One of Amsterdam’s most striking canals is the Reguliersgracht, a straight waterway that cuts perpendicularly through the city’s iconic canal belt. Dating back to the mid-seventeenth century, this canal serves as a vital link between several of Amsterdam’s main canals. Its most captivating feature is the series of seven almost identical arched bridges that line up in perfect succession, creating a mesmerizing view that has become one of the most photographed spots in the entire city.

The Reguliersgracht offers a unique charm, especially when experienced from a boat. As you glide along the water in the evening, the lights adorning the bridges cast shimmering reflections that dance across the surface, creating a truly magical spectacle. Whether you’re a photographer in search of the perfect shot or simply a visitor looking to soak in the beauty of Amsterdam, the Reguliersgracht is a must-see destination.





Another central canal in the heart of Amsterdam is the enchanting Leidsegracht. I found it particularly delightful to stroll along this canal on a colorful autumn afternoon, with the leaves creating a vibrant tapestry along the water. However, the Leidsegracht does not lose its charm in the winter months. This year, I was fortunate enough to witness its bridges blanketed in snow—a truly unique spectacle! In the evening, the lights that adorn the arches of the bridges, especially where the canal intersects with the Keizersgracht, create a serenely beautiful atmosphere.

The Leidsegracht, dug in the latter half of the seventeenth century, has a fascinating history. Its name originates from the fact that it was once traversed by boats headed to the city of Leiden. This historical significance adds an extra layer of charm to this already captivating waterway. Whether you’re visiting in the warmth of autumn or the chill of winter, the Leidsegracht offers a timeless beauty that is sure to leave a lasting impression.