A visit to Utrecht isn’t complete without a boat tour on its canals. Utrecht’s ancient wharves and canal houses are best admired from the water. Go aboard and explore Utrecht by boat!

Highlights of Utrecht’s canal tour

  • Admire Utrecht’s canals and wharfs from the water.
  • Take a boat tour throughout the year.
  • A guide will tell you everything you want to know about the city.
  • Dogs are welcome too!

Utrecht canal tour

One of the famous boat excursion companies in Utrecht is Schuttevaer. Schuttevaer has been organizing boat excursions in the canals of Utrecht since 1960 and I took a boat tour with them last summer.

I started the tour at Oudegracht 85 in Utrecht. This stage is located in the middle of the city center and is a beautiful starting point. 

Utrecht is famous for its characteristic wharfs and wharf cellars, which you can explore really well from the water. During the tour I saw many old bridges, charming sculpture work, historic buildings and unique architecture. Utrecht appeared even more beautiful from the water!

The skipper first sailed us along the beautiful old canal (Oudegracht) of the city of Utrecht. Here we saw famous sights like Winkel van Sinkel, Stadskasteel Oudaen and the Dom church. But also plenty of old wharf cellars, bridges, terraces, canal houses and beautiful statues.

Then we sailed to the Buitensingel where we saw the old city wall of Utrecht, some villas, a prison from 1856 that is no longer in use, some trees with hundreds of screaming parakeets and a floating coffee shop (and no, the main product of this boat is not a cup of coffee). The Singel is also a beautiful piece of water in Utrecht.

It was fun driving through all the canals of the city and seeing many things in a short time.

Audio voice and multilingual guide

Along the way, an audio voice explained the historic significance of buildings and monuments in Dutch and English. The multilingual guide (skipper) gave some extra information and tips along the way. He gave me a well worth overview of the local history and was really lovely and funny.

Seating and photographing

Make sure to get a seat at the window to make unobstructed photos. The boats are  covered, so you don’t have to be afraid of the rain. Because you are seated during the entire ride, you can use this time to relax and recover from any walking you might have done around Utrecht.

Costs of a canal tour in Utrecht

A boat tour in Utrecht is relatively inexpensive. You pay about € 14,95 per person for a 60 minutes trip. Children up to 12 years old pay around € 10,50, National residents who are members of the Postcode Loterij or support Stichting Dierenlot can get a 20% discount. The ones who have a Dordt pass, can take the tour for free. Children up to 3 years can go along for free. You can easily make a reservation and buy your tickets online via this website. You may also want to bring a few extra euros along to tip your skipper.

Utrecht canal tour duration

The 1,5 hour boat tour runs every 2 hours and the 1 hour boat tour every hour. The boats operate all year long from 11.00am till 18.00pm (last boat leaves at 5:00pm). Early morning is a good time to avoid the busiest times. The boat can be a bit cold, but you get a unique view. Plan accordingly!

Combine a Utrecht canal tour with some delicious food

Schuttevaer offers various packages. At the moment they offer a canal tour in combination with a lunch or dinner at Balkangrill Boro or a canal tour with a three-course dinner at Restaurant Humphrey’s. Visit their website for more information.

Explore the canals of Utrecht by your own

Rather explore the canals of Utrecht on your own accord? Then hire a paddle boat, an electric boat or a barbecue boat! Or consider hiring a canoe, stand-up paddleboard or pedalo! Enjoy the beautiful canals of Utrecht from the water!


Any questions or want to share something? Feel free to leave a comment below.
Enjoy exploring Utrecht by boat!

Author: Daphne

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