Johans Kayak Site


From the starting point at the Amstel the distance to the city center is about 3.7 km. So you have to add 7.4 km to the distanced mentioned at the marked routes.


    Marked routes in the city center:

  1. Grachten-route 7 km
  2. Wallen-route 4 km
  3. Plantage-route 6 km
  4. Berlage-route 11 km (this route is not marked)

In Amsterdam there are 1752 numbered bridges. On the website you can see them all on photo's by Peter Korrel (also named the Amsterdam Bridge Hunter).

In the center of Amsterdam there are hardly any places where you can go to the side. On the east-side of the city there is a low side along the Singelgracht where you can go out. And at the bridge of the Torenstraat across the Singel is a place where you can go out. There is a low pier on both sides of the bridge. This is near the Dam.

To the city center:

From the starting point it is 3.5 km to the starting-point of the Canal-tour marked as 1. You paddle on the river Amstel towards the city centre. There's no current here, but it is rather big water, and on a sunny weekend many boats pass by.
At the junction with the Singel just before the Amstel Hotel there is a restaurant on your right where you can go to the side: Restaurant Amstelhaven.

When entering the canals you must maneuver very carefully, especially when you go under a bridge. When turning left, make a wide bend so that you can see what comes from the other side. Don't go under a bridge if any motorized ship comes from the other side, even if it seems the passage is wide enough. According to regulations you must keep to the right, unless you stop at the side.


Starting point at the Amstel

GPS: Lat. 52.331130, Lon 4.899600 Parking in Amsterdam is difficult and expensive. Finding a suitable place where to put the kayak into the water is even more difficult. So I can advise to paddle a few extra miles and start your trip on the edge of town near the Utrechtse Brug at the Amstel. There is plenty of free parking space, and it's very eay to put the kayak into the water here. Coming from Utrecht you go straight on towards the city centre (Centrum, S110) when you reach the belt-way. If you're on the belt-way, exit at S110 towards the city centre (Centrum). Then take the first exit off the highway (S110), and then turn left. The road makes a bend to the left, you go under a bridge, and then you turn right. A suitable starting-point is just underneath the 3 bridges of the beltway and railroad, it is very easy to take the kayak into the water.


1. Grachtenroute (7 km):

The route starts on the Amstel just after the locks.
You go straight on towards the city center. Follow the bend to the left and then turn left at the Munt Tower (bridge 1). This is a long passage with a bend so beware of boats coming from the opposite direction. You navigate behind the backside of the Flowermarket.
At the bridge of the Torenstraat there is a low pier on both sides of the bridge.
Turn left at the second canal after the Torenstraat. Then take the third canal to the left (Prinsengracht). You pass the Westerkerk, and further on when the canal bends to the left you turn right on the Leidsegracht.
At the T-junction you turn left on the Singelgracht. You see the Rijksmuseum on your right, and the you turn left on the narrow Weteringgracht. At the T-junction you turn left and then right again on the Spiegelgracht.
At the next T-junction you turn right on the Prinsengracht. You go straight on till you're back on the Amstel.

2. Wallen-route (Red Light District Route)(3.5 km):

The route starts near the end of the Amstel at the Munt Tower (bridge 01).
You head north to the end of the Amstel and then turn right through the narrow passage (bridge 202).
Then turn left on the Oudezijds Voorburgwal. You go straigt on through the locks at De Kolk.
After the locks you turn right twice (bridge 299).
The canal bends to the left. At the end (bridge 288) you turn left and at the Montelbaans Tower you turn right (bridge 281). This is the Uilenburggracht. After the bend there is about halfway a kayak pier on the right. At the T-junction you turn left and then right again (bridge 230).
At the end you turn left at the T-junction.
Then at then end you come at the Amstel and the Munttower is to the right.

3. Plantage-route (6 km):

The route starts at the Amstel at bridge 255.
You go under bridge 255 on the Singelgracht. At the windmill make two left turns and pass bridges 78 and 253. You pass shipyards here. After bridges 277 and 274 you come at the Oosterdok near the IJ-tunnel. This is bigger water and there may be some waves. You pass the Ships-museum and turn left around Nemo towards the Central Station.
After the bridge you turn left on the Kromme Waal. The canal bends to the left and the you turn right on the Oudeschans. On the corner right you see the Montelbaan Tower.
You go straight on until you reach the Amstel at the T-junction. Turn left here, and then then left again on the Nieuwe Herengracht.
Take the first canal to the right (Entrepotdok) and you pass the zoo Artis. Follow the bends to the left around the zoo.
Then turn left and keep left until you're back on the Amstel.
Turn left on the Amstel and after you passed the locks you're back at the starting point.

4. Berlage-route (11 km) Amstelkanaal, Schinkel, Kostverlorenvaart, Jacob van Lennepkanaal, Singelgracht, Amstel:

Off the beaten tracks you can see some nice canals in a newer part of Amsterdam. It is a lot more quiet here, and you can see some nice Berlage architecture. From the starting point you go under the Utrechtse Brug, pass the big office buildings (see photo below), and then take the first canal on your left. This is the Amstelkanaal. At the next junction 5 canals come together. You take the second from the left and follow the sign directing towards Nieuwe Meer. This is the Zuider Amstelkanaal. You pass the Olympic stadium, then turn left and at the T-junction you turn right. If you would turn left here, you'd go to the Nieuwe Meer, from where you could go towards the city Haarlem on the Ringvaart. You head north on the Schinkel. this canal is named Kostverlorenvaart further on. Take the first canal to the right. This is the Jacob van Lennepkanaal. At the end you come at the Singelgracht. You turn right, pass the Rijksmuseum and the Heineken breweries and you'll see the Amstel ahead. You can turn right here towards the starting point, or turn left towards the city center.

GPS starting point along the Amstel: Lat. 52.3311, Lon 4.8996.

Luxury appartments along the Amstel.

The Amstel.

Amstel Hotel.

Hogesluis, bridge across the Amstel (Sarpatistraat).







Singel. Pier at the Torensluis.

Oudezijds Achterburgwal.


Bridge Hoogte Kadijk

Locks north of the Sloterplas. It's not too difficult to portage here.

"Het Sieraad" and the Kinkerbrug with a minaret in the distance.

Science Center Nemo.

Starting point at Amstel. Unload the kayak here and park the car 100 yards further on the free parking place.

Kayaking the Amsterdam canals is a very special experience. It is a very relaxed way of seeing the city not being disturbed by masses of people and traffic. People on the side will envy you. Many tourists will take photo's when they spot you while others wave from the passing canal-buses. Kayaking in Amsterdam in not without danger. The quays are rather high and the water is polluted, so you must be a confident enough paddler not to turn over. You also must have enough skill to manouvre quickly as canal-buses may appear unexpectedly from around a corner. And the golden rule is always to give way to canal-buses and clear the passage. They follow a tight schedule and don't like to be slowed down.

Tip: Kayak club Sloterplas organizes an evening city tour of about 22 km. every year in September.