Alkmaar: Canal Cruising in Low Places

Alkmaar TitleWe have yet to dislike any Dutch town we have been to. Alkmaar is no exception. With its old town filled with narrow streets, gorgeous canals and hand-pulled bridges, you can’t help but be under the spell of this North Holland gem.


If you’ve heard of the Cheese Market in Holland, this is that town. They have this market in the warmer months each Friday. It’s definitely a sight to see if you are in the area. But even if you visit the other days of the week, you can get lost with your imagination pretending to live in a storybook.

Over the water

As with many cities, if you can view it from their waterways, you get an entirely different experience. This canal cruise was one we will never forget.

picnic table

Why? You might ask. Just wait for it…

Triple Bridge Alkmaar

It started off innocent enough. We spotted a tour boat and made a beeline for it. We got on right before they left. It was a larger boat considering the size of the canals, but there were maybe ten people on board. We had a lovely captain who narrated for us as we passed by canal houses and under the bridges…that’s where it got uncomfortable.


Sean and I each took a bench at the very front of the boat, because why not? A few bridges came around and we were told to watch our heads since they were a little bit low. No problem. But with each bridge they got lower and lower to the point that we were literally on the floor of the boat while going under them because the height of the boat was all the clearance the bridge gave.

Under the bridge


That’s not even the worst of it! Are you ready for this?

Lowest bridge

This still shocks me! I’m not sure what would happen if you were sitting up while just bending to the side and your shoulder got stuck. OUCH!

double bridge

The views made up for all of it and the experience of the entire boat–none of whom spoke the same language–looking at each other in awe as we weren’t sure if we’d make it under a bridge, was priceless. We were never in any real danger, and it was quite a hilarious experience…after the fact.

Butch boat

Would we go on the canal cruise again? I’m not sure, but it is the best way to see Alkmaar!

We want to know, what was an uncomfortable travel experience you have had?

Jessica Cutrufello wearing a green floral dress, glasses and pink lipstick

Hi! I’m Jessica, an American who made Amsterdam her home in 2014. I share European gems through food and memorable experiences. Want to know more? Head to my about page or check out my YouTube channel.

Travel with us - Tuscany October 2022