Amsterdam Light Festival

Amsterdam Light Festival is happening from 30th November 2023 – 21st January 2024.
The lights are on Mon-Wed 5.00-10.00 p.m. and Thu-Sun from 5.00-11.00 p.m.

There are lights all over Amsterdam and there are some that are specifically designed to be viewed from the water, so you can go on a canal cruise to see the lights from the best place.

I went on 2 boat tours during the light festival as well as a little walk along parts of the canal. I would have walked further, but being disabled I can’t walk far, so the boat tours were my main way of exploring the canals and lights.

Walking Tour

You don’t need to spend money if you don’t want to! The main walking event is free and you can see the lights over various parts of Amsterdam. You can start wherever you want and see as little or as much as you like.
There is a walking map available that you can purchase in the app for €7,99 that shows where each art installation is along the canal.
I personally think it is a little expensive for a walking map, especially as maps used to be free, but you can get by without one. If you really want to know where everything is though, I definitely recommend the map, as this is the only way to know where everything is and saves you trying to find things.

There is a walking tour led by a guide which has a charge, which is great if you want more information and details. You can take photos and ask questions. Great for travellers that like walking tours and learning about things. You will learn a lot more about the art installation by taking a walking tour led by a guide.

Boat Tours

Boat tours cost money, but they are worth it, I promise!
I went on 2 different ones and loved them both! Strommer and Blue Boat Company.
They are also pretty good value too so I honestly recommend you take a boat tour during the light festival, even if you have been on regular daytime canal boat tours in Amsterdam, as it is totally different at night with the lights.

There are various companies you can choose from and some depart from different places, so check the website to find which is best for you. Examples of companies are Strommmer, Blue Boat, Lovers and Amsterdam Boat Cruises.
They are all very similar once you are on board, but some may go a slightly different way and start in a different place. Some may be better for you depending on where you physically are in Amsterdam.

Blue Boat is the only company in Amsterdam that has wheelchair accessible boats. Not all of theirs are, but they do have them and are the only company to have them, sadly more companies don’t seem to be trying to be accessible. Contact them for times of the wheelchair accessible boat cruises.


If you are disabled I would personally advise you against Lovers. Lovers told me they would not help with any accessibility such as letting me check in, then go sit down until boarding and let me board first, even thought I would be there early and in time for check in. I was told I would have to stand in a queue or sit down and join the queue. That was the only option. Very inaccessible!
I have used many other boat companies, and they all let me on first as long as I get there in time to check in, and then can sit down until they started boarding. This is easy accessibility, but Lovers wouldn’t allow it, so I personally wouldn’t recommend them for disabled people.

Cruises take approximately 75-90 minutes and you can choose from fully covered boats or semi open, where you can go to the back of the boat where it is uncovered to take photos or look at the view without any windows.
Semi open boats do give the best views, but with more cold. Choose what you prefer!
Prices start at €26.50 p.p. Kids 4-12 years: €13.25, kids 0-3 years: free.

I went on two boat tours during the Amsterdam light festival. Strommer and Blue Boat Company. I would definitely recommend both companies. If I had to pick one over the other, I think Blue Boat was the best as well as a bit longer than the other companies at 90 mins instead of 75 mins. There was no condensation on the windows either.

I personally went on a covered boat ride and I loved it so much, although you can select partially uncovered boats if you want to see without windows in the way.
I picked covered as I am disabled so wouldn’t be getting up during the ride to see from the back, and I like the warmth too much.
The boat tour takes you though the canals of Amsterdam, alongside the lights so not only are you getting a view of Amsterdam from the water, but you are getting a light show as well. This is the best way to see the lights in my opinion.
The boat was heated and as I chose a covered boat, it stayed warm throughout the journey, but you can choose semi-open boats where the back is uncovered. This gives you a closer view of the sights and lights.
They also had little window squeegees so you can clean off any condensation. I went on two boat tours and one had lots of condensation on the windows and the other had no condensation at all, but both provided the window squeegees for people to use which was great.

The boat ride was warm so you weren’t cold which was lovely, even though it was very cold and snowing outside!

If you have been on a boat tour of Amsterdam canals before, I still recommend you take a light festival boat tour as it is totally different experience. I have done regular canal cruises before but the light festival was like going on a totally different journey!

I am disabled and used a walking stick to board the boats with no issues. There are just a few steps to and from the boats. If you have a wheelchair, definitely try Blue Boat Company, otherwise if you have a walking stick like me, you should be fine on any boat as long as you can do a few steps.

I am disabled so I used my walking stick to board the boat, so I could pick any company I wish, but if you have a wheelchair, you wouldn’t be able to board the boats for the majority of boat companies, so please be aware of this.
In fact Blue Boat company is the only company in Amsterdam to have some boats that have a wheelchair ramp! So if you have a wheelchair, you would need to use Blue Boat Company and book on a specific boat time as they only have a few wheelchair boats. Contact them first to find out which time boat to book on, before booking.

I highly recommend that you download the free app as it will give you all the information you need.
There is a paid map in the app that is very detailed, but there is lots of useful information in the app.

Check out the Amsterdam Light Festival website for more information, and I highly recommend you check out the FAQ which answers most questions you may have.


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