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Amsterdam isn’t the most popular and obvious City to travel solo to I don’t think. Before I went for the first time last year I really wasn’t sure if I should do a solo trip to Amsterdam. Would it be worth it? Would I have a good time in Amsterdam considering I wouldn’t be going out drinking and smoking?
Well, I did have a lovely weekend in Amsterdam solo last year, so much so that when I was offered to return 10 months later, once again, alone, there was no way I was going to pass up the offer!
I visited Amsterdam with Stayokay Vondelpark Hostel to experience their newly renovated hostel. I had a great time wandering the streets of Amsterdam on my own, checking out some cool restaurants and learning more about the City.
Whilst I was there I really focused on the fears I had around visiting Amsterdam as a solo traveller before I first went and how funny these fears felt now after visiting twice. However I know that at the time, the feelings and thoughts I had about Amsterdam were real and they were what put me off visiting for so long, that and the fact that I thought Amsterdam was really expensive, hint, it doesn’t have to be, I wrote a blog post after my first visit detailing how much I spent in a weekend in Amsterdam which may surprise you if this is a worry of yours too!
Stay on this post to read about my top tips for visiting Amsterdam solo, or watch my YouTube video:
1. Stay in a Hostel
Everyone knows that staying in hostels are great if you’re travelling on your own, whether it’s because you want to actively meet people or whether you just want a friendly check in and friendly staff (I find hostel staff much nicer and more friendly than hotel staff generally).
I did really love my stay at Stayokay Vondelpark Hostel and what there is to do in Vondelpark but essentially, if you are visiting on your own make sure you choose accommodation in Amsterdam that you’ll feel comfortable in and suits your style. For example, there are so many hostels in Amsterdam and some are focused on people who just want to party so if that’s not your thing, don’t stay there.
To find the best place to stay in Amsterdam as a solo traveller that is just right for you, click here.
2. Know that there are lots of Things to do in Amsterdam Alone and it is a Normal City Break Destination
I used to think that the majority of people who went to Amsterdam went there to get high and to get drunk, and that if I wasn’t doing this I would be the odd one out? But that’s simply not true!
Amsterdam is such a gorgeous city with so much to see that you could spend days exploring its canals, streets and parks. There are lots of things to do in Amsterdam alone such as Canal Tours, Walking Tours, Bike Tours and visiting World Class Museums to keep you busy beside wandering the City on your own. There’s no reason why you shouldn’t go to Amsterdam to do these things like you would in any other European City and City in the World for that matter.
For my self guided walks around Amsterdam check out these two posts: How I Spent One Day Exploring Amsterdam Solo! & Walking Guide from Amsterdam Centraal Station to the Rijksmuseum.
If you want to book onto a tour in Amsterdam, I would recommend one of the below. I loved doing a boat tour on my first trip alone to Amsterdam and it passed a few hours well. And I really enjoyed visiting the Moco museum on my recent trip!
3. English is Well Spoken
The Dutch speak English very well, it’s taught in their schools and this makes Amsterdam and the Netherlands in general a really good place to travel alone if you are worried about communication.
4. Research Cool Places to Eat in Amsterdam and Give Meal’s a Purpose
Amsterdam is full of really cool restaurants and cafes. I know that some people worry about eating meals solo and being in a City like Amsterdam where there are a lot of groups visiting it may seem intimidating.
To help with this, I suggest researching a place to eat, whether that’s by looking on Instagram, looking at blogs or just asking Google and then going to your chosen place. Not only does this mean that you won’t waste a meal time or waste money on a bad meal by choosing somewhere randomly and it perhaps not being good, but it means that you give your meals a purpose and an extra enjoyment.
I also find that when I have somewhere in mind to visit I enjoy walking and getting there as I may not have visited that area had I not planned to eat there. For example I went for dinner at Vegan Junk Food Bar in Amsterdam (which is great FYI), and I really enjoyed walking around the neighbourhood but I wouldn’t have visited that area had I not looked up the restaurant and planned to eat there.
If you want some idea’s on where to eat alone in Amsterdam, check out these posts from my blogger friends:
The Ultimate Amsterdam Food and Drink Guide by Sophie.
5. Get Out of the Centre of Amsterdam
The Centre of Amsterdam around Central Station and Dam Square, also known as Amsterdam Centrum, is busy, commercialised and a little intimidating at times I found, as this is where the Red Light District is, plus many Coffeeshops selling weed. Therefore it does attract the big groups of people who come to Amsterdam for this.
I would definitely recommend seeing this part of the city, and I’ve written up a really good way to explore the centre of Amsterdam here, however know that there is much more to Amsterdam than this area I wouldn’t spend too much time here. A great local place to go is Amsterdam Noord aka Amsterdam North.
6. Do not Stay in Accommodation in Central Amsterdam
Following on from the above point and linking in with point one, I recommend you do not stay in accommodation in Central Amsterdam and close to the Red Light District if you are in Amsterdam solo as it could feel a bit intimidating at night (although the area in itself is safe) and it’s also just not a not place to stay.
That’s why I loved Stayokay Vondelpark Hostel so much, because it was further out, in a less touristy area of the City and right by the huge green park that is Vondelpark. I felt really safe and happy in this location of the city as a solo female traveller in Amsterdam.
7. Avoid Weekends if Possible
The first time I visited Amsterdam was on a weekend in November, the second time was mid-week in August and I really noticed the difference in people who were visiting. August was of course very busy because it was the school holidays so there seemed to be a lot of families, but there wasn’t as many stag and hen do’s as when I went on the weekend and to be honest, these are the groups I wanted to avoid.
You can by all means visit Amsterdam as a solo traveller on a weekend but if you have the choice to come during the week I would. My friend who lives in Amsterdam also said she see’s how much the city changes on the weekend vs the week and it’s a a lot more pleasant during the week.
8. Know that Amsterdam is Safe
With all the drinking, smoking and the groups that visit, you may worry and wonder if Amsterdam is safe and it is.
The area around the Red Light District is safe because it’s covered in CCTV and the Dutch themselves are very nice people, I felt completely safe in Amsterdam both times as a solo female traveller. I’m not sure on the exact figures of pick pocketing etc but it is by no means a city where people tell you to be careful, unlike places like Barcelona and even London, although you should of course always be sensible.
So if safety is something that is putting you off visiting Amsterdam, don’t let it be.
9. Don’t Hire a Bike
Amsterdam is a city made for bikes but unless you know how to ride one properly and know how to navigate the roads in Europe on a bike safely I wouldn’t hire one, especially if you are on your own.
In Amsterdam you always have to be alert for the bikes, trams and cars and trying to watch out for all of these things, plus the canals, plus the pedestrians and navigate yourself around the city on your own is tricky business.
If you want to explore Amsterdam by bike I would suggest doing a bike tour like one below. Bike Tours are also a great way to meet fellow travellers.
10. Remember People Live in Amsterdam and it’s their Home
I feel kind of silly remembering that I wondered if I could visit Amsterdam alone back when I thought perhaps I couldn’t or shouldn’t, because I didn’t consider that it’s a normal city like I said above, and so many people live there.
They deal with the weekend crowds, they know the coffeeshops are there, they tolerate the tourists darting in front of their bikes. It’s a city like any other in Europe, however it is a fantastic city and definitely one of the best and better cities in Europe and you definitely shouldn’t avoid visiting Amsterdam due to visiting Amsterdam alone.
I hope this helps convince and reassure you that you should go to Amsterdam solo.
Check out my other Amsterdam posts to gives you ideas and tips on what to do in Amsterdam Solo:
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