I’ll be the first one to admit that I didn’t really know what to expect during my solo travel Amsterdam experience.
People kept telling about cafes selling weed and legalized prostitution in the Red Light District.
And to be Honest, I’m not really into that kind of stuff.
I’m an honorary Golden Girl after all.
I got a little nervous. I began to wonder if I could do Netherlands solo travel and actually have fun, without smoking a doobie and fist-pumping the night away, or eating an entire pie by myself (which seems more likely if I’m smoking a doobie).
I knew there had to be more to Amsterdam than the party stereotype. And I’m delighted to say that I was right.
Amidst the Coffee Houses selling weed and the infamous Red Light District:
There is a city of exquisite beauty; an urban oasis of canals that are dotted with historic, architecturally stunning homes that are only enhanced in beauty by the warm, accepting, and friendly people who call Amsterdam home.
Can you tell I had a good time?
So if you’re contemplating Amsterdam solo travel, then like Nike says, just do it!
But I Also Usually Get the Question:
Is Amsterdam Safe for Solo Female Travelers?
Yes, a thousand times yes! Not only is Amsterdam an extremely safe city, but it is quite walkable. Therefore, no debts will be incurred while cabbing around the city alone (The city is also SUPER bikable and is the perfect easy bicycle trip destination for any newbie bikers out there. And I’m referring to bikes in the distinctly non-motorized way).
Cabs are pretty useless when looking for things to do alone in Amsterdam.
And Believe It Or Not:
Amsterdam also has a ton of top Amsterdam sights and attractions that are actually better suited for someone traveling solo in Amsterdam.
Don’t Believe Me?
Read on and understand why I LOVE Amsterdam solo travel and answer the eternal question, ” What some of the best things to do in Amsterdam alone?”
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14 Fantastic Things to do Alone in Amsterdam
Disclaimer: There are WAY more than fourteen amazing things to do alone in Amsterdam. I just didn’t want this post to turn into War and Peace and become a total snooze fest.
1. Visit Museumplein (the perfect Amsterdam solo travel destination)
I am a firm believer that museums are ALWAYS better alone.
Not only can you explore the museum at your own pace ( I go to some of New York City’s best museums alone all the time), without worrying about your travel com[panion getting bored (sorry, just dozed off there for a minute), but you also won’t get yelled at for talking too loudly because, well, there’s no one to talk to!
Unless you have imaginary friends.
If you do, you might want to see a professional about that.
Doing solo female travel Amsterdam in museums means that you won’t be THAT person. You know, the one who speaks like they have a megaphone lodged in their vocal cords. The person who is always being shushed because they are so loud and annoying?
Yeah, you won’t be that guy and publicly shunned when you meet travelers in Amsterdam.
And you’re in luck.
Amsterdam has a ton of museums, hence the whole Museumplein name.
Between the Van Gogh Museum (must book tickets ahead of time online), the Rijksmuseum (skip the line and buy your tickets in advance) and the Stedelijk Museum, your only problem will be deciding where to go first.
All of these museums are included in the Amsterdam Card (you can get your I Amsterdam Card in advance online) and are absolutely amazing, must-see museums.
So How to Pick and Choose?
Well, if you like Danish History and enjoy seeing paintings a la the Dutch Golden age, then the Rijksmuseum is your jam.
If you love Van Gogh and enjoy Impressionist paintings then the Van Gogh Museum will be a blast.
No? Looking for something a bit more modern?
Then check out the Stedelijk Museum, which displays the latest and most innovative pieces of modern and contemporary art.
All are Amazing.
It just depends on what you like do as you solo travel through Amsterdam.
Before You Leave Though:
Don’t forget to snap a selfie with the I Amsterdam sign in front of the Rijksmuseum. I know, totally cliched but you’ve got to do it.
***If you want a photo with the I Amsterdam sign without ten million people, then just get up a little early and head on over. Trust me, Amsterdam isn’t one of those cities with residents that are early risers. Therefore, even if you get here by like 8 am, it still shouldn’t be too crowded, Just bring your tripod and you’ll be good to go.
2. Take the Ferry To NDSM
Before I get into how awesome this trip is for solo Amsterdam travelers:
You should know that when you use google maps to find the location of the ferry to NDSM, Google is wrong.
Sorry Google, it had to happen eventually.
Yes, Google directs you to the old ferry location. And if you travel there, you’ll see a very closed ferry port. Like caution tape closed.
To find the new ferry terminal and avoid my Amsterdam travel mistakes, just follow your google map directions until the last turn.
Instead of going right, you’ll go left and walk straight for about 300 meters. Once here, you’ll see the ferry dock on your right.
The hordes of locals with bikes and signs with scrolling departure times will be a dead giveaway that you’re in the right place.
And trust me, this solo Amsterdam trip is worth it.
Not only is the ferry free, but the ride is short. Like 15 minutes short.
This part of Amsterdam is unlike any other area in the city and is definitely one of the more non-touristy things to do in Amsterdam. No historic canal houses here. Instead, you’ll find converted warehouses that are adorned with mesmerizing street art and some quirky, hipster decor.
It’s really hard to describe so you just kind of have to see it to believe it.
But just think of this place as way cooler than I can ever hope to be.
Between the amazing restaurants (Pilek is a really great place), the vibrant music, the beautiful street art, this waterside cultural hotspot will totally make you forget that you’re traveling alone in Amsterdam.
All the locals go here so you know it’s good.
***Also known as Amsterdam Noord, this neighborhood is perfect for adrenaline junkies since it’s home to the continent’s highest swing, which is located at A’dam Tower. For just €5, take a death-defying ride through the air, or simply enjoy the panoramic views from the indoor Panorama Deck or from the outdoor Sky Deck! While you’re here, you can also ride a bike through the historic village of Durgerdam, in Landelijik Noord, to get that quintessential Dutch afternoon feel. For food, savor some Dutch apple pie at Café’t Sluisje (a beautiful 500-year-old building), or have a cup of green coffee along with a crash course in sustainable eating at De Ceuvel. Okay, the coffee isn’t actually green, but this place is all about clean technology and tries to inspire others to go green in every way possible. There are also a ton of great street market here that make the perfect place to buy some unique souveneir from local buisness owners.***
3. Reserve a Ticket to the Anne Frank House
***You CANNOT buy tickets there and MUST show up at the EXACT time of your visit. I suggest booking your tickets at least two months in advance if you plan on visiting during the summer.
Okay. Glad we got that gross, practical info out of the way so that you can plan the perfect Amsterdam 3 day itinerary any Amsterdam solo traveler.
So I have a conundrum here:
The Anne Frank House is a touching tribute to a beautiful, thirteen-year-old girl, whose poignant diary changed the way generations of people see the world.
She unknowingly reminds use of her past so that we can enjoy a better future.
A story that will forever haunt our souls and make our hearts cry out at the sheer agony and torment of this devastating period in history.
But my Problem is:
I would be remiss if I didn’t tell you to visit this eye-opening museum.
There is no way that my words can do justice to a museum about such a hauntingly beautiful life, whose vivacious spirit, light and shine were all heartlessly extinguished much too quickly.
So instead of trying to describe this museum poorly:
All I’ll say is that yes, this museum really is as sadly amazing as everyone says. Truly one of the best things to do in Amsterdam.
***Can’t get tickets to the Anne Frank Museum? No worries, there are a ton of other sights and Jewish Cultural tours of Amsterdam that pay homage to this beautiful human. Try visiting the Jewish Historical Museum, the Dutch Resistance Museum, the National Holocaust Memorial, the Portuguese Synagogue, and the Children’s Jewish Historical Museum.
4. See a Dutch Windmill Near Westerpark
Before we go any further, I want to make it clear that Westerpark is amazing, and seeing a Dutch windmill is not the ONLY reason why you should visit this lovely oasis of greenery.
You know this place is epic because this is where all the locals go to escape the summer tourists, or so I’ve been told.
You should flock here too and walk or bike along one of the many trails that meander through this expansive park.
Just Kep Your Eyes Open.
I almost totally missed this windmill because well yeah, it’s not in the park. So if you are headed towards the park from the Jordaan area, then the windmill will be to your left and about halfway through the park, literally just across the street.
When I Saw It:
I got super excited because I feel like windmills are almost as synonymous with the Netherlands as clogs are. Only I find windmills to be WAY cooler.
That’s why Obviously:
I squealed with delight, at this stage of my Netherlands solo travel journey, when I saw this romantic icon of ye olde Dutch history.
I was so Obsessed with Getting the Perfect Shot of this Windmill:
That I fell, scratched the crap out of my leg, and actually almost landed in the river.
River, score 1. Kelly, score 0.
***To get the perfect picture of this iconic windmill, I suggest walking along the path that runs the perimeter of the park. From here, you can get a much better view of the windmill than if you were actually in the park itself (the park is surrounded by a river so it’s hard to get a good shot of the windmill from within the park.
5. Try Some of Amsterdam’s Best Desserts
After reading this, you may have the uncontrollable urge to inhale any and all of Amsterdam’s best desserts. Don’t be alarmed. This is a normal reaction to the divine decadence that I am about to share with you.
So I was Shocked by the Number of Amazing Amsterdam Desserts.
I mean, when I think of amazing desserts I think London, Paris, Rome, New York City, But Amsterdam?
There is a deliciously delightful assortment of amazing desserts that may require you to pack an entire suitcasWellull of elastic waist pants.
My Picks for the best Amsterdam desserts?
Well, there are a ton of amazing ones but I suggest stopping by Sweet Bob’s for some amazing Brazilian chocolate. I don’t even like candy and I inhaled the creme brulee chocolate like it was my job.
Grab a seriously delicious but totally unique ice cream cone from Banketbakkerij Van Der Linde, snag a cookie from Melly’s Cookie Bar, eat a piece of dutch apple pie from Winkel 43 (with extra whipped cream), head to Van Stapele Koekmakerij for the best chocolate cookie of your life, and make room for Stroopwafels at the Original Stroopwafels stand in Albert Cuyp market.
These desserts are the stuff that food crack is made of.
And while there are a ton more, I’m saving my other picks since, well, I smell another post coming up.
So clearly now you have to stick around my blogosphere.
Yup. It’s all part of my evil genius plan to take over the world, one Stroopwafel at a time.
***Feeling awkward about eating alone in Amsterdam? Yeah, I feel like that sometimes too. So if you’re looking for some cheap food that is easy to eat alone then try Kaassoufflé (take away wall fo deep fried bread and cheese), Wok to Walk (takeaway Chinese rice and noodles), and Maoz (a big old, totally delicious falafel sandwich).***
6. Visit the Begijnhof
Time for the tiniest smidge of real talk.
Before I extoll the many virtues of the Begijnhof for you, we’re gonna have to discuss basically the only word I know in Dutch, hofje.
And even that one I had to look up. So sad, but true.
A hofje is important because well, that’s exactly what Begijonhof is; a courtyard surrounded by almshouses.
Or in Girl with the Passport Speak:
A hidden garden that is surrounding by a private housing area that is typically made up of elderly women.
See, the Dutch are the best. Always thinking of their elders.
But Begijnhof is actually one of the oldest hofjes in Amsterdam and well worth a visit.
Between the beautiful courtyard greenery, the charming historic architecture, and the religious icons associated with the two churches on site, you’ll have a hard time vacating the premises before taking about 10,000 photos, because well, we all need that perfect Instagram shot.
If you’re rocking the Begjijnhof alone during your solo Amsterdam trip, that’s even better because this is a private residence.
Please remember to be quiet and respectful when visiting this place. And please refrain from screaming at your homie about some mysterious rash that some one night stand gave you last night.
No one wants to hear that. People actually live here and are allowing you to enter, as a guest, into their not so secret garden (this place is pretty well known so you’ll find a bunch of tourists snapping selfies. And nope, I wasn’t a selfie-snapping tourist…this time).
So Be Nice and Remeber to Thank These Ladies for their Kindness by Being Respectful!
7. Visit Kattencafe Kopjes Cat Cafe
What activity could be better suited for solo travel in Amsterdam than embracing your inner crazy cat lady (Or man. No gender bias against any alone Amsterdam male) at a local cat cafe?
And Trust Me:
I’ve been to my fair share of cat cafes, but Kettencafe Kopjes is better than most.
The cats are adorable, the staff are super friendly, the cafe makes great iced lattes, and all you need to do is donate € 3 to help care for the cats as they hang out in the cafe, waiting to be adopted.
So what are you waiting for?
Go get some kitty therapy and feel ten times better about life in general.
Just one downside:
This cat cafe is a bit out of the way so be prepared for a trek out of the city center to visit this cattastic place. It also can get quite crowded since it is probably one of the best things to do in Amsterdam with kids.
So yeah, be prepared.
***I’m not sure if the cat is the spirit animal of Amsterdam, but Amsterdam has a ton of cat-related places for you to enjoy. So if you’re a cat fanatic then definitely check out the Depoezenboot (A giant boat that cares for some kitties that are in need of a good home. And yes, you are welcome to visit) and the Kattebkabinet (A museum designed by a cat lover for cat lovers. I wasn’t super impressed because it’s basically a random amalgamation of cat posters, but it’s pretty cheap so if you have time and like cats then go for it).
8. Visit Ons’ Lieve Heer op Solder Museum
I’ll be the first one to admit that I’m not s huge church person.
Many of these religious buildings are pretty, but seeing one crucifix after another can get kind of dull.
I start to get this glazed over look on my face.
And my mind starts going, “Crucifix, altar, organ, next!”
Ons’ Lieve Heer op Solder (aka Our Lord in the Attic) is way cooler than a NORMAL church.
Just think of this place as the James Bond of churches.
See, believe it or not, this church is actually hidden away in the attic of a 17th-century canal house (As a result of the Protestant Reformation in the Netherlands, Catholics could only practice their faith within the privacy of their own home)!
Pretty cool right?
Plus, the whole house has been refurbished and transformed into a museum where you can step back in time and experience what 17th-century homes really looked like.
So Go Forth and Get Your Cultural Learning on.
Trust me, you really have nothing to lose since this museum is light on tourists and is free for anyone with the Amsterdam Pass.
***If you are into museums and love homes that are decorated in the style of the 18th and 19th century, then check out this small but lovely museum. The decor of this three-story house is absolutely charming and is only accentuated by a picturesque garden that you can stroll through, at the back of the house.
9. Theatre Tuschinski
“I wanna to go to the movies!” said no one ever while on vacation.
Unless it’s a downpour outside and you have nothing else to do.
How much of a city can you see from a movie theater?
Glad we agree.
But Theatre Tuchinski is TOTALLY different.
This exquisite theater was completed in 1921 and is jaw-droppingly beautiful on the inside. Between the stunning lamps, luxurious furniture, and colorful carpets, the last thing you’ll be thinking about is a movie (Although you might get whiplash from looking around too quickly).
But How Do You see this Gorgeous, Art Deco Style Theater?
Great question! Love how in sync we are with these things.
To visit Theatre Tuschinski, you can either attend a movie, since this building is still a working movie theater, or you can visit the theater between 9:30 am and 11:00 am and tour the theater with a personal audioguide.
Sure it costs €10, but it’s totally worth it.
10. Museum Van Loon
How Museum Van Loon isn’t swamped with tourists I’ll never know.
I’m glad because we all know how I feel about crowds and people in general (translation, not a fan).
First of All:
The garden is gorgeous and truly any Instagram lovers dream. I mean, this garden is so photogenic that it actually made me look like a sort of an okay photographer.
So be sure to stroll through this immaculately kept and beautifully designed garden, which can be found at the back of this charming, canalside home.
All the rich and super cool families had their homes along Amsterdam’s many canals. so don’t leave before touring the inside of this house as well.
It’s a must-see since this home was owned by the family Van Loon. Okay, that probably means nothing to you but let me just say that they were the co-founders of a little company known as the East India Tea Company. Maybe you’ve heard of it? Lol.
As you can probably guess, they were super rich and had a beautifully decorated home to prove it.
So Before You Leave:
Make sure that you walk through this historic home, on the Keizersgracht, and marvel at this family’s collection of home furnishings and priceless art pieces.
*** Open daily between 10:00 am and 5:00 pm. Tickets cost € 9 for adults, € 7 for students, € 5 for children between 6 and 16, and are included with the I Amsterdam Card. ***
11. Brouwerijhetij (The IJ Brewery)
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I couldn’t go to the Netherlands and not get a picture of a windmill!? ??Searched high and low in Amsterdam for one of these but got there in the end. ??? Fun fact ??: This windmill is also a brewery too! ?? . . . . . . . . . #Amsterdam #Amsterdam?? #AmsterdamLife #Amsterdammer #AmsterdamStreets #Netherlands #Netherlands?? #NetherlandsVacations #NetherlandsCaptured #NetherlandsWindmills #NetherlandsWindmill #Windmill #Windmills #Beer #Booze #Brewery #WinterDays #WinterTime #Europe #EuropeTravel #EuropeVacation #Holland #brouwerijhetij #Europeig #fff #lfl #Travel #Blogger #TravelBlogger #DaisyGraceTravels
Kudos to you if you’re brave enough to try and pronounce this Dutch Brewery.
Because I am without a doubt, not that courageous.
This Dutch Brewery also goes by its English name, the IJ Brewery, which is perfect for anyone who is not super linguistically savvy, like me.
But you know what’s really cool about this brewery, besides obviously the beer?
The fact that IJ Brewery is right next door to De Gooyer windmill, an old school, wooden, Dutch mill that is actually the tallest windmill in all of the Netherlands.
And added bonus?
Even though this place is located right next door to a popular tourist attraction, It’s actually brimming over with locals, from open to close.
Which is a good sign since I mean, clearly no one knows Dutch brews better than the Dutch themselves!
This place has been around since forever, or 1985, when it was first opened as a response to local dissatisfaction with beers that were being brewed by larger companies.
Brouwerijhetij is all about serving beers that cater to local tastes. And with only 8 standard, and 3 seasonal, beers on the menu, Brouwerijhetij offers a small menu that is done extremely well.
While you may not have much to choose from, each beer here is truly amazing and expertly crafted, with exceptional flavor, to satisfy the tastes of even the most critical beer lovers among us.
But, what if you don’t know what to choose?
No problem! Brouwerijhetij has a fantastic beer tasting menu that is perfect if you’re trying to figure out what to order or if you just gotta have them all (Thanks Pokemon for that epic tag line)!
So, with your EPIC brew in hand:
Grab a seat at their adjoining pub, or, better yet, head to their outdoor terrace and soak up some of the ethereal beauty that Amsterdam has to offer.
And If you’re a beer aficionado?
Then definitely take a tour of the Brouwerijhetij Brewe, which is available on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, when the brewery is taking a break from… well, brewing.
Don’t worry though:
The tour only lasts 20 minutes, costs just €6.50 per person and includes a “complimentary” beer of your choice.
The best part?
This tour doesn’t allow large parties! So that group of loud, overly excited men on a bachelor party? Yeah, they can’t come! Woot woot!
Tour spots are limited to just 20 people, so definitely get to the bar early and snag yours.
The English tour starts at 3:30 PM, so don’t get tickets for the 4:00 PM Dutch tour unless you speak Dutch.
Go forth, make merry, and live the solo travel Amsterdam dream!
12. Check out a Live Performance
Attending a live performance is one of the best activities for solo travelers in Amsterdam!
Not only do you get to experience the local music scene, but you’ll also be the perfect audience member since you won’t be distracting everyone as you loud talk to your travel companions.
Scoping out venues for live performances can be tricky, especially in a foreign country.
I mean, how do you differentiate between the tourist traps and the legit places?
Luckily enough for you:
Before you pick though:
Please be aware that each venus has a different vibe, with unique live performances that are best suited for different musical/artistic tastes.
If you’re looking for something funny and quirky, then De Nieuwe Anita is the place to be since they feature live comedy shows, pub quizzes, karaoke nights, and live bands.
If you’re looking for something a bit more artsy, then dive right into the heart of the local art scene at OT301, an alternative, multimedia arts center that caters to local filmmakers, musicians, artists, and more (they even have an awesome, on-site vegan restaurant called De Peper).
And for epic live music?
Then there is no better place than OCCII, a venue that features a variety of local, alternative and independent musicians.
Just be aware that the genres of music performed here vary daily, so definitely check out their performance calender before you go.
The last thing you want to do is go to a live performance, only to find out that you’re not a fan of the music being played.
Talk about a Debbie Downer.
13. Check Out a Floating Flower Market
Opened in 1862:
The stands of Bloemenmarkt flower Market actually sit atop houseboats and make the ultimate throwback Thursday since they show visitors exactly how things were really done way back when.
Aboard each houseboat:
You’ll also find a snazzy little greenhouse, making this floating flower market quite a sight to behold (it’s also the only floating flower market in the world which is pretty cool too).
While strolling through this floating oasis of greenery:
You’ll find a variety of flowers that include peonies, orchids, narcissus,, and of course, tulips, all of which are for purchase in bouquets, single stems, and bulbs.
And while you can’t stow any of these botanical gems in your carry-on:
Some merchants will ship bulbs to you almost anywhere in the world!
If you’re looking for the most authentic Dutch souvenir ever, then just have some tulip bulbs shipped to you, so you can plant them and watch them grow.
Don’t really have a green thumb?
Not a problem since this Flower Market also carries a variety of typical Dutch souvenirs like wooden clogs, wooden tulips, cheeses, etc.
Open year round, rain or shine:
Flower availability does change seasonally, with the most dramatic changes occurring in December, when you’ll see all of these merchants carrying beautiful Christmas trees.
Make your way to Singel Canal and enjoy one of the most colorful spots in all of Amsterdam.
***The market is open 9:00 AM to 5:30 PM, Monday through Saturday, and 11:30 AM to 5:30 PM on Sundays.***
14. Edam Cheese Market
Did I save the best for last or what? Because an entire market dedicated to nothing but cheese is definitely my idea of pure heaven.
To visit this amazing cheese market:
Simply take a 30 minute bus ride outside of Amsterdam, to the town of Edam.
I promise, it’s not hard to do.
Just head over to Amsterdam Central Station and board bus number 110, 118, 312, 314, or 316 for an express journey to pure, unadulterated, cheese nirvana.
Feel free to rent a bike and explore Edam. It’s a historic town filled with charming cobblestone streets and beautiful, historic buildings that are glorious to see.
But what makes this cheese market so special?
Well, aside from the obvious, Edam Cheese Market also reenacts the historic, cheese buying process.
Cheese-mongers here actually transport large wheels of cheese by wagons and boats, just as they did during the Renaissance.
So, if you want to buy some cheese:
Be prepared to participate in tradition since cheese isn’t bought and sold here in the modern way.
In Edam, if a buyer is interested in a particular cheese, they will drill a hole in the top, and then extract a sample so that they can asses the quality and taste of the cheese.
The buyer and merchant will then negotiate a price until an agreement is reached.
Once both parties are content:
The cheese is then wheeled off (get it?) to a weighing house and finally, transported to the buyer.
It’s a rare sight to see and definitely one of the most unique experiences on this list
There are only eight markets every year, all of which are held on Wednesdays, between 10:30 AM and 12:30 PM, throughout July and August.
Mark your calendars and prepare for the most CHEESY experience of your life!
***On the first Saturday in August, Edam also hosts a night market that includes a small street fair and flea market.***
So, What Do You Think of My Solo Travel Amsterdam Guide?
As you can guess:
This concludes my list of amazing places to visit as a solo female traveler in Amsterdam (or solo male traveler).
Amsterdam is probably one of my favorite cities to travel alone in. Not only do you feel safe, but the people are super nice, and there are a ton of things to do in Amsterdam.
So what more could you possibly hope for?
Well, if you are yearning for something more, then hit me up in the comments and let me know if something is missing or if you have any questions.