Amsterdam Sights

11 Things to Avoid in Amsterdam

damrak Avoid touristic hell on the Damrak. Photo by Roeland Koning

  1. Damrak ... a main thoroughfare of the city, comprising of endless hotels, fast food restaurants and souvenir shops.
  2. Kalverstraat ... during weekends, when the narrow street and the shops are very crowded.
  3. Tourist restaurants in the Lange and Korte Leidsedwarsstraat (Leidseplein district). There are plenty of other nice restaurants with charm and good food in the city centre.
  4. Taxis ... are quite expensive in Amsterdam. Buy a 24-hour ticket (24-uurskaart)uurskaarten which is a cost effective way to get around on public transport. Amsterdam has an efficient network of public transport in the form of trams, buses, trains and the metro.
  5. Do not take photos of the occupied windows in Amsterdam's Red Light District - this is strictly prohibited and any attempt will be quickly (and roughly) corrected.
  6. Walking on bike paths, which are distinguished by their reddish colour: cyclists will show no mercy. Also take care when crossing roads, even at a green pedestrian light. Cyclists consider themselves pedestrians in Amsterdam, and so tend to ignore traffic lights.
  7. Parking ... in Amsterdam is a stressful and unpleasant experience. Not only can it be difficult to find a parking space, paying at the meter can bring its own set of problems. It's not a matter of coins and withdrawing a parking ticket anymore. At the new meters the licence plate has to be entered.
  8. Long queues for a museum ... The busiest hours are 11am-2pm. Plan your visit around these times to avoid the crowds.
  9. Commercial cheese shops ... where you will see the big hunks of round cheeses in the shop window. The best place to buy (and taste) cheese is at a cheese stall at one of the daily markets in Amsterdam.
  10. Wrong pubs. A good way to learn about the city culture of Amsterdam and its people is to visit a bar. But be selective, Amsterdam has over 1,500 cafés and bars and it's very easy to end up in a touristy place that is boring and cheerless. Instead, explore one of the popular places that are frequented by local Amsterdammers. See our suggestions and find out which are the 12 best cafés and bars in Amsterdam's city centre.
  11. Fake museums ... like the Amsterdam Tulip Museum, Hash Marihuana & Hemp Museum, Sex Museum, Erotic Museum, Museum of Prostitution, Cheese Museum, and Vodka Museum. Be warned that these are not museums but in fact just shops where you pay entrance fee for. Go rather to real museums like the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam Museum or Rembrandt House. And go in the morning between 9:00 to 11:00 to avoid long queues! And... you still want something with vodka? Go for a real cocktail at one of the popular hotel bars in Amsterdam.

Tips for visitors

Get discounts and buy online tickets

Avoid queues, get discounts or good time slots. online ticket service

Where to sleep in Amsterdam?

Find out what our recommendations are.

Red Light District

also known as De Wallen, Walletjes or Rosse Buurt, is the largest and best-known red light district in Amsterdam