Tourist traps in Amsterdam and where to go instead
the Netherlands

The worst tourist traps in Amsterdam — and where to go instead

By on August 12, 2017

Amsterdam is full of tourist visiting places locals won’t even bother to come. Being one of these locals, I feel it’s my duty to tell you about the worst tourist traps in Amsterdam and (more importantly!) where to go instead…


Tourist trap 1: Leidse Square

A lot of tourists visit Amsterdam for a good night out. Most of them, however, end up at the worst party place of all: Leidse Square. This place is trashy, cheap (no, not the drinks) and there’s always trouble. Instead go to other areas of the city such as de Pijp, Beukenplein or check DJ guide to see if there are any of our awesome festivals going on!


Tourist traps in Amsterdam - Festivals
Amsterdam is known for its excellent festivals, with more than 300 there is something for everyone

Tourist trap 2: Heineken Experience

No offence, Heineken – but the Heineken Experience is one of the major tourist traps in Amsterdam. The tour through the brewery used to be fun before it got discovered by literally the whole world. Now, you get to see more people than beer (no joke). If you really want to learn more about Dutch beers visit one of the small breweries. Especially in Amsterdam we love Brewery ‘t IJ. The brewery is located next to an old wooden windmill! That’s more of a Dutch experience!

Tourist traps in Amsterdam - Brewery 't IJ
Try the local craft beers at Brewery 't IJ

Tourist Trap 3: Hop on-Hop off bus

You see them everywhere, the red Hop on-Hop off busses. In some cities a great way to explore, but not in Amsterdam. Traffic in the city center is horrible so driving around in a massive touring car isn’t a fun activity. You will be stuck in traffic and not see much of the city. Also, Amsterdam is small! There is no need to go around in a hop on- hop off bus if you can cycle, walk or even take a hop on-hop off boat over the canals! It’s much more fun to experience the city from the water or on a bike!

Tourist traps in Amsterdam - Cycling through Amsterdam
Amsterdam is the most bicycle-friendly capital city in the world

Tourist trap 4: Hostels

There are a lot of really bad hostels in Amsterdam. To be honest, most of them are in the city center. I personally always like either the smaller hostels – run by a family or people that truly care about their business – or the larger hostels that are part of a chain, where the hostel aims to keep high standards. In Amsterdam and the rest of Europe I can recommend Europe Famous Hostels. They have the best locations and there’s always such a nice vibe to their hostels. In Amsterdam their hostel is next to the Vondelpark (we love that park). Have a look at their website and let me know what you think!

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Tourist traps in Amsterdam and where to go instead

Any other tourist traps in Amsterdam? Let me know in the comments!
Also read 5 undiscovered museums in Amsterdam to get most out of your visit!

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20 Comments
  1. Reply

    lucywilliamsglobal

    August 17, 2017

    Great tips! Luckily I have friends that live there, so we have always gone to less touristy places! Beautiful photos.

  2. Reply

    Christina Holthuis

    August 16, 2017

    You summed it up pretty well! Been to Amsterdam a few times and luckily always avoided these places/things. Thanks for sharing, will be useful for many travelers!

  3. Reply

    antipodeanjen

    August 16, 2017

    I definitely agree that the Heineken experience is not worth it. There are so many better Dutch beers out there and you would probably get a much more authentic experience from visiting one of their breweries.

  4. Reply

    Bernadette Jackson

    August 16, 2017

    That’s all really useful stuff. And I’ll note the tip about the alternative brewery for next time I’m there with my husband, who’s a lover of proper beer. My favourite way to spend time in Amsterdam is really just to wander around, although I’m sure I must miss a lot of the (non tourist trap) sights that way too. I love the canal architecture: the locks, and pulleys and the artwork on the buildings.

  5. Reply

    The Gypsy Gurl ??

    August 16, 2017

    Thank you for such amazing inside information about Amsterdam, this is what is really needed nowadays to save ourselves from a bad experience.Thanks a ton , thoroughly enjoyed reading this and made notes too.

  6. Reply

    Jessica Nemire

    August 16, 2017

    Loved this! I don’t like touristy stuff either, but it’s hard to find content on the web about where to go while traveling that’s not touristy. Thanks for posting!

  7. Reply

    Maria Angelova

    August 16, 2017

    So I was happy to skip all these traps – I had friends to stay with in Amsterdam, out of the center, they showed me the best party and beer places and I love walking, so no hop on – hop off tours!

  8. Reply

    Rated by Hanna

    August 16, 2017

    On the list to visit! Haha my cousins visited recently and they just zipped around on bikes. Good to know haha I’m guilty of liking the Hop On/Off tour in some other towns in the US.

  9. Reply

    Tanvi Rastogi (@Tanviidotcom)

    August 13, 2017

    We might be heading there later this year. Thanks for the tips. Will definitely be avoiding the Heineken Experience.

  10. Reply

    Nicola Neilson

    August 13, 2017

    Very useful tips! I do love smaller craft breweries such as Brewery t IJ! So cool its next to a windmill!

  11. Reply

    Joanna

    August 12, 2017

    I have never taken a hop on hop-off bus in any of the cities I have visited. I think they are such a rip off. I haven’t visited Amsterdam yet but I if I do I will take in your recommendations. I don’t like touristy at all (that’s why I didn’t go to Amsterdam actually).

  12. Reply

    Naomi Wirianata

    August 12, 2017

    I’ve always wanted to visit Amsterdam and this was definitely a good heads up ! Will definitely avoid your list ? Cheers.

  13. Reply

    Rosalie

    August 12, 2017

    Such good information to know! I’d much rather go check out some local brews at a nice bar than have all the hassle with The Heineken Experience.

  14. Reply

    Lauren

    August 12, 2017

    We have been meaning to organise a trip to Amsterdam and my husband loves his beer so that was a great tip about the smaller brewery’s! Thanks!

  15. Reply

    Fran Norero

    August 12, 2017

    love your tips! I think will be very usefull when I finally get to Amsterdam

  16. Reply

    Megan

    August 12, 2017

    I love that you wrote a post about tourist traps ? SO good! I love steering clear of tourist traps too!!

  17. Reply

    Ashley Horstmeier

    August 12, 2017

    Very good to know! I had a 24 hour layover and fortunately didn’t set sucked into any of these things. I do plan on going back and will keep this in mind! Especially the hop off and on bus and the brewery. Thanks for sharing.

  18. Reply

    Amanda Lee

    August 12, 2017

    I only spent about 8 hours in Amsterdam, I’m glad I didn’t do any of those things. My husband and I just walked around the city, sight seeing, taking photos, eating food and drinking coffee. I love that you gave suggestions instead of just where not to go. Great read!

  19. Reply

    Lien

    August 12, 2017

    I think those hop-on-hop-off busses are a tourist trap in every important European town! Just take the ‘normal’ means of transportation to get to known more about the local culture. Or even better: walk ?

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Daisy
Amsterdam

Born and raised in Amsterdam but always felt the urge to explore the world. Love to go out, meet new people and to discover whatever there is in life :) I just want everyone to be happy and therefore share my tips and tricks to explore the world!

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