Amsterdam is a great destination for solo travellers, men and women alike. The city is safe, there’s plenty to do, the people are kind, and the city is easy to navigate! When travelling alone, you can explore the city at your own pace and indulge in various unique experiences. Our team at Hungry Birds Street Food Tours built this guide. We have 10+ years of experience in the tourism industry of Amsterdam and are all well-seasoned (sometimes solo) travellers. The following advice comes from our own experiences and knowledge of the city.
Where to stay
Choose a hostel or hotel depending on your luxury level required. If you’re comfortable with hostels, you’ll have a lot of options in Amsterdam! Amsterdam is a big hub for young backpackers exploring Europe. These hostel environments have many group activities, bars, and social scenes to drop into easily. However, not all the hostels are so high energy and wild. Based on recommendations from friends and personal networks, some hostels in Amsterdam that we can recommend are:
The location here can’t be beaten. Super close to some of our favourite neighbourhoods, West, Pijp, & South. Also, right by the Vondelpark! It’s a great choice for folks who want to get a better night’s rest than at some of the other hostels in town. They also serve a classic Dutch breakfast to start your day right!
Nearly 14k positive reviews don’t lie! This hostel is located right in the hustle and bustle of Amsterdam, near the Red Light District. The high-end service, amenities, and food will make you feel at home in Amsterdam.
This hostel is located in a great area of Amsterdam West. Kind staff members, clean facilities, and modern pod-like beds with privacy make this an ideal place to stay for a solo traveller.
If you prefer more privacy and quiet time, a hotel or B & B might be better for you! We have heard amazing feedback from the following hotels below.
Zoku is one of our favourite spots in Amsterdam! The location is great in Amsterdam East, just a short ride to the center, the Pijp, Amsterdam East..etc. Their living kitchen and rooftop are great places to chill out, and their staff members are simply the best!
This family-run hotel located in the city center has beautiful views and above & beyond service! The classic Dutch canal home aesthetic will surely have you feeling the Amsterdam vibes.
There are 2 Social Hubs in Amsterdam, both with their own benefits to their location. The Social Hub is a great place to rest up and socialise if you choose. There is also a great atmosphere in their community spaces and bars.
What to do
Hungry Birds walking street food tours are a great way to meet other travellers and get a great view and understanding of Amsterdam as a city and its eclectic food culture. Our small-scale walking tours are educational, interactive, and totally delicious! Click here to schedule your tour.
Explore the canal district
Amsterdam is famous for its picturesque canals. Take a stroll along the canals, rent a bike, or even go on a canal cruise to admire the city’s beauty from a different perspective.
Discover the local markets
Amsterdam has several vibrant markets worth exploring. The Albert Cuyp Market is the city’s largest street market, offering a wide range of goods and delicious street food. The Flower Market (Bloemenmarkt) is famous for its colourful displays of flowers and bulbs. The Tenkate market
Visit the Vondelpark
Escape the hustle and bustle of the city by spending some time in the peaceful Vondelpark. This large park is perfect for a leisurely walk, picnic, or simply relaxing in nature.
Take a day trip
If you have more time, consider taking a day trip from Amsterdam to nearby destinations like the windmills of Zaanse Schans, the beautiful Keukenhof Gardens (seasonal), or the historic city of Haarlem.
Shop on Kalverstraat
This street has all the shops! From big box department stores to small-scale boutiques.. You can buy food, shoes, cosmetics, clothing..etc! Some shops stay open late on Thursday nights!
How to get around
Getting from Schipol Airport to Amsterdam Central Station: After exiting the airport, you are only about a 15-minute train ride to Central Station. Schipol is not only an airport but also a train station/hub. Buy a ticket and take the escalators downstairs to the platforms. See the signs at the top of the escalators to tell you which platforms are heading to Central Station (there are many frequent departures.)
Amsterdam is an easy city to navigate! Your easiest option is always to walk. The city has great infrastructure for pedestrians. Walking is a great way to see the city. Make sure to bring good walking shoes and a charged phone for Google Maps.
If you are comfortable and confident on a bicycle, renting a bike is the best way to get around the city! While travelling in the city center, it is best to avoid cycling during rush-hour traffic, as the commuters cycle fast and don’t have a lot of patience for the city-cycling newbies. However, you will have the most freedom by using your bike.
Tip: Use headphones/AirPods when cycling to have Google Maps tell you the directions. Cycling with your phone in your hand is illegal in The Netherlands.
Using public transportation is also a great option! The city is very well connected via bus, tram, train, metro, ferry..etc. Google Maps or the 9292 app is a great way to figure out where you’re going. You can even use your credit/debit card to scan in and out of public transit!
Uber and Bolt are good options for personal taxis. Bolt is known for being a bit more reliable in the city.
How to prepare
Pack appropriately: See our blog post here about what to pack, no matter the time of year. See this post to guide your packing choices depending on the season you come to visit. Packing appropriately for the weather is important in a city like Amsterdam.
Look into what interests you: Amsterdam has an eclectic menu of tourist attractions. There is something for everyone here: history folks, art buffs, and party animals. Make a list of things you want to do, and make sure to order tickets beforehand. Museums and festivals sell out weeks in advance! Make sure to plan accordingly!
Learn how to say some basic Dutch phrases to charm the locals: Everyone, i mean everyone, in Amsterdam speaks English. But learning how to say thank you (Dankjewel) and please (alsjebieft) will put a smile on the faces of the locals in Amsterdam. A little effort goes a long way.
Download the appropriate apps to make your life easier:
Get in the mindset. Amsterdam is a safe city! But that doesn’t mean we don’t have pick-pockets and other potentially harmful things. Be aware of your surroundings always! Being a solo traveller, you’re in a more vulnerable position. So be sure always to take care and be mindful of where you are (aka, not standing in the bicycle lane.)
This guide is hopefully helpful to you and your solo planning for a trip to Amsterdam. Remember, as a solo traveller, you can tailor your experience to your interests. Create a loose plan, but don’t feel the need to stick to it! You never know what you will find or who you will meet. Embrace the city’s unique charm, meet new people, and create lasting memories during your time in Amsterdam. Go with the flow and enjoy what our favourite city has to offer!
Written by Mother Bird Sara Michal