I just returned from a solo weekend in Amsterdam and have my top five mistakes to avoid to ensure a great trip!
1. Not booking ahead- You must book some attractions ahead of arriving in Amsterdam, such as Anne Frank’s House (two months in advance is ideal) and the Van Gough Museum. People are let in at timed intervals, so you will know exactly when you need to be there. I booked one attraction each morning so I could beat some of the crowds. It also got me up and out early! Booking ahead will help you organize your trip and save you a ton of time waiting in lines
2. Walking everywhere– Amsterdam is a very walkable city and it’s very easy to stroll for hours admiring the gorgeous scenery. I walked a lot in Amsterdam and was tired because of it. I’m not suggesting to not walk anywhere but taking a tram or renting a bike will save you time and your feet. The trams intimidated me at first, but you can just hop on without a ticket and buy it from a booth (with a person!) on the tram. It’s card only though, no cash. You can also take a hop on hop off canal boat! How cool is that?
3. Staying in Amsterdam only– I know, this is a post about Amsterdam but it’s so easy to hop on a train to see the smaller cities in the Netherlands. I stayed in Haarlem, which is fifteen minutes away by train, and loved the smaller town feel. Take a day trip to Utrecht, Zaanse Schans or Haarlem and see a slower pace of life outside Amsterdam.
4. Avoiding the Red Light district– This of course only applies to people who want to avoid this area! I was worried about walking through this area as a solo female traveler but it was fine during the day. In the day, but it was full of both locals and tourists and I felt very safe walking. If you are interested, there are guided tours of the red lighting district that may be a more comfortable way to explore if you are traveling solo.
5. Not trying Dutch Food– Wow, their food is good. I took a food tour with Secretfoodtours in Amsterdam and it was a great day out to try local delicacies. If you are interested in local food, please try some Bitterballens, Stroopwaffles and Poffertjes and let me know how they are!! Crazy good. I also had a solo dinner out in Amsterdam and highly recommend treating yourself to a nice meal while you are in the city!