As a traveler-turned-local in Amsterdam, I’ve been asked a lot about safety in Amsterdam, especially for solo female travelers. My first trip to Amsterdam was solo and I hope that these tips help you have a great solo trip to Amsterdam! I include tips for traveling as a solo female traveler in Amsterdam, safety tips for women traveling solo in Amsterdam, and where to stay solo in Amsterdam.
- Is Amsterdam safe?
- Why Amsterdam is great for solo female travelers
- Issues that solo female travelers face / Things to be aware of
- Where to stay in Amsterdam solo
- Public transit/taxi tips
- What it’s like to travel solo in Amsterdam
- Going out in Amsterdam solo
Is Amsterdam safe?
Yes! I consider it one of the best destinations for solo female travel in Europe. This is not to say that things do not happen, however on the whole, it’s a great destination for first-time solo female travelers. What is great about Amsterdam is that it has great public transit, it’s walkable, there are plenty of affordable hostels (with female-only rooms), and you can do plenty of things in Amsterdam by yourself.
Why Amsterdam is great for solo female travelers
If you’re debating if Amsterdam is a good destination for you, let me reassure you: Amsterdam is an easy place to travel. English is well-spoken by most of the locals and for anyone single, people are pretty good looking here. (Some of my single friends complain that Dutchies are a bit too shy for their taste, but that’s a story for another post.)
If you love a city with good public transit, you’ll be spoiled for choice in Amsterdam, which has trains, buses, trams, and a metro! Similarly, you’ll find a great infrastructure for doing touristic things, whether it’s visiting Amsterdam’s famous museums or going out to eat solo. Most importantly, you’ll find lots of accommodations perfect for solo travelers.
Issues that face solo female travelers
Three of the biggest concerns of most solo female travelers that I’ve met who have traveled in Amsterdam was street
Street harassment happens everywhere, including the Netherlands. Compared to many other European destinations, I find that it’s less common. I’ve lived in the Netherlands for around four years (over two in Amsterdam) and street harassment is pretty rare compared to living in several places, including New York and Paris. It still happens. I find that a firm ignore and “Nee” works pretty well for staving off creeps.
Areas to be more careful
I don’t feel like there are “no-go zones” in the Netherlands as famously stated by the American ambassador. Crime perceptions in the Netherlands are very different than in the US and overall, crime is less likely to happen here…besides bike theft. (Bike theft is insane here!)
I generally recommend using caution when you’re in the Red Light District as this is the most popular destination for pickpockets. I definitely recommend bringing a bag with a zipper, rather than a backpack. I wear by using a side bag with a zipper in crowded areas to make it harder for pickpockets to get into your bag.
Be aware of your stuff/bag at bars as a number of my friends (Dutch and tourists) have had stuff stolen when they left phones laying on the table or bags hanging off chairs at cafes. This is common at
There are a few neighborhoods in Amsterdam with bad reputations, but I’ve traveled solo and late at night in a few of these areas (as I lived in one of them). It’s not to say that you should be nervous, but it’s good to be aware of your surroundings as a whole and aware of where your hotel is before you book it! People get nervous about Biljmer as well as Bos en Lommer. (I worry more about the center.) Public transit is quite good and you can always get a taxi although I’ll talk more about the taxis later.
Bear with me here. Men have free urinals to use throughout the city. Women are generally forced to pay for the toilet, so I recommend carrying some change with you to pay for toilets in various public places (e.g. train stations). The toilet is usually about fifty cents. You can usually use a toilet for free at a cafe if you buy something, which is my preferred method!
Where to stay in Amsterdam solo
In general, book early as the best hotels and hostels will sell out for peak season. If you’re looking for a party and you’re traveling solo, I recommend staying at the Flying Pig Downtown Hostel. This is where I stayed during my first trip to Amsterdam before moving here. People were really friendly and the hostel organized nights out, which helped a lot as I struggled with meeting people as I was busy sightseeing day-time. (If you are staying at a hostel, I generally recommend bringing your own lock with you for hostel lockers.)
If you’re looking for a hostel with a calmer atmosphere, friends of mine have really liked StayOkay Vondelpark and Cocomama. If you’re looking for a more chill atmosphere without the craziness of partying, these hostels have locations a bit further away from the Red Light District. (I’d recommend staying closer to the attractions and public transit.)
If you’re not one for hostels, you can check out the budget-friendly hotel The Student Hotel, which is not only for students, for a basic and reasonable room. Otherwise, I recommend getting a room at Max Brown, a cozy boutique hotel with reasonable rates along one of Amsterdam’s most picturesque canals just a stone’s throw from my favorite neighborhood, the Jordaan.
Public Transit and Taxis
Public transit in Amsterdam
What I love about Amsterdam is how great public transit is. Whether you have the
The buses usually run well until about midnight. If you’re staying outside of the city center, I recommend checking the bus/metro/tram/train schedule before going out to ensure you have a good way back. You can always take a taxi. You’ll also see night buses running on slightly longer routes. The trains are a separate system, but also another option!
If you want to visit one of the nearby cities or tulip fields, it can’t be easier to take a day trip from Amsterdam. Head to Amsterdam Centraal and buy a ticket round-trip to your destination for the same day using a debit/credit card. (It’s a separate system from the iAmsterdam cards.) I generally recommend Leiden, The Hague, and the tulip fields!
Taxis in Amsterdam
I generally recommend using some caution in regard to taxis in Amsterdam. I write this not as a solo female traveler, but as someone who was a resident of Amsterdam. The taxis have a poor reputation for ripping off tourists who don’t know better and they often try to rip off locals too. Always ask if a taxi has a card machine that works before you get in and note the cab number.
What it’s like to travel solo in Amsterdam
What I love about Amsterdam is that it’s easy to travel solo. Although not everyone is comfortable on
You should have no problem finding a table at most restaurants solo although you might need to sit at the bar at some restaurants who might not offer a larger table to a solo traveler. Nobody generally cares if you eat solo or not. I often eat at cafes by myself (while working) and the staff will sometimes chat with me as I’m sitting there. You can click for my favorite places to eat in Amsterdam.
You’re spoiled for choice in Amsterdam when it comes to great activities to do by yourself. Whether it’s browsing the Rijksmuseum for the Dutch masters, browsing the street markets, finding hidden courtyards, boutique shopping in the 9 Streets, or eating the best cookies in the world, Amsterdam is your oyster. You can click here to read my tips on how to spend three days in Amsterdam.
The only things that I’d be a bit more careful about are smoking and drinking by yourself, as with anywhere. (More about this in the next section!) I find Dutchies to be cautiously friendly if you happen to get into idle conversation although many people are too busy to stop to chat.
If you’re looking for tampons and other female toiletry essentials, you can easily find them at most Dutch supermarkets or the dedicated drug stores in the Netherlands. Condoms are
Going out in Amsterdam solo
I generally find the Red Light District to be a bit uncomfortable, especially as a solo female traveler. It’s a strange mix of nightlife and prostitution. I mostly found it lonely as people generally won’t bother you if you’re by yourself as a woman although if you’re outgoing, you might find a cool group of Dutchies or tourists to chat with. I find that groups of Dutch people tend to keep more to themselves compared to tourists, especially Brits and Americans.
Whether you’re smoking or drinking, you need to be aware of yourself and your surroundings as the Red Light District is a favorite for pickpockets. If I’m going out by myself, I generally carry my drink with me and keep a close eye on it. You never know!
Personally, I usually end up at a brown bar, which is a much calmer alternative to the crazier bars in Centre and great as a solo female traveler. These old-school Dutch bars are a good place to sit without anyone bothering you although some friendly locals might make conversation if you sit at the bar. I find that if you sit at a table and bring a book, you’ll be left alone.
If you’re traveling to Amsterdam solo and you really want to experience the nightlife here, I’d recommend looking for a group to go out with from your hostel/hotel, online Facebook groups for female travelers, or a tour. There are a number of nightlife tours in Amsterdam (some focused on marijuana), so ask at your accommodation if anything is organized.
A pro tip for meeting people while traveling solo: If I go on a walking tour during the day, I sometimes will chat with others close in age (or who seem cool) to see if we get along and possibly meet-up later. This is a great way to meet people if you’re already taking some tours solo in Amsterdam.
Other notes on traveling solo in Amsterdam
English is widely spoken throughout Amsterdam by Dutchies and those who work in the service industry. If anything, getting people to speak in Dutch is a harder task. You can click here for useful phrases in Dutch!
The word help is widely understood and many bars have a policy that if you ask for Angela or an Angel Shot, the bartender can help you if you feel unsafe. Don’t be afraid to pay and leave if you’re uncomfortable. The phone number for the police/ambulance is 112. (They do speak English.)
You can generally use any ATM (cash point) in Amsterdam if you have a Visa or Mastercard. Not all shops and cafes will accept non-Maestro (a Dutch card), so I always recommend carrying a small amount of cash on you. There’s no need to carry around hundreds, so even forty euros should do. (Most museums will accept cards, so don’t worry!) You can click here for more money saving
Hi Karen, I am a 28 year old female traveling solo to Amsterdam. Your article is incredibly helpful. I’m staying at an Airbnb in the red light district. Do you think this is safe? Would love your thoughts.
My first hostel was in the red light district. You should be fine! Amsterdam is pretty safe, but it’s just good to use caution in general. 🙂
Hi Karen! I am going to AMSTERDAM soon and plan to use my mobile phone a lot (mobile tourist pass; attraction ticket; pictures. Should I worry?
A lot of people use their phones a lot, but maybe put it away if you’re not using it. 🙂
Thank you Karen! So if I walk fast and hide my belongings in my pockets, is there anything to worry about? Also, I want to take nighttime pictures; is there anything to worry about at night, even if I will stay in well-lit areas?
I have not had any problems myself. I tend to be overly careful everywhere according to my husband. Nothing wrong with pausing to enjoy taking a photo. 🙂
Awesome! Thanks Karen! Both Munich and Vienna were fine for me, and both involved a ton of walking at night, so I am hoping Amsterdam is the same!! Also, I avoid talking to strangers at all cost so I am not too worried.
I plan on doing some solo traveling this upcoming summer… I want to stay in Amsterdam for about a week and then hop on over to another country. I was wondering if there’s any other spots near Amsterdam that I should travel to and if you have any other articles I could read. Thank you in advance
Feel free to check my Dutch itinerary and day trips from Amsterdam. You can easily go to Belgium.
Hi Karen! thank you for this helpful blog!
I am traveling solo to Amsterdam for a month in February, do you think one of the non-party hostels you mentioned here would be a good option for socializing with other older travelers around my age (32).
Or, am I better off booking an airbnb instead?
Airbnbs are largely gone due to regulations. Some of the boutique hotels or maybe a hostel might be a good option. Hope that you had a good trip!
I am travelling to Amsterdam soon, and I was wondering how do I take the public transport such as tram? Do they accept credit card such as Visa?
Yes, public transport takes Visa/cards! You can check the official GVB website for maps and such!