Top tips to beat the crowds in Amsterdam
Many of Amsterdam’s most famous attractions can get pretty busy at peak times but that doesn't mean you can't squeeze them into your travel itinerary. Follow the top 5 tips below to skip the ticket booth queues, avoid the biggest crowds and experience some of the city's highlights!
Always plan and pre-book
It’s great to wander around Amsterdam and enjoy whatever is in front of you. But if you have the luxury of pre-booking tickets for museums and attractions, the biggest benefit is showing up when it suits you and avoiding the lines at the ticket booths (just be careful to follow the signs to the correct door). The I amsterdam City Card offers free entrance to many major museums.
Venture in the greater Amsterdam Area
Experience Amsterdam and its surrounds like a local when you follow our favourite day trips during Spring and Summer. You’ll walk or cycle along cobblestone streets, nibble savoury snacks and soak up the art and culture that’s made Amsterdam's area famous. Explore the entire region with the convenient Amsterdam & Region Travel Ticket that offers unlimited transport by bus, tram, train, and metro beyond the city limits of Amsterdam.
Time is on your side
Keep in mind that many museums in Amsterdam don't just stick to the nine-to-five routine! The Van Gogh Museum is open every Friday evening until 21:00. Why not book your timeslot around 17:00 on a Friday? The museum is quieter as crowds disperse for dinner, allowing more personal and precious moments to enjoy the artworks.
The Rijksmuseum (free with the I amsterdam City Card) notes that April, May and August are the busiest months and that Friday, Saturday and Sunday are by far the most popular days. As such, waiting times can be around 30 minutes. But if you’d really like a bit more space to enjoy the museum, their advice is to either arrive in time for opening (9:00) or at the end of the afternoon (after 15:00).
There’s always great demand to experience the famous canal-side Anne Frank House. Throughout the year it’s common to see queues stretching around the block, often with waiting times of 45 minutes (up to 2 hours at peak times). The advice from the Anne Frank House is to purchase your ticket in advance but it’s also well worth stopping by for an evening visit – from April until August the museum is open until 22:00.
The Stedelijk Museum is open till 21:00 on Fridays, and photography museum Foam is open till 21:00 on Thursdays and Fridays. Always check the websites of your fave museums for extra opening hours and special events.
See the city by bike
Taking to two wheels and having the city pass you by feels especially ‘Amsterdam’. But if you’re not a frequent cyclist and don’t know your way, the crowded streets and hustle and bustle around hotspots like Dam Square and Leidseplein can feel intimidating. Your best bet is to visit one of the city’s specialists in guided bike tours. Not only will you have an expert to ensure you know your bike, you’re guaranteed to see all the best attractions and sights while avoiding dangerous traffic situations.
And if the mere thought of cycling amidst cars and trams sets your pulse racing, check out the variety of countryside tours. Within 20 minutes of the city centre you can be out in the spacious fields and off to windmills, traditional farms and clog makers.
Get off the beaten path
From quirky art galleries to cosy neighbourhood coffee joints, there are many alternatives to Amsterdam's top attractions. Be sure to check out our selection of cultural and culinary hidden gems on our off the beaten path landing page. These insider tips and guides will get you feeling like a real Amsterdammer.
It's currently obligated to wear a face mask in public spaces. Always adhere to the additional safety measures in place, keep a distance of 1.5 metres between you and other people and leave any destination if you notice it is becoming difficult to keep a distance. If you feel sick, stay inside your home or hotel. Read more about how the coronavirus is affecting your visit.