Amsterdam has become very popular. The Dutch capital attracts two very distinctive crowds. On the one hand you have the sophisticated travelers searching for a cultural experience in Amsterdam’s museums. On the other hand, you have less sophisticated crowds looking for a night they won’t remember. This combination is exactly what makes the historic city so popular. It has something to offer for anyone.
In peak season, crowds are inevitable. The city is fighting hard against over tourism, but crowds only seem to get bigger. In July and August the city arguably gets too busy. Through its official tourist website, Iamsterdam.com, the city gives tips and tricks on how to plan your visit to Amsterdam. One of tips is to also explore the region outside the city center. That way, the city wants to spread the effects of mass tourism. Meanwhile, the city introduced an extra tax on cruise passengers in an effort to discourage bigger ships to dock in its inner-city harbor.
1. Choose the right date with our Crowds Predictor
If you don’t care too much about the weather, try to visit Amsterdam outside peak season. Peak season in Amsterdam runs from the end of June until the end of August. If the weather is not so important, the off season is your time to go. However, weather in Amsterdam can be an absolute nightmare in winter with a horrible combination of wind and rain. Combining knowledge of crowds and experience in dealing with Dutch weather, we give you a month to month overview of what to expect in Amsterdam here: best time to visit Amsterdam in 2019. Check our Amsterdam Avoid-Crowds.com crowd predictorto see when it is likely to be busy in the Dutch capital.
2. Avoid Crowds by starting your day early
Tourists wake up late. Even if they wake up early, they are often enjoying breakfast at their hotels. In Amsterdam, a big chunk of tourists will be suffering a hangover in the morning. This group will not visit museums early in the morning either. By getting up early you will beat the crowds and have a glimpse of the real Amsterdam where thousands of bikers are commuting to their work. Even on the busiest July days, getting up early will help. Lines at the main tourist attractions will be shorter or non-existing. Best moment to arrive is just before the attractions open. One additional benefit of getting up early is that you can benefit from Golden Hourand make the most beautiful pictures of Amsterdam’s canals.
3. In Amsterdam, plan ahead
Standing in line during your vacation is horrible. Why waste your well-deserved days from work waiting for the opportunity to buy a ticket? Many of Amsterdam’s main tourist hotspots sell tickets in advance. This gives you the opportunity to plan ahead. For example, by your ticket to the Van Gogh museum from this authorized ticket seller. Other locations where you can by tickets in advance are: Rijksmuseum,Amsterdam’s Royal Palaceor the HEINEKEN Experience. If you buy tickets in advance, you don’t waste time standing in line to buy tickets. In some cases, the tickets even include timed entrance and you can skip the line completely.
Plan more in advance than buying tickets alone. How will you move around Amsterdam? Especially in Amsterdam, public transportation is both easy to use and fun. You can even buy your tickets in advance so you don’t have to figure it all out on arrival. You can buy a ticket that include unlimited travel on Amsterdam’s trains, buses and ferries here: GVB Authorized Ticket Seller.
4. The I Amsterdam City Card
The official I Amsterdam City Card combines public transport, canal boat tours, discounts and access to Amsterdam’s main attractions. The card is available for 24 to 120 hours and includes full access to main attractions like the Rijksmuseum, Van Gogh museum and the Hermitage. The card is valid from the moment you activate it for the first time. It also includes access to some of the popular destinations outside Amsterdam including Volendam, Naarden, Zaanse Schans and Marken. The I Amsterdam City Card can be bought here.
For the Van Gogh Museum, I Amsterdam City Card ticket holders need to register for timed entrance through the official website. In 2019, these limited city card timed entrance slots sell out quickly and are hardly available between April 12th and June 2nd. In such scenarios you would have to buy a ticket for the museum separately here.
5. Explore more than Amsterdam alone
Most tourists stay within Amsterdam’s city limits. Many tourists don’t even look beyond the Grachtengordel(canal area). But the region around Amsterdam has much to offer as well. The municipality actively markets other areas to spread tourism around the region and make Amsterdam less crowded. We would recommend taking the city’s advise and explore what the region has to offer. You can do this by either booking a touror by taking public transport on your own. The Dutch railway (Nationale Spoorwegen) offers a convenient English websitewhere you can buy tickets in advance.
6. Avoid tourist traps
Amsterdam Dungeon, Madame Tussaud and Body World can be found in every major European city. Nothing about these attractions is authentic. They are there because there are tourists and not the other way around. Try alternative tourist hotspots like the Van Gogh Museum or the Anne Frank House. These attractions are crowded, but they are the real deal.