A Guide to Solo Travel in Amsterdam
Visiting any city on your own can feel pretty daunting, but if you’re going to Amsterdam alone then you have nothing to worry about. The Dutch capital is one of the most laid-back cities a solo backpacker can visit. With some of Europe’s most sociable hostels and friendliest faces, meeting travellers in Amsterdam and making lifelong friends couldn’t be easier. Whether you’re looking for fun things to do, sociable places to stay or somewhere you can get around easily on your own, Amsterdam is the kind of city that lends itself to any kind of solo trip. Read on for our guide to Dam if you’re travelling solo.
Where to stay as a solo traveller in Amsterdam
There’s only one piece of advice for solo travellers looking for accommodation in Amsterdam - stay in a hostel. Hostels are the best way to meet people in any new city whether you’re there in a group, in a couple or - best of all - on your own. Not only are they the cheapest option, but they’re way more fun and sociable than staying in a hotel room. The best hostels in Amsterdam for solo travellers are definitely the ones with a bar attached for guests to meet each other over a beer and bond over their travel experiences. The Flying Pigs don’t just have a constantly buzzing hostel bar, but an indoor smoking room too if drinking isn’t really your thing.
There are two Pig hostels in Amsterdam, the Downtown hostel is smack bang in the middle of the tourist sights and the Uptown hostel is in a cool, lively area right next to Vondelpark. Book a bed in a dorm room and cook a few meals in the hostel kitchen for even more opportunity to meet like minded travellers. If you’re backpacking across Europe, who knows, you might make a friend or two that’ll become your travel buddy for the rest of your trip, all from staying in a hostel.
How to get to central Amsterdam
When you first land in a city that’s totally new to you and you’re all by yourself, you can sometimes feel (and look) like a little lost puppy. So here’s our tips on how you can navigate your way into the city centre without any ounce of stress or panic.
From Amsterdam Schiphol Airport
The cheapest and easiest travel option from Amsterdam Schiphol Airport is by train. Once you’ve gone through immigration and collected your bags, follow the signs to the train station which is right underneath the airport.
To get to the city centre, you’ll just need to hop on a 15 to 20 minute train to Amsterdam Centraal station. Just buy your ticket from one of the yellow ticket machines on the platforms in Schiphol Plaza, or from the NS office by the Meeting Point in the plaza. For a one-way ticket it’ll set you back €3,30.
Trains from the plaza run 24 hours a day, just much more frequently between 6am and midnight, otherwise it’s once an hour.
From Amsterdam Centraal Station
Amsterdam’s main train station is the other common way visitors land in the city. It’s where the Eurostar pulls in as well as countless other cross country trains from Europe. When you jump off here, you’re already smack bang in central Dam, so getting to most places is quick and easy.
To get to the Flying Pig Downtown from here, you’re looking at a 5 minute walk. The Citymapper app is a lifesaver for getting from A to B in a lot of cities across Europe, so make sure you’ve got it downloaded and ready to go.
Getting to the Uptown hostel will probably take a bit of public transport (unless you don’t mind a 40 minute walk). You can find details on how to get there from Centraal Station here, or use the Citymapper app to help you out.
What to do in Amsterdam as a solo traveller
Make the most of museums
Let’s face it, museums are better on your own anyway. There’s no one to rush you around and there’s no one to wait for - wandering around a museum at your own pace is bliss. Amsterdam is home to some of the best museums in Europe. Anne Frank’s House, the Rijksmuseum and Van Gogh Museum are just a few must-visits. Get your tickets in advance and soak it all up while enjoying the peace of your own company.
Get on a bike
If you’re confident on a bike, a cycle around Amsterdam is a must. It’s one of the best cycle cities in the world with a fool-proof lane system and plenty of other people to follow if you do find it tricky. Getting from one place to another is easiest on bike and you can hire them from the hostels. Or, simply get lost exploring Amsterdam on two wheels - there’s no one to hold you back after all.
Another good way to see the sights, that’s a bit more relaxing than by bike, is to jump on board a canal cruise. There are multiple canal cruise operators in Amsterdam that all do near enough the same route, all you have to do is pick one, book on and then sit back and relax as you’re taken around the sights by water.
Shop around the Negen Straatjes
Spend a few hours roaming Amsterdam’s quaint and quirky shopping area called Negen Straatjes (Nine Streets). The area is right in the city centre surrounding the canals near Jordaan, and it’s filled to the brim with cool, contemporary shops and hipster cafes that could keep you entertained for hours.
Explore NDSM Wharf
Just behind Centraal Station is a free ferry over the river IJ to Amsterdam Noord. The whole area has a totally different feel to the rest of Amsterdam, and makes for a great day or half day’s exploring. Just walk onto the next ferry crossing (take a bike if you’ve hired one) and cycle or walk over to NDSM Wharf where there’s a whole area covered in graffiti and quirky sights. Explore inside the open warehouses, check out the crane hotel and have a coffee in Pllek with a river view.
Solo travel tips for Amsterdam
- Be vigilant around the Red Light District at night
- Keep your belongings close, especially in busy areas
- Make the most of hostel events
- Buy an iAmsterdam City Card if you plan on visiting lots of museums
- Check out our beginner’s guide to Amsterdam’s coffeeshops if you plan on smoking during your first time in the city
Heading to Amsterdam soon? Check out the Flying Pig hostels
Article by Darcy King