Ten Things To Avoid In Amsterdam: A Comprehensive Guide for Travelers

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Discover the top ten things to avoid in Amsterdam to make the most of your trip. Learn from the insights and experiences of a seasoned traveler, and find out how to navigate the city like a pro. Don’t miss out on essential tips to ensure a memorable and enjoyable stay in Amsterdam.


Amsterdam, the capital city of the Netherlands, is a vibrant and culturally rich destination that attracts millions of tourists every year. From its picturesque canals and historic architecture to its world-class museums and vibrant nightlife, Amsterdam has something to offer every traveler. However, like any popular tourist destination, there are certain things you should avoid to have a smooth and enjoyable experience. In this guide, we will explore the ten things to avoid in Amsterdam, offering you valuable insights and practical tips based on first-hand knowledge and experiences.

Ten Things To Avoid In Amsterdam

1. Overpacking

One of the first things to avoid when traveling to Amsterdam is overpacking. While it’s tempting to bring everything you might need, keep in mind that Amsterdam is a highly walkable city, and you’ll likely be carrying your luggage through cobblestone streets and narrow alleys. Pack light, focusing on versatile clothing and essential items. Don’t forget to leave some space for souvenirs you’ll undoubtedly want to bring back home.

2. Ignoring Bicycle Etiquette

Amsterdam is known as the “Bike Capital of the World,” and cycling is a way of life for locals. While renting a bike can be a great way to explore the city, it’s essential to understand and follow bicycle etiquette. Avoid walking on bike lanes, and always look both ways before crossing streets to avoid collisions with cyclists. Remember, bikes have the right of way in most cases.

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Amsterdam’s top attractions, such as the Van Gogh Museum and the Anne Frank House, can get incredibly crowded during peak hours. To make the most of your visit, try to arrive early in the morning or later in the afternoon to avoid the crowds. Consider purchasing tickets online in advance to skip long queues.

4. Ignoring Local Customs

As a visitor, it’s crucial to respect and follow the local customs and traditions in Amsterdam. Dutch people are known for their friendliness and tolerance, but it’s essential to be mindful of their norms. For example, avoid loud conversations in public spaces and be considerate of others around you.

5. Using Illegal Substances

Amsterdam’s lenient policies on certain substances might be well-known, but it’s essential to remember that these substances are still illegal under Dutch law. Engaging in illegal activities not only puts you at risk with the authorities but can also lead to dangerous situations. Respect the laws of the country and focus on enjoying Amsterdam’s legal offerings instead.

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6. Neglecting Safety Precautions on Canals

Amsterdam’s canals are a beautiful sight, but they can also pose risks, especially if you’re not careful. Avoid swimming in the canals, as the water quality may not be suitable, and currents can be dangerous. Be cautious when walking near the water’s edge, especially at night, and avoid standing too close to the canals while taking pictures.

7. Ignoring Bicycles While Walking

Apart from bicycle lanes, bicycles are everywhere in Amsterdam, including pedestrian areas. Always be aware of your surroundings and avoid sudden movements, especially when taking photos or crossing streets. Look out for cyclists, and don’t forget to check for bike-only traffic signals.

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8. Not Trying Local Food

Amsterdam has a diverse culinary scene, and trying local food is an integral part of experiencing the city’s culture. Avoid sticking to familiar cuisines and instead, venture into local eateries to savor Dutch delicacies like stroopwafels, poffertjes, and bitterballen. Embrace the culinary adventure and taste the flavors of Amsterdam.

9. Excessive Public Displays of Affection

While Amsterdam is known for its liberal atmosphere, excessive public displays of affection might make some locals uncomfortable. Respect the cultural norms and keep intimate moments in more private settings. Remember, a little consideration goes a long way in making your trip enjoyable for everyone.

10. Ignoring Pickpockets and Scams

Like any popular tourist destination, Amsterdam is not immune to pickpockets and scams. Stay vigilant, especially in crowded areas and tourist hotspots. Keep your belongings secure and avoid engaging with suspicious individuals offering unsolicited help or services.


Q: Can I visit Amsterdam without renting a bike?

Yes, absolutely! While cycling is a popular mode of transport, Amsterdam has an efficient public transportation system that includes trams, buses, and trains. You can easily explore the city without renting a bike.

Q: Is it safe to walk around Amsterdam at night?

Generally, Amsterdam is considered safe for travelers, even at night. However, it’s always wise to stay in well-lit and populated areas, especially if you’re unfamiliar with the surroundings.

Q: Can I use credit cards everywhere in Amsterdam?

Most establishments in Amsterdam accept credit cards; however, it’s a good idea to carry some cash, especially in smaller shops and local markets.

Q: Are there any dress code restrictions in Amsterdam’s attractions?

There’s no specific dress code for most attractions in Amsterdam. However, some religious sites may require visitors to dress modestly, covering shoulders and knees.

Q: Is photography allowed inside museums and attractions?

Photography is generally allowed in Amsterdam’s museums and attractions, but flash and tripods may be prohibited. Respect the rules and be considerate of other visitors.

Q: What’s the best time to visit Amsterdam?

Amsterdam is lovely throughout the year, but the shoulder seasons of spring (April to May) and autumn (September to October) offer pleasant weather and fewer crowds.


By avoiding these ten things in Amsterdam, you’ll have a more enjoyable and memorable experience in this beautiful city. Remember to respect local customs, be mindful of your surroundings, and embrace the unique culture and cuisine that Amsterdam has to offer. Travel with an open mind and a sense of adventure, and you’re sure to create lasting memories in the “Venice of the North.”

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