Amsterdam is a world class capital city, but it is also a surprisingly small place compared to others of its ilk. In fact, if you’re on a bicycle, you can pretty much get anywhere in the city in around fifteen minutes. That’s one of the reasons I love living here so much, but this compact size can also lead to a bit of a crowd crunch at times – especially on the weekends.
This can be frustrating, and since you probably don’t want to spend your entire holiday pushing past other people here are few tips to avoiding crowds in Amsterdam.
Zig and Zag From Central Station
Arriving in Amsterdam can be a, well, mixed bag. If you are like most, you will arrive at the impressive Central Station, and while the station itself is gorgeous as all get out, the streets directly in front of her are overcrowded and – how shall I put this politely? – tacky with a capital ‘T’. Many visitors seem to get stuck walking in a humongous herd heading in a line straight from Central Station. Avoid all this mess by coming out of Central Station and making a quick right, then zig-zagging your way around town from there. You will avoid the most crowded streets in town, which I can’t recommend enough, unless of course you are in desperate need of a new giant jester-style top hat emblazoned with a marijuana leaf.
Any web searches on the subject of Amsterdam neighborhoods will invariably tell you that places like the Jordaan and De Pijp are where all the ‘cool’ locals hang out. To a certain extent this is true, but everyone and their brother knows this by now, and so these places can get pretty packed too. Instead, head to Amsterdam East, a neighborhood home to plenty of graceful greenspace – especially in the Plantage, pretty buildings, and one of Amsterdam’s best hip spots for pub grub at Smokin’ Barrels.
For the Love Of God, Buy Your Tickets For The Anne Frank House in Advance
I used to scoff a bit at this one, but I recently learned the real hard way that showing up without a ticket in advance is only for those crazy for crowds. Even thirty minutes before opening time, the line I experienced was at least a hundred-and-fifty people deep. The Anne Frank House offers online tickets in advance, so just to be safe, buy yours a few weeks in advance – at least and skip the bulk of the crowds.
Or, Go and See The Other Anne Frank House Instead
The famous Anne Frank House with all the lines was the place of hiding for Anne and her family immortalized in The Diary of Anne Frank, but the actual residence she lived in before having to go into hiding is much lesser known. Located at Merwedeplein 37 in Amsterdam South, you won’t be able to take a tour here – or typically spot another tourist – but you can view the second floor apartment where Anne and her family resided from the outside and imagine what it must have been like for them to have to rush out of here to go into hiding. There is also a small statue of Anne Frank longingly looking back at her former home (pictured above), making it the ideal scene for solemn contemplation of her tragic odyssey.
Avoid the Big Name Parks and Markets
The leafy Vondelpark and the bustling Albert Cuyp Market are two of the most popular attractions in the entire city, and guess what? They turn up on every list of things to do in Amsterdam. Instead, go to Erasmuspark or Rembrandtpark in the West or Oosterpark in the East – your picnic will have more space to spread out and you’ll have more breathing room if you’re doing something active like jogging. As far as markets, while everyone is taking pictures at the Albert Cuyp Market or buying knick-knacks at Waterlooplein, you could be shopping among lesser crowds at Dapper Market or having the best frites in all of Amsterdam with us at Ten Kate Market.
This post originally appeared on TravelPulse