The 5 Best Amsterdam Red Light District Tours [2022 Reviews]

Amsterdam is known for its beautiful canals, incredible architecture, interesting history, and notorious Red Light District. This neighborhood offers a different kind of culture – one where you can find legal cannabis and sex work.

Located in the medieval city center of De Wallen, the Red Light District has not only its famous red-lit windows and workers behind them, but delicious food, stunning buildings, and much more.

However, if you want to really see it from a local’s perspective, we highly recommend doing a tour. We have all the top Red Light District tours in Amsterdam right here, so don’t go anywhere!

Be sure to see our reviews of Amsterdam canal tours.

Best Red Light District Tours in Amsterdam

 Amsterdam Private Coffee Shop and Red Light District Walking TourDiscover the Red Light District of Amsterdam at NightAmsterdam Private Red Light District & Food Tour
editors choice
 Amsterdam: Private Coffee Shop and Red Light District Walking Tour Discover the Red Light District of Amsterdam at night Amsterdam: Private Red Light District and Food Tour
Departure Point:In front of the main entrance of the Park Plaza Victoria HotelPrins Hendrikkade 47A, Prins Hendrikkade 47A, 1012 TMIn front of the main entrance of the Park Plaza Victoria Hotel
Departure Time:Variety AvailableVariety AvailableVariety Available
Duration:2 to 3 hours2 hours2 hours
Includes:Live tour guideLive tour guidePrivate walking tour, tasting of 3 Dutch foods

Tour Information & Booking

Tour Information & Booking

Tour Information & Booking


Quick Answer: The 5 Best Rated Red Light District Tours For 2022

  1. Amsterdam Private Coffee Shop and Red Light District Walking Tour
  2. Discover the Red Light District of Amsterdam at night
  3. Amsterdam Private Red Light District and Food Tour
  4. Amsterdam Red Light District: Private Walking Tour with Snack
  5. Amsterdam Red Light District Tour with Canal Cruise

Amsterdam Red Light District Tour Reviews

1. Amsterdam Private Coffee Shop and Red Light District Walking Tour

 Amsterdam: Private Coffee Shop and Red Light District Walking Tour

Tour Highlights:

  • Duration: 2 to 3 hours
  • Departure: In front of the main entrance of the Park Plaza Victoria Hotel
  • Departure Time: Variety Available
  • Includes: Live tour guide

Amsterdam is a city that encourages freedom of expression, and you will find that clearly in the Red Light District. If you’re looking for a unique perspective on the neighborhood, this tour is a great way to get it.

Check out the Amsterdam: Private Coffee Shop and Red Light District Walking Tour! Lasting 2 to 3 hours, it’s easy to fit into any schedule. We found the guides to be very prompt, and respectful of others’ time.

Your private guide will lead you through the narrow cobblestone streets as they tell you all about the history of the area. You’ll learn about the city’s liberal views regarding drugs and sex work.

Keep walking and you’ll see the sex workers’ windows, legal drug vendors, live sex shows, and hear the history behind them.

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The coffee shops are a notorious part of the city, selling more than just coffee, but rather cannabis. Your guide will fill you in on what is legally allowed here, and what is not (which is helpful for anyone, really).

Keep exploring, and you’ll come across the famous Condomerie condom store, which has things you’re surely to have never seen before. Other shops sell more hardcore leather and sex products, and you’ll learn about the XXX video cabins.

Your guide will then lead you and the rest of your group to the city’s first coffee shop, where you’ll see the defense tower of the Schreierstoren. Overlooking the sea and harbor, it offers a mystical vibe about it. Today, it serves as a café and nautical bookstore

 

Tour Information & Booking

100% refund for cancellations within 24 hours of tour experience


2. Discover the Red Light District of Amsterdam at Night

Discover the Red Light District of Amsterdam at night

Tour Highlights:

  • Duration: 2 hours
  • Departure: Prins Hendrikkade 47A, Prins Hendrikkade 47A, 1012 TM Amsterdam
  • Departure Time: Variety Available
  • Includes: Live tour guide

Next up, we bring you another exciting 2-hour tour – this time though, it’s going to be after dark! This is when things really start to heat up and come alive! If you haven’t seen the neighborhood later in the day, check out the Discover the Red Light District of Amsterdam at Night!

If you’ve never been here before, you may feel nervous about checking it out at night. However, with an experienced, local guide you don’t have to! They know this area like the back of their hand, and will make sure you learn a lot about it and feel comfortable, too.

Once you meet up with your guide and the rest of your group, you’ll venture into the depths of the district. It’s an absolute blast! You’ll get to see the beautiful architecture with the red-lit windows while learning about the culture and history of the city.

One of the most interesting aspects of the tour, is learning about how Amsterdam came to develop these ideals that even allow for the RLD in the first place.

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Much more, how it’s become the most significant in the world, and still very much in operation, today.

See the oldest building in all of Amsterdam, and one of the oldest in the country. Stroll along the narrowest street as well, before checking out the first coffeeshop in the city. It’s a really fascinating place with tons to learn about regarding the products sold at the shop and their cultural importance.

You’ll also stop by different smart shops and an indoor prostitute street, where you’ll be able to see them, learn about the culture surrounding them, political acceptance and issues, etc.

 

Tour Information & Booking

100% refund for cancellations within 24 hours of tour experience


#3 Amsterdam Private Red Light District and Food Tour

 Amsterdam: Private Red Light District and Food Tour

Tour Highlights:

  • Duration: 2 hours
  • Departure: In front of the main entrance of the Park Plaza Victoria Hotel
  • Departure Time: Variety Available
  • Includes: Private walking tour, tasting of 3 Dutch foods

While Amsterdam’s Red Light District is definitely a place for many hedonistic ventures, it’s also one of the top neighborhoods for foodies. Oh, and if you thought that Amsterdam only offered Dutch food, you’re in for a treat!

On the Amsterdam: Private Red Light District and Food Tour you’ll certainly have some insight into local culture. You’ll start out at Amsterdam Central Station, which is pretty easy to access from any point in the city.

Here, you’ll meet your tour guide and any others attending the tour with you. Lasting approximately 2 hours, they certainly manage to fit a lot into this time.

If you have an empty block in your schedule, it’s a great way to learn a bit more about the area from a local, while also doing things you probably wouldn’t otherwise.

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You’ll make the walk over to the RLD, where you’ll see various notable attractions such as the Old Church, Chinatown, the narrowest street of the city, and Amsterdam’s first coffee shop!

They do offer quite a bit of background knowledge on each site, their cultural relevance, as well as some personal anecdotes and stories. They really make each place come to life – more lively than they already are, that is!

You’ll hear about Dutch law, what’s legal, and what’s not – along with the reasoning behind each law.

Soak in all that valuable information while you try some local food, and learn about traditional Dutch snacks! Then, you’ll get to partake in a tasting of 3 Dutch foods, like krokets, Dutch cheese, and the delicious Stroopwafels.

 

Tour Information & Booking

100% refund for cancellations within 24 hours of tour experience


#4 Amsterdam Red Light District: Private Walking Tour with Snack

 Amsterdam Red Light District: Private Walking Tour with Snack

Tour Highlights:

  • Duration: 2 hours
  • Departure: Contact tour operator
  • Departure Time: Variety Available
  • Includes: Live tour guide, snack

Next up, we have the Amsterdam Red Light District: Private Walking Tour with Snack! This is yet another 2-hour excursion which really is a fun way to explore a part of the city that many tourists don’t get to see.

On this private walking tour, you’ll have a professional guide who knows all the ins-and-outs of Amsterdam and who’s great at telling its history in a captivating, fun way.

Keep in mind that due to government regulations, your group can be no more than 4 people at a time. If you are going in a larger group, they’ll have to make more than 1 group out of you.

However, this is great if you’re going with just one or a couple other people. Seamlessly incorporating medieval history with modern culture, this neighborhood has a lot to offer.

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You’ll stroll through the neighborhood as you hear all about how it came to be, along with notable changes throughout the years.

You’ll then walk by the red light window parlors and see legal marijuana sold from various coffee shops. Walk along the charming cobbled streets and check out the massive network of alleys with hundreds of single-room cabins rented by sex workers. All kinds of secret entryways are located here, and it’s pretty fascinating!

By now, you’re sure to have worked up an appetite. Make a stop at a local eatery to try some of the local dishes and chat with the others in your group about your experience and everything you just learned!

 

Tour Information & Booking

100% refund for cancellations within 24 hours of tour experience


#5 Amsterdam Red Light District Tour with Canal Cruise

 Amsterdam: Red Light District Tour with Canal Cruise

Tour Highlights:

  • Duration: 2 hours
  • Departure: In front of the Amsterdam Central Station at the tram-B sign
  • Departure Time: Variety Available
  • Includes: Local guide, canal cruise

One of the most iconic parts of Amsterdam is undoubtedly its beautiful canals that wind through the city. On this tour, you’ll not only see the Red Light District and learn about its history, but also get to hop on a vessel to cruise around the stunning waterways.

If you have 3 hours to spare, do yourself a favor and sign up for the Amsterdam: Red Light District Tour with Canal Cruise! Start out by meeting your guide at a central location that’s easy to get to for everyone.

Public transportation and great organization on behalf of the city’s systems make it a breeze. Then, venture off on your 2-hour walking tour, first. You’ll stroll around the infamous Red Light District, where your guide will lead you through all its nooks and crannies.

Learn about its history and culture surrounding it, consisting of bars, nightclubs, coffee shops, famous red windows, and so much more.

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The city also has a surprisingly impressive Chinatown, which has its own set of wonders like the Buddhist Temple. You’ll get to see more amazing architecture, such as the city’s oldest church and narrowest street.

You’ll see the Condomerie, various coffee shops, sex shops, and smartshops while learning about their controversial history, as well!

Then, kick your feet up and take in the view from a canal cruise. Your guide will point out important landmarks from the water, and you’ll get to see some of these amazing homes that were built hundreds of years ago.

Sailing under so many beautiful bridges is exciting, as well, and there are even some with homes built in their structures, too!

 

Tour Information & Booking

100% refund for cancellations within 24 hours of tour experience


Amsterdam Travel Guide

Best Red Light District Tours

Getting There

Getting to Amsterdam from the US is a breeze, as it is one of the most frequented European capitals. There are plenty of direct flights to Amsterdam from most major US cities, including New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Detroit, Washington DC, Philadelphia, Miami, and more.

KLM is the most popular airline serving Amsterdam Airport Schiphol, and sometimes they’re incredibly affordable! It all depends on the time of year you go, but you can realistically find some for under $500 from Delta, Air France, KLM, Virgin Atlantic, United, Air Canada, Lufthansa, SWISS, and others.

Getting Around

Amsterdam is an incredibly easy city to get around, due to their incredible public transportation. Even if you don’t speak Dutch, most speak English and many signs also include the English translation.

You have a network of metros, buses, trams, ferries, and trains. Walking is quite easy, however, we have to advise you to watch out for cyclists, as they are everywhere and sometimes seem to come out of nowhere if you aren’t watching.

Metro/Train – There are 5 metro routes that serve 7 major areas of the city, along with some on the outskirts of the city. 3 of those lines originate at Central Station, and are very clean and easy to get around on. They’re always perfectly on time, so make sure to get there on time. They run from 6 am to 12:30 am, and come about every 10 minutes.

Buses – With over 40 routes inside and around the city, there’s an ultra-convenient digital map on the GVB website which we highly recommend doing if you plan on using the buses. The app will tell you departures in real-time, as well as routes and stops. If you’re going to be out later than 12:30 am, the bus will save you as they run nightly from 12:30 am to 7 am every day.

Bike – This is one of the simplest and most budget-friendly ways to get around the city, as there are separate bike lanes on most larger roads and main areas of Amsterdam. Make sure you keep to the right and stop at red lights. Always keep your eyes and ears alert for trams and pedestrians who aren’t aware.

Shuttle Ferries – There are a whopping 14 different ferries that go through Amsterdam to Amsterdam-Noord. They operate 24 hours a day, every day, but range in stops from every 2 to every 30 minutes. They are free, however, so it’s a great resource to have!

Rideshare – There are plenty of rideshares available, and Uber is more convenient than a taxi if you’re heading to or from the airport.

Where to Stay

Centre – This is the best location for most people, especially if it’s your first time there. It may be a relatively compact area, but it has a lot to offer and very different areas.

Oude Centrum/Old Town – This consists of huge attractions like the Amsterdam Museum, Damrak, Rokin, Royal Palace, and some of the most impressive hotels. The Hotel The Craftsmen, Hotel TwentySeven, and others are highly recommended.

Canal Belt – Built during the 16th century, this quarter is absolutely stunning. From the bridges to the homes, it’s unlike anything else in the world. Not to mention, it’s right on some of the biggest canals, making transportation to other parts of the city a breeze. The Ambassade and Boutique Hotel The Noblemen are our top picks.

Jordaan – We said it before, but it’s a beautiful area! Here, you’ll find Anne Frank’s House, Noordermarkt, and the Amsterdam Tulip Museum. Hotel Mercier and Mr Jordaan are top picks, but the Amsterdam Wiechmann Hotel is perfect for those on a budget.

Restaurants and Eating Out

Dutch food is surprisingly delicious, and we say “surprisingly” because we feel the food isn’t spoken about enough. There are tons of fantastic traditional dishes to try, but we recommend the Pannenkoeken (buttery pancakes made in a special Dutch way), and Bitterballen (addicted balls of breaded, fried, creamy pork). Oh, and you have to stop for some fries with the curry sauce! These are perfect for grabbing and munching on as you walk around the city.

If you’re into seafood, you’re in the right place because there are tons of fresh options like raw herring, smoked eel, and fat shrimp. This is definitely a cheese-lover’s city with gouda and edam available almost anywhere you go.

If you’re into sweets, check out both Stroopwafels (syrup-filled, warm waffles) and Poffertjes which are like little griddlecakes.

While the traditional, local food is incredible and highly-recommended, this is definitely a very international city. You’ll find everything from Mexican and Italian food to Turkish and Chinese.

Nightlife and Entertainment

Amsterdam nightlife is incredible, and easily one of the best cities in the world for nocturnal entertainment. There are tons of different clubs to suit literally every style of music – especially if you’re into electronic music.

Leidseplein – This is one of the top areas for nightlife, and caters to both locals and tourists. Melkweg is a massive club that operates some of the best weekday events like Techno Tuesdays (which are rarely not packed!). Cheeky Monday is a great way to start off the week with Drum and Bass.

Café De Spuyt or De Krul are must-visits, as they’re traditional brown cafes. Paradiso is another top-notch venue in the area, along with Cooldown Café and Bubbles which are popular with young locals.

Rembrandtplein – This is another area that’s always fun to go out in, as everything is so close together and walkable. Escape, Club Air, and Claire are some of the city’s top selections for your “typical” night out. Coco’s, Club Smokey, and Prime are also popular along with the close by coffee shops.

Red Light District – This area is probably one of the more obvious neighborhoods to go adventuring around at night. The iconic red windows and notorious coffee shops are everywhere, and while this area is full of tourist traps, there are some cool spots. Belushi’s, Hill Street Blues, and Aepjen are all fun.

Outside the City – If you’re into techno, you have to check out some of the most famous venues here – they throw massive events on a global scale. De School and Marktkantine have enormous raves!

Weather

The weather doesn’t vary a whole lot, as you can expect rain at any point. However, it is notably warmer in the summertime. It’s never really too hot, and tends to be partly cloudy. The winters do require you to bundle up though, as they can get windy, wet, and cold.

Attractions

Rijksmuseum – Founded in the late 1700’s, it was originally built to keep the country’s massive collection of art and antiquities safe. Today, you’ll find over a million artifacts ranging from back to the 1200’s to modern-day. If you’re into history, art, or literature, you’re in the right place (with over 35,000 books and manuscripts).

Anne Frank House – Be prepared, this is a pretty heavy experience. The home is quite compact and small – rather tall than wide. Much of it is the same as it was when Anne Frank lived there. While tickets often sell out, if you can manage to book a tour, you’ll get headphones to wear and listen to the stories about her and many of the other Holocaust victims.

Van Gogh Museum – Yet another hot spot for history buffs and art fans, the Van Gogh museum is dedicated to the country’s famous artist. With over almost 1,000 paintings, etchings, and drawings, you’ll get some insight into who this revolutionary artist was.

Vondelpark – This massive park covers 120 acres, and is perfect for picnicking or taking a stroll around the ponds and beautiful rose garden. However, there’s much more than just the park, itself. You’ll find various sculptures, statues, playgrounds for kids, rollerblade/bike rental places, and may even catch a concert or two!

Royal Palace – Formerly serving as the Town Hall, it was constructed in 1648 with its beautiful exterior and opulent interior complete with reliefs, ornamentation, marble sculptures, friezes, and more.

West Church – Completed in 1630, this Gothic Renaissance church stands a whopping 85 meters tall. At the very tip of the spire, you’ll see a big replica of Emperor Maximilian of Austria’s crown. Inside, you’ll be able to see a stunning organ dating back to the 1600’s and a 1906 marble column dedicated to Rembrandt.

Rembrandt House Museum – Speaking of which, the legendary artist lived in this home for 20 years, and contains many etchings and personal items from him.

Canal Tours – A great way to see the city is by the canals. Taking a canal tour will take you past most of the important tourist sites and a good way to enjoy dinner and drinks.

Tips

1. Bring some good walking shoes. No matter what, you’re likely going to find yourself walking a lot, whether that be from bar-hopping, catching a train, or sightseeing.

2. Use public transportation. Their system is one of the best out there, and you can fully rely on it at any day, any hour of the day. It’s clean, well-maintained, convenient, and budget-friendly.

3. Watch out for cyclists. They really are everywhere. Even when you think there aren’t any, one will come blazing full-force ringing the bell to make sure you know they’re coming.

4. Try the traditional food. Local cuisine is absolutely delicious, and is very fresh and flavorful.

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The Private Coffee Shop and RLD Walking Tour is our Editors Choice for the Amsterdam Red Light District tour

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Robert Baker

Robert is a content writer and editor at World Guides to Travel where he shares his love for the great outdoors. He also writes in-depth travel blogs for other websites around the world. Robert is passionate about the environment and uses his writing to educate people about the advantages and importance of sustainable living. Robert enjoys creative writing. In 2009, his children’s novel Sally Hemings & the Good Associates won the Children’s Fiction section of the You Write On Book of the Year Award.
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