Red Light District Tours

This post compares a few of the top tours available for the Red Light District, including a free, self-guided option, as well as things that you will see along the way. 

 

 


WHAT IS THE RED LIGHT DISTRICT?

Well known for its sex-oriented businesses and brothels, the Red Light district in Amsterdam has maintained a truly fascinating experience for the tourist.

Today, the district – also known by its Dutch name De Wallen – is filled with historic churches, charming pubs and of course, erotic shops.

At roughly 6,500 sq metres in size, the Red Light District isn’t actually all that big.

Even so, there are a lot of interesting things to see and do in the area. Be sure to read our post on the top things to do in the Red Light District.

There have been attempts to decrease crime in the area, but you might still want to keep an eye on your belongings while you’re here and consider coming with a friend or significant other.

 


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GUIDED WALKING TOURS

In total, there are many companies offering walking tours through the Red Light District. There are several history focused tours, but some outings include food tastings and other fun activities. If you’re interested in learning about the area, this is the kind of tour you should consider taking.

Before you get too far, we should mention that our pay-what-you-wish city tour spends approximately 20 minutes here, which might suffice for some.


New Europe

New Europe Tours are one of the larger and more popular walking tour companies in Amsterdam. In addition to their tour of the Red Light District, they also offer a pay-what-you-like general city overview tour, which runs multiple times each day and makes a short visit to this area. 

Their 2-hour Red Light District Tour is an affordable evening tour that runs daily.  You will be guided through Amsterdam’s more seedy side, visiting a sex shop, video cabins, the Prostitute Information Center, and of course, a coffee house. In the end, you will be treated to a free shot at the famous Belushi’s Bar.  

  • €16 (€12 for students), 2 Hours
  • 7 days a week (2 tours, both beginning at 19:00 (7 pm))
  • Departs from the National Monument in Dam Square.
  • More Information

With an Excellent rating by TripAdvisor and Get Your Guide (read the reviews), New Europe’s tour of the Red Light District comes highly recommended by its users. Users seem particularly pleased with the tour guides ability to be both humorous and informative. 

NOTE: This tour is offered for free with the Amsterdam Pass. For more details, check our discount section below.


Amsterdam Red Light District

Available 7 days a week (nonexclusive tour), the Amsterdam Red Light District tour is a perfect way to explore one of Amsterdam’s oldest and historic districts. The tour kicks off at 9 in Dam Square where you’ll meet your local tour guide. Explore secret alleyways revealing cannabis shops, street art and the “Last Peep Show of Amsterdam”.

  • €15, 1.5 Hours
  • 7 days a week (Starts at 17:00 (9 pm))
  • Meeting point 2 meters from white Monument in Dam Square
  • Online booking required

Rated Excellent by TripAdvisor, the Amsterdam Red Light District tour is praised by its users for their very informative guides. Particularly users are pleased the guides are local- mixing personal experiences with a detailed history of the historic district.


Trigger Tours

Clocking in at roughly 2 ½ hours in length, this is actually one of the longer tours in the Red Light District. A professional guide will provide details about the history of the area and how it became a haven for sex and drugs. After exploring the area, you’ll enter a coffee shop and receive a free demonstration for how to roll a joint – that is if you don’t already know!

With a 4.8 out of 5 star rating, it’s safe to say that this company is well trusted and reliable (read reviews here). Customers indicate that their tour guide is very friendly and informative, providing a lot of great details about the Red Light District. If you need to cancel your tickets for any reason, Trigger Tours offers a full refund up to 24 hours before the scheduled tour.


Lindbergh Tours

The Lindbergh Tours offers a range of tours through Amsterdam that include “Hop-On-Hop-Off” bus tours, a canals cruise and walking tours. This walking tour through the Red Light District is a fascinating and revealing tour exclusive to adults only. You’ll gain insights on the oldest profession in the world from your local tour guide and a visit to the Museum of Prostitution.

With mix reviews on TripAdvisor, most ranging from very good to excellent, the majority of users were impressed with this adult-only tour. Some users expressed frustrations for guides speaking in other languages or with thick accents making it hard to understand the information, furthermore lengthening the tour. Overall users found the controversial tour entertaining and informative.

NOTE: This tour is included either for free or at a discount with both the Holland Pass and the Amsterdam City Pass. For more details, please read our discount section below.

 


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Pub Crawls & Food Tours

If you’re hoping to do more than just learn about the Red Light District, you should consider going on one of the following Pub Crawls. Instead of just learning about the history of this neighborhood, you’ll also discover some of the best bars and drinking establishments in the area. You may also have the opportunity to try some food samples along the way!


Oranje Tours Pub Crawl

Branded a “Party tour”, this Oranje tour will lead you through some of the many occupying the Red Light District. You’ll enjoy free pastry samples from the legendary Dutch shop Febo and stop in the historic Gin and Tonic Bar located on Amsterdam’s oldest street! Explore window parlors and “secret spots” located through hidden alleyways on this special tour. Drink specials at every stop!

  • €19 (Must book 2 people minimum), 2 Hours

*Discounts for students and seniors*

  • Meeting point varies based on option booked (additional fees for hotel pickup)
  • Options for English, German, Dutch, Italian, Spanish and Chinese guides.
  • Purchase tickets or learn more

With a 4.5 star rating from Get Your Guide, users overall were pleased with the knowledgeable guides. Some users were disappointed the guides were not as energetic as the expected a “party tour” guide to be. Most found the tour extremely informative filled with fun facts and history of the district.


Ultimate Party Pub Crawl

One of the Red Light Districts more lengthy tours, running 5 hours long, the Ultimate Party Pub Crawl visits five pubs and one club. Between 8 and 8:30 pm you’ll be treated to unlimited shots of vodka before kicking off.

This tour, exclusive to adults only, features a larger than normal group, sometimes well over 100! You’ll engage with other travelers and learn of the controversial history of the De Wallen district.

With free shots at every stop, this tour is perfect for those looking to have a fun night out.

The reviews for this tour are very mixed. Generally, users found the tour exciting however hard to keep up with. Many complained about the overwhelming amount of people on the tour and keeping everyone together.

Others were underwhelmed by the size/alcohol content of the free shot at each pub stop. The guides received mix reviews from excellent, fun and informative to unconcerned and boring.


360 Amsterdam (Food tasting)

360 Amsterdam offers a variety of walking tours that cover Anne Frank, World War II, and Begijnhof. This 2-hour tour of the Red Light District incorporates a small tasting. You’ll enjoy a free drink and try Dutch delicacies before departing at 20:00 (8 pm). You’re professional guide will you see you through the Prostitution Information Center, peep shows and centuries-old canals.

While there are limited reviews available, the 360 Amsterdam tour has an outstanding rating by users. Users found the guides very friendly and the tour itself engaging and educational. If you need to cancel for any reason, you can receive a full refund up to 24 hours before the food tasting tour begins. 


Trigger Tours

In addition to their main tour of the Red Light District, this company also provides a food tour. While you’re learning all about the area and its history, you will also have the opportunity to try at least three different types of Dutch food: the Stroopwafel, the Kroket, and Dutch cheese. This is a great way to learn about the different meals that people tend to enjoy in Amsterdam while you’re visiting one of the more famous neighborhoods.

This tour hasn’t received a lot of reviews yet, but those who have taken it left a pretty favorable rating of 5 out of 5 stars (read reviews here).

That kind of score could change at any time, but it’s definitely a great start. Customers indicate that the food is great and the tour guides provide a lot of useful information.

 


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Weed Smoking Tour

Whether you’re already familiar with marijuana or you want to truly experience the “anything goes” culture of Amsterdam, this is definitely a great place to get started. This tour provides a look into the history of weed in the Red Light District, including the role that coffee shops have played in popularizing the drug. While on this outing, you will also have an opportunity to get some of the best marijuana available in this part of town.

Reviews for this service are pretty positive, and it has received an overall rating of 4.3 out of 5 stars (read reviews here). Customers say that their tour guides are both fun and informative, indicating that they learned a lot more than expected during this tour. Should you need to cancel your tickets, you will be offered a full refund if your cancellation is made at least 24 hours before the tour begins.

 


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Discounts

In this section, we will provide detail about the various discount opportunities available on Red Light District tours. Be sure to read our post on tourist attraction discount passes.

The Amsterdam Pass

This tourist pass offers free admission to a Red Light District tour. This is an all-inclusive pass, so all of the attractions and activities included are available for the length of time that the pass is active. This is one of the easiest and most effective ways to save money while in Amsterdam. All you have to do is pull out your pass and use it whenever you want to!

Holland Pass

You can use this service either to take the Lindbergh Red Light District tour or save 20% if you purchase your tickets at the same time as your pass. This is a build-your-own pass which allows you to pay a flat price for a set number of different attractions. Even though this is a great way to save money, you might not save as much as you could with an all-inclusive option.

The Amsterdam City Pass

Much like the Holland Pass, this card includes a 20% discount on the Lindbergh Red Light District tour. The main difference of note is that this is a preset package pass, which means that you’ll get a handful of services (cruise, museum admission, etc) for free and everything else will be available at a discounted price. If you’re interested, make sure to read more about each pass in order to find the one that best fits your itinerary.

 


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Self-Guided Tours

The following section will provide a free audio tour and self-guided tour that you can take in the Red Light District. If you’re not in the mood to join a tour group and you’d much rather explore these infamous streets on your own, this is a great way to save money and avoid the crowds. Given that the district isn’t too large, it shouldn’t take much time or energy to complete either of these tours.


Audio Tour

While we don’t currently offer an audio tour of the Red Light District, it’s worth noting that you can take a free audio tour provided by Rick Steves’ Europe. With 13 different sights to see, this is a fairly extensive trip which includes a lot of useful information about the area. There is also a map of the tour that you can download to make it easier to find each location.

Download or learn more about Rick Steves’ Red Light District Audio Tour


Self-Guided Red Light District Tour

This is a short, but sweet guide to some of the more notable sites in the Red Light District. If you want a more detailed trip, we recommend taking a fully guided tour instead.

Nieuwmarkt

Located at the end of Zeedijk street, this historic landmark is actually the site of the last remaining gate from the entrance of the old city walls. The Waag is a building near the gate that was once used as a weigh station of sorts where incoming goods would be weighed in order to levy the appropriate taxes. During the summer months, you’ll find a produce market in the square in front of the Waag.

Chinatown

As you walk down Zeedijk street, you’ll note that a lot of the buildings and businesses in the area focus on Chinese culture. This is because Chinese immigrants have been living in Amsterdam for over 3 centuries, and this is one of the areas where they made a home and started local businesses over the years. Look to the left of the street to see the first Buddhist temple in Europe – and maybe think about stopping nearby to grab lunch!

Ons’ Lieve Heer op Solder

If you head across the Amsterdam Channels and walk down the Oudezijds Voorburgwal, you’ll eventually run into this 17th-century house which has been restored and turned into a museum. This is the site of an old hidden Catholic church that was once used by Catholics in the area when their religion was outlawed by the Calvinist government. There is an admission fee to enter the building, but this location is actually included on most major Amsterdam Tourist Passes.

Red Light Museums

If you’re looking for a museum that focuses on the seedier history of Amsterdam, head back across the Amsterdam Channels at Korte Niezel and walk down Oudezijds Achterburgwal. Once you get close to Oudekennissteeg street, you’ll find the Erotic Museum on the right. The Red Light Secrets museum is also located just across the road from here. Both locations feature exhibitions about the history of Amsterdam’s sex-work industry, and they are both included on various Amsterdam Tourist Passes.

The Oude Church

After visiting the Red Light museums, walk back across the Amsterdam Channels on Oudekennissteeg street and get a good look at the oldest church in Amsterdam. This building is almost impossible to miss, as it’s one of the largest structures in the area. Built in 1306, this church has seen so many remodels over the years that there isn’t any one architectural style that defines it anymore. As such, this is one of the more unique buildings in all of Amsterdam.

Prostitute Information Centre

If you walk north on Oudezijds Voorburgwal and circle the church by heading down Oudekerksplein, you’ll notice a lot of sex shops and other erotic locations surrounding this old church. Just as you’re starting to realize that you’ve probably never seen anything like this before, you’ll run into the Prostitute Information Centre on Enge Kerksteeg. This is a great location where you can learn a lot about the history of prostitution in Amsterdam.

Trompettersteeg Alley

Keep walking around the Oude Church until you reach Sint Annendwarsstraat. Walk down this street and then turn left onto Trompettersteeg, which is a very small alley that leads to the greatest concentration of brothels in all of Amsterdam. This is one of the best ways to see what the Red Light District is all about, but we won’t tell you how to spend your time here – that’s up to you!

Condomerie

Once you’re finished in the alleys of the Red Light District, head back to Sint Annendwarsstraat and walk back toward the church. Walk around Oudekerksplein until you reach Wijde Kerksteeg and turn left. Make another left at Warmoesstraat and walk South until you see a shop selling condoms on your left. This is the Condomerie, the first condom specialist store in the world. Even if you don’t plan on buying anything, it’s worth taking a step inside just to see how many different types of condoms exist!

Dam Square

If you keep walking down Warmoesstraat, you’ll eventually run into the National Monument which was erected in remembrance of WWII. Located just across the street from here is Dam Square, a public gathering place that has been here since the 17th century. The Royal Palace can be seen right in front of the square, so this is a pretty good place to take some pictures. On the left side of Dam Square, you’ll find the Madame Tussauds wax museum, which is included on the Holland Pass.

 


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