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Gay Amsterdam Travel Guide 2021: gay bars, clubs, hotels & awesome things to do

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Gay Amsterdam Travel Guide 2021: gay bars, clubs, hotels & awesome things to do

We love visiting Amsterdam. Whether it's for a city break, romantic weekend or a gay party, we always know we're going to have a terrific time.

Whilst Amsterdam is most famous for its “coffeeshops” where you can smoke joints legally, it is also culturally rich with world-class museums and has the most distinctive urban landscape. The city is dominated by water, with 165 canals, around 500 bridges, lots of cute narrow cobblestone streets and many many many bicycles! It's so picturesque that the network of canals in the 17th-century historic old town (called the “Canal Ring“) was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2010.

Amsterdam is also super gay, which is unsurprising given that it is the capital city of one of the most gay friendly countries in the world. It is one of the few places where we feel comfortable walking the streets holding hands and don't feel like we first have to look over our shoulders to do that safety check! It also has some fantastic parties, plenty of gay hangouts, lots of events and the most unpronounceable gay village ever! We've summarised it all right here in our detailed gay Amsterdam travel guide.

Find out all of Amsterdam's gay secrets on a gay tour

First time in Amsterdam?

One of our favourite ways to get a feel of Amsterdam is on a gay tour, in particular the ones offered by Gaily. They do a series of different tours in Amsterdam which we've tried, love and highly recommend, especially to first-timers. A gay local will take your hand and guide you through the touristic highlights of the city by day and will also show you around the Reguliersdwarsstraat gay scene by night.

Find out more

Amsterdam gay district

Reguliersdwarsstraat is the main gay street of Amsterdam. It is located just outside of the city's centre in the Canal Ring in the south of the city. This is the gay area of Amsterdam where you can find most of the gay bars, shops, clubs and cafes. As well as being THE most unpronounceable name for a gay village(!) it's definitely one of our favorites and is why we rank Amsterdam as a top gay travel destination in Europe.

Other points to note about Amsterdam is the Homomonument and the Pink Point. The Homomonument is a large pink triangle memorial commemorating all gay men and women who were persecuted because they were gay, during the WW2. When it was opened in 1987, it was the first gay memorial in the world. It is located a few blocks north from Reguliersdwarsstraat just by the Westerkerk church. Next to the Homomonument is the “Pink Point“, which is Amsterdam's official gay and lesbian information kiosk.

Getting around Amsterdam

Whilst walking around Amsterdam is so rewarding (just watch out for all those pesky cyclists!), if you end up using the metro system a lot, we recommend purchasing a GVB Public Transport Ticket. This ticket includes all your travel on Amsterdam's trams, buses, ferries and the metro for up to 7 days, making it super convenient as well as saving you a packet on transport fees.

The Homomonument memorial of Amsterdam in full taken from above
The Homomonument memorial in Amsterdam

Gay hotels in Amsterdam

Amsterdam is one very gay friendly city where you are unlikely to ever have any problems finding a place to stay that welcomes gay travellers. We've been coming here almost every year since we got together and never had a problem finding a gay friendly hotel. Whether we were travelling on a budget, a romantic break to celebrate an anniversary, a short city break from London, or a stag weekend, every place we've stayed at has been extremely welcoming.

We've set out below some of our favourites gay friendly places to stay in Amsterdam from our firsthand experience to cover all budgets. For more, be sure to check out our guide to the best gay hotels in Amsterdam.

01

The Hoxton

The trendy Hoxton hotel is a gorgeous spot to stay in Amsterdam, laid out over five canal houses

Why we love it


  • Stunning design hotel
  • Excellent bar and restaurant
  • Central location
  • Cozy, chic rooms

The super trendy Hoxton Amsterdam is a stunning place to stay. It is spread across five traditional canal houses, located right in the center of the city.

This is the kind of gay friendly hotel you’ll never want to leave, with exceptionally cool rooms and a restaurant that blew us away. The Hoxton Amsterdam is ideal for a cultured gay couple seeking a cozy yet chic oasis that’s close to all of the fun and thrills of this amazing city.

The decor at Hoxton Amsterdam blends the kind of considered northern European design that the Dutch are known for, with homely touches such as worn leather couches and no shortage of plush cushions. We often found ourselves lounging around much longer than we had planned here!

When it comes to breakfast, lunch and dinner, The Hoxton has you covered for those moments you just don’t feel like leaving the confines of your hotel. Lotti’s restaurant and bar serves modern takes on European and Dutch classics including delightful bitterballen, our new favorite bar snack. We especially loved the retractable roof at Lotti’s, which is opened on sunny days to create a unique atmosphere that’s outrageously cool, much like the rest of this place.

The Hoxton is also close to some of the best museums like the Anne Frank House, Van Gogh Museum, and the Rijksmuseum.

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02

Sofitel Legend The Grand Amsterdam

The Sofitel Legend The Grand Amsterdam is a stunning place to stay in Amsterdam's red light district!

Why we love it


  • Michelin-starred restaurant
  • Historic atmosphere
  • City center locale
  • Private boat tours

Everything about this city center hotel, which sits within the confines of the Red Light District, is pure luxury. The Sofitel Legend The Grand Amsterdam is certainly one of the Dutch capital’s best gay places to stay and we could not get enough of the blend of old-world and modern vibes.

The Flying Dutchman bar was our favourite spot for a drink before heading out for the night, and the hotel has it's own private boat for canal tours!

With 177 rooms and 52 suites (all with butler service!), there is also an indoor swimming pool, salon and a library. As a result, Sofitel is definitely a good choice for those gay couples seeking a place to recover from long days of sightseeing or evenings of partying in Amsterdam. In fact, the hotel’s So Spa area is another place that facilitates this, offering a huge variety of treatments and experiences to help soothe tender heads or indeed any other troublesome body parts. We particularly loved the romance of enjoying a series of spa treatments as a couple during one of our lazy mornings in the Sofitel Amsterdam.

Just to confirm this hotel’s credentials as a bastion of old-world luxury in the heart of one of Europe’s most historic cities is the fact that the Sofitel is home to its very own Michelin-starred restaurant. At Bridges Dining, we enjoyed a mindblowing tasting menu that focuses on seafood, that most Dutch of specialties. Truly, following an afternoon in the spa at this hotel with a meal the likes of which you may never have experienced is a truly luxurious way to enjoy one of the finest hotels in all of Amsterdam.  

STAY WITH A GAY LOCAL

Misterb&b is the Airbnb equivalent for the LGBTQ community. Unlike on Airbnb, you know your host is gay, avoiding any nasty surprises when you check in. It is also a great way to meet gay locals and discover the underground gay scene. Click below to get 10 € (or $10) off your first booking.

03

Quentin Golden Bear Hotel

Quentin Golden Bear Hotel is no longer a 'gay' hotel but it's gay friendly and a good budget choice in Amsterdam

Why we love it


  • Great budget hotel
  • Wonderful value rooms
  • Close to museums, bars, nightclubs etc.
  • Friendly, progressive staff and guests

This cool place to stay in the center of Amsterdam was once upon a time a gay hotel. Times have changed, however, with the recently refurbished Golden Bear widening its net to include backpackers and budget travelers.

With that said, this remains a very gay-friendly place to stay and as such is ideal for gay singles, couples and groups seeking a place to rest their head in between sightseeing and partying.

One of the best things about Quentin Golden Bear Hotel is its location, straddling the city’s central canal district close to the gay hub of Leidseplein and surrounding areas. This means that Quentin Golden Bear Hotel is a great place to set up camp and use as a base to explore the city both by day and night, with the major museums, galleries, and coffee shops all walking distance, too. Particularly close by is Foam, one of Europe’s best photography galleries and a must-visit if you have even the slightest interest in this art-form.

The rooms at this place are clean, cool and well-maintained, though you shouldn’t come here expecting any real luxury. With that said, the staff here are extremely friendly and helpful, whilst the young and usually progressive guests offer a great opportunity to mingle and meet new people. Although as we have mentioned this hotel is no longer exclusively gay, many of the people who stay here are gay and you can meet all kinds of interesting folks hanging around Quentin Golden Bear.

Gay coffeeshops in Amsterdam

In Amsterdam, always remember that a cafe is somewhere you go for caffeine and a coffee shop is for smoking some of the ‘magic plant’ if you catch our drift! All too often unsuspecting tourists make fools out of themselves (like we did on our first visit!) when visiting this city and forgetting this key truth! 

Our favourite coffee shops and gay cafes in Amsterdam are located on Reguliersdwarsstraat, which is a hotspot for gay culture in this most liberal of European capitals. We truly love laid back Amsterdam!

The Otherside

The Otherside is our favourite gay friendly coffee shop in Amsterdam, with a cool mix of locals and tourists

This is one of our favorite gay coffee shops in all of Amsterdam, a chilled place where the crowd is a mix of gay locals and tourists. A shop identifying as LGBTQ friendly, The Otherside is known for delicious coffee, freshly baked cakes and of course their excellent range of plant products! The prices are competitive and you will always get great value whatever you choose to smoke at this coffee shop.

The trendy decor and mood lighting at The Otherside make it one of our top places in the city to come and light up, drink a cup of coffee and wax philosophical!


Free I

Free I is a coffeeshop in Amsterdam with a gritty basement smoke room and a fun tiki area upstairs

Another LGBTQ friendly spot in central Amsterdam, Free I is renowned for its gritty basement smoke room and their fun tiki-inspired vibe upstairs. The crowd here is chilled and tends to err on the gay side of things – always welcome as far as we’re concerned.

The products here are as good as anywhere in town, with over a dozen strains of the magic plant to choose from, some of which will get you pleasantly baked and others which are sure to blow your socks off! If you’re not sure which to go for, just ask the helpful staff for advice, they will point you in exactly the right direction.


Betty Boop – (permanently closed – updated 25/11/2020)

Betty Boop is a gay friendly coffeeshop in Amsterdam where you can chill out

Just down the street from The Otherside, Betty Boop is another awesome gay coffee shop on one of our favourite streets in Amsterdam. This gay-friendly place sells all the different types of the magic plant including the super-potent ‘ice’ variety – not for the faint of heart!

We love the minimalist decor and helpful staff at this central coffee shop. They sell everything you need to compliment your smoke including soft drinks and plenty of delicious snacks.


Top gay bars in Amsterdam

One of the first things any visitor to Amsterdam realizes early on is that this is one seriously liberal city. Whether it’s the well-documented smut of the Red Light District or the chilled smoking that goes on in the coffee shops, pretty much anything goes in the Dutch capital and that’s just why we love it.

The same can definitely be said for Amsterdam’s gay scene, which is perhaps best experienced through its dozens of awesome gay bars. We love the sheer range of gay bars in Amsterdam, from classy lounge-style affairs to downright sleazy sweatboxes, Europe’s wildest city has it all.

To get the most out of the gay scene of Amsterdam, we recommend trying out one of the excellent Gaily night tours.

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SoHo

SoHo is one of Amsterdam's best gay bars which gets super busy and exciting on weekends!

Exotic, charming and friendly, SoHo is one of Amsterdam’s best gay bars. In fact, this place is so lively during weekends that it could even be described as a club. The old-world aesthetic and city-center location definitely put it in the category of awesome gay bar. We loved meeting the international clientele at this legendary gay spot that’s conveniently close to other cool gay hubs such as coffee shops and other bars.  

Open: Daily from 16:00 to 03:00

Location: Reguliersdwarsstraat 36 Amsterdam, Netherlands


Prik

The Prik Pride party in Amsterdam

The first thing you notice about this place is the name, which we absolutely adore for it’s, well, prickliness! Aside from this, Prik is actually one of the top gay bars in Amsterdam, a cultured spot that proudly flies the rainbow flag and attracts a more erudite type of gay guy. Indeed, with its hidden locale and delicious food and cocktails, Prik is more the kind of bar to sit and chat rather than get wet and wild.

Open: Daily from 16:00 to 01:00

Location: Spuistraat 109, 1012 SV Amsterdam The Netherlands


Amstel 54

Amstel 54 is a fun gay bar in Amsterdam which also has some excellent drag shows

Situated on the corner of Rembrandtplein, one of the city’s key nightlife hubs, Amstel 54 is a classy bar with a cool little terrace that’s an ideal spot from which to eye-up some of Amsterdam’s many hot boys. Be sure to check when their drag performances are on, they are the stuff of legend in Amsterdam and showcase this trendy little bar at its gayest and most fabulous.

Open: Daily from 16:00 to 01:00

Location: Amstel 54, 1017 AB Amsterdam The Netherlands


Bar Blend

Blend is a trendy gay bar with a lovely terrace to enjoy in summer

This trendy gay bar is spread across two floors and has one of the best terraces of any spot in the gay district. With friendly staff who are almost all gay, Bar Blend is cool and personable all at once. The name of this spot comes from its inclusive nature, welcoming people of all walks of life regardless of who you love, race, gender or anything else. Without a doubt this is one of the most progressive bars we know in the most progressive of cities.

Open: Daily from 14:00 to 03:00

Location: Reguliersdwarsstraat 41, Amsterdam, Netherlands, 1017BK


Cafe Reality

Cafe Reality is a small but lovely gay bar in Amsterdam

Another addition to our list from the Reguliersdwarsstraat area, Cafe Reality is a small gay bar that attracts a mixture of locals and tourists from all backgrounds. We love the owner here, a friendly gay guy who loves to chat and won’t hesitate to mix whatever kind of drink you request. With reasonable prices, friendly clientele and a nice little terrace area for people watching, Cafe Reality is a great little gay spot in the heart of Old Amsterdam.

Open: Daily from 20:00 to 03:00

Location: Reguliersdwarsstraat 129, 1017 BL Amsterdam The Netherlands


Amsterdam gay clubs

There aren’t many cities on the planet with a gay club scene to equal that of Amsterdam. Whether you’re here for the non-stop dancing that goes on until the rest of the city heads to work or you seek something a little bit more erudite in a gay club, Amsterdam has you covered.

The most important thing to remember is that this is Amsterdam – anything goes. The locals and tourists are fun-loving, the music is amazing and the spaces are chic, go have some fun!

For a fresh perspective of the gay clubs of Amsterdam we highly recommend doing one of the Gaily Night Tours, where a handsome local will take your hand and guide you through the best parties happening that evening.

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Club NYX

Nyx is a huge and exciting gay club in Amsterdam you won't want to miss

Spread across four fabulous floors at the heart of Amsterdam’s gay district, Club NYX is a veritable playground for gay boys visiting the city. Who knows what you’re going to find as you travel through this wonderworld, from drag queens to contortionists to leather-clad bears, you’ll find it all at Club NYX. This is quite simply one of our favourite clubs in Amsterdam because it is fun, funky and unapologetically weird!

Open: Thursday to Saturday from 23:00 to 05:00

Location: Reguliersdwarsstraat 42 Amsterdam, Netherlands


Club YOLO

Club Yolo is a fun and inclusive nightclub in Amsterdam

A newcomer to the Amsterdam club scene, Club YOLO is more a nightclub with a highly inclusive identity that encourages all guests to be themselves in whatever way they see fit. We love the wild, friendly vibes at this city center nightclub that can get truly wild on busy nights. Attracting top DJs from across the Netherlands and Europe, Club YOLO is all about quality music, good vibes and unabashed freedom. As a side note, it doesn’t hurt that the gay clientele here tends to be pretty cute!

Open: Friday to Sunday from 01:00 to 05:00

Location: Amstel 178 Amsterdam, Netherlands


Amsterdam gay parties

What do you get when you bring together one of the world’s most hedonistic cities and a thriving gay culture? Incredible gay parties, of course, and Amsterdam is truly packed with options for gay travelers visiting the Dutch capital.

From intense techno all-nighters to carnival-like no-holds-barred fun, Amsterdam gay parties come in all shapes and sizes that will leave you head over heels in love with this vibrant city.

FunHouse XL by Rapido

Quite simply Amsterdam’s biggest and best gay party night, FunHouse XL by Rapido is situated in a huge nightclub in the city’s wild west area. Each night here is themed and as such you never know quite what to expect, with anything from sassy zombies to a full-on indoor beach taking center stage. Whatever happens, you always know that the parties at FunHouse organized by gay events group Rapido are going to be wild, excessive and unapologetically gay.

Shelter is Burning @ Shelter

Shelter is one of Amsterdam’s coolest clubs, bringing in some of the biggest names in house, techno and beyond to its turntables. Shelter is Burning is the nightclub’s gay night and as such you can expect a musical, trendy crowd here. That’s not to say that it’s stuffy, quite the opposite in fact. The dancing goes on until the wee hours of the morning and the clientele, as cool as they are, are known for their hedonistic and anything goes style of partying. Just don’t do anything we wouldn’t do…

Backdoor Party Circus @ Melkweg

Taking place at Melkweg, one of Amsterdam’s most legendary live music venues and nightclubs, Backdoor Party Circus is a wild circus-themed night. With handsome clowns, dancers, and no shortage of vodka teapots, the team behind Backdoor Party – a major gay events group in the Dutch capital – have managed to outdo themselves once more. Expect great electronic music, performance art and no shortage of hedonistic fun at this, one of the wildest gay parties in all of Amsterdam.

The One @ Eagle Amsterdam

Eagle Amsterdam is a legendary gay venue in the Dutch capital set across three floors, with extra discreet spaces for lots of rumpy-pumpy! Attracting gay boys of all types and in all shapes and sizes, locals and tourists alike frequent this world-famous gay nightclub. You’ll find a great party here most weekends but we particularly loved The One, when Eagle Amsterdam turns into something truly special and the outfits get that little bit sassier, the ambiance that little bit wilder!

Bear Necessity

Situated in the 1150 capacity Panama nightclub, Bear Necessity has become a staple of the Amsterdam gay party scene thanks to its fun vibe and unpretentious clientele. That’s not to say that this party doesn’t attract some of the coolest, cutest bears, and their admirers in all of Amsterdam. For those who like their men that little bit more manly, Bear Necessity is a must-visit Amsterdam gay party experience that you’ll never forget.

 

Gay cruising in Amsterdam

Gay cruising clubs like Church and Eagle are the best places to head when it's too cold or wet outside. For outdoor fun, there are also the more notorious gay cruising spots in Amsterdam:

Eagle Amsterdam

A men-only gay cruising club spread over 3 floors complete with dance floor, wet & piss areas, douche facilities, darkrooms, showers, slings, and more. It's open Tuesday to Sunday until 4am (5am on weekends) and is located at Warmoesstraat 90.

Club Church

Amsterdam's best gay club for fun nights (!!) that organises various themed nights everyday like Blue Kooking Klubbing drag night on Thursdays, Zonderbroek underwear party on Fridays, SOS, and more. Church is located at Kerkstraat 52. Check their website for details of the latest events and opening hours, and watch a fascinating video about it at the end of this section.

Nieuwe Meer lake at Oeverlanden

Nieuwe Meer is a small lake in the Oeverlanden park, which is just outside Amsterdam. It has a clothing-optional sunbathing area, making it a popular spot in the summer months. As this is the only place where cruising is officially recognised and tolerated, you can find action happening both night and day.

Oosterpark

A large park in Amsterdam East, which gets cruisy after dark in the area next to the Tropenmuseum. It goes without saying you should take care here when cruising at night as robberies and stabbings frequently take place.

Vondelpark Rose Garden

A public urban park in Amsterdam South with a popular gay cruising spot on the right hand side of the park towards the end known as the “Rose Garden”. Cruising usually happens after dark, but during the summer months you can see some daytime action as well.

Zandvoort nudist beach

Zandvoort is a beach resort town around 30 minutes train journey from Amsterdam Centraal followed by a 30 minute walk south to the official nudist beach which is in front of the Adam en Eva (Adam and Eve, get it?!) beach pavilion. Just like the gay beach of Gran Canaria, it is surrounded by dunes which makes it popular for cruising.

 

Gay saunas and bathhouses in Amsterdam

Currently, there is only one gay sauna in Amsterdam called Nieuwezijds, named after its address at Nieuwezijds Armsteeg 95. It is conveniently located in the Canal Ring, very close to Amsterdam Centraal station.

Nieuwezijds has events like “Mellow Mondays“, “No Towel Tuesdays” and a bear night on the last Saturday of each month. It is open every from midday until 6am the next morning (extended to 10am on weekends).

Bear themed party at the Nieuwezjids gay sauna in Amsterdam
One of the many themed parties at the Nieuwezjids gay sauna

Gay Pride and other events in Amsterdam

Amsterdam Pride is the big one that takes over the entire city and is one of the most famous Pride events in the world. There are also a handful of other gay events taking place throughout the year, which we recommend checking out:

Amsterdam Bear Weekend in March

The best way to welcome spring to the city, with your bear buddies to hand! The Bear Weekend includes pub crawls, parties, fun cruises down the canal and the election of “Mister Bear Netherlands“. Every March, bears, cubs, daddies, chubs, admirers and chasers from around the world descend on to Amsterdam for what has become one of the best Bear weekend parties in Europe.

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Amsterdam Gay Pride in July/August

During the last week of July and the first week of August the city turns into one fabulous colourful party. The Amsterdam gay Pride parade in early August is world-famous because it is the only one that takes place on the water, with 80 boat-floats making their way through the canals. Also not to miss during Pride are the street parties, particularly on Reguliersdwarsstraat.

Amsterdam Leather Pride in October/November

This is the biggest leather party in all of Holland and one of the best in Europe. Every October, thousands of leather fans head to Amsterdam for some of the best uniform themed parties. This exciting festival also includes the crowning of the new “Mister Leather Amsterdam“, the “Mister Leather Netherlands” and the big one: “Mister Leather Europe“. All the big leather clubs and shops get involved including Church, Black Body, the Eagle Amsterdam and MLN.

International Queer & Migrant Film Festival (IQMF) in December

The International Queer & Migrant Film (IQMF) festival was founded in 2015 and has been going from strength to strength since. It is a festival for queer & migrant related movies. As well as film screenings, the festival also includes art exhibitions, workshops, masterclasses and debates. We particularly love the IQMF because they feature one of our favourite queer artists: Daniel Arzola.

 

Gay shops in Amsterdam

So we’ve covered the amazing gay coffee shops, bars and nightclubs of Amsterdam, now it’s only fair that we take a look at the awesome gay shops that this wonderland has to offer, too.

Amsterdam is something of a hotspot for gay fashion and, as you well shall see, you can get every kind of item of clothing in the city’s numerous gay-exclusive boutiques. Whether you’re seeking some darling denim, luscious leather or something altogether different, our gay shops in Amsterdam selection will see to it.

Mister B

Mr B is a fab gay shop in Amsterdam that sells everything from leather to toys and even has an area to test things out in!

Selling everything from leather to toys and everything else in between, Mister B is a veritable emporium of gay exploration, and we absolutely love it! The collection of leather, rubber and neoprene items on sale at Mister B is as good as anything you’d find anywhere else on the planet. They have an incredibly wide array of toys and even a space in the basement for testing these out in both long and short sessions! Just ask the staff members if you’d like to make your trip to Mister B even more memorable…

Open: Sunday to Wednesday from 12:00 to 18:00 and Thursday to Saturday from 12:00 to 19:00

Location: Prinsengracht 192, 1016 HC Amsterdam


Artem Bodywear

Artem sells gay underwear and swimwear in Amsterdam

Situated at the heart of Reguliersdwarsstraat, Artem Bodywear is a fabulous store selling gay fashion items with a focus on underwear and swimwear. Truly, the collection of swim shorts on offer at Artem is a thing of beauty. From the skimpiest of neon-hued speedos down to baggy board shorts and everything in between, Artem stocks it all. What’s more, their line of boxers and briefs from brands such as Calvin Klein and Diesel is unmatched in terms of both variety and quantity.

Open: Daily from 11:00 to 18:00

Location: Reguliersdwarsstraat 39 1017 BK, Amsterdam


Black Body Shop

Black Body gay shop in Amsterdam

The clue is in the name at this legendary Amsterdam gay shop, which specializes in rubber and leather goods as no other place could. Boots, masks, chains, trousers, shirts, suits, vests and so much more is on offer at this sassy little store. The staff are incredibly friendly and down to earth and are more than willing to offer professional, practical advice should you need any. 

Open: Daily from 11:00 to 19:00

Location: Kerkstraat 173, 1017 GH Amsterdam


Gay restaurants in Amsterdam

Amsterdam has a mix of excellent restaurants to suit everyone, whether you’re vegan, looking for pizza or simply counting the calories. We always start with Tripadvisor and find a place nearby based on the reviews – though some of them take with a pinch of salt of course! In the gay area of Amsterdam, there are a handful of culinary gems we recommend trying out. We’ve set out some of our favorites right here:

Lunchroom Downtown

Downtown Lunchroom is a gay cafe with yummy food in the heart of Amsterdam's gay neighbourhood

Situated on Reguliersdwarsstraat, Amsterdam’s gayest street, Lunchroom is a trendy little spot known for its gorgeous baked goods and vibrant salads. Staffed by a friendly team that’s almost all gay, this lovely place benefits from a beautiful terrace on the canalside that’s perfect for a long lazy brunch in the sun after an evening of overindulgence. We highly recommend trying the homemade apple cake, a Dutch delicacy that comes with a mound of freshly whipped cream at this awesome cafe.


Garlic Queen

Gay travellers to Amsterdam who like garlic will love the gay Garlic Queen restaurant!

We immediately fell in love with this place because the name alone combines two of our favorite things in life! Indeed, as the title suggests, Garlic Queen is committed to the use of the world’s favorite herb in almost every single dish. We loved visiting here to indulge in some innovative dishes such as garlic soup or the delicious garlic ice cream (just trust us on this one!) in chic surrounds at the heart of Amsterdam’s gay district.


The Pantry

The Pantry is our favourite gay friendly restaurant in Amsterdam for traditional hearty Dutch food

As far as we’re concerned, this is the only place to come for a taste of traditional Dutch cuisine in the heart of Amsterdam. Close to the gay area, The Pantry serves up hearty fare such as smoked eel, herring and Dutch sausages alongside an array of delicious beers at reasonable prices. We shared a gorgeously comforting dish of stampotten, traditional mashed potatoes mixed with vegetables, to help fuel us for a night out in this crazy gorgeous city!


Top things to do in Amstersdam

Amsterdam is one of the most visited cities on earth, with tourists from across the globe flocking here to absorb the stunning architecture, smoke lots, and who knows what else.

As such, there is no shortage of insightful, exciting tours and things to do in Amsterdam, such as tours exploring the city’s gay heritage or enjoying a traditional canal cruise for a romantic afternoon with your partner. We’ve listed some of our favourite things to do in Amsterdam to inspire your travel planning:

Gay tour of Amsterdam

Find out all of Amsterdam's best gay spots on a gay tour of the city

This gay tour of Amsterdam is an absolute must for those interested in learning more about the gay history of the Dutch capital. Our guide took us on a private walking tour of the gay hotspots Jordaan and De Wallen, talking us through keystone moments for the city’s LGBTQ community. From the oppression during the 1930s/40s, to the freedom movements in the 1980s and 90s this gay tour provided us with an in-depth look at gay Amsterdam from a deeply personal perspective.


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Cruise on the canals of Amsterdam

Cruising Amsterdam's canals is a must-do in order to experience the beauty of the city

Enjoying a cruise on the canals of Amsterdam is a definitive experience in this city and one that provides a unique perspective on the place. With a deep affinity to its canals, Amsterdam is surely a city best seen from the water. Taking in the famous Skinny Bridge, the Golden Bend and much more, the Amsterdam city canal cruise is a 75-minute odyssey through what has to be one of Europe’s most stunning capitals.


Life of Anne Frank walking tour

Learn about Anne Frank in Amsterdam by joining a tour and/or visiting the Anne Frank House museum

One of Amsterdam’s most famous ever residents, Anne Frank will forever be remembered for the poignancy and tragedy of her book The Diary of a Young Girl. Paying a visit to the Anne Frank House is one of the most popular and affecting experiences of any trip to Amsterdam. Now you can also do a walking tour to learn more about the short but powerful life of this fierce young woman and what Amsterdam was like for her before the war.


Red Light District tour

Amsterdam's infamous Red Light District is a fascinating spot to explore

Uncover the secrets of Amsterdam’s seediest district during this two-hour walking tour of the Red Light District. Offering heaps of insight into famous spots such as the erie and The Old Church, this private journey through the RLD will shock, amuse and inspire you to your core! For those who err on the more alternative side of things(!), a visit to a few leather hanky panky stores is included in the tour, allowing ample time to purchase any ‘souvenirs’ that might take your fancy. Even if you don't do a tour, make sure you visit the enlightening Red Light Secrets Museum to learn more about the history of the area.


Explore the countryside

If you're visiting Amsterdam make sure you also take the time to explore the surrounding countryside

Make like the Dutch and jump on a bicycle for this four-hour tour of the countryside surrounding Amsterdam. On our tour, we explored fishing villages, country fields, and farmlands as well as learning about the windmill industry of old Holland. Although Amsterdam is a stunning city, it can be relaxing to get out of the hustle and bustle for a few hours and gain an understanding of what rural life is like in the country.


Plan your trip

We've put together some handy hints and tips to help you plan your own trip to Amsterdam. Read on to find out everything the gay traveller should know before they go.

How to get there: Many budget airlines offer affordable flights to Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport. You can also reach the city from within Europe via train or bus. When we fly into Amsterdam, we always aim to pre-book a private airport transfer with Welcome Pickups to ensure an English-speaking driver will wait for us in the Arrivals Hall. Always the best way to start off any trip: zero stress!


Visa requirements: Travellers from the United States, Australia and New Zealand don't need a visa for stays in the Netherlands for up to 90 days, so you can easily visit Amsterdam. Members of the Schengen Zone can also travel freely in the Netherlands but if you're coming from somewhere else (or just want to be sure) make sure you check your personal visa requirements beforehand.


Getting around: While it's lovely to just wander around Amsterdam it can get tiring as it's bigger than it might seem. Luckily Amsterdam has an excellent public transport system consisting of trams, buses, metro and ferries. Pre-purchase a combined GVB card for up to 7 days for unlimited travel on all of them.


Power Plugs: In Amsterdam (and the rest of the Netherlands) you will find the regular European 2-pin power plug/socket. If you're travelling from North America, the UK, Australia or some Asian countries then you will need to bring a travel adaptor with you.


Travel insurance: Make sure you get travel insurance before your trip to Amsterdam so you're protected in the case of missed flights, lost luggage or anything else that could go wrong along the way. We have been using World Nomads Travel Insurance for years and definitely recommend them to other travellers. Their cover is comprehensive and affordable, plus it's easy to make a claim online if the need arises.


Safety and Security: Even with the security of travel insurance, it's possible that something might happen when you're in Amsterdam where you require immediate assistance. We use the CloseCircle “virtual bodyguard” app when we're travelling because they offer everything from advice to evacuation, all from an app on your phone. Find out more about CloseCircle in our post on staying safe while travelling.


Currency: The currency used in the Netherlands (and therefore Amsterdam) is the Euro, like most countries in Europe. Generally, €1 converts to around $1.10 US or about 89 pence in British Pounds.


Tipping culture: There isn't a strong tipping culture in the Netherlands, although you can always round up your bill or leave some extra change if you received good service in a restaurant or cafe. Read this for some more information on tipping in the Netherlands.


Internet access: The Netherlands has excellent internet and you'll be able to find lots of free, reliable WiFi hotspots in Amsterdam. Nearly all museums, restaurants, bars, cafes, libraries and hotels will also provide free WiFi (you may need to ask for the password though). If you will need reliable internet access to work and don't want to go searching for WiFi then we recommend renting a portable WiFi device for your trip.


Accommodation: Amsterdam has plenty of fabulous places to stay beyond our personal favourites which we've talked about here. We always use Booking.com when planning our trips because they have an excellent selection at the best prices and often free cancellation is included. It's also easy to book online and they offer 24/7 support.


Sightseeing and adventure: For more fun activities and interesting tours in Amsterdam, we recommend GetYourGuide. They also have an easy to use online booking system and so many great choices!


When to visit: The Netherlands can be quite cold and wet during autumn/winter so we'd definitely choose to visit Amsterdam either in spring (for the tulips!) or summer for the warm weather and the awesome Amsterdam Pride in August! Alternatively, Amsterdam is quite magical around Christmas time, with lots of markets, ice-skating rinks and a special light festival on the canals until mid-January.


Gay map of Amsterdam

This is our gay map of Amsterdam to show you where everything we've mentioned in this article is located. Use it to plan your own fabulous gay holiday in Amsterdam!

Use our gay map of Amsterdam to plan your own fabulous visit to this super gay city
DON'T MISS OUT!

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Stefan Arestis

Stefan is the co-founder, editor and author of the gay travel blog nomadicboys.com. As a travel nerd, he has explored more than 80 countries across 5 continents. What he loves the most about travelling is discovering the local gay scene, making new friends and learning new cultures. His advice about LGBTQ travel has been featured in Gay Times, Gaycities, Pink News, Gay Star News, Attitude and Towleroad. He has also written about gay travel for other non-gay specific publications including Lonely Planet, The New York Times, The Guardian and The Huffington Post. Stefan is also a qualified lawyer, having practised as a commercial property litigator in London for over 10 years. He left his lawyer days behind to work full time on Nomadic Boys with his husband Sebastien. Find out more about Nomadic Boys.

James

Wednesday 25th of November 2020

Thanks for the article! In Uganda, there is no specified place for gays but we do get occasional LGBTQ travelers.

Stefan Arestis

Thursday 26th of November 2020

Can't wait to visit one day :)

Peter

Sunday 29th of September 2019

Yes such a way of style of writing that honest and easy to read and follow thanks a lot now I want to go to Amsterdam and have fun

Stefan Arestis

Monday 30th of September 2019

Thanks for reading Peter :)

ray

Sunday 15th of September 2019

this is great and helpful for me, stefan.

am about to solo my first trip in amsterdam in the upcoming nov'19.

a little scared of first solo to europe and yea, hope everything goes smoothhhh.

struggling with the hotel to stay but after reading all your recommendation, i think i gt what i need!

thank you and appreciateeeeeeee all your hard work

Stefan Arestis

Sunday 15th of September 2019

So pleased - thx for reading Ray :)

Sergio

Tuesday 27th of August 2019

Cool, man! Very useful info. Thanx

Stefan Arestis

Thursday 29th of August 2019

Thanks for reading Sergio :)

Kevin Black

Monday 12th of August 2019

Looking for cheap totally gay accommodation in Amsterdam

Stefan Arestis

Tuesday 13th of August 2019

We hope some of the budget suggestions in this article help you out. Otherwise, try couchsurfing.