Amsterdam’s Red Light District

Amsterdam’s Red Light District is so much more than its name might suggest.

Sure, there are lingerie clad vixens peering out of full length windows, beckoning passing gents in with a wiggle and a wink. There are sex shops, sex shows and rooms to rent by the hour. Come evening the streets will be crawling (literally) with drunken stag parties singing, hollering and staggering. Hen parties draped in sequins, feathers and tight t-shirts with their nicknames on the back will be just as drunk, just as loud and wobbly.

But in the clear, crisp light of morning it is a different world.

It’s where you’ll find some of the most staggering architecture in Amsterdam, lots of history, great views and even better cafés to enjoy them from.

If you can drag yourself out of your warm hotel bed one morning, I thoroughly recommend a pre-breakfast wander.

Sweater dress and loafers for cooler spring days

It’s a great time to get those happy-tourist-snaps without the crowds, too!

Comfortable but chic - cashmere dress, suede loafers and a mini chanel bag

Cashmere dress (sold out – similar options below)

^ Use the arrows ^

Camel mini Chanel bag // Soft camel loafers

Skinny belt

Follow the canals and take in some of the beautiful houses along the way.

Be sure to nose into alleyways and pop down back streets, you never know where you’ll find the best view.

Like this one we stumbled into…

Where to take pictures in Amsterdam

Find it here.

Where to take pictures in Amsterdam

Wander along the shopping streets, enjoy having them all to yourself.

Perks of the early bird!

If you get hungry, I know a great little place.

Hidden away on a cobbled square at the end of this winding alley.

Nothing fancy, just a sweet spot for a fresh croissant and a cup of coffee.

Coffee in Amsterdam

The aptly named Quartier Putaine sits between a brothel and a church.

Which I must say, even at breakfast time makes for some of the best people watching you can possibly imagine.

Camel tones

Grab a couple of pastries and ask for a dollop of their famous raspberry jam, not too sweet, just a little tart.

Which suits its location!

If you fancy something a bit stronger or for whatever reason the novelty of trying drugs without breaking the law appeals, you can check out one of Amsterdam’s other sort of “Coffeeshops”.

Look for “coffeeshop” rather than “coffee shop” or “café”. They won’t advertise marijuana as doing so is illegal but they’ll sell it inside (go figure).

Use your nose, they’re hard to miss.

Be sure to take your camera or phone along with you on your travels, Amsterdam is quite uniquely beautiful.

The canals widen the streets, allowing light to pour in and the breeze to whistle through. The houses gleam with their huge windows, quite unlike anything we have in London.

And you’ll want to take a few happy-snaps to send home to mum.

Chic travelling outfit - good for playing tourist!

Amsterdam’s Flower Market is also well worth a visit, you’ll find it on your walk back to town.

Amsterdam flower market

Bouquets are plentiful and cheap if you’re staying a while and fancy sprucing up your room.

Alternatively you can buy bulbs and all sorts of nicknacks to take home.

All in all not a bad morning’s exploring!

We made it back to the hotel before the world even crawled out of bed and celebrated with a second, heartier breakfast on the terrace.

What are adventures for, if not second breakfasts?

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  • I’m heading to Amsterdam this summer and I can’t wait, it looks so pretty despite what may go on behind closed doors..haha! x

    Millie |

  • I was in Amsterdam last week and you’re right – it is so uniquely beautiful! x
    Sophie Cliff

  • Those pictures are gorgeous! You lucked out with such a nice day, the weather looks amazing. I always love the architecture in Amsterdam, charming and captivating. Thanks for the details on the dress, I love it!

    Juliette |

  • Amsterdam is one of my favourite cities in the world.. love the vibe its got x

    CLUB AVENUE / / instagram

  • Amsterdam is one of my favourite places. I went twice in one year, once for my uncles wedding (beautiful) and once a few months later with all my pals (not so beautiful!) but still very entertaining! We found the red light district very sad, but will certainly head their during the day – looks dreamy! Immy x

  • Rach

    I would love to visit Amsterdam! I love how quaint the streets are!

  • Cynthia

    Perfect timing. I will be visiting Amsterdam for a couple days in July. The only thing I’ve planned as of now is touring the Anne Frank House so I am looking forward to more of your Amsterdam posts.

  • I’ve been to Amsterdam so many times and I thought I have never seen the Red Light district… Till one day my boyfriend was like ‘FB shows me your location, you’re right in there’… So yeah, it’s easy to ignore the stuff it is famous for and just enjoy the other views 😉

  • The slow pace

    I did visit the red light district early in the morning, but I didn’t have such a positive experience. I saw a lot of women in those windows and it really upset me. I didn’t expect to be that upset, but I don’t know, I ended up being very sad. But I do love Amsterdam, is a lovely, beautiful city. I have to say, though, that the little flower market in Bremen, the small German town where I live, is prettier 😉

  • Amsterdam is gorgeous! I got the chance to go this year and it was a dream. Are you going to any museums? I don’t think there’s a place in the world like Amsterdam. So unique and beautiful in all of its contradictions (like the church and brothel sandwiching your breakfast place!).

  • Suzie Appleton

    Did you visit the Anne Frank house whilst you were there? I’m dying to visit Amsterdam and do all the touristy things!

  • Never been to Amsterdam, I hope I can visit someday! It looks like a unique city.

  • Amsterdam looks amazing! 🙂

  • Kristina Wintermeier

    Amsterdam’s amazing! I think I spy the apartment my sister lives in in one of the photos! It’s a shame you get so many tourists going for the wrong reasons – it’s like 0.001% of what the city has to offer. For anyone going, I’d highly recommend hiring bikes and taking a trip to North Amsterdam across the way.

  • I have been in Amsterdam and it is a beautiful city. Especially all the tulips, all the flower markets are so pretty. Great post.
    Lots of love xx

  • It’s interesting seeing red light in a new, well, light! Quite literally too, as in the morning light vs midnight…

  • i must have visited Amsterdam 20 times but It intrigues me every time. There’s always a fresh perspective to be found there, even in the red light district which doesn’t offend me but interests me. Fascinating place.

  • Did you go to Ganache the little chocolate shop in the Red Light District? I went last week and picked up a few tasty treats to bring home. Yum!

  • I seriously need to go to Amsterdam, the architecture is beautiful and I love the morning atmosphere you’ve caught here!

    Lauren x
    Britton Loves | Lifestyle Beauty Wellbeing