Tours & activities in Amsterdam

Red Lights and Dark Amsterdam Free Tour

Experience the fascinating Amsterdam Red Light District with an expert local guide

ABOUT THE Red Lights and Dark Amsterdam Free Tour

Discover the dark side of Amsterdam’s oldest district with this 1.5-hour walking tour. Join an experienced guide who will bring to life the fascinating and diverse stories of the city’s most controversial neighbourhood, which is also the historic center of Amsterdam! From coffeeshops to sex theaters and fetish stores, find out the realities and fictions of this storied district.


Your Red Lights and Dark Amsterdam Tour meets at the National Monument at Dam Square.


One of Europe's most famous neighborhoods

The narrow streets and canals at the heart of mediaeval Amsterdam have gone from being known as the city’s most dangerous district during the heroin crisis of the 80s, to becoming a major drawcard for modern-day travelers, attracted by the reputation of Amsterdam’s liberal laws and everything the area has to offer. On this walking tour, you’ll see sights like the Condomerie on the famous Warmoesstraat and hear about how Amsterdam’s coffee shops, sex workers and drug laws became world-famous.

Take guidance from a local

Your expert local guide is not only knowledgeable about the area itself, but is also well up to speed on the challenges that face the locals who live and work here. As more and more people flock to Amsterdam, it becomes harder for local businesses to operate a non-tourist trade and harder for residents to live in this iconic neighbourhood. On this walking tour, you won’t just hear the stories and the history - you’ll also get essential information on how to integrate with the locals and have a minimal impact on their way of life. 

*Please note that, out of respect for the locals and workers in the district, the route of this tour does not include streets with sex workers’ windows

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The Red Lights and Dark Amsterdam Tour starts in front of the National Monument in Dam Square

  • Wander along Warmoesstraat and discover sex shops and the famous Condomerie
  • Learn about the history of sex work in Amsterdam
  • Find out how Amsterdam’s liberal drug policies came about
  • Hear about the development of the neighborhood, from the counterculture movement of the 1960s to modern gentrification
  • Learn to be a responsible traveler with essential tips on how to behave if you go to explore the Red Light District yourself



This tour doesn‘t run today

Inclusions & exclusions
What’s included
  • Expert local guide
What’s not included
  • Gratuities for the guide (optional)
Additional Information
  • Participants on all tours and activities (no matter which provider) in Amsterdam are subject to a €1.50 "entertainment tax". This additional cost is already included in the price of your tour. Please note that this tax is not retained by SANDEMANs, nor by the freelance guides leading your tour, but is a compulsory, additional tax that is passed on directly to the Amsterdam municipality. Thank you for your understanding
  • Our business is connecting great guides and smart travelers, and we're proud that so many local guides employ us to welcome travelers like you on their journey through some of the world's best cities. No two tours are alike, and the sites, stories, and length of the tour will vary depending on what your freelance guide decides is best. That's why the tours we promote never get stale or feel scripted, and why both independent guides and savvy travelers prefer SANDEMANs
  • Due to the high visitor numbers in the Red Light District, group sizes are strictly capped to a 15-person maximum. Book in advance to avoid disappointment
  • Any guest who is behaving inappropriately towards the residents or sex workers of the Red Light District will be asked to leave the tour
  • Children up to 13 years old are welcome to join this tour for free. However, this tour contains content that may not be suitable for younger guests
  • Wheelchair accessible
National Monument in Dam Square Amsterdam
The Red Lights and Dark Amsterdam Tour starts in front of the National Monument in Dam Square Open in Google Maps
Tour start Tour starts here
End start Tour usually ends here
Tour usually covers

Customer reviews

What is a Free Tour?


The Free Tour is the best introduction to Amsterdam! A general overview tour including many of the highlights of the city, the Free Tour usually lasts around 2 hours and is provided by a local freelance guide in partnership with SANDEMANs NEW Europe, so tour content can vary depending on your guide’s particular area of interest and expertise.

The Free Tour is a walking tour with no need for public transport and is designed for independent travellers, not groups. You can book your spot in advance online or simply show up at the start point on the day. 

We believe in supporting local communities and are committed to giving a voice to some of Amsterdam's best local freelance tour guides, who passionately share the city's history and culture with their own unique and always-entertaining style. They'll never pressure you to tip; we believe that, if money is given, it should be voluntary and in direct proportion to the quality of the tour and the budget of the traveler.

Why join the SANDEMANs Free Tour?

  • Expert local guides
  • Theme specific tours
  • Location specific tours
  • The Free Tour is guaranteed to fit within your budget
  • The guides performing tips-based Free Tours are incentivized to perform every time

Participation in tours promoted by SANDEMANs NEW Europe is strictly on a voluntary basis. Neither SANDEMANs NEW Europe, nor the self-employed freelance guides who are the providers of the tours promoted by SANDEMANs NEW Europe, will be held responsible in any way for injuries to body or property incurred during tours. The tour guides reserve the right to deny participation in any tour, to any person, for any reason. Thank you for your understanding.

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