Ultimate Guide to Amsterdam Coffeeshops – Best Coffee Shop List and Advice
Since cannabis was legalised in the Dutch capital back in 1980 the city has become famous for its smoking culture and the many quirky and cool coffeeshops dotted throughout the city streets. Enjoying a joint or chowing down on a space cake is a rite of passage for all visitors to the city, even if you only try the one. Go Dutch on your next trip to the city, and partake in a toke with your fellow travellers and tick it off your list as one of the cool things to do in Amsterdam.
- Amsterdam Coffeeshop vs Coffee Shop
- First-Timer Tips for Visiting an Amsterdam Coffeeshop
- Top 15 Best Amsterdam Coffeeshops
Amsterdam Coffeeshop vs Coffee Shop
Make sure you are in the right kind of coffee house!
Contrary to popular belief, not every establishment in Amsterdam is full of pot-smoking ganja fiends. Actually, none of them are. Whilst it may be legal to smoke weed in the city, there are still some rules and regulations that you will need to follow.
If you are wanting to try some for yourself, be sure you are in the right kind of coffee house. If the sign above the door says “Koffiehuis” or “Cafe” chances are there will be no weed on sale, but plenty of great tasting actual coffee, continental cakes and other delicious delicacies.
A licensed purveyor of the smoking stuff will have a green and white sticker in the window, which designates the establishment as a licensed coffeeshop.
First-Timer Tips for Visiting an Amsterdam Coffeeshop
If it’s your first time visiting the ‘Dam, don’t go all out and make a fool of yourself, follow these top tips for ensuring that your experience is truly smoking…
Ask for advice
You won’t be the first nervous looking tourist to walk through their doors, but try to make a point of not being one of the most embarrassing either. The baristas or “budtenders” are there to help you make an informed decision on what to buy, and how best to enjoy it. Whether you roll yourself, ask for a pre-rolled, or would rather eat your greens, the staff in these establishments are there to offer their advice on how best to enjoy your experience while you are with them.
Buy something – even if it’s just a drink
You are perfectly within your rights to bring your own smoke into the coffeeshops dotted around the city, but it’s a bit below the belt to just sit and smoke without buying anything. Treat yourself to a freshly brewed coffee, a cool refreshing lemonade, or treat yourself to some chips or cake when the munchies start to kick in.
You should also note, that coffeeshops in Amsterdam DO NOT sell alcohol. So if you are planning on getting blasted with both the booze and the blunt, you will be out of luck here. Enjoy the ambience, and remember to tip your waiter while you breathe it all in – quite literally.
Smoking cigarettes is not OK
Just as it would be rude to sit in a coffeeshop without buying anything, it is also rude and even illegal to spark up a cigarette without asking the staff first. While tobacco is a component in rolled marijuana joints, smoking pure tobacco (i.e. cigarettes) inside is pretty much forbidden across the city.
Some dive bars and underground hangouts may allow you to light up, but as a general rule of thumb, don’t assume that smoking cigarettes is acceptable anywhere.
Take it easy
We literally cannot stress this enough. Even if you think you are a seasoned toker, the cannabis products in Amsterdam are pretty darn strong. Start off with a pre-rolled variety, which is mixed with tobacco to make it slightly less potent. Don’t go charging in with a pure weed joint just to show off – you won’t look impressive when you pass out!
You should also go easy with the old space cakes. They may look innocent and taste delicious, but they can take a while to kick in and the effects can be pretty trippy. Share one with a friend, and definitely wait for it to take effect and enjoy the ride before rushing it to eat or smoke more.
Learn the lingo
When you start to explore the coffeeshop culture of the city, you will start to see the same old words pop up over and over again. If you take the time to familiarise yourself with the ganja lingo before you get stuck in, you will look and feel less like a tourist and more like a local.
Here are a few key words to remember:
Sativa – this is the kind of head high you get which makes you feel full of energy and super active
Indica – this is more of a relaxing high, the kind that makes you want to chill out or go to sleep
Hybrid – this one’s easy – it’s when you feel a mixture of both.
Indica is the most popular buzz and a good one to aim for if you are new to the coffeeshop culture. Sativa can be a bit full on, and can sometimes bring on feelings of paranoia.
Don’t get greedy
Weed is usually sold in bags, but just because you buy a bag it doesn’t mean you need to smoke it all in one go. When it comes to the green stuff, a little goes a long way. Be sensible and social and share a bag between friends, you don’t need to buy one each.
Buying too much is not only potentially bad for your buzz, but also a waste of money. You can’t take it home with you, and will only end in a trash can in the city or the airport. Also, remember that you are limited in how much you can buy from each establishment in a given day and how much product you can have on you legally – 5 grams is the max.
Smoking pipes and bongs is not really a thing
You may be expecting to see tables full of glass pipes, bongs and other paraphernalia, but in reality, most coffee shops only sell pre-rolled joints, hash or edibles. If you are looking for a more exotic way to enjoy your smoke, you may need to find somewhere more specialist.
Bongs and pipes are sold all over the city, but mostly for their souvenir value. If you do buy one, remember that they are federally prohibited in the United States and you won’t be able to bring it home with you.
Take cash and cards with you
Most coffeeshops are small, privately run businesses. To this end, they may all have different ways of taking payment. Some accept only cash, others will only take electronic payment and you’d be lucky to find anywhere that will offer you credit.
It is important that you inquire before you buy, to ensure that no misunderstandings take place. Wherever you are in the city, you should be able to locate a bank or a currency exchange to take out extra cash before you get stuck into a smoke or two.
Check out plenty of different coffeeshops and find one you like
Amsterdam has literally hundreds of coffeeshops dotted throughout the city. When you indulge in a little cannabis with the locals, you want to feel relaxed and comfortable with your surroundings. Feel free to pop your head into a couple before you commit to buying.
Some offer board games, cards and other activities, while others are more about simply sitting outside and watching the world go by.
Wherever you choose, stay safe, be cautious, to begin with and enjoy every last ounce (or rather a gram) of your Amsterdam coffeeshop experience.
Top 15 Best Amsterdam Coffeeshops
The Bulldog The First
Founded in 1974, back when cannabis was still illegal, The Bulldog is the longest-running and perhaps best-known coffeeshop in all of Amsterdam. Packed full of smoking memorabilia, it is a monument to the city’s long-standing love of coffeeshop culture, and you can even buy Bulldog merchandise to take back home with you. Located in the heart of the Red Light District, it can get very busy especially at the weekend.
- Oudezijds Voorburgwal 90, 1012 GJ Amsterdam
- Tel: +31 20 625 9864
- Opening hours: 10:00 – 03:00 (weekdays) and 10:00 – 04:00 (weekend)
A big draw for tourists due to its hard to miss neon signs and booming sound system, the Coffeeshop Smokey is one of the largest such establishments in the city. With three full-sized pool tables, a huge smoking lounge and a kitchen that serves up delicious goodies to complement your buzz, it is one of the most popular coffeeshops in the city. Being close to the heart of Rembrandt Square it can get very busy, but it’s a great meeting place to begin your big night out.
- Rembrandtplein 24, 1017 CV Amsterdam
- Tel: +31 20 6237244
- Opening hours: 10:00 – 01.00 7 days a week
Barney’s Coffeeshop is a very well respected cannabis dispensary, and an award-winning coffeeshop that offers great service and even better weed. Designed to look and feel like an old fashioned apothecary and housed on the ground floor of a historic building, a visit here is an unforgettable experience. Specialising in finely cultivated strains, you will pay a little bit more here than in some of the other coffeeshops, but those extra few pennies will be well worth it for spending an hour on two in this fabulous establishment.
- Haarlemmerstraat 102, 1013 EW, Amsterdam
- Tel: +3120 6259761
- Opening hours: 08.00 – 01.00 7 days a week
As an iconic hangout that has been patronised by many a celebrity over the years, Grey Area is held in high esteem by smokers from across the globe. Housed in a compact space that gets very busy, Grey Area has a well-deserved reputation as being one of the best dispensaries anywhere in the country, or even the world. It offers an extensive selection of award-winning cannabis, served up in a what it describes as a “living room” atmosphere. The laid back vibe is a big draw for actors, DJ’s and the city’s hippest smokers, and it is definitely worth a visit if you can get in there.
- Oude Leliestraat 2, 1015 AW, Amsterdam
- Tel: +31 20 4204301
- Opening hours: 12.00 – 20.00 7 days a week
Green House United
Quirky and cool, this totally unique coffeeshop features an aquarium built into the floor that is filled with beautiful exotic fish. The rest of the decor in the Green House United is pretty stripped back, but there are small tables and benches for you to share with fellow smokers. Laid back music, chilled out regulars and a mellow vibe, makes this a relaxing place to enjoy a joint or two, while you kick back and watch the fish swimming away beneath your feet.
- Haarlemmerstraat 64, 1013 ET Amsterdam, Netherlands
- Tel: +31 20 716 3834
- Opening hours: 09.00-01.00 7 days a week
Friendly and fabulous, Original Dampkring has an instantly recognisable sculpted wooden decor, and prides itself on being a coffeeshop both for first timers and long cannabis professionals, as well as a regular haunt for both tourists and locals alike. The staff are extremely helpful and knowledgeable and will direct you to the very best cannabis to suit your mood, and the selection they sell is also incredibly varied. The coffeeshop gets very busy during busy times, but if you are lucky enough to find a seat the atmosphere is always laid back and convivial.
- Handboogstraat 29, 1012XM Amsterdam
- Tel: +31 20 638 0705
- Opening hours: 10.00-01.00 7 days a week
Just south of Dam Square, Abraxas is a coffeeshop with a strangely contemporary feel and a spacious layout. Much larger than many of the other coffeeshops in the city, it has a chilled out feel to it and is a great place to meet in groups to enjoy a smoke or two. With interesting furniture made out of carved wood, and two a two-level smoking lounge, you can even while away the hours browsing the internet on the laptop computers hooked up for your pleasure.
- Jonge Roelensteeg 12-14, 1012 PL Amsterdam
- Tel: +31 20 625 5763
- Opening hours: 08.00-01.00 7 days a week
Away from the main tourist drag, this local neighbourhood coffeeshop has a regular clientele of mostly locals, but the staff are friendly and welcoming to any tourists that find their way through the doors. Smoke Palace is just across the road from Oosterpark, you can relax on the leather benches scattered around the large smoking lounge, or take a seat upstairs on the terrace. If the weather is good you can even watch the world go by, as you build your buzz enjoying a smoke or edibles, on the outdoor seating overlooking the park.
- Linnaeusstraat 83, 1093 EK Amsterdam
- Tel: +31 20 468 7676
- Opening hours: 07.00-00.45 7 days a week
Tucked away in a residential area, this is a hidden gem of a coffeeshop that has the look and feel of an old Dutch pub, but with a menu that offers something much more exciting. If you want to enjoy a smoke in peace and quiet, this is one of the best places in the city to enjoy first-class varieties, in a modern coffee shop that rarely ever gets too busy. If you want all of the smoke, without the fake bonhomie of the city centre establishments, Coffeeshop Solo really is solo by name and solo by nature.
- Korte Koningsstraat 2, 1011 GA Amsterdam
- Tel: +31 20 420 0428
- Opening hours: 10.00-00.00 7 days a week
Situated in the heart of the “Jordaan”, a picturesque neighbourhood in the centre of Amsterdam, locals and tourists come together to enjoy limited, but incredibly high-quality strains of weed and hashish and some of the finest space cakes the city has to offer. Playing an eclectic mix of tunes all day long, Paradox has a creative vibe and is often home to art exhibitions, as well as a great place to smoke weed and bounce a few ideas about.
- Eerste Bloemdwarsstraat 2-R, 1016 KS Amsterdam
- Tel: +31206235639
- Opening hours: 10.00-20.00 7 days a week
Tucked away on the eastern side of the Red Light District, the Bluebird is a low key spot that is popular with locals and tourists alike, especially those who consider themselves to be cannabis connoisseurs. Fuss-free but friendly, you can enjoy a varied smokeable menu in a two-tier smoking lounge decorated with trippy psychedelic motifs and comfy seating. Their pancakes are legendary, and mornings will never be the same for you again, once you have experienced a Dutch pancake with a side of the good stuff at this cosy coffee shop.
Sint Antoniesbreestraat 71 Amsterdam, Netherlands
Tel: +31 20 622 5232
Opening hours: 09.30-01.00 7 days a week
Enjoy a very laid back vibe in this boho, living room style coffeeshop in de Pijp, a picturesque neighbourhood on the southern side of the canal belt. A lot quieter than most the coffeeshops in the city centre, you can sit, smoke and socialize with friends or find a quiet spot on the sun-soaked terrace to enjoy an hour or so to yourself. The staff at Katsu are helpful and friendly and will recommend the best bud for your buzz, and will serve you drinks and snacks in this cozy coffeeshop, with an authentic Amsterdam feel.
- Eerste van der Helststraat 70, 1072 NZ Amsterdam
- Tel: +31 20 675 2617
- Opening hours: 10.00-00.00 Sun – Thurs, 10.00 – 01.00 Fri – Sat
This effortlessly cool and eclectic coffeeshop is located just a five-minute walk from Rembrandt Square, but a world away when it comes to quality and comfort. Popular but usually always with tables available, Coffeeshop Ibiza specialises in providing really high-quality weed and hashish and is known for its immense selection of specials, muffins, seeds and much more. Take a seat with the locals and let the helpful staff and locals talk you through the menu, they sit back, relax and enjoy the free WiFi or all day sport.
- Hemonystraat 16, 1074 BP Amsterdam
- Tel: +31 20 223 2534
- Opening hours: 10.00-01.00 Sun 7 days a week
Located in between two of the busiest shopping streets in Amsterdam, this little coffeeshop is an absolute gem that gets a lot less busy then you think it would do. With old school brown interiors and furniture, this is another coffeeshop that looks more like a Dutch pub that a smoking lounge. There is a wide variety of strains on the menu, as well as space cakes and delicious snacks for when you really, really need to eat. It is also one of the few coffeeshops in the city that plays rock music, making it the perfect pitstop for rockers and stoner alike.
- 27, Oudebrugsteeg,1012 JN Amsterdam
- Opening hours: 10.00-01.00 Sun 7 days a week
With its Middle Eastern themed decor, and several full-sized hookahs, 1e Hulp is a quirky little coffeeshop designed to really make you smile. With an impressive cannabis menu, this coffeeshop is worth the short trip down the Rozengracht, just outside of the Jordaan. Run by two friends, there is a distinctly family feel here, where locals and the occasional tourist enjoys a smoke washed down with Moroccan tea or delicious coffee. The Arabic influences here make it feel less like a mere smoking lounge and much more like an entire bohemian adventure right in the heart of the city.
- Marnixstraat 194, 1016 TJ Amsterdam,
- Tel: +31 20 427 0712
- Opening hours: 07.00-01.00 7 days a week