Stag weekend in Amsterdam – DIY guide

by Roger

by Roger | December 29th, 2008  

Especially in the last few years, there has been an explosion in the number of services that will arrange a stag weekend for all the lads. Booking through one of the services isn’t a terrible idea, and it’s probably best for people who don’t know anything about Amsterdam or who are in a real hurry. But if you want to organize the festivities yourself, it’s not difficult, and it gives you complete flexibility every step of the way.

Below we’ll go over all the main topics you’ll want to know about, with links to more detailed information on most of them.

Flights

Quick search for cheap flights to Amsterdam:

Booking a flight to Amsterdam is simple enough, and if you start searching early you can often get really great fares from most anywhere. If you are wondering if any of the discount airlines fly into Amsterdam or nearby, the answer is yes. Most airlines actually use the large and efficient Schiphol Airport, so just searching for the best fare from your home airport to AMS will usually get the best deals out there.

The exceptions worth noting are that the small and cheap Dutch airline called Transavia also flies into Rotterdam, from London and elsewhere. Getting into the Amsterdam city center from the Rotterdam Airport takes only a bit more time than if you fly into Schiphol itself, so if you get a great deal into Rotterdam, then it can be worthwhile.

Ryanair also flies into Eindhoven Airport, but that one is a 2-hour (€18 each way) train ride to get to Amsterdam, so it’s almost never worth it.

Airport transportation

For nearly everyone, the best way of getting from Schiphol to their hotel or hostel, is taking the fast and cheap train that leaves every 10 minutes from just under the airport. But if you are arriving as part of a group, you might consider sharing a taxi instead. A taxi ride from the airport to most city hotels will cost around €40-50, and up to 4 people can ride for the same price. The train will cost around €4 each way, but if you happen to be staying a long distance from Centraal Station then you might be better off getting a cab and not having to worry about all the details involved in saving a bit of money.

Hotel or hostel?

Quick search for cheap hotels in Amsterdam:

Most stag weekends mean spending all night having fun, and not much time sleeping or sitting around in a hotel room. For this reason, it’s probably best to book a 1- or 2-star Amsterdam hotel with a really good location, and not worry about extra creature comforts. Amsterdam is loaded with places that fit this description, but you want to pay close attention when booking for a stag weekend.

For many visitors, we recommend searching for a hotel or hostel in the Rembrandtplein or Leidseplein area, but for stag parties it’s probably best to stay in the Red Light District, or very close by. With the exception of the biggest nightclubs, all the sexy and late-night activities are located in the Red Light District, and this is the area that is best suited to dealing with enthusiastic punters on a wild weekend.

If your budget is on the low end, you’ll probably want to book your entire group into one of the Amsterdam hostels for stag and hen groups. Many of the best party hostels in Amsterdam are all ready for groups like this, but you might be surprised to learn that most hostels in the city actually ban stag groups in their official rules. If you have 7 or 8 guys, then finding a hostel with an 8-bunk room for around €25 per person should not be difficult, but again, make sure you read their rules before booking.

If you have a mixed group, then you might want to stay in a hostel, with some of the guys in dorms, and others in private rooms. St. Christopher’s at the Winston has dorm rooms as well as some large private rooms, so it’s possible to get large groups in that place without spending a fortune.

Stag party activities that don’t involve sex or drugs (those are covered below)

Casinos

At least as of now, there are dozens of shady little slot machine casinos located throughout Amsterdam. They are fairly depressing, and really only ideal for compulsive gambling types. There is also one real large and glamorous casino in the city. It’s called Holland Casino, and it’s located just off the Leidseplein area, and very near Museumplein.

The Holland Casino is open from noon to 3am every day, and charges an entry fee of €5 for all guests, with a minimum age of 18. They have plenty of slot machines, but they also have blackjack, roulette, live poker, and several other table games. If your stag group is keen on gambling for a bit, this can be a fun place, but generally it’s a bit subdued and not really a party atmosphere. You need to dress decently to even get in (no trainers), so it’s classy and quite nice, but not really ideal for every group.
>>more information on Amsterdam casinos

Go-Karts

Amsterdam happens to have a large indoor go-kart track located just on the outskirts of town. It’s called Race Planet, and it’s quite popular with stag groups, even though it’s not terribly easy to reach if you haven’t a car of your own. Their basic offering is a 12-minute race for €15.50 per person, but they also have a variety of packages and specials, some that include drinks and food, and those can be a really good deal if this appeals to your group. Get more information on the official Race Planet website.

Drinking

Drinking way too much is something that nearly every stag party in history has had in common. Amsterdam is a very good drinking town, especially if you like lager, but it can be expensive if you aren’t careful. A typical pint of Heineken will cost around €3.50 or €4 at most bars and even in clubs. You can find better deals though, so searching for happy hours and cheap drinks in Amsterdam can save you a lot of money.

Follow that link just above for a list of some of the better deals and happy hours in the city, as well as the details on how to self-cater drinks back in your hotel room. Fortunately, several of the best happy hours happen to be at some of the best party hostels, and the bars themselves are pretty cool as well.

Heineken Experience

For many people, the entire trip to Amsterdam feels like a “Heineken Experience” since that one brewery dominates the beer market here, but they also have a worthwhile attraction that is perfect for stag weekends. The newly-renovated Heineken Experience is a fun and interesting trip through their former Amsterdam brewery, with plenty of multi-media displays showing their advertising campaigns, the football teams they sponsor, and everything else they could think of. At the end you’ll get a couple of fresh and delicious glasses of the beer in the World Bar.

The Amsterdam beer bike

This is another very popular activity for stag weekends. You can bring between 10 and 19 people on board this giant contraption, and then drink yourselves silly as you ply an entertaining route around the city center. They’ve even added a karaoke option recently, and it’s not terribly expensive for groups.

Nightclubs

This can be a tough part of a stag weekend, since by definition you’ll be traveling with a big group of lads, and that’s just about the last thing that most of the trendy clubs needs more of. Your best hope for some of them might be to find some ladies who’d like to go in with you, or go to places without a strict door policy.

The club situation in Amsterdam changes pretty quickly, just as it does in most other big cities, but there are three places worth noting that don’t seem to change.

Escape – This large and fairly posh club right on Rembrandtplein is considered the premiere venue for famous DJs who visit. It’s promoted by different people for every night or event, so it can be quite different from one night to the next. It holds around 2,000 people, but even so they’ll often tell tourists that it’s a “private party” and especially if you turn up with nothing but fellows. If you can make it in, it’s usually great.

Melkweg – This famous club right off Leidseplein usually has live music in the early part of the evening, and then DJs and dancing with a separate admission after that. It’s a big place that is very popular with locals, and they usually don’t have a “door policy” so getting in is usually just a matter of standing in line and paying the modest entry fee.

Paradiso – This place is very near the Melkweg, and it’s also nearly identical in every other way. There aren’t as many rooms here, but there is always more than one thing going on after the live music ends, so this is another great place for groups, and there is usually no shortage of attractive local girls and tourists as well.

Stag party activities that involve drugs

A big part of that “anything goes” feeling that people get in Amsterdam, is having well over a hundred coffeeshops scattered around the city, where people can legally buy and consume small quantities of weed or hash, while chilling out in a nice atmosphere. If there are any potheads in your stag group, then you’ll definitely have to make a stop or two in one of these infamous places. Check out the main Amsterdam coffee shops FAQ for all the information on how things work and what you can order.

You might also be interested in trying out a space cake during your stay. It’s important to be careful when eating cannabis, because having too much can really knock a person out for a long time. But as long as everyone knows what they are doing, they can be really great because they’ll still be working while you are at the club or in a regular bar.

Stag party activities that involve sex

The thing that separates Amsterdam from all the other popular stag destinations, aside from the coffeeshops, is that prostitution is not only legal here, it’s a tourist attraction as well. There are also various live sex shows and other adult businesses that can come in handy on a stag weekend. Here’s a rundown of what is what, with links for much more information on each topic.

Live sex shows – These are the classic stag party activity here, as you can get pretty raunchy without ever crossing that line to actually paying for sex. There are three main options, and each works a bit differently, so you’ll want to read up on each of them.

Prostitution in Amsterdam – Yes, it’s legal, and there are actually four different ways to participate, including a couple of methods that aren’t widely publicized in most travel guides. They are all discussed below, so keep reading for a summary and links to more information.

Red Light District window girls – If you are staying in the Red Light District in Amsterdam, then you’ll likely be passing by some of these lovely ladies on a regular basis. In spite of the fact that many of them are quite stunning, the prices for their services start at €50 for 15-20 minutes, though you’ll want to read up on this, since it’s pretty easy to be disappointed if you don’t know what you are doing.

Escorts – In many places, it’s a time-honored tradition to hire a stripper to perform for the group, and then possibly perform alone with the groom-to-be. This is all legal in Amsterdam, and there are many different companies competing for your business. Most of them charge by the hour and have either a one or two-hour minimum. Many of the companies have a page for each girl stating what she will and won’t do. Most of them will do a striptease, but you can’t assume that they’ll be willing to do it in front of 10 blokes, so it helps to be clear what you want up front. Prices start around €140 per hour, with one place even cheaper than that. You might also want to have a look at our list of the hottest Amsterdam escorts, just to see whether it might be worth it or not.

Brothels and private houses – These places probably aren’t a good choice for stag groups, because they are mainly catering to privacy, rather than a wild group outing. But if one or more people in your group want to get laid, then this is one of the better and cheaper ways.

Sex clubs – Amsterdam’s famous sex clubs are different from its famous live sex shows mentioned above. In these sex clubs, you’ll (usually) pay to enter a bar/nightclub setting, where you’ll have the opportunity to decide which girl you’d like to spend private time with in one of the bedrooms in back or upstairs. This can be fun for stag groups, but there are a couple of different parts to this that can cost a fortune, so it’s good to know about all of that in advance.

Sex Museum and Erotic Museum

These are similar and not far apart, but the Sex Museum is way better as well as cheaper than the Erotic Museum. Find out more about all the weird museums in Amsterdam, along with all the serious ones, just in case you get tired of having fun.

Now that you know you are definitely coming:

>>Look for cheap airfare to Amsterdam
>>Look for cheap Amsterdam hotels
>>Look for hostels in Amsterdam

{ 4 comments }

Rebecca December 30, 2008 at 5:43 am
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Oh my! Yep, Amsterdam is the place to be for a “wild and crazy” stag party.

I never heard of “The Amsterdam Beer Bike.” I guess being in Amsterdam beats the “traditional” stag party in America. I guess if you’re going to have a “stag party,” you may as well go for it! FYI: I would leave the camera at home. There may not be a wedding if the bride-to-be sees any photos:)

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Debbie December 30, 2008 at 2:07 pm
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There is so much more to Amsterdam than the stereotypes that continue to be trotted out on this logue. While I am certain that there are many people who visit Amsterdam hoping to see the seamier side of the city, there are many more who go to see the museums and the culture.

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Jake-uk March 16, 2009 at 7:24 am
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We where a weekend in amsterdam on a stag party and found this nice Party cafe . In amsterdam a Must to visit.

The staff was friendly and showed us a nice tout through the city..

if you are near the leidseplein area vistit Club candela, Korte leidsestaat 85-87

Just to have fun

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James September 15, 2009 at 2:23 pm
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Excellent article Roger – its full of great ideas and info for running a cool stag do. I’ve bookmarked it on delicio.us and I’m going to link it up when I get a moment to spend any more time on my site.
Cheers,
James

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