Amsterdam can be a very expensive city to visit. With its rich culture, endless museums and high-end restaurants, it may seem impossible to immerse yourself in the Dutch culture without spending money. But to really get to know Amsterdam and fall in love with it, you do not need to waste a lot of money at all. Have a look at top 10 ways to fall in love with Amsterdam on a budget.
10. Rent a bike and get to know the city like a local
Cycling around Amsterdam is the best way to really get to know the city. Since Amsterdam is not very big, a bike is really the only means of transportation you need to go anywhere you want. Cycling in Amsterdam is also an incredibly pleasant experience, since the entire city gives off the impression it was made to be explored on a bike. Renting a bike is also quite affordable – average prices are around 8-10 EUR for a day.
9. Discover the secret courtyard of Begijnhof
While cycling around the city center, do not forget to check out this hidden gem. Begijnhof is one of the oldest inner courts in Amsterdam, but can be quite tricky to find – it is located within the Singel, the innermost canal of Amsterdam’s circular canal system. It is surrounded with 47 typical Dutch tall houses; yet what makes them different from most courts is that each one of them has its individual character and is not just a part of a unified row. The court also has one of only two wooden houses that still exist in the center of Amsterdam, which dates back to 1528.
8. Visit the Cannabis College
This non-profit foundation should be a part of your Amsterdam tour, regardless of whether you are a lover of the plant or not. Its goal is to educate about the hemp plant and its many uses, as well as offer free advice on safe use of cannabis. And if you want the perfect Amsterdam experience, make sure you visit their organic, fully-flowering cannabis garden in the basement of the college. It is one of the world’s only publicly accessible flowering cannabis gardens, so make sure you do not miss out.
7. Take a late night walk in the Red Light District
The Red Light District, or De Wallen, is the most well-known red-light district in Amsterdam and probably the world. It contains approximately three hundred one-room cabins rented by prostitutes, illuminated with red lights, which is also where the district gets its name from. And even though a late night walk around the area may not seem as the most romantic idea, it is definitely a unique experience that you have to have in order to really get to know Amsterdam in all of its colors.
6. Take an evening stroll by the canals
It is not until after sunset that Amsterdam gets its truly magical appeal and just being the in city at night is a great experience by itself. But if you decide to take a long, romantic walk in the “grachtengordel”, or “canal belt”, the glow of the bridge lights and the shimmering water will make you feel like you have just entered a fairy tale.
5. Visit Albert Cuypmarkt
There are many food markets to choose from in Amsterdam, but Albert Cuypmarkt is the largest market in Amsterdam and Europe in general. The best part is that it is open every day except on Sundays from 9am to 5pm, which means you can definitely find a time to check it out during your stay in the city, regardless of how short it may be.
4. Enjoy some authentic street food
Although Amsterdam in typically not a very popular foodie destination, it does have some very unique street foods to offer. Fries with an endless variety of interesting toppings (from mayonnaise to peanut butter) are a must-try when roaming the streets of Amsterdam.
3. Relax in Vondelpark
Amsterdam has many beautiful parks, yet Vondelpark is the biggest, with 120 acres, and the most popular park in all of Netherlands, with about 10 million visitors per year. It was opened in 1865 and is named after the Dutch playwright and poet Joost van den Vondel. The park is located just a short walk away from the Museumplein and offers a relaxing escape from the very lively city center.
2. Have a picnic in the park in front of the Rijksmuseum
The Museumplein is the cultural heart of Amsterdam. The park offers fantastic views of the Rijksmuseum, as well as the Van Gogh Museum, and, of course, the iconic sign I Amsterdam. So grab some food from a market and enjoy a sunny afternoon sitting in the shade of the trees, admiring the culture surrounding you.
1. Visit Rijksmuseum
Rijksmuseum is probably the most well-known museum in Amsterdam and one of those must-see museums in Europe. If you only have the time and means to visit one museum while in the city, this should definitely be it. Their collection consists of 1 million objects from the years 1200 to 2000 and there are currently around 8000 objects on display in the museum. The ticket is only 17.50 EUR.