Okay, I’ll be honest. Prices in Amsterdam are a lot higher than in the rest of the Netherlands. However, fortunately for you (and me) I know exactly how you can experience the ultimate city trip in Amsterdam without burning a hole in your pocket!
1. Swap your walking shoes for dancing shoes in the Vondelpark
Amsterdam is full to bursting with free events and activities. In the spring and summer, free open-air concerts are held in the Vondelpark at regular intervals, perfect for combining with a (free) walk through this beautiful city park! The broad selection of open-air theatre musicians is brilliant. You are guaranteed an unforgettable afternoon!
2. Explore Amsterdam Noord
Take the free ferry from Centraal station to Amsterdam Noord. You’ll find the ferry trip to the NDSM shipyard an experience all on its own! As you sail along you pass various sights such as the EYE Film Museum and A’DAM Lookout Tower. At the NDSM shipyard there is a wide range of food stalls where you can buy lunch or dinner. You will also notice a lot of alternative and street art in this area. Taste the Amsterdam Noord atmosphere – a total contrast to what the city centre has to offer!
3. Free museums and places to visit
Amsterdam has a number of museums and places of interest that are completely free to visitors. One of them – a very picturesque and popular tourist destination – is the Begijnhof or Béguinage. This residential courtyard dates from the 14th century and is an oasis of peace situated slap bang the middle of the city. The Begijnhof is open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. There are two entrances: north of the Spui or on the Gedempte Begijnensloot.
Another free attraction is the Civic Guard Gallery, known here as the Schuttersgalerij. Its selection of ‘Schuttersdoeken’ (fine art portraits of wealthy noblemen and their wives) dates from in or around the 17th century. The walls of this public Amsterdam Museum partner-gallery are hung with fifteen imposing Civic Guard portraits, but you will also find a small selection of present day Dutch VIPs. Take the small gate in the square off the Kalverstraat and leave the crowds behind. You will find the Schuttersgalerij just after the Begijnhof, waiting for you to admire the national celebrities of today and yesterday.
4. Bicycle? Public transport? Taxi? Why not use the leg machine?!
Amsterdam is very compact when you compare it to other more sprawling cities. Put on your walking shoes and explore the city on foot. Not only will you see a lot more of this beautiful city, you will also save a lot of money! There are plenty of free walking routes and it’s impossible to get lost; there are signposts everywhere.
5. Shop for bargains at the market
Of course, Amsterdam is also filled to bursting with quality shopping streets, a wide selection and very pleasant to walk through. They are usually full of the types of shops you will find throughout the land (and often throughout Europe). By getting off the beaten shopping street you will soon come across some quirky and unique boutiques. On a budget? Then visit one of the bustling markets that can be found all over Amsterdam. You can find some incredible bargains and shop like a true Amsterdammer!
I definitely should try this out on my next visit.