It’s not hard to flash the plastic in trendy Amsterdam. Spoilt for choice with an abundance of incredible restaurants, galleries and shops, you could happily spend your whole holiday budget in just one (thoroughly enjoyable) day. Thankfully, as well as catering to the unashamedly rich, Amsterdam also has a load of super cool stuff to do for those not blessed with an unlimited budget. From awesome little markets and parks to tasty cheap eats, here’s how to get the best from Amsterdam on a budget...
Explore the canals
Did you know, Amsterdam has more canals than Venice, and they’re all UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Crazy right! Explore the 400 year old waterways on foot or go Dutch and explore the canals the way the locals do – on a bike. Cycle along the cobbled stones and be amazed at the higgledy piggledy architecture of the towering houses lining the water – some are so crooked you’ll wonder how they’re still standing. Plus, keep an eye out for the world’s narrowest house at Singel 7, measuring just 1 meter in width (or in real terms, not even the width of your outspread arms)
Hang out in Vondelpark
The largest park in Amsterdam, Vondelpark is the perfect place to walk, run, cycle, sunbathe, paddle, picnic and generally hang out in a pretty idyllic nature spot. Loved by locals and visitors alike, this is the perfect place so those looking for the quintessential Amsterdam experience without the price tag. Free concerts are a constant fixture at the open-air theatre, plus in the summer at the bandstand.
Hit the beach
Amsterdam + beach, who’d of thought it? To which we reply – Blijburg. Situated on the artificial island of Ijburg, Blijburg is Amsterdam’s very own (fake) beach. Here, you can swim, you can sunbathe, you can even attend beach parties – what’s not to love! And best of all, it’s 100% free.
Check out a local market
To truly experience Amsterdam, you have to explore its markets. Our tip? Head to Albert Cuypmarkt, the city’s biggest street market. Haggle over shimmering fabrics, cheeses, bike locks – basicaly everything can imagine, with local Moroccan, Indonesian and Dutch residents. If you’ve got an eye for colour, check out the Bloemenmarkt, where you’ll find beautiful tulips, daffodils and lilies against a scenic canal backdrop. A feast for the eyes and the nose!
Catch an Exhibition
Whilst Amsterdam may be famous for the Rijksmuseum and Anne Frank House, there are plenty of free exhibitions to be found if you know where to look. The Schuttersgalerij (Civic Guards Gallery) is a small but impressive gallery filled with historical and modern portraits of the Dutch elite, whilst the basement of the EYE (Film Institute of the Netherlands) holds free exhibitions year round. Also noteworthy are the Max Euwe Centre (giant chess board), the Museum Haven (100 year old ships) and of course the quite, quite strange sex museum (old age porn).
Eat Tasty Food
Whether your craving sweet, savoury or snacky, you’re spoilt for cheap eat options in Amsterdam. Pannenkoekenhuis Upstairs serves THE BEST Dutch pancakes (both sweet and savoury options) whilst Café Het Paleis west of Dam square will provide you with the best appelgebak (appletart) experience of your life (we think). For a quick lunch time munch, try out Poco Loco – it overlooks the Nieuwmarkt so has incredible views, but the only thing you’ll be thinking about are the club sandwiches – crispy bacon, dutch cheese, smoked chicken and salad – #YUM.