Who said Amsterdam had to be pricey? The reputation of the capital city of the Netherlands might worry you now, but there’s no need for that.
We will show you how to experience Dutch culture in this world’s famous tourist destination without breaking the bank.
From charming canals to interesting cuisine, this is what you can see and do in Amsterdam for less than €100.
Let’s dive in!
Amsterdam’s Canals and Landmarks
Amsterdam’s complex network of canals and historical landmarks forms the heart and soul of the city’s unique charm. The canals, dating back to the 17th century, are picturesque waterways and a testament to the city’s rich history and innovative urban planning.
As you embark on your budget-friendly journey through Amsterdam, immerse yourself in the beauty and significance of these iconic canals and landmarks.
Significance of Amsterdam’s Canals and Historical Landmarks
Amsterdam’s canals were initially designed for transportation, trade, and water management. Over time, they evolved into the scenic wonders they are today, playing a vital role in shaping the city’s identity. The canals are often called the “Venice of the North,” offering an intimate glimpse into the city’s past.
The houses lining the canals showcase unique Dutch architecture, leaning at different angles due to the marshy ground. These architectural wonders give visitors a glimpse into artistic and engineering ingenuity.
The good news is that there are plenty of highly affordable canal cruises in Amsterdam, where you can sit back and look at this cosmopolitan city from a new angle.
Free and Low-Cost Activities Along the Canals
A great way to save money and enjoy Amsterdam’s canals is to take strolls along their banks. Many of the city’s neighbourhoods, such as Jordaan and De Pijp, are located along the canals, which is an excellent opportunity for exploration.
As you walk, take in the picturesque scenes and capture candid photographs. It’s an ideal way to experience Amsterdam’s ambience without spending a dime.
Amsterdam boasts numerous iconic landmarks that hold historical and cultural significance. While some of the top tourist attractions in Amsterdam charge entrance fees, there are also notable places you can visit for free.
For instance, impressive structures like the Royal Palace surround Dam Square, which is in the centre of the city. While entry to the Royal Palace, where the Dutch royal family hosts visitors even in the present day, might come with a fee, you can still admire its stunning exterior and the lively atmosphere of Dam Square.
When visiting Dam Square and the Royal Palace, you’ll also find the National Monument, dedicated to the memory of those who lost their lives in WWII. This monument is a symbol of peace and freedom and can be appreciated without any cost.
Another must-see landmark is the Anne Frank House, which provides a powerful insight into the life of Anne Frank during World War II. While there’s an entrance fee of €16, the experience is incredibly moving and enlightening.
Affordable Guided Tours
If you’re ready to explore Amsterdam but need help figuring out where to start, a guided tour is the best way to get acquainted with the city.
Amsterdam offers a lot of free walking tours that you can join. Knowledgeable locals lead them, and you can use them to learn the city’s history, architecture, and hidden gems. While the tours are free, tipping is appreciated.
These tours are a good way to get to free Amsterdam attractions like the central station, the floating flower market, or Dam Square with the Royal Palace. You’ll also get to see a lot of paid attractions, like the Anne Frank House, the Rembrandt House Museum, or the Nemo Science Museum.
There are also bike tours! If you want to cover more ground but keep costs low, budget-friendly bike tours are the way to go. Amsterdam’s flat terrain and bike-friendly streets make it a breeze to cycle through the city.
Art, Culture and History
Amsterdam’s vibrant art scene and cultural diversity make it a haven for art enthusiasts and those curious about Dutch heritage. Don’t miss seeing the rich Dutch art and culture on your budget-friendly city exploration.
Amsterdam has been a hub for artists and creative minds for centuries, and a lot of Amsterdam attractions today show that. From the masterpieces of the Dutch Golden Age to contemporary works, the city boasts an unparalleled array of artistic expressions. Galleries, museums, and cultural events are scattered throughout the city.
And it’s not just about the art exhibitions and pretty places. Amsterdam is also filled with little bits of history, with plenty of historic buildings and museums showing that.
Museums and Open-Air Exhibitions
While some of Amsterdam’s museums may come with entrance fees, there are excellent options that won’t break the bank.
One of the gems for art lovers is the Museumplein, a cultural square where you can find the Van Gogh Museum and the Rijksmuseum. Although entry to these museums may be costly, the Museumplein also hosts open-air exhibitions and events that often require no admission fee.
These outdoor displays bring art to the public space, allowing you to enjoy impressive artworks in a budget-friendly manner.
And if you don’t mind paying for a ticket, you can expect to pay an entrance fee of €20 for each of the Van Gogh Museum and the Rijksmuseum.
Amsterdam’s cultural riches aren’t off-limits, even if you’re watching your budget. Dive into the history, art, and local heritage of the historic buildings without breaking the bank.
Here’s a guide to some pocket-friendly cultural gems that you can visit.
The Rijksmuseum is a goldmine of Dutch history and creativity, and you can make it a wallet-friendly experience if you go online to buy the tickets. Do this, and you get to take a walk through centuries of Dutch art and history, from traditional handicrafts to modern art styles.
And here’s a tip – you might have to pay an entrance fee for the Rijksmuseum, but this museum’s Garden is free and filled with sculptures and beautiful greenery. The Rijksmuseum Garden is a great place to get a slice of art without spending much money.
Van Gogh Museum
The Van Gogh Museum is a place you have to visit if you’re into art. This museum is one of the top tourist attractions in Amsterdam and the second most visited museum there, and it offers a unique view into the life and work of Vincent Van Gogh – one of the most famous Dutch painters.
The tickets for the Van Gogh Museum aren’t the most affordable, but here’s a little trick – grab those tickets on the internet. This way is often cheaper and can save you from having to wait in long lines. Inside, you’ll be met with the world’s largest collection of this painter’s work, along with paintings by some of Van Gogh’s most famous contemporaries.
Anne Frank Museum
Visiting the Anne Frank House, an important reminder of history, can be an impactful experience without straining your budget. The Anne Frank House is another one of those attractions in Amsterdam where purchasing online tickets is the best way to go.
Online tickets often have specific time slots to explore the Anne Frank House at your own pace. Plus, booking online might help you skip the long lines, giving you more time at the location that used to be a brief home and hiding place for the Jewish girl Anne Frank during the Second World War.
The Hermitage Amsterdam, an extension of Russia’s iconic Hermitage Museum, boasts an extensive collection of items related to art and history. The good news? The museum occasionally offers reduced-price periods or special discounts for specific exhibitions.
Keep an eye on their official website for updates on these opportunities, and plan your visit accordingly to enjoy world-class art without the hefty price tag.
Rembrandt House Museum
Rembrandt was a legendary Dutch painter, especially famous in the 17th century art scene. If you decide to visit the Rembrandt House Museum, you’ll visit his actual house.
You’ll get to wander through his studio, living space, and admire his art. Online tickets are the best way to enjoy this location without having to spend too much.
Museums are beautiful, but those who love enjoying tranquil and real nature can’t miss the Botanical Gardens in Amsterdam.
Nestled in the heart of the city, these gardens offer a retreat from the busy city without straining your wallet. It’s a beautiful place to visit if you want to stroll through themed gardens, see exotic plants, and recharge a little bit.
De Waag, a historic building that once served as a weighhouse, is now a cultural hotspot. This architectural gem often hosts exhibitions, events, and even a cosy café. What’s remarkable? The entry fee is usually quite reasonable, and the experience offers a glimpse into Amsterdam’s past.
For a budget-friendly way to explore multiple museums and tourist attractions in Amsterdam, consider investing in the “Museumkaart.” This card offers unlimited access to over 400 museums across the Netherlands, including many in Amsterdam.
While there is an initial cost to purchase the card, it quickly pays for itself if you visit several museums. With the “Museumkaart,” you can make the most of your cultural experience without worrying about individual entrance fees adding up.
If you’re a true museum lover, this is a great deal—for €64.90, you have unlimited free entry into over 450 museums in the Netherlands, including 39 museums in Amsterdam.
Apart from the major museums, keep an eye out for lesser-known galleries and cultural spaces that often feature exhibitions by local artists. These venues frequently offer free entry or have a nominal fee, making them ideal for those travelling on a budget.
Vondelpark and Outdoor Recreation
Amsterdam’s allure extends beyond its historic sites and cultural venues, encompassing the refreshing embrace of its lush green spaces. At the heart of this natural charm lies Vondelpark, a sprawling oasis that offers a perfect escape from the bustling city for both locals and tourists alike.
Vondelpark, spanning over 120 yards, is a serene haven that attracts locals and travellers. Its neat lawns, quiet lakes, and winding pathways make it an idyllic spot to unwind and enjoy the fresh air.
You can walk, jog, or find a quiet bench to read a book while soaking in the surrounding nature. The park’s vibrant flora, including beautiful flower beds, adds an extra touch of charm.
Free Activities: Picnicking and Cycling
One of the most budget-friendly ways to enjoy Vondelpark is by doing some free activities. Pack a picnic with local treats and settle down on the grass for a leisurely meal. Not only will you save money, but you’ll also experience the joy of sharing a meal in a picturesque setting.
Cycling is a way of life in Amsterdam, and Vondelpark is a cyclist’s paradise. Bring your bike or rent one to explore the park’s trails and pathways. The gentle slopes, serene lakes, and charming bridges provide a delightful backdrop for a bike ride.
While Vondelpark offers ample opportunities for outdoor enjoyment, renting a bike can also extend your exploration to other parts of the city.
Amsterdam’s well-designed cycling lanes make it safe and convenient to travel on two wheels. With rental prices that suit various budgets, cycling allows you to venture beyond the park and discover the city’s charming neighbourhoods, historical landmarks, and hidden gems without breaking the bank.
Try Local Cuisine Without Breaking the Bank
No trip to Amsterdam is complete without savouring its distinctive culinary offerings. With its fusion of flavours and historical influences, Dutch cuisine is a journey.
Fortunately, you can explore the local palate without straining your wallet. Here’s how to enjoy Dutch delicacies and international fare without breaking the bank.
A Culinary Adventure
Sampling the local cuisine is an essential part of immersing yourself in the culture of any destination. Dutch cuisine draws inspiration from its maritime history and trade connections, resulting in diverse flavours and dishes.
From hearty stews to iconic snacks like herring and stroopwafels, Amsterdam offers a treasure trove of culinary experiences waiting to be discovered.
Budget-Friendly Eateries and Street Food Markets
While dining out in Amsterdam can be pricey, plenty of budget-friendly options allow you to taste the local flavours without overspending. You should seek out local eateries, cafes, and street food markets where you can enjoy authentic Dutch meals at reasonable prices.
The Albert Cuyp Market is a haven for street food enthusiasts, offering everything from Dutch fries (“patat”) to freshly baked goods. Exploring markets like these offers a delightful culinary journey and a chance to interact with locals.
Smart Dining Strategies
To make the most of your dining experience while staying within your budget, consider these money-saving tips:
- Lunch specials: Many restaurants in Amsterdam offer lunch specials that provide a well-rounded meal at a lower cost than dinner menus. It’s a great way to enjoy the city’s dining scene without overspending.
- Daily specials: Some eateries feature daily specials, which often include a dish of the day at a discounted price. Watch for chalkboard signs or inquire about the day’s special when you enter a restaurant.
- Share plates: If you’re dining with a companion, consider sharing plates. Many restaurants offer generous portions that can be shared, allowing you to try multiple dishes without increasing your bill significantly.
- Local bakeries: Instead of dining at restaurants for every meal, visit local bakeries for freshly baked goods. You can grab a pastry or sandwich for a quick, cost-effective breakfast or lunch.
- Avoid touristy spots: Touristy areas tend to have higher prices. Venture slightly away from the main tourist attractions in Amsterdam to find eateries that cater to locals and offer more budget-friendly options.
Budget-Friendly Evening Activities
You can do many things in Amsterdam during the day, but what can you expect when the sun goes down? If you’re wondering how to make your evenings memorable without spending a fortune, we’ve got your back!
Watching a beautiful sunset is one of the best budget-friendly attractions in Amsterdam. These are the best spots to do so.
- NDSM Wharf: Ready for a magical moment? Head to NDSM Wharf, an artistic hub along the waterfront. As the sun descends, it casts a golden glow over the industrial remnants turned into modern spaces. The locals love this spot, where you can sit back, breathe in the ambience, and watch the sunset transform the city.
- Magere Brug: Also known as the “Skinny Bridge,” this is one of the best spots to watch the sunset. The elegant bridge spans the Amstel River and becomes a haven for sunset admirers. The setting light creates a beautiful scene, reflecting the canal’s water below. It’s a serene, romantic setting, perfect for couples or anyone seeking a peaceful evening retreat.
Open-Air Summer Events
If you plan on visiting Amsterdam during the summer months, you’re in luck because the city is filled with open-air events that are either free or very budget-friendly. The city centre is also filled with talented street performers you can check out.
Imagine relaxing in a park or at the water’s edge while taking in live open air theatre, musical performances, and movie experiences. From outdoor film screenings to live DJ sets, the city becomes a stage for cultural celebrations that won’t cost you a dime.
Pack a snack, grab a lovely spot, and enjoy the entertainment.
Getting Around on a Budget
Whether you’re a fan of trams, bikes, or strolling down charming streets, we’ve got tips to keep your transportation costs in check.
Public Transportation Passes
If you’re visiting Amsterdam, you don’t have to worry about public transportation because it’s reliable and very simple to use. The best way to use it to get from point A to point B is by investing in a transportation pass.
Here are the two main options for those:
- GVB Day Pass: If you plan to hop on and off trams, buses, and metros to your heart’s content, the GVB Day Pass is your golden ticket. For a reasonable price, you can enjoy unlimited rides within Amsterdam’s public transport network for a full day.
- I Amsterdam City Card: With the I Amsterdam City Card, you gain access to museums and sights and unlimited use of public transport during your card’s validity period.
Walking and Cycling
And if you want to get through the stress of Amsterdam and enjoy the views, you can always go walking or cycling.
Pedestrians love Amsterdam. Many of the city’s gems are close enough to explore on foot. Wander the charming canals, pop into cosy cafés, and stumble upon hidden corners—all without spending a dime on transportation.
And if you want to avoid walking, renting a bike is not only a budget-friendly option but also an authentic way to experience the city. Amsterdam is a cycling haven with dedicated lanes and a bike-friendly culture.
Numerous bike rental shops are scattered around, and most are very affordable, so you can get on a bike and explore the city faster!
Bonus Tip: Always Plan Ahead
If you want to ensure that every euro is well spent and make the most of your Amsterdam trip, you’ll have to plan.
Before you even step foot in Amsterdam:
- Take a moment to crunch the numbers.
- Set a budget that aligns with your comfort zone and travel style.
- Consider accommodation, meals, transportation, and a little extra for spontaneous splurges.
Amsterdam is a treasure trove of experiences, but let’s be honest—you can’t do it all in one trip. List the tourist attractions and activities that truly pique your interest and focus on them. Whether it’s art, history, or simply savouring local cuisine, narrowing down your must-do list will help you not break the bank.
Planning doesn’t mean you can’t be spontaneous; it means maximising your experience within your means. Set a budget that suits your financial reality, focus on the tourist attractions that resonate with you, and use Amsterdam’s efficient public transportation system.
Here are some of the best and most budget-friendly things you can do in Amsterdam.
Amsterdam proves you can explore it even on a tighter budget in a city often deemed pricey. This city is very generous with its offerings, from tranquil parks to vibrant markets, from historic sites to the world-known canals.
Remember, a great trip to Amsterdam doesn’t have to be expensive. If you want to work anywhere in the Netherlands, the Dutch transport system makes it easy for you to go to Amsterdam and enjoy your day(s) off.
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