Amsterdam has many possibilities for tourists, but it's not the cheapest place to visit. Here are some tips on how to stay, eat and have fun when you next embark upon Amsterdam on a tight budget.
Cheap Amsterdam accommodation
For a more affordable city break, check out the budget friendly hostel options. Maintaining a decent experience that blends popular neighbourhoods with stylish lodgings, Amsterdam Hostels supply a wonderful range of accommodation at great prices.
There are a number of discount cards on the market that help to reduce the amount of money you may spend on your trip abroad. They also save time and energy which both are very valuable on a busy trip.
Student Discount Card
If you are a full time student between 12-26 years you may benefit with an ISIC card.
Students travelling can get discounts on accommodation and shopping. The card is also accepted by most restaurants and museums in Amsterdam.
Youth Discount Card
Those who are under 26 years of age, but not in full time education, the aforementioned organisations offer an 'International Youth Travel Card,' for the same prices. Again you can save on air tickets, rail passes as well as accommodation.
Senior Discount Card
Amsterdam also proves to be a great place for senior travellers to explore. Though the Hostels of Europe Card is available to people of all ages, AARP makes adventures in Amsterdam for seniors a lot cheaper.
This organisation allows their members over 50 to get discounted accommodation, air fare and car rental on their trips. With a yearly membership at 12.50 US Dollars, each member's spouse or partner are equally covered.
Cheap Amsterdam Transport
GVB is the public transport of Amsterdam offering tram, bus, metro and ferry services. If you plan to rely upon buses and trams to get you around Amsterdam it is best to buy a 15 strip ticket for 6.50 euro at a local supermarket, and will save you a few euros in the long run.
GVB also offer a ticket suitable for multiple use of public transport. A 24 hour ticket costs 6.30 euro, 48 hours 10 euro, and 72 hours for 13 euro. These tickets can be purchased at GVB opposite Centraal Station, and are stamped once on your first journey and are valid for the period stated.
For 22 euro you can also get an All Amsterdam Transport Pass, which for one day offers unlimited use of the tram, night bus, metro and canal bus.
Canal Bus Day Pass, costs 15-16 euro depending on time of year. From 10am-6pm you can hop on and hop off all day at any of the 14 stops located near major museums, shopping areas and attractions. The ticket also entitles you to discounts on major attractions worth over 100 euro.
Activity and Transport Discounts in Amsterdam
The Iamsterdam card's price starts from 33 euro and is valid for 24 hours. If used well it can be useful to cut the cost of travel and sightseeing in Amsterdam. For a lump sum you will have free use of buses, trams and metro (underground), plus 25% train ticket discounts, as well as most attractions and restaurants within the city. Besides this it does allow free admission to museums and a canal cruise tour.
With the Museum Jaarkaart, you can visit a number of museums for a fair price, bearing in mind that each visit normally costs 15 euro, thus saving you money when taken advantage of. It's good to note that this pass also enables you to visit some museums outside of Amsterdam, and therefore does not restrict your choice of museums.
Free Activities in Amsterdam
A free ferry service is available from behind Centraal Station at Jetty 7, that crosses the IJ stopping at Buiksloterweg. Though the ride may not be so adventurous, it does provide stunning views and the chance to wander around North Amsterdam.
The Westerkerk and The Begijnhof are places to visit in Amsterdam for free. Situated on the Prinsengracht by the Anne Frank House, Westerkerk is a well known church built between 1620-30, and is open to visitors.
Free Events in Amsterdam
During the summer there are many outdoor events and activities taking place for free. The Vondelpark however is open all year round, and provides a great spot to sit alone or with friends and family. They also host free concerts and theatre performances in June, July and August, when it is also at its busiest peak.
On April 27th each year, there is a King's Day in Holland, when the Dutch celebrate the King's Willem-Alexander birthday. Most businesses are closed on this day, as a free market opens in the streets of Amsterdam. The town becomes packed with people coming from all parts of the Netherlands, finding their way from one event or street party to the next.
Another culturally packed weekend is the 'Gay Pride' which takes place in the first week of August every year. The highlight of this event is the parade, which you can watch standing along a canal belt. It's a good idea to find your spot early to catch the action as the parade passes you by on their boats. Whilst in Amsterdam the Gay Parade has become a family event, you may however not wish to take your children with you. Once you have seen the parade, the fun begins with live music and street parties that go on through the weekend.
Where to eat cheap in Amsterdam
The city if full of snack bars that provide fast food at cheap prices. Alternatively food outlets such as 'Febo' or the 'automatieks' sell cheap readily prepared snacks like croquettes. You can retrieve your choice of snack from small vending machine style compartments.
Another somewhat substantial option is 'Maoz,' serving falafels in pitta bread at most of the hotspots in town. The upside is that you can fill up on as much salad as you want, for the same price.
But for those who want a full stomach on as little money as possible, Vlaamse or Patat Friets are most convenient. These are chips served in cone paper bags with optional sauces.
These chains can be found at most major destinations as well as the smaller streets in Amsterdam. So if you are hungry along the Damrak or Leidseplein, rest assured snacks will be available to you on the cheap.
There are many ways to enjoy your visit to Amsterdam on a budget. But the best way to keep your hands out of your pockets is to plan your trip in advance, otherwise you may find you spend more that you had hoped.