Amsterdam is one of the most beautiful and most exciting cities in the world. You are surely not going to be bored in Amsterdam, but the pleasure of a visit may prove to be a bit pricier than you expected. However, there are certain tricks that can help you save money and still have the time of your life in the capital of the Netherlands.
1. Eating and drinking
If you’re planning to eat out in fancy, high-end restaurants, of course you can expect your bill to be through the roof. But there are other ways to satisfy your hunger and quench your thirst but still stay among the local specialties.
For example, Amsterdam is famous for its delicious takeout food. So you can always opt for fast food in the form of pizza, falafel sandwiches, salads and so on. Chips, or friets as they call them, are especially popular in Amsterdam and you can get cones of chips with tasty toppings basically on every corner.
Another thing you should pay attention to are cheap restaurant and discounts. Eateries in the city often have their menu on display in the street, so you are more than welcome to compare the prices and get the most for your money’s worth. Popular street with numerous restaurants is Korte Leidsedwarsstraat which offers many great options for dining.
When it comes to drinks, make sure to try their excellent beer and wine which are usually the best option when traveling on a budget. Stick to small, rustic pubs instead of going for flashy nightclubs because prices differ immensely. Also, if you’re more of a cocktail, or mixed drink kind of guy or a girl, prepare to pay over €6 for one drink.
2. Shopping in stores and markets
If you want to avoid the expenses of eating out altogether, you can always opt for buying your food and beverages at the stores. Water is much cheaper in the stores, and you will usually pay three times as much for the same bottle in a pub or a fast food stand than you would in a store.
Another great idea is to check out their colorful markets for everything from food to clothes. Waterlooplein’s flea market is open every day except Sunday, while Nieuwmarkt and Noorderkerk work at the weekends. Aside from top-quality organic fruit and vegetables, you can find fish, flowers and clothes at these places.
3. Getting around
Amsterdam is a small city and you can get around it by walking or using their perfectly organized public transportation. So you can see how getting a cab an paying over €20 for a short ride isn’t the best option.
Tram tickets cost €2.80 for a single ride but you can get tickets for an unlimited number of rides over the course of one, two, three or seven days. Considering you will probably ride the tram at least two or three times a day, €7.50 is a bargain for a 24-hour ticket. 48-hour tickets go for €12, 72-hour tickets are only €16.50, while the whole week will cost you €32.
Another great option for experiencing Amsterdam in full is hopping on a bike, of course. It is widely known that bicycles are the main means of transportation in this city, so you should really try it especially if you want to feel and look like a local. You can rent a bike in numerous renting agencies in the city, but it’s always a better deal if you decide to rent it for the whole day or several days.
Another extremely important aspect of your trip is accommodation. And hotels can be pretty expensive in Amsterdam, especially in the center. So dare to venture a little farther away from the heart of the city and get a great deal in some of the cheaper hotels or hostels. Neighborhoods such as De Pijp, Jordaan and Plantagebuurt are not far from the main city attractions but provide a good deal of great options.
There are also excellent cheap apartments all over the city if you’re more into private accommodation. Combine a good, cheap apartment or a hostel somewhere in the city with an unlimited tram ticket and you won’t have to worry about a thing during your stay.
5. Free Things to Do
As in almost every major European city, you can find a free tour of the city. Young guides will take you through the historic city center and tell you all the interesting facts as you take a stroll around the Red Light District, Jordaan district and Jewish Quarter. At the end you can tip the guide how much you want, but it’s not obligatory. Even so, it will cost you much less than an organized paid tour would.
There are also many other things you can enjoy completely free, such as a free ferry ride whose stop is located behind the Grand Amsterdam Station, free exhibition at the City Archives, or a walk along the famous Albert Cuypmarkt, the largest street market in Amsterdam. And if you’re a music lover, make sure to check Concertgebouw free lunchtime concerts on Wednesdays as well as Dutch Philharmonic concerts at the Muziektheater on Tuesdays.