Go beyond the city centre
There’s more to Amsterdam than the city centre – and that means more culture to experience, things to see and places to explore. Walk along the paths of Westerpark in Amsterdam West to see where the locals hang out or hop on the free ferry to Amsterdam Noord for brunch along the water. You’ll find a greater variety of shops, cafés and restaurants that are frequented by discerning locals, and get more of a taste of the ‘real’ Amsterdam.
Explore the Amsterdam neighbourhoods.
Opt for a high-end hostel or budget hotel
As a city of history and art, Amsterdam has got some of the most jaw-dropping accommodation in the world, but not all of them command jaw-dropping price tags. Some of the best places to stay are actually some of the most economical, with design hostels and budget hotels in Amsterdam upping their game to compete with the big names in the city. The Hotel Not Hotel lets you sleep in a refurbished Dutch tram car for a reasonable price per night, while citizenM offers a luxury experience, including extra-large beds and rain showers, for much less than you’d expect.
See the musts for less money in less time
No matter your personal interests, there are certain things you just have to see in Amsterdam: the canals and the museums, for starters. Instead of waiting in line and purchasing tickets at each location, use the I amsterdam City Card to fast-track your trip. Not only will you get into sights such as the Rijksmuseum, Van Gogh Museum and Rembrandt House Museum for free or at a discount, you’ll be able to get to them much more easily – the card offers unlimited access to the public transport system for up to 96 hours.
Read more about the I amsterdam City Card.
Check out the wallet-friendly eateries
Amsterdam’s burgeoning food scene has something to cater to every type of diner, and every travel budget. If you have any appetite left after all the tasty market treats, try these stylish budget restaurants that definitely do not skimp on flavour. It’s also well worth saving up for one celebratory blowout meal at one of the city’s top-rated restaurants where innovative chefs are putting Dutch cuisine on the map.
Spend an evening outdoors
Not every night needs to be spent in the hottest club, the swankiest wine bar or a newly opened rooftop terrace – some nights can and should be spent outside. During the summer, get some free entertainment under the stars at the Vondelpark Open-Air Theatre, which hosts a selection of concerts, dance and theatre performances, or snuggle up with your family for a film screening at one of the many open-air cinemas in Amsterdam.
Feel like a VIP for (almost) free
If you plan on living it up every evening in Amsterdam, save yourself some trouble – and get yourself some VIP treatment – with the Nightlife ticket. For seven nights, you get unlimited access to 12 nightclubs, including Escape, Paradiso and Prime; eight of those clubs will even welcome you with a drink upon arrival. Beer lovers can visit Craft & Draft for a free beer with every purchase, while those who aren’t in the mood to go clubbing can engage in some 2-for-1 laser tag at Lovers Powerzone. The Nightlife ticket, just €10, will even get you home afterwards with one free UBER ride.
Picnic in the park
To save a little on your food budget, do as the locals do and take your lunch to one of the parks in Amsterdam. Amsterdam has loads of green spaces that make the perfect place for a picnic, including Oosterpark, Flevopark and, of course, the famous Vondelpark, and each park has nearby supermarkets with all the fixings for sandwiches that can be eaten just as well on a blanket. Just remember to throw your rubbish in the bin!
Make your stay eventful
There’s no reason to sit in your hotel room late at night or book expensive events simply off the recommendation of the hotel’s front desk. Use the power of the Internet to search for events, exhibitions and festivals on I amsterdam, or refer to the I amsterdam Weekend Guide to find out what’s happening that weekend in the city. With the help of real local experts, you can have the experience of a lifetime in Amsterdam without spending your life savings.
Fill your suitcase with mementos from the market
You’ll naturally need to bring something home for friends and family – as well as some souvenirs for yourself – but shopping doesn’t need to put a big dent in your wallet. Sure, you can stroll down Amsterdam’s most high-end shopping streets to peer in the windows and try on a few things, but save your cents for one of the many markets in Amsterdam. Squares turn into bustling shopping centres, where you can browse through huge collections of vintage clothes and accessories as well as antique fineries and rare items.
Be bold and book later
While some sights and events in Amsterdam are better booked in advanced (the Anne Frank House, for example), there’s no need to schedule every minute of your trip – in fact, sometimes it pays to wait until the last minute. With the Last Minute Ticket Shop, you can browse what’s going on in Amsterdam that night at venues such as the Royal Concertgebouw, and discover new performances, shows and plays you might have otherwise missed. Better yet, you’ll be able to book tickets at up to 50% discount.
Interested in more advice to help you plan your trip? See our top 10 tips for booking a trip to Amsterdam.