Amsterdam may not be on the top 10 list of the most expensive cities in Europe, but it’s not exactly on the cheapest cities list either…
The Dutch city has a lot to offer tourists and it is possible to visit the city on a budget.
Keep reading to see our tips on how to do Amsterdam low cost.
Flights to Amsterdam
Amsterdam’s main airport, Schiphol, has flights from many low cost airlines like easyJet, Transavia, and Vueling, and is definitely the best choice to fly in to proximity-wise. Another option that isn’t the most distance-friendly, but may offer cheaper airline tickets, is to fly to the Eindhoven Airport.
Eindhoven is about 1.5 hours outside of Amsterdam and sometimes considered the low cost airport serving Amsterdam, despite it’s distance from the Dutch capital. Ryanair, Wizzair and Transavia are the low cost airlines that fly to Eindhoven Airport.
Transport from the airport to Amsterdam
If you fly into Amsterdam Schiphol: the airport is very close to the city center and can be easily reached by the Direct Rail Link train which leaves right outside the arrivals terminal. Trains leave every 10 minutes and the journey takes about 15 minutes to Amsterdam Central Station. Cost: €3.60 single journey.
If you fly into the Eindhoven Airport: keep in mind that Eindhoven is not located near Amsterdam and requires a 90 minute bus journey to reach Amsterdam city center. Terravision makes the connection between the two cities and a return trip ticket costs €38.50 if bought online ahead of time and €40 when bought at the ticket counter.
Getting around Amsterdam
One of the most authentic ways to get around Amsterdam is by bike (there are more than 600,000 bikes in the city!) and there are plenty of places around Amsterdam that offer bike rentals.
Prices range depending on which company you choose to rent from, but expect to pay between €10-15 per bike per day.
Another option to get around Amsterdam is using the public transport provided by GVB which includes metro, bus, and tram. The OV-chipcard is your ticket to use any of these forms of transportation. There are 24, 48, 72, 96, 120, 144, and 168 hour OV-chipcards available for purchase at the stations themselves or at many supermarkets. Tip: Though you can buy 1 hour OV-chipcards directly from the public transport drivers for €2.80, the most economical choice is to buy the unlimited ride chipcards depending on how long you will be staying in the city rather than by trip.
The prices for 1-7 day OV-chipcards are:
- 1 day (24 hours) €7.50
- 2 days (48 hours) €12.00
- 3 days (72 hours) €16.50
- 4 days (96 hours) €21.00
- 5 days (120 hours) €26.00
- 6 days (144 hours) €29.50
- 7 days (168 hours) €32.00
Amsterdam has the highest density of museums in the world and if you plan on visiting as many as possible then the i amsterdam city card is a good deal.
The iAmsterdam pass gives you unlimited use of public transportation and entrance to 38 museums and attractions, plus a free canal cruise. Most museums cost €15 each and the canal cruise also costs €15, add the price of public transport and the i amsterdam pass is a good discount.
i amsterdam city card prices:
- 24 hour pass €42
- 48 hour pass €52
- 72 hour pass €62
Some of the most popular attractions in Amsterdam are: Het Scheepvaart Museum (The National Maritime Museum), The Rijksmuseum, which is the largest museum in the Netherlands and home to Rembrandt’s famous work of art “The Night Watch”, the Van Gogh Museum which has the largest Van Gogh collection in the world, the Anne Frank House, the hiding place where Anne Frank wrote her diary during WWII.
Where to stay?
The most touristy neighborhoods in Amsterdam are Central Amsterdam, the Red Light District, and Leidseplein and therefore, on average, the most expensive areas to stay. Because Amsterdam has a fabulous public transportation system, you can book a budget hotel or hostel outside of the city center and still be a tram or bike ride away from all the popular attractions.
If you’re planning to travel during spring or summer, especially near Queen’s Day (April 30) or when Keukenhof Gardens are open (March-May), make sure you book well in advance to get the best price.
The best free experiences in Amsterdam
– Take a walk along the canal ring and get lost in the winding 400-year-old canals
– Check out Begijnhof, an inner garden court surrounded by houses and buildings. Don’t miss #34, the oldest house in Amsterdam.
– Stroll through the notorious and permiscuous Red Light District, called Rossebuurt in Dutch.
– Take a seat on the banks of the Amstel River and watch the Magere Brug draw-bridge in action. It opens about every 20 minutes to let boats through.
– Speculate the art of the Dutch Golden Age at the Civic Guards Gallery (Schuttersgalerij).
– If the sun is shining head to Vondelpark and have a picnic or just people watch. You’re bound to see a free concert or two by park goers with guitars on hand.
– Visit Dam Square and catch a performance from one of the many street entertainers.
– Take in the scents at the Bloemenmarkt floating flower market.
– Enter the massive Protestant church, Westerkerk, where Rembrandt is said to have his grave, though it’s not known for sure