Amsterdam is a romantic, intriguing, and historical place. Known for its winding canals and tiny houses, the city is a delight to explore. Setting out with your map and camera can produce hours of entertainment alone, but it’s always fun to partake in the local tourist activities. As its popularity in Europe increases, Amsterdam can be a bit pricey for budget travelers and backpackers. Those extra euros here and there start to make a big difference. Here, I’ve assembled a guide of budget tips for traveling on the cheap in Amsterdam. They are based mostly on my own mistakes and discoveries in Amsterdam.
Location, Location, Location
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I’ve said it a few times and I’ll say it again: Your location in Amsterdam can make your trip or break the bank. Paying a few less euros a night to stay far outside of the city will not be worth it if you have to spend close to 10 euros a day to travel into and out of the city center. Look for hotels inside or just outside of the canal rings in Amsterdam as these will put you within walking distance of pretty much all of the major sites and you won’t need to use public transport.
Buy the OV Chip Card Right Away
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If you’re traveling around the Netherlands and will use public transport often, get the OV Chip Card right away. The card offers as much as 40% off of the original fare so you have a lot of potential savings for a long trip. If you will be staying outside the center to save money for more than a few days, you’ll definitely want one. The OV Chip Card costs around €7 and requires a bit of effort to get the balance back (you fill out a form with the address you’d like your credit sent to) so use your best judgment. I recommend purchasing the Anonymous OV Chip Card. It can be used for the tram, bus and metro in most major cities in the Netherlands.
Enjoy a Free Walking Tour
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Amsterdam has a fascinating history and a myriad of museums detailing some of its greatest works. Take a free walking tour on your first day to get acquainted with this beautiful city and learn about all of the places you would like to spend more time visiting. Choose a reputable company like City Free Tour and enjoy hours of quirky and charming stories and tidbits. The best part is that you choose your own price, so you won’t have to break the bank. It’s a fantastic deal and something everyone should try!
Make the Most of Free Activities in the City
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Amsterdam has a lot of fantastic and expensive tourist activities. But there are also a lot of free activities that are just as exciting and are a great way to break up the day. Take some time off at the huge Vondelpark near the Museum Quarter, where you can people watch and picnic for hours. Stroll along the flower and cheese markets scattered throughout the city on various days. In the summer, take in a free concert at the various parks in the city or pop into the Central Library to cool down and read the international newspaper.