Amsterdam has a fascinating history, made all the richer by its prominence in Europe during the Dutch Golden Age. As one of the most important ports in the world during the 17th century, it was home to the Dutch East India and West India companies. Ships were sent sailing to such far-off places as India, Brazil, Sri Lanka, and Africa, returning with imports that would make Amsterdam the wealthiest city in the world for a time.
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.
For me, the mention of Amsterdam has always conjured up images of winding canals, old boat houses, plumes of smoke curling out of mysterious coffee shops, and dim red lights cast on dark streets. When I first stepped off the tram in the heart of the city, that picture wasn’t too far from reality. But the sleepy haze that I expected to find over a city steeped in so much history was completely absent. In its place was a vibrant hum of energy. Energy carried by all manner of activities. People were riding bikes throughout the entire city, boats passed underfoot as we crossed over old bridges, people talked animatedly to their lunch companions. There was a tangible sense of vitality that I didn’t expect. As the first stop on our journey, it was exciting. Continue reading Amsterdam