By Audrey Sykes in Amsterdam—
A day on less than €20 in Amsterdam? Can it be done? Why, yes it can! Amsterdam might not be the cheapest Euro destination, but thanks to its outdoor happenings and entertainment freebies, it’s certainly possible.
• Related: Heading to Amsterdam? Be sure to swing by our guide to the best cheap hotels in Amsterdam. Our editors have inspected, photographed and reviewed budget hotels all over the city center. Read more in our Amsterdam guide.
Here’s my plan for a perfect Cheapo-day:
Breakfast: Head to the Heijn
The local grocery store here is called Albert Heijn, and its shops are well equipped with meals “to go.” Find one with a coffee machine (sometimes free!) and grab one of the many warm, freshly-baked delights at the bakery.
While you’re there pick up a fresh, packaged sandwich and a bottled fruit smoothie for lunch. Find the drink section for a row of beers, sodas and bottled water all for under a euro each. Now you’re set for the day!
Cost: Warm ham and cheese croissant with a coffee/tea: about €2 (Tourist cafe price: €5)
Sandwich, smoothie and a drink: about €4.50 (Tourist cafe price: €12)
Transport: Rent a bike
Cycling around town is a fun way to see the city and cover lots of ground without your feet hurting from cobblestones. They’re also the quickest and cheapest way to get around. Trams cost €2.60 one way, and don’t even think about taxis.
Good deal on daily rental: €7 (Typical tourist price: €12.50+)
Take in the big sights–on your bike
Between the canals and beautiful greenery, Amsterdam has endless opportunities for bicycle cruising. Start in the center and knock out the main sights: Dam Square, the Royal Palace, national monument, and Nieuwe Kerk.
Next, pedal over to Spui and peek inside the quiet walls of the Begijnhof, or follow Spuistraat and snap shots of all the funky graffiti coloring squatter residences.
Make your way to Vondelpark, Amsterdam’s largest central park, and ride along the winding paths past lakes, ducks, rosebushes and weeping willows. Join the masses soaking up the sun, or follow the Amstel and Ij rivers for a canal-side break (there are plenty of benches with gorgeous views).
Munch on lunch as you people watch. Wave at the families and groups on boats cruising by.
Sunset and a free boat ride
For a unique view of the city and an ideal spot to watch a sunset, walk up the stairs of Amsterdam’s science center NEMO (the curvy green building near Amsterdam Central station).
While you’re there, why not take a free boat ride? Jump on one of the free ferries headed north (the one to “NDSF Werf” takes about 20 minutes each way).
Cheap dinner and a stroll
After returning your wheels for the day, split an order of the famous Dutch treat: “frites” with mayonnaise (€2 – €3). Yum.
Then treat yourself to a healthy falafel or vegetable wok (€3 to €5) at one of the many “in ‘n’ out” food shops along Zeedijk, Spui, Rembrandtplein and Leidseplein.
End the night with a bit of (free) live music at Jazz Café Alto, Mulligan’s Irish Pub or the Waterhole. And if you still have a few euros, buy yourself a drink. You successfully spent an Amsterdam day the EuroCheapo way!