Looking to dropping by Amsterdam on a budget? Perhaps soaking up the arts and culture scene?
Amsterdam is indeed a great place for a fun-filled holiday but traveling around in this beautiful city can easily lighten your wallet.
However, there are ways in which you can cut costs and still enjoy the best of Amsterdam.
This discount bundle is perfect for the budget traveler. Sold at various shops and stations (including the Amsterdam Tourism desk at Schipol), the package is made of a travel card/ticket and a chip-card whereby users can access a number of attractions or services for free or for lower prices. With this, you can also travel without charge via most of the public transport (e.g. trams, buses, metros). I say most because train trips are not included in this package.
The I-amsterdam Card comes in a range of prices – Euro 38 for lowest one, Euro 48 for the mid-range one and Euro 58 for the most expensive one. These cards have limited validity period and the countdown starts from when it is first used. Hence, the Euro 38 card is valid for 24 hours, Euro 48 one is good for 48 hours and Euro 58 one is usable for 72 hours.
While Euro 38-58 range might appear a bit steep for limited hours of sightseeing, do note that these cards have other fringe benefits. Travelers can use the card and gain free access to more than 20 popular attractions. Examples include Museum Het Rembrandthuis, De Nieuwe Kerk, Hermitage Amsterdam and Rijksmuseum. While a number of locations do not fall under the card’s free access offer, you will find that a lot of these sites will provide 25% discount for I-amsterdam card-holders. Examples of such sites include Artis Zoo, Tun Fun, Canal Bus and Heineken Experience.
Check out the website for a full list.
Other than using the I-amsterdam card, there are a few other ways to cut costs during your stay in Amsterdam. Many other sources like the Tourist Offices of Amsterdam Tourism & Convention Board (ATCB) offices offer vouchers and discounts. Such vouchers – or Mini-cards as most of them are called – can be found at MiniCards and Holland Hotlinks.
MiniCards and Holland Hotlinks are websites that offers discount vouchers for various locations in the Netherlands. You can usually find the MiniCard vouchers in hotels and tourism offices. Holland Hotlinks vouchers, on the other hand, can be accessed online and printed out for use. Typically, these cards and vouchers will either reduce the price of admission tickets or grant you a freebie or souvenir at set locations. Check out the sites for full list of locations that accept these vouchers.
Eating out in Amsterdam
Eating out for every meal in Amstedam can become costly. Same has to be said about some of the pubs and bars. However, there are a few ways to save up an extra buck.
Firstly, opting for street food is one of the best ways to stick to budget and satisfy your hunger. The good news is that Amsterdam has a number of food options in this section – pizza, toasties, chips, fruit salads, Surinamese snacks and many more. As you walk around and explore the city, you will come across numerous eateries and stalls that sell these food. And of course, don’t forget that for something really quick and simple, there is always Febo, the automated food vendor. Finally, keep an eye out for the specials and discount offers of various restaurants. These are usually found on the menus or notices located in the windows or boards outside the eatery.
Secondly, what about drinks? Well, here are a few options to try. Generally, smaller pubs or at least the more rustic brown hall ones offer beer, wine and other spirits at decent prices. By brown hall, I refer to pubs which are decorated with wooden interior decorations as opposed to the sleek snazzy styles of the new bars and pubs. Travelers in their twenties might even want to try the pubs in various hostels. The drinks at these spots are lower-priced and are great places to meet folks of the same age. Lastly, do ask the hotel staff about local eateries. In a lot of cases, they can suggest wonderful off-beat places not listed in major tourism sites as well as tell you about the specials offered at nearby eateries and pubs.
Top 5 Budget Hotels in Amsterdam:
- Hotel HEM Amsterdam – Southwest Amsterdam – Double room from €33
- Hotel La Boheme – Central Canal Ring – Double room from €50
- Hotel Bema – Museum Quarter – Double room from €55
- Hotel Borgmann Villa – Museum Quarter – Double room from €55
- Hotel Sarphati – Eastern Canal Ring – Double room from €59
Photo of Amsterdam by Gipigrl