Stay – Accommodation in Amsterdam is expensive. Very expensive! If you want to stay in this pleasant city, I strongly recommend to book as much in advance as possible. The earlier you arrange your stay, the more rooms that are still available, and the cheaper they are.
Amsterdam is expensive because there are too few places to lay to rest all of the tourists after a busy day of sightseeing. As a result, all rooms are quickly sold out and the other hotels soon get a lot more expensive.
A hostel, far from the center, will cost you about €40 per night. One in the center starts at €45 per person.
A budget hotel for one night and one person will cost you €72. A two-star hotel in the center will cost you only eighteen euros more; €90. And a four-star hotel for one or two people will cost you only € 110. The prices are not very proportional…
If you want to visit during certain events in Amsterdam, I advise you to book ahead at least three to four months.
Check this page for a complete list of all accommodations in and around Amsterdam.
Eat – Food doesn’t need to be expensive in Amsterdam. As long as you stay away from the tourist restaurants in the center!
Get some help from TripAdvisor and you’ll soon know where all the tasty food is located.
Fast food is generally the cheapest. Instead of immediately fleeing to McDonalds, I recommend to try ‘Manneken Pis‘. “Real” Belgian fries; not very expensive and quite tasty.
Those who prefer restaurants but don’t want to spend too much, try Jacketz. For a great jacket potatoe with bacon, cheese and a delicious salad you pay only €10, and believe me, you’re stuffed.
Average prices you’ll find in restaurants lay around €15 to €18 per meal.
For a soft drink, you pay €3. Beers or wine are more expensive.
Transport – Amsterdam is easy to visit while walking or with a bicycle. However, a bus or subway can always come in handy. A single ticket costs € 2.90 and is valid for one hour.
Perhaps a tourist card is cheaper if you are there for several days. Two days cost €12.50, €17 for three days, four days cost €21.5. For one day of unlimited travel, you’ll pay €7,5. Seven days of unlimited transport is the maximum and costs you €33.
Excursions – Amsterdam is the most touristic place in the Netherlands and thus there are lots of excursions and trips to do! A guided tour to see something else besides the big attractions and sights costs about €30.
A round trip in an open boat €18 and a tour of the red light district starts at €30.
Of course there are also many museums in Amsterdam.
Online these entrance fees are often slightly cheaper. The city museum will cost you €15, the red light district secrets museum just €8, Madame Tussauds is €20…
For a list of all excursions in Amsterdam, you can check this page.
I Amsterdam City Card – After you buy the city card, you get free access to almost all museums, public transportation and on top of that you get lots of discounts and free stuff. You can buy a 24h ticket for €55, 48 hours costs €65 and €72 hours will cost you €75. The card can be ordered here.
Last Minute Ticket Shop – Would you like to see a theater or ballet performance or perhaps a concert? Go take a look at the Last Minute Ticket Shop. Here you’ll find last-minute tickets being sold for a low price which is often a lot less than the original price. You can find this booth on the Leidseplein.
Going out? Predrinks! – Do you want to party in Amsterdam? Then make a quick stop at the appie (Albert Heijn) and buy some drinks! For spirits (vodka, whiskey, …), you need a so-called “Slijterij”. If you go out beer costs around € 3; a lot more than buying drinks in the supermarket!
Visit in November to March or during the week – Amsterdam can be quite expensive. Especially during holidays. Try to book a city trip between November and March. Prices are a lot cheaper during these times. It also occurred to me that hotels are much less expensive during the week compared to the weekend.
Stay outside the city center – The main station and the Vondelpark are still considered the city center of Amsterdam. Once outside, you often will find much cheaper accommodations and hotels. By public transport, bicycle or even on foot you’ll easily go back into the center.
Anne Frank House – To escape rising fascism the Frank family moved to Amsterdam. Where Anne Frank began writing her famous diary. Let the book come to life with a visit to the backhouse (‘het achterhuis’)! Order your tickets online and skip the long queues. With an online ticket you can visit the house from 9 am to 3:30 in the afternoon.
Red Light District Tour – The canals near the Red light District of Amsterdam are one of the favorite hot spots for many tourists. In this neighborhood you will find the ladies of pleasure, but there are many coffee shops and other activities for rascals as well. Rather than trying to explore it for yourself, I recommend to do it with a guide. I myself was very pleased from That Dam Guide, but there are many other tours. My adventures in the red light district tour can be found here.
Rijksmuseum – According to some this is the most beautiful museum in the Netherlands. The national museum itself is a beautiful building, but what you find in there is many times more beautiful. With more than five hundred works by, among others Vermeer, Rembrandt and more famous and less famous painters you can definitely spend a few hours here. Besides paintings you will also find a lot of sculptures and historical objects.
The ‘I Amsterdam’ letters also stand in front of the Rijksmuseum. Perfect for a selfie or complete photo shoot!
Explore canals by boat – A visit to Amsterdam is not complete if you haven’t explored the canals. For about €15 you can get in a (covered) boat in order to see the city slowly gliding by. Along the way you get funny and interesting facts about the city.
Brewery ‘t IJ – Brewery ‘t Ij is quite unique and therefore definitely worth a visit! It is an original windmill that was converted into a brewery with a very large terrace. The brewery also organizes guided tours for anyone interested in the art of brewing beer.
Vondelpark – Want to escape from the bustle of the city? Then just go relaxing in the Vondelpark! This giant park is not far from the Leidseplein and it is lovely to walk around here. During good weather you can have a BBQ or just watch people passing by. In the park there an original work of Picasso hidden away. Can you find it?
Begijnenhof – Through the Begijnensteeg you can walk towards a little square; The Begijnenhof. It formerly housed women who had deliberately chosen not to marry. Around this beautiful square a lot of the oldest houses in Amsterdam are located, but the most fun of all is that you can just unwind from the hustle and bustle that prevails in Amsterdam.
Museums, museums, museums … – Amsterdam is perfect for everyone who loves to wander around in a couple of museums for several days. Besides the Rijksuseum a visit to the Van Goch Museum is absolutely mandatory if you like his art. EYE is interesting for any cinephile.
Other noteworthy museums include the Rembrandt House, the municipal museum of Amsterdam, the Maritime Museum, the Jewish Historical Museum and the Resistance Museum.
Leidseplein – It may well be touristy, it is too amazing not to mention. On the Leidseplein you will find many restaurants or bars where you -both day and night- can celebrate life. All around you, you’ll see hordes of tourists, but also take a look at the beautiful buildings around you.
Do not queue at the Anne Frank House – The Anne Frank House welcomes thousands of visitors on any given day. The queue often is gigantic and takes a while to conquer… Book your tickets online instead. This way you get a fixed time. You only need to be there five minutes in advance.
Consuming alcohol in public – weed or hashish is allowed in public, but there are high penalties for drinking alcohol! Open your beers or other alcoholic drinks only at your hotel, or else you might need to pay a fine of €200 or more!
Smoke weed in any coffeeshop – To sit in a coffee shop, you don’t need to get high! As long as you order something to eat or drink you are free to look at customers and many tourists coming here to try the soft drugs.
Smoke cigarettes in coffee shops – Smoking weed is allowed in a coffee shop, but once that tobacco is added, it’s no longer legal. Some coffee shops turn a blind eye, but most will point it out to you, and some even will ask you to leave their business.
Don’t buy drugs from dealers – Everything is very highly regulated in Amsterdam. You can pretty much buy all kinds of soft drugs in the coffee shops. So you are sure that the quality is good and that nothing has happened to your grass or other items… Also, remember that not all drugs are approved in the Netherlands!
Taking pictures of prostitutes – The women are working and really don’t want to end up on your facebook, instagram or blog. If women see that you take pics, or one of their associates, they will ask you to remove the pictures without a doubt.
Change the red lights for the blue ones – Do you want to get to know the red light district on a more personal level? Don’t swap the red neon lights with the blue! The blue lights show the transexual district, whereas the red lights show where the women since birth are located.
Cross without looking – The cars are not a big problem in Amsterdam, but the bicycles are. Crosswalk or not… They really don’t care if they bump into you. So watch out for hordes of bicycles!