Travelling is always fun though it can sometimes get a little pricey, especially if you decide to go a bit further – perhaps somewhere like Europe😉 But even in Europe, there are many ways in which you can travel without breaking the bank!
Here’s some essential tips on exploring Amsterdam – a city where bicycles outnumber the people and adventure awaits even for those who suffer from a skinny wallet😜
1. Getting there
One of the hardest parts of travelling outside of your country is choosing the right way to get to your destination. I recommend using the Skyscanner website or mobile app to help you find the cheapest flight tickets available. This cuts out the middleman commissions and you’ll be able to save a couple of bucks!
Be warned though, that the journey might be a little taxing because you’ll probably end up having to take a transit route, which means that you’ll have to stopover at a different county or two to change flights before finally reaching Amsterdam.
Credit: @plane_de_airlines on Instagram
Alternatively you can take the direct flight to Amsterdam via KLM. If you’re travelling from European countries, try opting for their budget airlines like Eurowings (also found on Skyscanner) or simply travel to Amsterdam by train.
#HHWT Tip: We recommend booking your tickets early online as it’s vastly cheaper than paying over the counter, especially when it comes to train tickets.
2. When to visit Amsterdam
Credits: @rodextravel on Instagram
The best time to travel to Amsterdam – weather wise – would be during the spring season. For those who love nature and flowers, a trip to Amsterdam would not be complete unless you pay the beautiful Keukenhof Gardens a visit! If you want to catch the tulips, then your best bet would be between the 3rd or 4th week of April as the weather is mild and the tulips would be in full bloom 😍
Unfortunately, visiting in spring isn’t exactly easy on the wallet. For a truly affordable and ‘local experience’, try visiting during the off-season in fall. Between late-September to late October is the best time for budget travellers!
Credit: mariusz kluzniak on Flickr
The weather might be a little cooler but sweater weather in Amsterdam has its own charms. The city just seems infinitely more peaceful during the fall. It’s also the best time for you to hang out at cozy cafes, pay a visit to some of the free museums, or check out what’s currently happening with the local scenes!
3. Choosing where to stay
In any destination, it’s almost a given that the closer you are to the city centre, the more costly it’s going to be. This is not any different in Amsterdam! If you’re travelling with a large group, we recommend booking a service apartment as it’ll offer you a much more comfortable stay. Check out Airbnb or Agoda!
Credits: Hotel Ibis Schipol Amsterdam Airport on Facebook
But if apartments are not for you but you still want somewhere comfortable, cheap AND convenient, I’d recommend Ibis Hotel near Schiphol Airport. Based on personal experience, it fits all the above🤗
There’s a free shuttle bus service that can take you from the airport to the hotel (and vice versa). If you’d like to venture to town, there’s a train from the airport to Amsterdam Central which only costs about 8 Euros (compared to taking a taxi or van which can cost up to as much as 70 Euros!).
Credits: @@stayokayvondelpark on Instagram
Aside from hotels, Amsterdam does have some pretty affordable hostels. Stayokay Amsterdam Vondelpark is located smack in Vondelpark, the green heart of the city! On top of clean rooms, it offers free wifi, free city maps and even bike rentals.
You can also walk to the city’s best attractions, including the Van Gough Museum and the Rijksmuseum😉 The cherry on top is that the staff are also really friendly!
Credit: @eleonore_olvr on Instagram
A more Instagram-worthy yet affordable hostel is ClinksNOORD Hostel, located in the vibrant area of Amsterdam Noord. The hostel is only 10 minutes away from the back of Amsterdam Central Station. The sheer aesthetics of this place might keep you in the hotel all day, though😜 It also comes with free wifi, fantastic social spaces to meet up and chat with fellow backpackers, laundry facilities and a female-only dormitory!
4. Getting Around Amsterdam
Depending on what you want to do and where you’d like to go, travelling around Amsterdam is pretty easy.
Credits: @macandmoore on Instagram
One of the best things about Amsterdam is that you can get to a lot of cool places by foot. If you have a specific place in mind, just Google the location and simply start walking. Alternatively, if you don’t have anything in mind and would like to avoid walking around the city aimlessly, check out Sandemans New Europe. It offers a variety of free walking tour, covering many of Amsterdam top attraction sites including Dam Square and the Royal Palace!
If you prefer getting around town like the locals do, consider renting a bicycle! If you manage to snag an ‘I Amsterdam’ card, you can also get a 25% discounts from selected bike rental places, such as MacBike and Amsterbike😎
It’s almost a must to explore this gorgeous city by bicycle and we’ve got you totally covered with this complete guide on how to cycle like a local in Amsterdam!
Don’t know how to cycle and don’t like to walk? Fret not! Amsterdam’s public transport is pretty affordable though I would highly encourage you to invest in the Amsterdam Travel Ticket.
This includes train travel to and from Schipol Airport as well as unlimited public transport. There are three types of tickets available; the 1-day ticket (€16), 2-day ticket (€21) or the 3-day ticket (€26). Definitely cheaper than buying the tickets one-off!
5. Must-visit places
Credits: li_jia_jhen on Instagram
Besides being famous for their canals and bike population, Amsterdam is also home to some pretty famous museums. If you have an appreciation for the arts, then you wouldn’t want to pass up the chance to visit the famous Van Gogh Museum which houses an enormous collection of the artist’s works😌
The Rijksmuseum is also pretty amazing and effortlessly beautiful, covering topics about Dutch art and history from the Middle-Ages to present modern day!
Credit: @anaxavier9 on Instagram
Another must-visit famous museum is the renowned Anne Frank House (which also appeared in that tear-jerking book/movie, ‘The Fault in Our Stars’!). As you wander around the biographical museum, you’ll be able to see Anne’s original diary and other notebooks put on display, as well as catch a glimpse of what life was like for the Frank family who had to live in hiding during World War II due to Hitler’s terrifying reign😥
Credit: @__christiina__xoxo on Instagram
If you prefer outdoor art, the public garden at the Rijksmuseum (free) makes for an even more scenic option with their meticulously tended flowerbeds, impressive seasonal art installations and pieces of historic Dutch architecture!
#HHWT Tip: If you’re planning to visit, I strongly suggest you purchase your entrance tickets (or guided tour tickets) online. It’s not only cheaper, but lets you skip the long queues at the counters!
While Amsterdam is undeniably exciting with its picturesque canals, and culturally-rich buildings, you’d miss out on the beauty of the Netherlands if you don’t take a day trip to the scenic Dutch Countryside😍
Credit: @emrekanik on Instagram
The peaceful village of Zaanse Schans, with its green-timbered houses, is home to a collection of historic windmills that are still fully-operational! Witness first-hand how these windmills are used to make spices, saw wood, and grind oil.
Credits: @@ann_kaiser on Instagram
Best known as Holland’s fishing village, Volendam is home to the Volendam Cheese Factory😋 Here, you can savour traditional Dutch cheeses as well as learn about their production process!
You also can’t miss out on the Wooden Shoes Factory in Marken! Take the signature Amsterdam shot with clogs, or watch a clog making demonstration. The process is fascinating to watch and you’ll get a chance to see how the shoemaker breathes life into an otherwise unremarkable block of wood! Plus, get your hands on some cute souvenirs 🤗
Credits: @glowandwander on Instagram
If you enjoy just being in ‘the moment’, I suggest going for a picnic in one of the green oases that dot the city. One of the most popular and well known parks throughout the Netherlands is the Vondelpark!
Located near the Rijksmuseum and the Van Gogh Museum, it’s the perfect place to go picnicking, people-watching, jogging or simply lying on the grass. If you’re lucky, you can also catch a free concert at the open air theatre☺️
6. Muslim-friendly Food
As Islam is the second largest religion in Amsterdam, finding halal or Muslim-friendly food here is pretty easy! Ranging from Middle Eastern food to even Malaysian cuisine, there’s plenty of options to satiate your cravings, although Muslim visitors must exercise some caution as some of them do not have a Halal certification and do serve alcohol.
For those non Halal-certified places, we recommend checking personally with the eateries before consuming there!
Credits: @juneorjuly on Instagram
For breakfast, go for something light and sweet at Ma Bella Cakery! It’s vegetarian-friendly and the waffles are amazing 😍
Credits: @ubereats_nl on Instagram
If you want something cheap and a bit heavier, drop by one of the many Turkish kebab places to fuel up. Leeman Doner has been around since 1992 and is certified halal. The portions are pretty big and there a good variety of what you can get (ranging from traditional kebabs, to durum, and even baklava).
Another option we personally love is Amsterdam’s street food! You have to try their stroopwafels – soft and chewy, coated with chocolate! We’ve also rounded up some Muslim-friendly Amsterdam street food for your next food hunt!
Credits: @za_abdi on Instagram
Alright, so this next place isn’t that cheap, but considering the portions and sheer variety, I’d say it’s reasonably priced. The ‘Bazaar Amsterdam’ is another certified halal restaurant which is located at the heart of the Pijp neighborhood; just down Albert Cuyp Market Street. The interior this Middle-Eastern and North African restaurant is gorgeous – with hand-painted wall decorations, glittering chandeliers and the chill vibe that makes it a really relaxing place to just enjoy your meal😌
7. Stop by the Markets
Credit: @waterlooplein on Instagram
When it comes to food, clothes, trinkets and souvenirs, you’ll save a lot of money by visiting the local markets rather than visiting mainstream stores. The Waterlooplein is the oldest and most famous flea market, not only in Amsterdam but the Netherlands as well!
Note: It’s closed on Sundays!
Credit: @sofiiivo on Instagram
Wandering around the market, you’ll be able to enjoy looking at the different stalls as you peruse on what to take back as a souvenir. From vintage camera and antiques to jewelry and paintings, who knows what treasures you’ll be able to find😉
So there you have it! Amsterdam is by far one of the most beautiful cities in the world, but who says that a trip here has to be a ridiculously expensive affair? With these handy tips in mind, it’s time to start planning a visit there!