Amsterdam is a wonderful and beautiful city, of that there is little doubt. The quirky architecture as a backdrop to the picturesque canals serves as an ideal place for a weekend getaway.
Accommodation in Amsterdam doesn’t have to be a cheap hotel which is otherwise filled with hen and stag parties. There are apartments in Amsterdam central available which are spacious, modern, in quiet locations and most importantly they have facilities enough to make them your own home from home.
So, you’ve got your perfect accommodation sorted, now to find something to do!
Fortunately, Amsterdam has more than a little to do. But it has to be remembered that it is a European capital and things, unfortunately, aren’t cheap.
There are going to be days during your visit when you need to dial down the spending a little. Days where finding something to do that doesn’t cost you anything at all, perhaps saving money for your night out later?!
Here are some of Amsterdam’s best things to do which will cost you absolutely nothing.
Surprisingly, you can find several of these that are technically free. The guides work on a tip only basis so you can pay as much as you can at the end if you’ve enjoyed it. Some of these can be found starting at the National Monument which is located on Dam Square. Most people find these tours an invaluable guide to the history and the secrets of Amsterdam.
There are plenty of boat trips on offer along the canals of Amsterdam, some offering dinner, some guided tours and some even live music but you might be surprised to find that some of them are free too.
They are Public Transport systems but regardless of that, they do give you some great views of the city. The ferry port is in the north of the city. For the best views and the longest voyage take the one marked ‘NDSM Werf’.
Amsterdam is a particularly green city and Vondelpark is its most famous and most popular open public space. It’s a quiet oasis away from the hustle and bustle of the city but surprisingly located right in the centre of the commotion.
It’s a favourite place amongst locals to sit and relax as well as play games and have a run. Entry is free and you can be as mobile as you like when you get there.
If you need some refreshments there are cafes all over the park, or if you’re trying to keep costs down why not bring a picnic?
The Red Light District
Most cities in the world have these kinds of areas but none of them are as famous as Amsterdam’s, nor do they draw the tourists in from all walks of life. It’s perfectly acceptable for anyone to come and have a look here even if they’ve no intention of using any of the services on offer, it’s quite an eye-opener as you can imagine.
Just make sure you’re not going to be offended by prostitutes, peep shows, brothels, sex shops or coffee shops which sell stronger stuff than coffee.
Diamond Factory Tour
As well as being famous for a bit of debauchery. Amsterdam is also renowned for being the ‘City of Diamonds’. Gassan Diamonds offers guided tours around its building seven days a week. Tour guides, who speak multiple languages, will teach you about Amsterdam’s history with the diamond market as well as informing you what certain diamond related terms mean, including cuts, clarity, carats and colours.
Explore the markets
Ok, so a visit to the market is only free if you don’t buy anything, that’s true! But it certainly doesn’t cost anything to browse.
There are numerous markets in Amsterdam to take a look at whilst you’re there. On the first Sunday of every month, there is a huge market in the Westerpark Area. If you’re looking for a souvenir for Amsterdam that’s unique then this is the place you’re going to find it. Stallholders have come up with all sorts of crazy ideas.
There’s also food and drink stalls too, some even given away free samples. Collect enough you might even enjoy a free lunch!
Not around for the first Sunday in the month? Try out the Waterlooplein Flea Market which is on six days a week.
The Rijksmuseum itself is certainly not free but the beautiful gardens adjacent to it are. There are all the normal things you’d expect to find in well-manicured gardens such as this, but there’s also free artwork too. Including a sculpture exhibition by Henry Moore.