Keeping spending to a minimum and seeing the sights
Amsterdam is a great destination for those who want to experience the city without breaking the bank. Here are some of the best things to do for free in Amsterdam:
1. Visit the Markets
The markets in Amsterdam are a riot of colour and a feast for the eyes without costing a penny to browse. Check out the Bloemenmarkt the worlds only floating flower market can be found on barges on the southern side of the Singel or try the Noordermarket flea market on Monday mornings for something a bit different or in the same location in Jordaan on a Saturday for the Boerenmarkt – an organic farmers market that often has some form of street performance accompanying it! For a taste of real Amsterdam pay a visit to the Albertcuypmarkt the cities largest street market selling everything from fresh waffles to jewellery.
2. Visit the Parks
Amsterdam is not short of outdoor spaces, offering respite from the frenetic city centre – the many parks can provide a haven or even an alternative distraction from the usual tourist hot spots. Vondelpark remains the most popular with 10 acres of lush greenery with ponds, lakes and play areas in the Museum Quarter – great for a picnic in warmer months. Westerpark in Jordaan has much more for youngsters with nature reserves, a petting zoo, playground, paddling pool and café.
3. Take a boat Trip
Take a free boat trip across the water from behind Centraal Station, ensure you choose the longer route to Buiksloterdijk as this route is longer than the other two routes which last only about ten minutes. The trip affords an opportunity to see parts of the City that many tourists miss including the avante-garde artits community NDSM-werf.
4. Visit Cannabis College
Visit the only cannabis garden open to the public in the world and learn a little something about the plant, its origins and uses and politics surrounding the infamous herb. Situated right in the Heart of Amsterdam this is a must see for a trip to the city to be complete. Admission is free but they ask for donations to help towards the overheads and upkeep of the college.
5. Free Walking Tour
Why not take advantage of the Sonderman’s free walking tour of Amsterdam and take in some of the sights including The Anne Frank House, The Palace, Jordaan District and The Red Light District to name a few of the destinations. This tour starts in front of the National Monument at Dam Square at 11:15 AM and 1:15 PM and last about 3 hours. The guides work only for tips based on how much you feel that the tour was worth.
6. Catch a Free Concert
Head over to the Concertgebouwplein for a free lunch time concert in the summer months between 1230h-1300h. Rehearsals are made at this time for evening performances and free tickets are available though very popular. A great option to sample some culture without committing to a full performance!
7. Visit the Civic Guards Gallery
Forming part of the Amsterdam Museum, this sample exhibition is adjacent to the main building in a glass covered alleyway at Kalverstraat 92 showcasing paintings of the Civic Guards in the Golden Age.
8. Explore the Canals
This may seem a bit obvious but not many appreciate that Amsterdam’s canals are over 400 years old and are a protected UNESCO World Heritage site. With more canals than Venice this is what Amsterdam is known for the world over. Each canal has its own character, architectural eccentricities and uniqueness that make wandering around them so fascinating.
9. Free Live Music
Guaranteed on any night in Amsterdam there will be some free performance available in a bar or club for live music – be it a Jazz Club, Open Mic night or a Blues Band. Check out the Live Around Amsterdam website for current listings.
10. Visit the Diamond Factory
If you’re a bit of a magpie and like all things shiny then you might enjoy a tour around the Gassan Diamond Factory. Amsterdam even has it’s own cut of diamond named after it hence the moniker as ‘The City of Diamonds’. The tour is free though unfortunately free samples aren’t available!
For the latest information on other free events and activities check out the Amsterdam tourist board.