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5 ways to save in Amsterdam

Top 5 ways to save in Amsterdam

Amsterdam is undoubtedly one of the world’s most fun cities to visit, but even a quick trip to the Dutch capital can drain your wallet to the last drop.  Fortunately, a little preliminary research and some savvy advice from those in the know can help you hang onto your colorful Euro notes a little longer.  Follow this list of ways to save, and avoid going broke in Amsterdam!

1. Know Where You Are

Getting lost is not only a waste of time, but can lead to unnecessary cab rides and nervous snack attacks that will gobble up your budget faster than you can down a cone of vlaamse fries.  Before you hit the streets, download a free city guide app like this one from TripAdvisor or this one from I Amsterdam. If you really love killing trees or for some reason don’t have a smartphone yet, at least print out a map and remember to keep it with you.

2. Free Tours

Tours not only help you get oriented, but they also provide you with a valuable resource in the form of a tour guide who can personalized advice and answer questions almost instantaneously (better than Siri because they understand slang). Amsterdam, like just about every city in the developed world, has a plethora of free tours to choose from. Try Sandeman’s Famous Amsterdam Free Tour or City Free Tour, and inconspicuously wander off if you’re not satisfied—just don’t forget to leave a tip before you go.

3. Save on Transportation

As a rule, it pays to remember that Amsterdam is a compact city, not at all overwhelming in square mileage, and if you budget your time wisely you can get almost anywhere in the center on foot, or really anywhere if you figure out the extensive public transit system.  Hit up the GVB (Gemeentelijk Vervoerbedrijf if you like tongue twisters) for maps and ticket prices.  Unlimited tickets are around  7.50 EUR per day or 32 EUR per week. Or, for a couple more euros, you can score your own bicycle and do as the Dutch do – just try to keep both wheels on dry land.

4. Eat Cheap

Amsterdam’s restaurants, cafes, and those legendary “coffee shops” run the gamut between genuine values and blatant tourist traps, but massage your budget by avoiding them completely when your stomach starts growling.  Not surprisingly given the city’s vibrant street culture, you can find plenty of quick and cheap options to stuff your face without ever looking at a paper menu.  Keep an eye out for friendly kiosks and ¼ storefronts hawking local specialties like vlaamese frites (Belgian fries), pannekoek (Dutch pancakes) or bitterballen (deep fried meatballs).

5. Go to the Market

Markets throughout the city offer a welcome alternative to those ubiquitous deep-fried delicacies, but they also offer free entertainment and cheap souvenirs.  Most markets are held in central squares but disappear into thin air at closing time, so it pays to know the schedule.  For food your best bet is Marqt, a large, central farmer’s market that’s open from 8 AM to 9 PM every day but Sunday. For a great overall flea market experience, try the Waterlooplein market near the picturesque Zwanenburgwal Canal, open just about every day during business hours.

Pedal boat, canals, Amsterdam

Pedalboat canals Amsterdam