Amsterdam, Netherlands

The capital of the Netherlands, is famous for its coffee, historic architecture, canals, and one of the first places to smoke marijuana legally!  Many travelers, including young backpackers, come here to sip on coffee, wander the red light district, tour art museums, relax in beautiful parks, hangout in outdoor cafes, enjoy the history, and love life while they’re here.  The outskirts of Amsterdam is pretty cool too.  There are smaller neighborhoods with their own canal-side cafes.

MUST GO TO PLACES

Activities – Keep a budget of 50-65 EUR per day.  This will pay for your hostel, eating out, and transportation.  Museums can be kind of expensive ranging around 20 EUR.  Churches are free of charge to enter.  A canal tour is about 24 EUR.

Transportation – Amsterdam has great public transportation.  If you get the Amsterdam card, all public transportation is free.  The tram/bus costs around 2-3EUR for a one hour ticket.  Travelers looking to use public transport for just a day or two might find the most affordable and easiest option day tickets valid for 24, 48, 72 or 96 hours.  Prices range from 7.50-21 EUR.  Bike rentals cost around 10-20 EUR a day.

  • Anne Frank HouseThis is where Anne Frank and her family hid from Nazis in WW2.  The house showcases her life, what it was like in the attic, and it provides other information about the Holocaust.  The lines are long; book tickets online ahead to skip past them.  Admission is 9 EUR. and is open daily from 9am-7pm.
  • Learn Jewish HistoryNear Waterloopein, the Jewish History Museum is an excellent place to educate yourself on the Holocaust.  Admission is 15 EUR and open daily.  
  • JordaanVery few tourist visit this place.  It’s right next to the city center and has a ton of trendy cafes, shops, and restaurants.  It’s a popular place for locals.
  • OostEast of the city, this areas has a relaxing park, zoo, and lots of Muslim eateries.  It’s an off-the-beaten-path and underrated part of the city.
  • Rembrandt ParkWest of the city, and it is a great place to wander.  There will be no more signs in English, only Dutch. 
  • Take a canal tourThis is one of the best ways to see the city.  You can take a tour on a big boat or hire your own guide.  
  • VondelparkAmsterdam’s central park.  Everyone goes here to smoke, ride bikes, run, or picnic.  It gets really busy on warm days.  
  • House of BolsThis is a Dutch gin museum.  The self guided tour takes around an hour and you are promised a cocktail and a smelling test.  Admission is 16 EUR.
  • HaarlemA town right outside the city.  It’s a quick bus or bike ride.  It’s a quiet Dutch town that has a beautiful central church, great outdoor market, and all the beauty of historic Amsterdam with fewer crowds.  It costs between 4-8 EUR and takes about 15 minutes to get there.
  • NoordTake a ferry across the IJ to get here.  It is a up and coming area and it’s cheap!  There are cool markets and restaurants.  

ACCOMMODATIONS

Hostels are pretty expensive in Amsterdam.  Most places run around 10-30 EUR per night.  Dorm style rooms will ALWAYS be the cheapest way to go.  Most hostels offer free WiFi, breakfast, and linens.  Hostel World sometimes offers beds for just 1 EUR.

  • The Flying PigNo-frills dorms and private rooms, plus a lively bar, marijuana-friendly areas & free breakfast.  Around 26 EUR per night.  Located at Nieuwendijk 100, 1012 MR Amsterdam.
  • Bob’s Youth HostelColorful dorms & private rooms in a laid-back hostel offering a lounge that has a bar & a TV for 16 EUR per night.  Located at Nieuwezijds Voorburgwal 92, 1012 SG Amsterdam.
  • St. ChristopherStarting at 16 EUR per night this hostel offers artist-designed dorms & rooms in a budget property with a nightclub, a beer garden & free Wi-Fi.  Located at Warmoesstraat 129, 1012 JA Amsterdam.
  • The Meeting PointStraightforward hostel with unfussy, mixed dorms, plus storage & a laid-back bar with a pool table.  25 EUR per night.  Located at Warmoesstraat 14, 1012 JD Amsterdam.
  • Amsterdam Hostel LeidsepleinSimple mixed dorms with private bathrooms, free Wi-Fi & breakfast, plus a bar & a guest kitchen.  19 EUR per night.  Located at Korte Leidsedwarsstraat 79, 1017 PW Amsterdam.
  • Stayokay StadsdoelenStraightforward rooms & dorms in a casual venue offering free breakfast, a cafe & a bar.  22EUR per night.  Located at Kloveniersburgwal 97, 1011 KB Amsterdam.

BARS & RESTAURANTS

There are plenty of options for food in Amsterdam.  Meals will cost anywhere around 5-20 EUR.  You can get cheap Dutch food at FEBO (Dutch drunk food) for around 2-7 EUR.

  • Cafe de JardenIt’s a bright and spacious café located in the centre of Amsterdam, between Muntplein and the Amsterdam Music Theatre on Waterlooplein.  It’s popular for their quality food, drinks, salad buffet, and the canal-side terrace.  Located at Nieuwe Doelenstratt, 20-22 1012 CP, Amsterdam.
  • Glutenvrije WinkelAll items in this store are gluten free.  There’s also plenty of dairy free items too.  They have sweet goods, bread, and traditional dutch food.  They are not open Sunday or Monday.  Located at Pretoriusstraat 37, 1092 EZ Amsterdam.
  • Bagels & BeansPerfect place for lunch.  They have several locations across Amsterdam.  They have the best gluten free bagels.  It is highly recommended to get their smoked chicken, avocado, basil dressing & pine nut on a gluten free bagel.  They also sell bagels in a sealed bag so you can take home with you. 
  • Pancakes! Amsterdam –  They have favorites & Dutch pancakes that are gluten and dairy free. There are several locations across the city.
  • Spaghetteria PastabarThey obviously specialize in pasta.  Super cozy and has community style tables.  Perfect place for a great dinner.  Located throughout the city.
  • Haesje ClaesThey have an extensive menu dedicated for gluten free eaters.  Perfect place for traditional Dutch dishes.  They also supply gluten free beer (SCORE!).  Gluten free bread and butter is offered before meals.  Another perfect place for a gluten free dinner.  Located at Spuistraat 273-275, 1012 VR Amsterdam.
  • Pinsa’s Gourmet PizzeriaThe best place for gluten free pizza in Amsterdam.  You do have to let them know about your GF situation a day before you go.  Located at Spaarndammerstraat 772, Amsterdam.
  • La VinaThis restaurant is run by someone who also is celiacs.  They serve Mediterranean cuisine.  The staff is very knowledgeable and very happy to help you out.  Gluten free bread and beer are served here too.  Located at Maasstraat 72, 1078HL, Amsterdam.
  • Toos & RoosGreat place for gluten free sandwiches.  They serve breakfast and lunch.  Defiantly try the club sandwich.  Located in 2 different parts of the city.
  • Sumo – Your sushi dreams come true.  They offer GF soy sauce.  They have all you can eat sushi.  Located in some different areas in the city.

MONEY SAVING TIPS

  • Get the iAmsterdam Pass offers a free entrance to most of the major museums and other attractions.  It even allows free public transportation.  If you’re a museum junky, get this pass.
  • Drink at your hostel – they have the best deals in the city.  You can still drink there if you’re not staying at that hostel.  Some drink specials can be around 2 EUR.  
  • Get the Amsterdam Nightlife TicketValid for 7 days and only costs 10 EUR.  It gives you unlimited access to 8 clubs, a welcome drink at five of the clubs, access to the Holland Casino, discounts on your Uber ride, and more.  If you’re going to party in Amsterdam, this nightlife ticket will definitely cut down the cost of partying in the city.
  • Take free walking tours – The perfect way to see the the city.  You’ll learn about the city without spending money.  Some hostels offer their own free tours.
  • Rent a bike – Bike riding is a big part of the Dutch culture.  Bike rentals are around 10-20 EUR for the day.  Dutch cities are pretty small and very walkable.
  • Use CouchsurfingThis app allows travelers to stay with locals for free.  A lot of budget travelers use this app so book a host early.  

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