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Amsterdam is one of Europe’s coolest cities but did you know it’s also possible to visit Amsterdam on a budget? There’s not only so much to do in Amsterdam for free, but getting to Amsterdam from the UK can be very, very cheap. Plus once you’re there it’s possible to find cheap Amsterdam hotels, cheap places to eat and drink! If you’re planning a weekend break to Amsterdam but don’t have a whole lotta cash to splash then check out this Amsterdam travel guide for an Amsterdam break on a budget.
Amsterdam is the capital of the Netherlands and is known for its art scene, canals, cyclists and narrow houses. There is a tonne of brilliant museums such as the Van Gogh Museum, the Rijksmuseum and Anne Frank’s House among others. There’s delicious food from all over the world and it makes the perfect city break from the UK.
Where is Amsterdam?
Amsterdam is in the Netherlands in Europe. More specifically it’s in the south of the province of North Holland.
Useful Resources for your trip to Amsterdam
- Amsterdam Lonely Planet Travel Guide
- Car Hire
- Cheap flights to Amsterdam
- Buses from the UK to Amsterdam
- Awesome Amsterdam tours & guides
- Cheap Hostels in Amsterdam & Budget hotels
How to get to Amsterdam from the UK
Amsterdam is relatively close to the UK and there are several easy ways to get from the UK to Amsterdam. You can fly, drive, take the train or take a bus.
I’ve been to Amsterdam a couple of times, the first time we drove as a family and the second time I took an overnight bus. I’ve outlined the different ways to get to Amsterdam below so you can choose what works for you.
Cheap flights to Amsterdam
Flights to Amsterdam are usually very cheap. You can find return flights to Amsterdam for under £50! The flight takes just over one hour and there are lots of direct flights leaving throughout the day every day.
If you’ve yet to choose your dates then take a look at Dollar Flight Club, once signed up you can set your home airport(s) and then they’ll let you know when they find amazing deals on flights. The savings they find every day AMAZE me.
Bus from London to Amsterdam on a budget
While this isn’t the most comfortable method of transport it is usually the best method of cheap travel to Amsterdam. If you’re on a tight budget but still want a trip to Amsterdam then look into getting the bus to Amsterdam.
I’ve previously taken a trip to Amsterdam on the overnight bus which also saves you money on a night’s accommodation too – win, win! However, you should bear in mind that a lot of people go to Amsterdam to party so chances are there’ll be some partying going on on the bus. Also, the bus we took didn’t have reclining seats and legroom was minimal, to say the least. BUT if you’re looking for a cheap, easy way to get to Amsterdam then don’t rule this out.
You can find cheap bus tickets to Amsterdam by using Omio.
A round trip on the bus costs about £41 (making it the cheapest way to Amsterdam) and takes about 11 hours. The buses usually leave from London’s Victoria bus station. Getting an overnight bus on a Friday and then returning on a Sunday makes it easy to plan a cheap weekend to Amsterdam.
The cost of a bus ticket to Amsterdam isn’t hugely different from flying to Amsterdam but getting the bus means you don’t have to hang around at the airport for a few hours either side.
Eurostar to Amsterdam
Another way to get to Amsterdam from the UK is to take the Eurostar. This is probably my favourite way to travel to Amsterdam but it is more expensive than either flying with a budget airline or getting the bus. However, it’s super comfortable and you get a nice view.
I suggest signing up to the Eurostar mailing list to be notified of sales. They usually have sales a couple of times throughout the year and it’s a great way to get some cheaper tickets to Amsterdam.
Driving to Amsterdam
Alternatively, you could do a road trip from the UK to Amsterdam. This is great if you’ve got a bit more time. You’ll need to choose whether to get a ferry from Dover, or whether to take the Eurotunnel from Folkestone.
Depending on your car and traffic petrol will cost somewhere between £50-100 and can take as little as 6 hours.
If you need to rent a car for your road trip, check out RentalCars.com to compare cheap car hire deals.
Getting around Amsterdam
Travel in Amsterdam is easy and most of the places you’ll want to visit aren’t far apart from each other. Here are a few different ways of travelling around Amsterdam on a budget.
Amsterdam by bike
Amsterdam is a fantastic city for cyclists. Most locals cycle in the city and the city is really designed to make cycling easy. Renting a bike in Amsterdam tends to cost about 9€75 per day but this usually drops if you’re renting for multiple days. There’s usually a deposit put against a credit card too.
Some hotels (listed below) also include free bike rental.
Getting around Amsterdam by public transport
Amsterdam also has a good bus, tram and subway network. The cheapest way to use public transport in Amsterdam is to buy a multi-day transportation ticket. These give you unlimited use of the trams, buses and subway from 6 am to 12:30 am. A one-day public transport pass in Amsterdam costs €8.
Hop on, hop off buses are also a good way of getting around the main sights and attractions in Amsterdam. You can buy tickets here for the hop on, hop off bus & boat tour here.
Where to stay in Amsterdam: cheap hotels in Amsterdam
With such a big choice when it comes to places to stay in Amsterdam you’ll easily find an Amsterdam hostel or Amsterdam budget hotel for your trip to Amsterdam. Cheap accommodation in Amsterdam usually means staying in a hostel but if your budget isn’t super tight you can also find cheap places to stay in Amsterdam hotels.
I’ve picked out some of the top-rated Amsterdam accommodation, including hostels and hotels, that are great if you’re travelling on a budget and looking for where to stay in Amsterdam on a budget!
Cheap hostels in Amsterdam
There are plenty of hostels in Amsterdam with some being far more popular than others. Here are a few of the top cheap hostels in Amsterdam central.
Generator is a very popular brand of hostels across the world. One bed in a dorm costs about £20. This Amsterdam budget hostel also has cool events like meditation sessions and your bed comes with access to free bikes to get around Amsterdam for free.
The Flying Pig, Amsterdam gets great reviews. It has a bar, a 24-hour reception desk and is just 3 minute’s walk away from Amsterdam Central Station with some of the cheapest rooms in Amsterdam. A dorm room will cost as little as £19 and if you book a private room you get the luxury of a TV, fridge and private bathroom. The price also includes a continental buffet breakfast too!
Clink hostels are great, I previously stayed at one in an old prison in London, and this one is no exception. This hostel is complete with original laboratory features, a spacious atrium and a lively bar plus it’s just across the IJ river and only 10 minutes from Amsterdam Centraal Station. Each bed comes with a USB charging port which is super useful when staying in a dorm.
A bed in a dorm here costs about £30 which is a little more expensive than the other two on the list, but it is the top rated hostel in Amsterdam on Hostelworld.com!
Best budget hotels in Amsterdam
If a hotel is more your scene make sure to check out these affordable hotels in Amsterdam. These are some of the best hotels in Amsterdam on a budget!
The Amsterdam Teleport Hotel is one of the best cheap hotels in Amsterdam city centre. It has great reviews and is 400 m from the Amsterdam Sloterdijk railway station. You can also rent bikes here. The cost of your room also includes a continental breakfast which is great for a budget hotel in Amsterdam.
This cool Amsterdam budget hotel allows you to sleep on a boat in Amsterdam! Here you’re a little out of the main centre of Amsterdam but still in a great location and it’s easy to get to Amsterdam’s top attractions. Plus you get incredible views!
Cheap places to eat in Amsterdam
You can even find cheap food to keep your visit to Amsterdam cheap and the best thing is that the food doesn’t need to be a McDonald’s or equivalent. It can be good!
There are two Thrill Grills and they’re one of the best cheap restaurants in Amsterdam. It’s perfect for anyone looking for a gourmet burger or the best cheap eats in Amsterdam. Most of their burgers are under 10€ and are made with locally sourced, natural ingredients.
Skek is near Amsterdam’s Red Light District and features traditional Dutch food fused with the newest eating trends. The fact that it’s popular with students just goes to show that it’s one of the best cheap restaurants in Amsterdam – students know how to sniff out a bargain!
Dishes cost about 13€ on average so if you’re looking for the best places to go eating out in Amsterdam then check out Skek!
In the heart of Amsterdam’s shopping area is Goodies which does some of the best cheap food in Amsterdam. Here you’ll find fish, burgers, lamb and even cheese fondue which is a Dutch favourite. Main courses start at 8€ and everything on the menu is fresh and organic. See, it’s easy to find nice places to eat in Amsterdam on a budget!
La Perla is an authentic Italian restaurant who imports ingredients from Italy every week. If you’re looking for one of the best places to eat in Amsterdam on a budget then you just found it! You can’t go wrong with pizza, especially when it’s this good. Their pizzas are cooked in a huge, wood-filled brick oven and start at under 9€!
Other cheap eats in Amsterdam
If you’re looking for what to eat in Amsterdam then check out these good places to eat in Amsterdam that also happen to be super cheap!
Turkish pizza: €2-5
Falafel sandwich: €4.95
Meal of the day at MKZ Eetcafé (3 courses & all veggie): €5
- Cheap beer in Amsterdam at Café The Minds; one of the best cheap bars in Amsterdam!
Best things to do in Amsterdam on a budget
Plan your cheap holidays to Amsterdam with this list of budget-friendly things to do in Amsterdam. There’s so much to do in Amsterdam that you don’t have to spend much, it’s incredibly easy to have a cheap Amsterdam break. Consider this your Amsterdam guide for a budget trip!
Awesome Amsterdam tours
If you’re staying in Amsterdam a little bit longer then these day trips will help you see more of The Netherlands.
- Half Day Tour of Zaanse Schans Windmills from Amsterdam
- Geithoorn (super cute town!) tour & Amsterdam canal cruise
- Day trip to Bruges from Amsterdam
Breakfast at Cafe de Prins
When Thom and I visited Amsterdam for King’s Day we stayed with his friend who happened to live very close to this great little breakfast spot. We dined on pancakes and coffee which set us up perfectly for a day’s exploring in Amsterdam and it was also a pretty cheap breakfast in Amsterdam too!
Attend King’s Day
King’s Day is a huge party all across Holland. In Amsterdam, the streets are full of people dressed in orange, sound stages, flea markets and general fun. The best part? It’s all free and one of the best cheap things to do in Amsterdam.
Eat an Ethiopian Feast at Walia Ibex
This was the first time I’d tried Ethiopian food and it was delicious. I’d highly recommend checking out Walia Ibex in Amsterdam for some delicious and unique flavours.
Step back in time at Anne Frank’s House
If this is your first visit to Amsterdam then make sure you book tickets to Anne Frank’s House. Everyone knows the story of Anne Frank and the chance to visit her house will take you back in time. It’s thought-provoking and can be upsetting but it’s important to remember what happened.
Visit the Amsterdam CatBoat
The Amsterdam CatBoat is the only cat sanctuary that floats on water. It’s home to many cats that are looking for their forever home. In the meantime, you can go brighten their day by paying them a visit and entrance is free!
Beer tasting at a windmill
There are 8 remaining windmills in Amsterdam and the easiest to visit is de Gooyer in the east. This isn’t just any windmill either! Underneath the sails of this windmill is Brouwerij‘t Ij.
This is an award-winning artisan microbrewery with a large outdoor drinking terrace and guided tasting tours. Sounds good, hey?
Smell the tulips
Sure seeing or buying tulips in Amsterdam may be cliche but they’re also pretty so can you blame us?
The most famous place to buy tulips and bulbs in Amsterdam is the Bloemenmarkt. It’s the world’s only floating flower market and it lines the Singel with colourful flower stalls.
If you’re visiting Amsterdam in the spring, then take the 20 minute trip to the world-famous tulip fields (Bollenstreek). Here tulips stretch out for miles and miles!
Eat at the 30 food stalls found in a former tram depot
Located in the hipster Oud-West neighbourhood is De Hallen; a cool artsy and foodie area in a refurbished industrial building dating from 1902. Dine on pizzas, Vietnamese food and more. It’s a bit like a dutch Brixton Market!
Bike to Ouderkerk aan de Amstel
Head out of Amsterdam on a bicycle for 30 minutes towards the picturesque village of Ouderkerk aan de Amstel. Here there are great restaurants and bars and plenty of open space to relax in on a nice summer’s day.
Skate the canal
Visiting Amsterdam in winter? If the temperatures drop low enough then you could head out onto the canal and go ice skating! The canals in winter may be full of ice skaters who race around the canals but make sure you’ve checked it’s safe before you lace up your skates!
The best way to skate on the canals is to join the group who leave Vondelpark from 9 pm every Friday night for a three hour/20km skate!
Take a ride down the canals
If it’s not winter when you visit then hit the canals by boat. Either try and befriend a boat owner (tricky!) or buy a ticket for a canal cruise for a different view of the city.
This private beer boat is only £30 and includes some beer as well as the canal cruise!
Other Amsterdam boat tours
Hire a bicycle
Amsterdam is the city of cyclists. With over 800,000 bicycles in Amsterdam cycling is very much a way of life. There are cycle routes and flat land all over the city which makes it a great place to explore on two wheels.
You can hire a bike from many places across the city and also book cycling tours in Amsterdam if you don’t feel confident about going it alone.
Get lost in the arty Jordaan
The Jordaan area of Amsterdam is charming and made up of narrow streets and quaint buildings. There are art galleries, independent shops and courtyard gardens too. Forget your GPS and wander aimlessly and see what you come across.
Catch the ferry to Amsterdam North
Most people who visit Amsterdam don’t venture north of the central station but they’re missing out! Take a short, free ferry trip and head over to Amsterdam North where food, drink and culture await.
Walk around Vondelpark
Amsterdam’s most loved park, Vondelpark, is a great place to wander after a leisurely brunch. It’s a huge green space with ponds, an open-air theatre and is super close to the best museums in Amsterdam.
Snap a selfie with the iAmsterdam sign
Chances are you’ve seen friends and friends of friends posing with the iAmsterdam sign on their holiday to Amsterdam. It’d almost be rude not for you to snap a selfie with the sign when you go too!
And visit the Rijksmuseum while you’re there
The iAmsterdam sign is just outside the Rijksmuseum which houses the art of many famous artists called Rembrandt and Vermeer. It’s recently been renovated so it’s even more impressive than ever before!
Also known as the Latin Quarter, De Pjip, is full of ethnic restaurants and eclectic shops You’ll also find the famous street market, Albert Cuyp Market, here every week from Monday to Saturday.
De Negen Straatjes (Nine Little Streets)
De Negen Straatjes, or the Nine Little Streets, are nine little streets that run between the Prinsengracht and Singel canals. They’re lined with boutiques that sell vintage clothing, beautiful home decor and more. It’s a great place to go window shopping (or real shopping) during your visit to Amsterdam.