12 useful tips for tourists in Amsterdam
In this article, we’ve compiled some tips and tricks that will come in handy when you’re traveling to Amsterdam. Some things to know and some tips will help you have a great time in Amsterdam.
Be prepared for changeable weather
The weather in Amsterdam is unpredictable. Make sure you have an extra layer of clothes when you go out. This is an essential tip that has been proven by years of personal experience. The weather is changeable how much so that you can easily see sun, rain, fog, hail, clouds and clouds in just one day.
Depending on the time of year, take one layer of clothing with you that will keep you warm when the sun suddenly (it most often does) goes behind the clouds and gets noticeably cooler. Or if it rains, for example. With the crazy weather in Holland this works without fail.
We recommend clothes which are waterproof and windproof. It’s hard to get cold here (except in winter), but it’s easy to get wet. The wind can be strong, so the urns are filled with broken umbrellas.
The most accurate weather forecast in Amsterdam at Wunderground.com or install the Buienalarm app.
Buienalarm is the first thing people install on their phones when they move to live in Amsterdam. The program will tell you where and when it will rain in the next 2 hours anywhere in the Netherlands. In addition, you will know how much rain is expected and, if you are absolutely curious, you can see where the clouds will move.
Buienalarm translates as “rainstorm”. If you are going for a walk, don’t forget to check if it is going to rain heavily in 15 minutes. The good news is that even if you get caught in the rain, hide and wait for 15-20 minutes. It rarely rains for long in Amsterdam.
2. the exchange office with the best exchange rate in Amsterdam
Netherlands is a very advanced country. Here it is rare to meet a local resident with a hundred euros in his wallet. Most pay by card. Paper money in Amsterdam is for tourists. The Dutch do not jingle change in their pockets .
Still, we recommend carrying cash in case the terminal refuses to accept your Visa or Mastercard. This happens often, so be prepared.
The best exchange rate in Amsterdam is at the Pott Exchange. Pott Exchange is located right in the center of the city near Dam Square. It accepts almost any currency. Here it is on the map. This is the best place to change money in Amsterdam.
3. Save on transportation in Amsterdam with the GVB single ticket
The GVB single ticket for public transport not only allows you to move around Amsterdam without restrictions, but also to save on fares.
Look for discounts on the GVB single ticket on this page (1-7 days).
Lowest price for the GVB + train pass from/to the airport on the GYG website (for 3 days).
4. or buy cheap group train tickets
Few people know that it’s cheaper to travel by train in Holland together. Depending on the destination and the number of people you can save more than 70% of the cost of train tickets. The more people in a group, the cheaper the trip.
To do this, buy a group ticket on the official website of the NS (Nederlandse Spoorwegen – Dutch Railways). The group ticket is valid for a round trip to any of the stations in the country. By the way, the departure station can be any station, and the arrival station is the same for all members of the group. Don’t forget to print the ticket.
5. Save on sightseeing with the museum card
The Amsterdam Museum Card is a card that allows you to visit museums and attractions in the city for free or at a discount. Amsterdam has several of these cards: the iAmsterdam city card, Holland Pass and Amsterdam Pass. Although they vary in price and usage, the cards help you save a lot on admission fees.
To make it easier for you to understand the museum cards, we have made a detailed comparison of Amsterdam’s museum cards.
6. Don’t break local laws.
Remember that in Amsterdam you can’t:
- Smoking in public places.
- Drinking alcoholic beverages in public places and residential areas.
- Walk on bicycle lanes.
- Park your bicycle anywhere.
- Taking pictures of girls (female workers) on Red Light Street.
- Taking drugs out of the Netherlands. There is a prison sentence of up to 12 years for this.
7. Do not leave generous tips.
In Amsterdam and in the Netherlands in general, the culture of tipping is not particularly common. And this is a great excuse to save money. Dutch waiters are paid a decent wage and therefore tips are often limited to rounding up to the nearest euro. Alternatively, you can leave a few euros in change.
8. Do not mix marijuana and alcohol
Many people know that mixing a coffeeshop with a bar is a bad idea. However, this is often forgotten. We don’t recommend getting high on alcohol if you have plans to visit a coffeeshop and vice versa. After smoking weed you shouldn’t even drink beer, take a sweet soda like Coca Cola, it will bring you to your senses faster.
Also remember that many Amsterdam coffeeshops sell high quality cannabis so be careful because the effect might be stronger than you expect.
9. Stay away from street dealers
Walking around the Red Light District at night, you are likely to come across people willing to sell you hard drugs. We strongly advise you not to get involved with people like that. In the last couple of years several tourists have died because of street dealers.
Buying, possessing and using hard drugs is punishable in Holland. Stay on the light side and better have a coffee and croissant.
10. Get lost
The center of Amsterdam often looks like one big crowd, and this becomes a real problem for the city. Plan your trip properly and pick a few interesting places a little further from the center and you’ll see how different Amsterdam can be.
The hackneyed tourist routes have long been known to everyone. Visit a couple of unusual places and you’ll get a lot more likes on your favorite social network. And we’ll help you with that.
Alternatively, we can advise you to forget about the map and just go wherever you can see, turning around when you can think of it. Believe us, you will see a lot of unexpected things.
11. Drink water from the tap.
The water in Holland is one of the cleanest in Europe and this is why locals almost always drink from the tap. Stock up on a reusable bottle or flask and keep your water balance absolutely free. Walking around the city you will find free drinking fountains.
In some establishments you may be refused tap water on the grounds that they only sell bottled water. There is nothing we can do here, there is no law obliging you to pour water for free in Amsterdam.
12. Look in the windows
If you want to see how the locals live, just look in their window. Most of the Dutch do not close the curtains in the living room (or do not have them at all) and do not mind if someone looks in their window. If they see you – smile and wave to them, they are sure to smile back.
Amsterdam is a city where curtains are not often drawn, and where you can see the real Dutch way of life. If you find yourself in the suburbs – you’re lucky doubly lucky, the windows are bigger and lower, so you can see everything better.
Secrets for a successful trip to Amsterdam
How to travel cheaply to Amsterdam?
Amsterdam is considered to be quite an expensive city for tourists, so when preparing a trip here, most travelers put a fairly large budget.
The main items of expenditure are rent and food. And this and that quite heavily affects the pockets of the city’s guests. However, walking around Amsterdam, it is not difficult to notice that the city is visited by quite a lot of young people and students, who obviously feel quite comfortable here. And indeed, if you give up some of the comforts and have the necessary information, the trip to Amsterdam will cost you quite cheap.
This way of traveling is unlikely to suit families with children, or, say, a honeymoon trip, because the newlyweds probably want the comfort and privacy, but it’s perfect for a company of young people or just an unpretentious couple who have not had children, or kindly left their grandparents:)
1. How to get to Amsterdam? Cheap Flights
When talking about a budget trip to Amsterdam, we should, of course, forget about direct flights. They, as a rule, will cost not cheaper than 10 thousand rubles, and such costs are not in our plans! What alternatives are available?
From Russian capitals there are several options for flying to Amsterdam with a connection. The most common is with AirFrance airlines with a connection in Paris. Moreover, these changes are different: sometimes it could be just a few hours that you would have to spend at the airport, and it could be 10-20 hours and this means that you could also take a walk in Paris. The cost of such a flight is 5-6 thousand rubles.
Remember the golden rule: the earlier you buy the tickets, the cheaper they will cost you.
Also worth checking out are the offers of Aegean Airlines with a connection in Greece and AirBaltic in Riga.
Flights from Riga and Helsinki
Residents of St. Petersburg and other cities in the Northwest of our vast country should consider flying from the nearest European cities. First of all, this is Helsinki. A ticket to Helsinki-Amsterdam can cost up to 2500 rubles! (Transavia and Norwegian Airlines). You can get to Helsinki by bus for 1000 rubles. Summing up all the costs – the savings are obvious (even if you have to spend money on the road to St. Petersburg). Similar options are in Riga. True, it takes a little longer to get to Riga, and tickets from there to Amsterdam are a little more expensive.
We recommend to read more about how to get to Amsterdam.
2. Cheap accommodation in Amsterdam
The best way to save money on lodging is the well-known hostels or bed-and-breakfasts. Hostels are a very popular type of accommodation among tourists in Amsterdam. Compared to other cities in Europe, they are quite expensive, but there are many and if you try, you can find for 20-25 euros a great option in the city center with breakfast included and a shared bathroom for each room (where there will be 6-8 beds). We recommend you book a hostel with breakfast included, for hanging around the city in the morning in search of inexpensive breakfasts – a very tedious and not rational.
A little info-hack: if you have a company of 5 people, you can book 6 beds in a 6-bed room. For an empty bed, of course, will have to pay, discounted at 4-5 euros per person. But in the end you will live in a single room with the company, have at its disposal its own bathroom, not to worry about the safety of things and not be afraid to disturb their fellow travelers. And the empty bunk can be used. well, for example, as a table:) In the end, the hostel will no longer be a hostel for you but a real hotel room, albeit modest:)
That’s exactly what we did on our trip to Amsterdam. Stayed in a hostel Hans Brinker Hostel, detailed review of which you can read here.
3. Where to eat inexpensive in Amsterdam?
Of course it’s impossible to cook your own food in such conditions, and eating in cafes and restaurants in Amsterdam is quite expensive. But there are alternative options. It’s not even about the boring McDonald’s, Burger King, Subway, etc., the food which is boring in a few days, and something more interesting. Amsterdam has an excellent local fast food scene. Right on the street you can try the national fast food. herring! Stalls with the sign “Haringhandel” – you are here!
For 2-2.5 euro you will be served a few pieces of herring, cucumbers and onions, and for 4-4.5 euro you will get a real hot dog with herring! The latter option is quite hearty and tasty, so it is perfect to be refreshed before a walk.
Wok to Walk.
This place has a system of putting together a box of food yourself, some of you have probably come across it. Your meal is going to be assembled in 4 steps: first you choose a base like rice, udon, etc., then you choose additives (meat, chicken, mushrooms, peppers, etc.) and sauce or seasoning, at the end you choose a drink of your choice. For 7-10 euros you can get yourself a very tasty box, and the portions here are quite large (you can eat one for two).
Once your order is placed, you are given a receipt and a round black thingy (pictured), which will beep and vibrate as soon as your order is ready.
Below is a picture of the menu, which will help you navigate to the prices and list of items, if you have problems with the English, then use a translator in advance.
In the Soup en Zo chain, you can get soup (tomato, pumpkin, asparagus, etc.) for only 5-6 euros. And before ordering a portion, you can first taste the dish.
If the stomach is still hungry for more “high” cuisine, you can look for inexpensive cafes and restaurants that have promotions, happy hours and the like. So, during our walk around the city, not far from Dam Square, we came across Dam Steakhouse Argentijs restaurant. The waiter, who was standing at the entrance, enticed us with the offer of a Mini Mix Grill. The portion (pictured below) for 15 euros includes steak, chicken breast, ribs, salad, fries.
You should agree that it’s a pretty good set of meat for just 15 Euros. Drinks are ordered separately. That night our hearts started to dance and we had a few more beers, sodas, gravy, in the end the total bill came out to 109 euros for 5 people. But if you come only to eat, it is possible to keep within 15-17 euros per person.
The supermarket chain FEBO – basically offers the usual hamburgers and the like fast food, but in a very unusual way. All food here is stored in special automatic heated cells. You just need to come up, throw coins (2-3 euros) and pick up the desired “dish”. For this uncomplicated way FEBO snack bars are often called “food out of the wall.
In regular supermarkets you can also buy small snacks for the walk, such as this:
Finally, an option for the hungriest and thriftiest: free cheese tasting. Such a cheese store is, for example, Flower Market.
4. What can be visited in Amsterdam inexpensive?
The price tag on the most famous museums of the city quite bite: Van Gogh Museum – 17 euros, Heineken Beer Museum 18 euros, Anne Frank House 9 euros, Rijksmuseum – 18,5 euros.
Whether to spend so much money to see the beautiful things – you decide. But we want to tell you the following: you should not spare money for a walk along the canals! It is definitely worth it in Amsterdam. The price is 16-19 euros.
For only 15 euros you can take a group sightseeing tour of Amsterdam.
There are interesting places in Amsterdam that are free or inexpensive to visit.
Ticket to the Museum of Sex will cost only 5 euros .
You can take a free ride on the water using the ferry that leaves from the pier behind the Central Station and goes to the Nord area, on the other side of the bay.
The roof of the Nemo Science Museum. This museum attracts quite a number of tourists, the entrance fee is 16.5 euros. Also, the museum building has an open-roof panoramic platform with a great view of the city. And you can get on the roof for free. There is a small café here with reasonable prices, so you can afford to buy a drink and enjoy the view.
Of the important and free attractions we recommend you to visit: the Red Light District, Begijnhof courtyard, De Goyeer mill (right under the mill is a brewery), and Vondela Park.
No matter how budget-minded a tourist you are, it’s impossible not to bring home at least a couple of souvenirs. What does Amsterdam have to offer us in this regard? Well, first of all, of course, magnets.
The cheapest ones are at the Flower Market. One magnet is 2 euros, but there are specials, like 3 for 5 euros etc.
Other inexpensive souvenirs are lighters, key chains, small ashtrays, etc.
Read more about souvenirs of Amsterdam here.
Bottom line: How much money should I take to Amsterdam?
So, if you follow all the above tips, then on average 30-35 euros per person per day (not including housing!) is the minimum threshold, below which it is quite difficult to go.