Want to visit Amsterdam on a budget? Here are Marco Polo’s top tips to explore this fascinating city without spending a fortune:
People go to Vondelpark not only to find peace and quiet, but also because it’s a sociable place. All of Amsterdam comes here in summer for a picnic, to play football or to listen to one of the free concerts on the open-air stage. The Vertigo café has one of the most attractive and lively terraces in the city, and there are alternatives in the Melkhuis restaurant and ‘t Blauwe Theehuis (Blue Teahouse). Tram: 1, 2, 3, 5, 7, 10, 12, 14 (Van Baerlestraat)
The lunch-time concerts in the Concertgebouw are an Amsterdam institution – and there is no admission charge. Every Wednesday (from September to May) at 12.30pm you can enjoy a rehearsal of the Concertgebouw Orchestra or listen to a half-hour concert by talented young musicians in the Recital Hall. Concertgebouwplein 2–6 | Tel. 0900 6 71 83 45 | www.concertgebouw.nl/en | Tram: 3, 5, 12, 16 (Concertgebouw)
Fantastic view for free
Climb up the stepped roof of the Nemo building to get a fantastic panoramic view of the old quarter of Amsterdam without paying a penny. In summer you can sit around in comfort on the beanbags of the café. Oosterdok 2 | 10 min. on foot from the main station | www.e-nemo.nl/en/
Food & drink
A street stall called Vlaamse Friethuis (Voetboogstraat 31 | Tram: 1, 2, 5 Koningsplein) sells the best French fries in all of Amsterdam, which is why there is often a long queue. Choose between 20 (!) kinds of mayonnaise.
For €6 you get a whole plateful of delicacies at Kismet (Open daily | Albert Cuypstraat 64 | Tram: 16, 24: Albert Cuypmarkt), a Turkish restaurant with basic furnishings that is mainly frequented by Turks.
Soup en Zo: Soup bars are en vogue in Amsterdam. At Soup en Zo there is a choice of 15 freshly made soups in three different sizes. Open daily | Jodenbreestraat 94 a | Tel. 020 4 22 22 43 | Metro: Waterlooplein
In Dutch supermarkets exotic spices are much cheaper than elsewhere in Europe. As Indonesia was once a Dutch colony, the choice is enormous – from dried lemongrass to cumin and fenugreek.
Buy flowers and flower bulbs on the street markets that sell food! They cost half as much as on the flower market on Singel!
In the Last Minute Ticket Shop on Leidseplein, tickets for a wide range of events taking place the same evening are sold from midday onwards with discounts of up to 50%. Leidseplein/ Marnixstraat | Tram: 1, 2, 5, 6, 7, 10 (Leidseplein)
The Hans Brinker Hotel makes no attempt to conceal that its selling point is the low price and it is aimed at young people who are in Amsterdam to enjoy the nightlife. Plain dorms, but a good location in the city centre. €21 per night in 8-bed rooms, €24 in 6-bed rooms | Kerkstraat 136–138 | Tel. 020 6 22 06 87 | www.hans-brinker.com | Tram: 1, 2,5, 6, 7, 10 Leidseplein
For the biggest range of bed & breakfast houses in Amsterdam, visit: www.bedandbreakfast.nl | From approx. €20 per person.
Bob’s Youth Hostel is in the heart of the city. It’s a stopping-off place for backpackers from all over the world and has a pleasant, relaxed atmosphere. Dorm bed from €14 | Nieuwezijds Voorburgwal 92 | Tel. 020 6 23 00 63 | Tram: 1, 2, 5, 13, 17 Dam
Buy the Amsterdam Marco Polo Guide.