Low Budget Amsterdam

Want to visit Amsterdam on a budget? Here are Marco Polo’s top tips to explore this fascinating city without spending a fortune:

 Amsterdam Marco Polo Guide

 

Park life

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)

 

Free concerts

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

 

Shopping 

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!

 

Entertainment

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)

 

Accommodation

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

 

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Amsterdam Marco Polo Guide

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Only in Amsterdam

Amsterdam is an incredibly diverse city. Old and new, calm and bustling, artistic and commercial, small-town and cosmopolitan atmosphere – there is no way to describe the city without contradictions. Let Marco Polo show you some unique experiences to be had in Holland’s capital…

Only in Amsterdam

Life on the canals
Depending on where they stand, the houses on Amsterdam’s canals (canal = ‘gracht’) can be crooked and leaning to one side, or imposing and elegant. Lining the canals of the old part of town, shoulder to shoulder, they were all built of brick, but when you look more closely, no two are alike. The finest residences are in the Gouden Bocht (Golden Arc) on Herengracht.

Brown cafés
They have to be wood-panelled all round, but above all cosy and sociable: the ‘brown cafés’ that you find on almost every corner in Amsterdam. Some examples of this type of establishment, like De Oosterling or ‘t Smalle, are several hundred years old.

Koningsdag
Every year on 27th April the Dutch all over the country celebrate their King. But only in Amsterdam do they hold a city-wide flea market, which turns into a big open-air party in the afternoon. To be part of it, dress from head to toe in orange and prepare to lose all your inhibitions.

Bridges everywhere
In the historic parts of the city there are no less than 600 bridges. The most famous of which is the Magere Brug across the Amstel. At the junction of Reguliersgracht and Herengracht you can even take in 15 bridges all at once.

All around the globe
The shelves are filled with foodstuffs from Thailand, Surinam and India, and salsa music pours from the hi-fi system. If you want to see how cosmopolitan Amsterdam is, peek inside one of the tokos, the little shops that sell exotic provisions. (There are many to be found around Albert Cuypmarkt.)

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Discover The Netherlands

Think that the Netherlands is all about Amsterdam!? Think again.

 Amsterdam is amazing and well worth a visit… but there are so many other places to discover! Marco Polo’s guide to the top places to visit in The Netherlands (other than Amsterdam):

Rotterdam Cube Houses

Rotterdam

The famous Kubuswoningen (Cube Houses) in Rotterdam are located on Overblaak Street, right above the Blaak Subway Station. They consist of 40 conventional houses, tilted 45 degrees to become the first cube-shaped houses in Holland and were designed by Piet Blom.

One of the houses has been converted into a “museum” so you can see inside for yourself! (The others are residential houses!) Opening times: 11am – 5pm, 7 days a week. Admission 2.50 EUR. For more information visit: Kubuswoning.nl

Markthal“Good food, every day”. The first indoor market in the Netherlands opened its doors in Rotterdam in October 2014.  With 100 fresh produce units, 15 food shops, 8 restaurants and 228 stalls, there really is something for every taste and budget. Opening times: 10am – 8pm Monday – Saturday, 12 – 6pm Sunday. For more information visit: Markthalrotterdam.nl

Rotterdam Cube Houses

Utrecht

The Dom (de Dom) Tower of Utrecht was part of the Cathedral of Saint Martin. It was never fully completed due to lack of funds. Since the unfinished nave collapsed in 1674, the Dom has remained a free standing tower. It is, in fact, the tallest church tower in the Netherlands.

It’s possible to climb the 465 steps (there is no lift) and view the beautiful city of Utrecht from the tower galleries at 70 and 95 metres. For more information visit: Domtoren.nl

Canals – The Oudegracht, or “old canal”, runs through the center of Utrecht. Take time to walk along it an explore the wonderful views! Better still – you can take a canal cruise. Further information via visit-utrecht.com

Naarden Vesting

Naarden-Vesting

Naarden, located in the province of North Holland, is an example of a star fort, complete with fortified walls and a moat. The moat and walls have been restored and are currently in excellent condition. It is the home of the Netherlands Fortress Museum (Nederlands Vestingmuseum).

Naarden is the perfect place to spend a relaxing afternoon, exploring the fort, visiting St. Vitus Church (pictured), soaking up the local culture and dining at one of the town’s excellent cafes or restaurants.

Maastricht

Photo credit: CC Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported © Michielverbeek

Maastricht

Maastricht, situated in the Southeast of the Netherlands is the capital city in the province of Limburg. Known for its lively squares, narrow streets, and historical buildings – the city has 1,677 (national heritage sites), more than any Dutch city outside Amsterdam!

Highlights include the Meuse river, Basilica of Our Lady, Caves of St. Pieter, Het Vrijthof (beautiful square in the center of old town Maastricht) and Basilica of St. Servatius. For more information visit: Holland.com/Maastricht

Essentials for your visit: Netherlands Marco Polo Map

Netherlands Marco Polo Map

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Eat Like a Local Amsterdam

The top foods you must try when visiting Amsterdam!

The  number 1 thing to try is bitterballen (providing you are a meat eater)! They are delicious balls of heavenly goodness! Ok, we’re lying – they’re deep fried – so not technically “good” but they are yummy! Try them… you won’t be disappointed.

Bitterballen

Other typically Dutch things to try are:

Appeltaart – apple tart, cold or warm, served with whipped cream

Ba pao – steamed Chinese rolls filled with meat or vegetables

Erwtensoep – thick pea soup with pieces of sausage, accompanied by rye bread and bacon

Hollandse nieuwe – young (matjes) herring

Kipsaté – Indonesian skewered chicken with peanut sauce

Koffie verkeerd – coffee the “wrong way round” (milky coffee)

Kroket – deep-fried meat (or if you’re lucky – prawn) croquettes

Loempia – spring roll with or without meat

Mosselen – mussels cooked in white wine, served with fries and mayonnaise

Nasi/bami goring – rice or noodles with shrimps and chicken

Oliebollen – sweet dough with raisins fried in oil (similar to doughnuts)

Ontbijtoek – breakfast confectionery with honey, ginger, cinnamon and cloves

Ossenworst – raw beef sausage (originally a Jewish speciality)

Pannekoeken – egg pancakes

Patat Oorlog – French fries with mayonnaise, peanut sauce and onions

Poffertjes – mini-pancakes with icing sugar

Roti – Indian or Surinamese flat bread filled with meat or vegetables

Stamppot – mashed potato with pieces of sausage (or other meat) and vegetables

Uitsmijter – slices of bread with boiled ham, fried eggs and cheese

Vla – a thick vanilla pudding

Kroket

Restaurants serving traditional Dutch cuisine:

Greetje

A restaurant with a very relaxed atmosphere and a truly unusual style of cooking. It is hidden away in a side street and serves modern Dutch cuisine, from baked black pudding to halibut with dune vegetables. Closed Mondays | Peperstraat 23 | Tel. 020 7 79 74 50 | Metro: Nieuwmarkt

Hotel de Goudfazant

Trendy restaurant in an industrial district in Noord. French-influenced Dutch dishes are served beneath a huge chandelier in an unadorned warehouse atmosphere. Closed Mondays | Aambeeldstraat 10h | Tel. 020 6 36 51 70 | Bus: 38 (Hamerstraat)

De Kas

A restaurant serving organic vegetables grown from its own garden. Expect modern and creative Dutch food and an out-of-the-ordinary atmosphere. Make sure that you book in advance if you want to dine in the evening! Closed Sundays | Kamerlingh Onneslaan 3 | Tel. 020 4 62 45 62 | Tram: 9 (Hoogweg)

De Silveren Spiegel

Atmospheric restaurant in a crooked old house dating from 1614. The emphasis is on regional products and contemporary interpretations of Dutch dishes. Closed Sundays | Kattengat 4/6 | Tel. 020 6 24 65 89 | Tram: 1, 2, 5, 13, 17 (Nieuwezijds Kolk)

D’Vijff Vlieghen

Wooden genever barrels, Rembrandt etchings and a collection of old weapons create an authentic mood in these five 17th-century houses. The menu too upholds Dutch traditions. Open daily | Spuistraat 294–302 | Tel. 020 5 30 40 60 | Tram: 1, 2, 5 (Spui)

Moeders

A restaurant inspired by mum’s home cooking – and to reinforce the point the walls are covered with hundreds of photos of mothers. The menu is traditionally Dutch, but there are a few dishes that might have been rustled up by a Mediterranean mamma. Open daily | Rozengracht 251 | Tel. 020 6 26 79 57 | Tram: 10, 13, 14, 17 (Marnixstraat or Rozengracht)

Have we missed a Dutch delicacy from this list? Leave a comment below, tweet us @MarcoPoloGuides or tell us on Facebook.

Amsterdam Marco Polo Spiral Guide

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