Heading to Amsterdam in 2020? In many ways, Amsterdam is an affordable city break. Its popular attractions are available on even the tightest budget, they will only set you back a few euros, and food and drink can be found at great prices if you’re a little savvy with your planning.
Plus, Amsterdam is truly a year-round destination. From sunshine to rain, summer or winter, there’s always something to do in Amsterdam. However, just like everywhere else, Amsterdam has a season. Opt for spring or winter if you’re looking for a bargain Amsterdam city break, and that includes low prices on the short flights and even lower prices on the typically quite expensive accommodation.
Here are our top tips and recommendations for your cheap Amsterdam break.
Keeping it cheap with the I Amsterdam Card
This card will save you a lot of money during your Amsterdam break. Available in 1, 2, 3 or 4 day passes, these cards give you free access to a range of Amsterdam attractions. These include the incredibly beautiful Rijksmuseum, the world-famous Van Gogh Museum, and the NEMO Science Museum, to name just a few.
The I Amsterdam card also grants you free, unlimited public transport. Amsterdam’s trams are really the best way to get around the city, as they’re stress-free, convenient, and have large windows so you can keep your eyes locked on the beautiful architecture.
If it is sights you’re after, the card also gives you a FREE canal cruise, one of the best ways to see the city. Other discounts and benefits are available too!
Find out more about the I Amsterdam card and even book one online here.
Dining in Amsterdam on a budget
Make no mistake, there are plenty of tourist traps in Amsterdam. Around the two main party and dining squares, Leidseplein and Rembrandtplein, you’ll find lots of bars charging tourists extortionate prices. The restaurants aren’t much better – don’t just stumble into the first one you see! It’s a general rule to walk straight past the places with someone on the street beckoning you in. Take your time to research cheaper places to eat. Amsterdam is still a functioning, working city and the locals have to eat somewhere.
Websites like TripAdvisor and Yelp can really help you find the best restaurants. Take everything you read online with a pinch of salt and you’ll be eating yummy cuisine at reasonable prices in no time at all. Oh, and don’t forget about Amsterdam’s cheese obsession. We’re not saying you should eat just cheese for lunch, but definitely look into some of that delectable gouda…
If you’re looking for really cheap grub, either go big at lunchtime with the slightly reduced menu prices, or jump on the fast-food bandwagon which caters to the smokers, but also appeals to the budget traveller. Most of the food is eye-candy (you’ll find pizza places selling slices of frozen pepperoni pizza and French fries straight out of the microwave) but it does the job.
Time is money on a short break to Amsterdam
Did you know that during the peak season the queue for the Anne Frank museum can average 2-3 hours? That’s a huge chunk of your day, especially if you’re just in town for the weekend. There are ways to get around the queue, such as buying your tickets online or heading down to the museum in the summertime (July and August) an hour or two before its closing time at 10 pm. However, there are lots of other attractions in Amsterdam that both celebrate Jewish history in the city and offer English-friendly info. These include the Dutch Resistance Museum or the Jewish Historic Museum. Just an idea!
Another tip about saving time: don’t bother with a bus tour. Most of Amsterdam is a UNESCO listed site and hasn’t been touched for several centuries. Buses just don’t fit down those narrow canal lanes and across the beautiful bridges. Take the time to walk instead, you’ll see much more.
Affordable nightlife in Amsterdam
Like we mentioned before, the main squares of Amsterdam are pretty pricey. You’ll also notice astronomical prices for spirits and mixers because you pay for the two separately. Whilst in Amsterdam we recommend sticking to what the Dutch do best: small, delicious beers. If you’re sat next to the canal expect the prices to go up. Tricky, right? Amsterdam is lined with canals. How do you find affordable drinks?
The brown bars – or bruin bars – are the best spot to enjoy some refreshing local pilsner (think Heineken or Grolsch.) House wines are also cheap, with both beers and glasses of wine coming in at around 2 or 3 euro a pop. They open early and close late. It’s a no-brainer.
Amsterdam also has a renowned nightlife, from the old-school bars in the Red Light District (the oldest part of Amsterdam) to the new megaclubs dotted around the city, there are plenty of places to enjoy a dance and a drink. Watch out for ticket touts, and book them online in advance if you get the chance. Amsterdam also offers lots of free music, especially at its jazz clubs, but for this part of the evening – unless you’re a strict planner – we recommend taking a wander and stumbling across some of the magic yourself.
Find the cheap Amsterdam hotels and flights
This is where we come in. Finding a cheap hotel in Amsterdam isn’t always easy, but that’s why we built a search engine that gives you a fighting chance. Select from the open calendar function to find the very cheapest times to book a hotel. We’ll find you some cheap flights to match. Easy. So whether you’re looking for a romantic city break, a getaway with a group of mates, or a family holiday and long weekend, we’re here to help you find the very best deals.
Our top tips for surviving out there in what is a very competitive market – especially with Amsterdam’s recently increased tourist tax – is to avoid staying in the Red Light District. This is the oldest part of Amsterdam and many of its buildings are incredibly narrow and – in some cases – a bit seedy. Not so great if you’re travelling with a big family-sized suitcase or little ones. If you’re travelling with family we recommend the outer parts of Amsterdam. There are some excellent hotels close to the Amsterdam ArenA that provide great transports links to Amsterdam Centraal Station and this means you can find a bit of peace and quiet in the evenings.
Here are some suggestions for our favourite cheap hotels in Amsterdam:
This is the 4-star Blue Square by XO Hotels. Located in the western Slottermeer district of Amsterdam, this comfortable and modern hotel provides great transport links to Central Amsterdam. There’s a tram stop within walking distance, and in a taxi, it’ll take you 15 minutes to the Centraal Station.
A hotel that’s suitable for both business and leisure travellers, there’s a 24-hour reception, free WiFi and nearby shops and bars.
Hotel only prices start from around £30 a night. We work with a live pricing system so this is subject to change, especially depending on the season. Keep your eyes peeled for that excellent deal or use our price match system to guarantee the cheapest price.
This is the 3-star Lloyd Hotel in Amsterdam. Set inside an absolutely gorgeous building – listed as a national monument – the Lloyd Hotel offers affordable accommodation in the trendy Eastern Docklands. Close to the NEMO Science Museum, multiple art galleries and the popular Bimhuis jazz house. You can reach Central Amsterdam on the tram within 20 minutes.
Once again, a suitable hotel for leisure and business. There are conference spaces, an on-site restaurant and Wi-Fi is available.
Hotel only prices start at around £32, but as we mentioned these prices are subject to change throughout the year. You can use our handy calendar to find the cheapest months to travel and then plan around that! Don’t forget our price match system or low deposits. We make booking a break in Amsterdam easy, easy, easy.
Welcome to the quaint 2-star Nadia Hotel. A quirky layout and intimate feel might make the hotel seem dated, but there’s a magic to this hotel. Especially when you consider the fantastic central location and even better price. Highly rated on TripAdvisor as a romantic hotel, you’re within walking distance of the Royal Palace on Dam Square. There’s a wide range of bars and restaurants right on your doorstep.
The Nadia is a romantic hotel, for sure. There are only 49 rooms in total (including 4 suites) so expect a cosy feel. There’s a bar on-site, air con and Wi-Fi is available, too.
Considering the hotel’s excellent location, the prices are very reasonable. For example, we’ve just picked a date for three nights in January 2020 and it’s less than £200 per person! Remember, these deals are subject to changes depending on the season, and prices may vary. Use our handy calendar to pick the best price and time of year that suits you.