Top 9 Free Things to do in Amsterdam – Our 1 Day Travel on a Budget Tour
There are quite a lot of free things to do in Amsterdam, have you ever visited this city yet? Well, did you know that Amsterdam is one of the top destinations of tourists in the world?
Yes, it is. With its scenic canals, unique and world-class museums, plus its open-minded people’s perspective makes it more attractive for tourist to experience a new trend of lifestyle.
Apart from those above mentioned, Amsterdam is also the heart of the LGBTQ community. Amsterdam’s reputation is well earned as one of the most gay-friendly cities in Europe. And is referred to as the Venice of the North. Attributed by a large number of canals that form a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Going to Amsterdam on a Budget
Finding the cheapest way from Brussels to Amsterdam was not the easiest. My Filipina friend and I planned to visit the city of Canals, but we opt to do it on a budget.
Browsing on the internet, I have found the cheapest one which was Flixbus. Around 30 euros per person (return ticket) from Brussels to Amsterdam. It was 2 hours and a 45-minute bus ride to Amsterdam Sloterdijk. From there, we took the train to Amsterdam central station.
The train ticket ride (return ticket) cost about 4 euros. It was already cheap and convenient for travelers who would start their tour in the heart of Amsterdam.
Travel on a Budget tip: You can find as low as 12.99 euros per one way ticket to Amsterdam, depending on the city you are departing.
Free Things to do in Amsterdam
Amsterdam is rich with captivating sights than can entertain visitors of all ages. From ancient churches to magnificent museums, secret courtyards to quaint cobbled streets, and, of course, the city’s world-famous canals.
I also recommend you get Amsterdam City Pass offers free or discounted entrance to many of the most popular sights.
Some of the attractions of Amsterdam are the world-class art museums (Stedelijk Museum, Museum Het Rembrandthuis, Moco Museum, Amsterdam Museum: Anton Havelaar, et,.) the famous Anne Frank House, a collection of quirky and unusual museums, and the postcard-perfect streets of the Jordaan District.
Your Amsterdam visit wouldn’t be completed without visiting the tulips, windmills, and cheese.
Top 9 Visit around the Amsterdam Centraal Station
Amsterdam Centraal Station is the largest railway station in Amsterdam in North Holland, Netherlands. A major international railway hub, the second busiest railway station in the country after Utrecht Centraal. It is used by 192,000 passengers a day.
On the other hand, this station offers railway services from the international, national rail, metro, tram, and bus services. There are 8 International rail routes and 22 National rail routes in Amsterdam Centraal.
From the moment we arrived in Amsterdam Sloterdijk, we took a train to the central station and had a quick walk. There were also shops, cafés, and restaurants inside.
You can also enjoy the beauty of the Gothic and Renaissance Revival features of the station. And as well as the cast iron platform roof spanning approximately 40 meters. It was designed by Dutch architect Pierre Cuypers and first opened in 1889.
Top 8 Take a photo of the Picturesque view of Damrak
The first thing you would see when arriving in Amsterdam center is its enormous station. However, as you go further, you will eventually bump into one of the picturesque sites of Amsterdam. It is the Damrak.
This beautiful place is where the cruises/boat tours stop for letting tourists aboard on the cruise riverboat. You can also find here the Stromma, a Seasonal sightseeing cruises in glass-roofed boats along the city’s many canals, with an audio guide.
On the other side of the picture, those unsymmetrical dutch houses are occupied by hotels, restaurants, bars, and cafés. Among them are Het Karbeel restaurant, Hotel Old Quarter, Restaurant de Compagnon, and many more.
Top 7 Stop at the Historical Dam Square
If you want to know more about the history of Amsterdam, here’s one of the free things to do in Amsterdam. Try to visit the historical Dam Square. A square for the whole nation, surrounded by the Royal Palace, the National Monument, and the 15th-century Nieuwe Kerk.
Dam Square is at the point where the Amstel River was dammed in the 13th century. The scene of Amsterdam’s central market in Medieval times.
One of its memorable histories was the last outbreak of violence was at the Coronation of Queen Beatrix in 1980. And the massacre on the square at the end of the Second World War.
Going around the Square, you will see Madame Tussauds Amsterdam, a Museum chain for life-size wax replicas of famous Americans & historic icons in themed galleries. There’s the Royal Palace, the Grand residence for royal receptions since 1808. It is open to the public & exhibitions when not in use.
Top 6 Window Shopping at Magna Plaza
One of the best free things to do in Amsterdam is, of course, window shopping. Some places are known best for shopping since its a bit cheaper in Amsterdam in the sales period. Jordaan is also considered to become a treasured shopping and nightlife district.
Magna Plaza is an upscale shopping mall in a neo-gothic building since 1992. Filled with luxury brands and a gourmet food hall. The facade is so iconic that it looks like a palace.
It’s a large shopping mall which several floors and brands. If you’re looking for a quiet and calm place to shop in the center, you found the best place.
Top 5 Take a tour at the Floating Flower Market
Visiting Amsterdam without taking a tour to its Bloemenmarkt or Floating Flower Market would be a big sin. So I strongly recommend you to render to this place when you are in Amsterdam.
This fascinating floating flower market is found in the Singel canal between Koningsplein and the Muntplein. Since 1862 traders have been selling cut flowers and bulbs here from houseboats.
The Bloemenmarkt sells bulbs all year, so you can grow your own, while tulip season tends to fall between the middle of April and start of May.
You can also find different kinds of flowers like daffodils, orchids, carnations, violets, geraniums, snowdrops, and, of course, tulips, even out of season.
Top 4 Check out some of the Fascinating Dutch Houses
Dutch houses are commonly called as Canal houses. A canal house (grachtenpand in Dutch) is a usually old house overseeing a canal. These houses are often slim, high and deep.
The other distinct feature of Amsterdam’s houses is that they are very narrow. One of the reasons the houses are so narrow is because back in the day’s taxes were charged based on the size of the building’s facade. So the wider the facade, the more tax you pay.
One of the free things to do in Amsterdam would be strolling and checking out these fascinating Dutch houses. Some of those Canal houses that you’ll see above are taken from different locations in Amsterdam.
There’s the one near the De Krijtberg, one from Red Light District Street, Armburg, and one near the Oude Church.
I also recommend you to visit the Singel (De Dolphijn at 140-142). It is a canal that opens onto the IJ in the north. It is also one of the poshest parts of the city, with continuous rows of gabled canal houses.
Top 3 Be Amused by the Sightseeing Cruises and Boat Tours
I know you’ll say Sightseeing cruises would not be considered on a budget. But, watching these boats and cruises is free. One of the best free things to do in Amsterdam is to sit on a bench and watch boat cruises pass by in the canals. I promise it is really amusing!
Browsing in the internet, you’ll see a bunch of popular Boat Tours & River Cruises in Amsterdam. It ranges from 12 – 50 euros per tour, depending on your choice. There’s Amsterdam City Canal Cruise, Luxury Salon Boat Cruise, Private Canal Booze Crusie, Candlelight Cruise with Drinks, and many other varieties of tours.
I have personally tried to be on a canal cruise by night, and it was amazing. But I didn’t realize that watching cruises from afar it amazingly beautiful as well. The one the I love the most was the one from Singel streets.
You should see it for yourself, and you’ll know it’s really worth it!
Top 2 Discover the Astounding Bridges & Canals of Amsterdam
Amsterdam has more than one hundred kilometers of grachten (canals), about 90 islands and 1,500 bridges. The three main canals are Herengracht, Prinsengracht, and Keizersgracht.
Amsterdam’s canal ring area, including the Prinsengracht, Keizersgracht, Herengracht, and Jordaan, were listed as UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2010.
Did you know why Amsterdam is called the Venice of the North? It’s because of its number of canals and bridges. Nowadays, Amsterdam has 1753 bridges. It’s a lot!
I would not say you should visit all the bridges and the canals of Amsterdam cause it may take you days to visit them all (haha). All I can recommend you is to try to visit those that you can.
According to my research, the most famous bridge in Amsterdam is Magere Brug or Skinny Bridge. It is one of Amsterdam’s most iconic drawbridges featured in many films.
Some other famous bridges are The Torensluis Bridge, The Torensluis Bridge, Python Bridge, Jan Schaefer Bridge, and Nescio Bridge. Don’t forget to discover other beautiful bridges and canals of Amsterdam. I’m sure you’ll love them all!
Top 1 Take Your Souvenir Photos
We’re finally down to the top 1 free things to do in Amsterdam. It would be the most memorable part, of course, is to take your souvenir photos from this lovely city of Amsterdam.
This works best when you are traveling with someone or in a group. By then, there’s someone who’ll take photos of you. However, if you’re traveling alone, I recommend you take your selfie stick or tripod to take your selfies or your own photos.
In my case, I traveled with my close friend, and we took a lot of souvenir photos in instagrammable places.
So where did we take photos? We went to different bridges that are filled with bicycles that make it more attractive and photogenic. Adding up the Canal houses as a backdrop, It really turns out well.
So this is how we spent our Travel on a budget 1 Day tour in Amsterdam. For the record, we spend less than 50 euros for a day (transportation and food included). It was a successful and fun tour. Hoping to come back again one day to visit other places, especially those museums.
Other free things to do in Amsterdam are: Watching buskers perform at the entrance of Rijks Museum, You can also relax and unwind at the Rijks Museum park, Stroll at the Red district, and many other free things to do in Amsterdam.