Enjoy Amsterdam on a Budget
If you have longed to travel to and explore Amsterdam, but plan to travel on a budget, there is much to see and do, even for the budget conscious. A travelers dream, Amsterdam’s casual lifestyle welcomes you with its charming towns and beautiful countryside. Tulips, cheese, and windmills might come to mind with the first thought of Amsterdam, but there is plenty to see and do and still be able to stick to a budget.
An art gallery called Reflex New Art Gallery is a free art gallery which showcases new talent, though small, is sure not to disappoint those interested in truly modern art. For the photography buffs, the Melkweg Photo gallery has a free photography room with a brand new display each month, and for a quick break, there is also a café. For a few Euros you can purchase a Museum Card which allows entrance to over several hundred museums in the Netherlands, and a certain number are free per province, and in Amsterdam alone, there are over 30 museums included on the card.
Step back in time to the 14th century where you can enjoy a breathtaking and awe-inspiring garden, that so few people know about, it is even referred to as a “secret garden,” the Begijnhof; a real respite and departure from the hustle, bustle and noise of urban life. The secluded tranquil oasis is surrounded by a small community of 14th century modest homes where unmarried religious women live. The garden is free to enjoy, but visitors should respect the quiet.
The flea markets are a big draw in Amsterdam. The Waterlooplein Flea Market is one of the largest which offers something for everyone, and adjacent to the market there is the famous Bluebird Coffee shop, a supermarket that specializes in the organic, a few other shops, as well as the Rembrandt House and The Jewish Museum. If you are interested in purchasing affordable genuine Dutch art, try the Spui Art Market. Looking for that unique flea market, try the Bloemenmarkt, a flower market with several stalls that float on the canal, the floating flower market is said to be the only known floating flower market; it specializes in bulbs, seeds, flowers, and a variety of souvenirs, all available to ship home. Rest a bit on one of the verandas on one of the houseboats, and bask in the beautiful sights and fragrance of fresh blooms that surrounds you, truly a delightful experience.
Amsterdam on a budget is not complete without a visit to the waterways that it is known for and is worthy of a visit any time of the year. Saunter along the breathtaking maze of canals, there are many to choose from as there are over a hundred, discover the postcard beauty, and the marvelous architecture, all from a unique perspective. The canals provide a stunning perimeter to the many galleries, shops, houseboats, and cafes; the Brouwersgracht, or brewers’ canal, just might be the most picturesque, quaint, and seductive of canals. Many of what are now lovely very urban apartments were once breweries of a bygone era.
Thinking about a boat ride, why not enjoy one at no cost, take the ferry to the IJ island (pronounced “eye”), and explore the many attractions, one of the popular attractions is the Maritime Museum. If you time it right, you can catch the IJ-Hallen Flea Market that is held twice a month, where you can find unique items, antiques, vintage clothing and books, and so much more.
Relax in one of Amsterdam’s well known and oldest botanical gardens, the Hortus Botanicus, where you will find several thousand kinds of plants. The unique garden reaches back to the 17th century when it was first established, known at the time, as a place where plants were cultivated for medicinal purposes. There is even a greenhouse that imitates different climates of the tropics, special plant-lined routes for visitors, and a delightful, tranquil café when you are ready for a taste of Amsterdam.
Many are curious about Amsterdam’s Red Light District; a guided tour might be your best bet, it is suggested that early evening or even daytime might be the preferable times to tour. The guides can offer in-depth insight into what is considered very much a part of the fabric that makes up Amsterdam. Put your cameras away though, pictures are not allowed.
Enjoy the breathtaking views seen from any one of the more than a thousand bridges, showcasing the waterways to the cityscape. The bridges add to the city’s charm, from a drawbridge to award-winning, from unique to romantic, one dates back to the 17th century, and some bridges are illuminated in the evening, providing a picturesque postcard feel. You can enjoy Amsterdam’s colorful past and present all while sticking to a budget.