Amsterdam on a Budget
Although it may not be the most glamorous method of travel, the cheapest way to get to Amsterdam is by bus. Through Eurolines, it is only 27£ one-way. Taking the train could cost you upwards of 100£. Flying is a good option if you are planning your trip far in advance, but the longer you wait to book the more pricey tickets will become.
In the Dam Square area, there are dozens of restaurants and cafés competing with each other that are decently priced. If you are a true money-saver your best bet is to hit up one of the various takeaway stands. I recommend Wok to Walk, Chipsy Fries and all of the New York Pizza joints.
What to do:
Rent a bike
Renting a bike is the cheapest, most fun way to explore the city. Bike rentals average around 8€ for the day with some multi-day rates as low as €4. I recommend Damstraat Rent-A-Bike and Mac Bike.
There are a lot of museums worth visiting in Amsterdam. The Van Gough Museum and the Rembrandt House are great if you are interested in art; the Anne Frank House is a must-see for history buffs.
Nightlife in Amsterdam can be a lot of fun, but is best done in a group. If you are looking for a cheap way to check out multiple clubs or pubs and meet tourists from all over, I would check out the Ultimate Party events. Promoters in red shirts can be found all over the central part of the city that offer trips to six clubs or pubs with no cover charges and free drinks for only 15-20€.
Amsterdam is filled with beautiful parks to relax in that are completely free. Vondelpark, Oosterpark and Westerpark are worth a visit.
Another great way to see the city is by booking a canal trip. You can rent a boat or try one of the various tours such as Hop on Hop off Canal Bus or the Blue Boat Company.
Where to Stay:
If you are only going to Amsterdam for a quick holiday, definitely stay in the central part of the city. I recommend Dam Square, which is only a block from the train station. It is also near various restaurants and shopping. Staying in a hostel is always a cheap option; however, if you have a lot of people traveling with you splitting the price of a hotel may be cheaper than paying per person at a hostel.
Other Top Amsterdam Tips:
The train and the tram system are very similar to London’s system and are the least expensive way to get around town.
Watch out for the bicyclists! Biking is one of the top ways that locals get around the city; they find it very annoying when tourists get in their way.
Avoid the Red Light District after dark. Amsterdam is a generally safe place, but a lot of interesting characters (to put it politely) hang around the district at night.
For those of you who are interested in the various substances that are legal in Amsterdam, use caution. Make sure that you are buying from a Smart Store or a Coffee Shop, and do not mix too many substances.