Amsterdam is famed for it’s coffee shops and Red Light District, however there is so much more to see and do in this city brimming with culture. Renowned for it’s museums, unique tours and laid back atmosphere, there is a lot you can do there. It is well-known that you will spend a lot of money in Amsterdam however, I have devised this list of free things to do in Amsterdam which will keep you entertained when you’re down to your last euro.
Free tours in Amsterdam
The best way to get to know Amsterdam is by touring it. There are many options such as walking, biking or bus tours and to make your life easier, here I have complied some free tours of Amsterdam.
Biking and bus tours are a little costly but obviously, walking around any city is free. With a free walking tour you will learn a lot about your surroundings.
The city free tour goes on Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday and offers a real insight into the cultural haven of the city. It will bring you to all of the highlights, telling many stories along the way. Sandeman’s also offer a free walking tour, bringing you to undiscovered places and telling you things that you would never hear from standard tours. This is free however to secure your place on the tour costs €3.
The city free tour also offers a free guided walk to the Jewish Quarter on Sunday’s.
You could of course take a free self-guided tour which has no hidden charges; it is up to you how you spend your time and money during this tour. You can download a free guide from iamsterdam, here.
You can also jump on a free boat trip behind Central Station which will take you to Amsterdam Noord and NDSM Wharf.
Visiting the Red Light District can be expensive if you decide to “shop” but of course, window shopping is always free ;)
Free parks in Amsterdam
They say that life is no walk in the park, however with the beautiful free parks that Amsterdam has to offer, you can at least enjoy some time there. Here are some of the free parks in Amsterdam that are definitely worth a visit.
- Vondelpark: is the largest city park in Amsterdam. It is famous among locals and tourists and plays host to 10 million visitors each year.
- Museumplein: exactly as it says on the tin, this park is home to Amsterdam’s most famous museums; Rijksmuseum, the Stedelijk Museum of Modern Art and the Van Gogh Museum.The museums may incur extra charges but a trip to the park is free.
- Beatrixpark: is a small park founded by residents in order to persevere some green in the area.
- Sarphatipark: is an urban park dedicated to a Jewish doctor and philanthropist, Samuel Sarphati. It is a very small but trendy park and hailed as one of the nicest in Amsterdam.
- Oosterpark: a city park in Amsterdam Oost which is full of ponds and streams, perfect for feeding the ducks. On a Sunday from 1pm there is a speaker stone from where people can stand and speak their minds. It is also home to a number of summer festivals.
Free Museums in Amsterdam
Amsterdam is full of museums and while you have to pay an entry fee for most, there are some that have sections you can visit for free. Here is a list of free museums in Amsterdam:
- Civic Guards Gallery at Amsterdam Museum: a small exhibition with big impact, it displays portraits of the wealthy citizens of Amsterdam who belonged to the Civic Guard, celebrities and the ordinary people.
- Amsterdam City Archives: holds the historical documents of Amsterdam city and holds some interesting activities and exhibitions. It holds interesting information on Anne Frank, Freddy Heineken and Charles Darwin.
- The Condomeire: is the world’s first specialised condom shop, it displays a wide collection of rubbers and novelty condoms.
- Droog: is a conceptual design studio with unusual and unique designs.
- The Eye Film Museum: events in this museum are ticketed however the basement is home to a free exhibition of cinema with 100 movie clips and scenes projected onto the walls.
Free Concerts in Amsterdam
There are free concerts in Amsterdam every day, the trick is to know where to find them.
Every Tuesday at 12:30, the National Opera and Ballet put on a free concert and on Wednesday at 12:30, the Royal Concertgebouw also put on free concerts. The Badcuyp put on a number of free concerts every week, the Muziekgebouw aan ‘t IJ have free concerts once a month and Bimhuis offer a free concert, jamming session or workshop every week.
If you’re a festival fan, Amsterdam would be a dream location as free festivals run from April right through to January. the top festivals include King’s Day, Gay Pride, the Uitmarkt, Amsterdam Heritage Days, National Windmill Day, National Museum Weekend, the Canal Festival and the Amsterdam Light Festival.
Free Food in Amsterdam
OK, this one might be a bit of a stretch but there are ways and means to eat for free in Amsterdam or at least at a very cheap price. On the first Sunday of the month, head to the big market where you will find free tastings of Greek wine, Lebanese falafel, Spanish ham and much more food samples. If you’re clever and bring some different hats, you could probably go around a few times getting the free samples without being noticed.
Alternatively, for only a FEW euro, you can eat pretty well in Amsterdam on a budget. Try out the HEMA breakfast, for €1 which is made up of a croissant with jam, a baguette with either omelette or omelette and bacon and a cup of tea or coffee. For an extra 50 cent you can get a glass of juice.
You could make a picnic for next to nothing and head to one of the free parks I mentioned. A few rolls, cheese and a bottle of water or wine wouldn’t cost any more than €5 and you’re not in a rush to leave by any particular time.
If you’re too lazy to make a sandwich and would like one ready made, then find the nearest Febo vending machine which dispenses a whole variety of sandwiches, burgers, chips, chicken, ice-cream, any kind of fast food item imaginable for only a few euro. Unless you get a meal which will cost in the region of €6-€7, everything is under €4 and tastes really good.
Visit Amsterdam for Free
Well your visit won’t be completely free but when you get there you can spend very little with my free guide to Amsterdam.
Why not take a look at some of my offers to the city: Amsterdam: 4 Nights incl. Houseboat and Flights for Group of 4 only €214pp and New Year’s Eve in Amsterdam: 5 Nights incl. Apartment for Group of 9 and Flights for only €250.
Click here for an unusual City Break in Amsterdam Click here to spend New Year's in Amsterdam