First off, I need to say that Amsterdam was amazing. Super cute town and definitely worth a visit!
The canals are lined with all different sizes of boats – some with plants overflowing from them, some that are clearly used as houses, and some parked there just for a short time it seems.
So, how do you do 2 days in Amsterdam on a budget?
We arrived to Amsterdam on April 27th (King’s Day) around 11 in the morning, after navigating through the Amsterdam airport and making it to Amsterdam Centraal. Lucky for us, our hostel was (supposed to be) a short, 7 minute walk from Amsterdam Centraal, but thanks to no maps or Wi-Fi, and wrong directions from a security guy at the station, it ended up taking us about 40 mins. Walking along the cobblestone streets was interesting, especially with the huge crowds of people we had to push through…
Anyway, we eventually got to the hostel (Hostel Utopia
– it was the cheapest I could find when we booked about 3 weeks in advance). It was decent for a hostel, and a good value for the price we paid. It was a short walk to everything in the city!
Not much was open on our first day, since it was King’s Day (check it out here
, I had to google it too). The streets were crowded with people, parties, alcohol, weed (legal in Amsterdam), and music!! DJs were playing music out of their apartments on the top floors of some buildings. There were also a few DJs jamming out on the street (including Martin Garrix). The good thing about it being King’s Day, is that there were food stands on every corner, selling cheap snacks. We decided to find a place to sit from dragging our luggage around all morning, and ended up grabbing a quick sandwich in a restaurant. Delicious, decently sized, and all for only 13EURO (including beer, of course). For the rest of the day, we just chilled and napped (jetlag hit us).
We woke up and headed out for breakfast (brunch?) around 11am. We went to The Pancake Bakery
and got a huge freaking pancake for 12EURO. This really filled me up for the whole day. We then walked a short 30 mins through town to the Rijksmuseum
, and took a picture outside at the I AM
STERDAM sign. Super cool and worth the walk!
The Rijksmuseum is filled with famous Dutch art from the Middle Ages to the 20th Century. If you are an art lover, do it up. If not, you’ll save a nice 17EURO. The Van Gogh Museum is also in this area, and is worth a look too (if you’re an art fan).
We walked back through the town and after looking around for the best price for a canal cruise, we hopped on one that was only 11EURO. This was the cheapest we could find – they can go up to 100EURO in some cases. The 11EURO cruise was perfect. It was 1 hour long in an enclosed boat about 50ft long, and seemed to be the exact same tour you would get if you paid a higher price. A canal tour is also a crucial activity to do while visiting, and was totally worth it!
After the cruise, we crossed the street to the Sex Museum
, and looked at some porn from the 1800s… Interesting!! It was way more educational than I thought it would be, and for only 3EURO, it was a good way to see something different.
We grabbed some fries after that (Frites), and of course, you have to get them with fritssaus (that is what the guy there suggested to me). A medium size was 3.50EURO and I couldn’t even finish it.
After eating, we went to Anne Frank’s House
. 9EURO total, and this is such an iconic spot to visit while in Amsterdam, that we couldn’t miss it. We didn’t really plan ahead for this trip, and did the Anne Frank House last minute. If you have time, I would recommend booking tickets in advance (like, months in advance). They sell out SO fast, and between the times of 9am-3:30pm, you can only enter the house if you have bought an online ticket. We went at around 5pm and waited in line for maybe 45 mins before we got in the house (which wasn’t a huge deal). It was such an eye opening experience, though. To stand there where Anne and her family hid for 2 years during WWII was incredible – as a Canadian student that only learned about WWII in Grade 9 history class, the tragedies of that time felt so heavy and real in that moment.
It was dark outside by the time we finished at the Anne Frank House, so we decided to walk to the bench that the actors of the Fault In Our Stars sat on in the movie. It looks like a normal bench, minus a few thousand signatures and quotes, and a couple locks on the sides. This is a totally free thing to do, and since it was only a few minutes away by foot, we checked it out.
We headed back to the Red Light District and walked around there, after grabbing a Nutella filled snack and a tea at a little café on the way. It was super busy, and there were lots of pubs, bars, and shows that we walked past. These cost money to go in to, so if you’re down, go for it. But we decided to save and enjoy the outside atmosphere! I think we got the whole idea of the Red Light District just by looking at half-naked chicks through the windows.
The next morning, we got up early and walked to the Floating Flower Market (Bloemenmarkt). There were so many cute flower shops, it was hard to stop the urge to buy every cute plant. I took lots of pictures though, which satisfied my need to buy something (sort of). This was free to do unless you decided to buy something there obviously, and the flowers, plants, seeds, etc, weren’t even that much. We stopped at a café on the way back to grab something to eat, then we headed to our bus stop!
In 2 days, we managed to walk around the city, eat some traditional Dutch food, go on a canal cruise, visit the Rijksmuseum, Anne Frank House, Red Light District, Dam Square, and Bloemenmarkt, all for less than 50EURO. Hell ya.
Till next time, Amsterdam.