CITY GUIDE | SPENDING 3 DAYS IN AMSTERDAM ON A BUDGET.

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If you've been following me on social media, you may have noticed I've been all over the place over the last couple of weeks. I spent two weeks in India which you can read about here, and then popped over to Amsterdam and Berlin before coming home to Gibraltar for Easter. Which means my legs have got one hell of a work out and I now want to stay in bed for the rest of the week! Amsterdam has been on my bucket list for ages, and I have planned to go three times and three times those plans have fallen through. I finally made it there last week and here is what I got up to. 


WHERE TO STAY

I actually stayed in my very first hotel in Amsterdam, Lisbon doesn't count since it was pretty much occupied by my course mates, and I have no horror stories to tell! We went with Hans Brinker Hostel which was right in the heart of Amsterdam, by Leidseplein square (if you forget just think of Led Zeppelin). They also had a very handy 'Hotel" sign in yellow outside which helps when you get lost because every damn street looks the same. I'll be doing a blog post all about my first hostel experience soon, but I definitely recommend staying in a hostel in Amsterdam if you're travelling with friends or alone. as it's a good way to meet people and saves you some dollah. 


GETTING AROUND 

There's only one way to get around in Amsterdam, on a bicycle! I knew bicycles were a thing in dam but they literally run the town, you're more likely to be hit by a bicycle than a car here. We took the bus from the airport to the centre of Amsterdam which cost us 4 euros. There are lots of ticket options at the airport including tram, bus and train tickets which can cost you 25 euros for three days, but we just decided to play it by ear and ended up walking everywhere. We rented a bicycle for a day to get to VondelPark as it was a bit more out of the way, but most of the attractions and sights to see are within walking distance. 


WHERE TO EAT 

If you've got a small appetite, then you can just hop around from cheese shop to waffle shop taking the free samples, but if not there are endless amounts of affordable restaurants and cafes in Amsterdam. Leidseplein has a number of restaurants and a couple of Italian restaurants offer pizza and pasta deals for 5 euros - I recommend Porto Carrara in the square. If you're into bagels, then Bagel & Beans also offer a great variety of fillings. Near Amsterdam square you'll also find plenty of cuisines and some damn good waffles! I also recommend buying some traditional dutch 'bitterballen' which for me tastes similar to croquettes but with tiny pieces of meat in them. 



WHAT TO DO 

Museumplein is home to the Van Gogh, Rijksmuseum and Stedelijk museums, but most have an admission fee of 17 euros plus. I was pretty gutted that I couldn't go see Van Gogh's work because I was running short on money, but it's a great place to sit and enjoy the view and is also where you can find the famous I Amsterdam sign. For the more adventurous, you can find a variety of museums in the Red Light District including the infamous Sex Museum which will only set you back 4 euros. 

The Anne Frank House is one of the most popular tourist 'attractions' in Amsterdam, which means be prepared to wait a couple of hours in the queue if you don't have a ticket. Online tickets sell out months in advance so if this is something you're interested in doing I definitely recommend doing it ASAP, if not admission is only allowed after 3pm and you'll be wasting most of your day waiting in a queue. You can purchase yours here. 


If you're a fan of The Fault In Our Stars, then the bench were they filmed that famous 'I love you' scene is only a 2 minute walk from Bagel & Beans. It's not a very impressive bench, but fans have marked it with quotes and padlocks and all sorts. It's also a great viewing spot for a picnic, until some teenage girls are patiently waiting for you to get off so they can have their photo op. 

No trip to Amsterdam is complete without a visit to the infamous Red Light District. I also recommend you visit during the day and in the evening, just to see the contrast. There are plenty of coffee shops, 'erotic' shows and pubs around to keep you entertained. 


Seeing as today is 4/20 (not that I personally celebrate it) I should also mention that as you probably know, marijuana is legal in Amsterdam. Which is sold and smoked (or eaten) in the many coffee shops around Amsterdam. Note they don't actually sell coffee, if you're looking for a caramel macchiato look for a cafe. The bulldog is one of the oldest coffee shops in Amsterdam and there are a couple scattered around the city. 


Take a free walking tour with Sandman's. They meet in Amsterdam square at certain times throughout the day and offer 2 hour tours of the city. No tickets are needed but a tip is recommended at the end of the tour. They operate all over Europe including cities like Barcelona and Lisbon. If you're planning a trip to Lisbon you can check out my guide here

TOP TIPS FOR AMSTERDAM

  • I personally don't think a travel pass ticket is necessary as most of the city is accessible by foot, and if not a bicycle is a great way to explore the city. 
  • Euros is the currency, just a reminder if you've forgotten to change your euros. 
  • If you're not a smoker, don't go crazy and blow all your money on weed and space cakes, as you never know how it's going to hit you. If you're not used to these substances don't stray too far from your hotel/hostel either. 
  • Eat local to save some pounds, if not there is always McDonalds. 
  • Be aware of people trying to sign you up for charity/donations as they're usually frauds trying to pick pocket you. 

This was my first time in Amsterdam but I can see myself going back next year, so I would love some more recommendations! 


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16 comments

  1. I love cycling and cities so will defo pay Amsterdam a visit the next time I'm looking for a city break! Xx

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  2. I want to go to Amsterdam so bad! It looks so pretty. Also that's so cool you are from Gibraltar, I've only been there once for a day but I loved it. I definitely plan to visit again in the future:).

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    1. ah nice! I'm pretty sure you got to see most of Gib, we're tiny! Let me know if you do come and need a tour guide :)

      G x

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  3. Really enjoyed this. Always wanted to go there so thanks for the tips xx

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  4. Wow there are so many lovely pictures. The city is beautiful and seriously on my list of places I want to visit.

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  5. Amsterdam has always been on my bucket list of places to go too! Will definitely have to come back to this in future, it looks like you had fun!

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  6. Amsterdam looks so beautiful! This post is so helpful! Glad you had a great time! Xx

    http://www.abeautifulchaos.co.uk

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  7. Wow I absolutely love this style of post! I definitely think you should do this again if you go elsewhere soon!!!! I'm visiting Amsterdam very soon hopefully and these tips will definitely be something I come back too! Lovely post! X

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    1. thank you! I'm in the process of doing one for Berlin which should be up later tonight!

      G x

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  8. I live in the NEtherlands, so this all sounds very familiar to me! Great blogpost!

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    1. I deffo want to visit again was so lovely!

      G x

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