Amsterdam is one of the most expensive cities in Europe, but even if you travel on a small budget, this does not mean that you will have to limit yourself to hiking and sightseeing. We tell you how to visit excursions, swim on the ferry along the canals, and listen to music at one of the best concert venues without spending a penny.


Photo: jeafish Ping/

To get to know the city, you can go on a three-hour walking tour – the company, Sandeman’s New Amsterdam, conducts them all year round. Experienced guides show tourists the main attractions of Amsterdam, accompanying them with interesting facts and details. Although the tours are free, tipping guides are welcome. The schedule of tours can be found on the website.

Another company, the City Free Tour, organizes free tours of the Red Light District, an area known for its brothels and coffee shops. Every Friday from 20:00 to 21:30, guides tell the quarter’s story and share the legends that surround it. To visit the tour, you need to register on the company’s website.

On a free tour of the Gassan diamond factory, you can learn all about the carats, colors, and transparency of diamonds, as well as watch the process of their cutting. Tours are held in 27 languages, each of them lasts an hour. After graduation, all visitors are invited to go to the coffee shop and get a free drink.

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There are several small galleries in Amsterdam with free entrance – for example, the Radar Art and Architecture Gallery or the KochBoxspecializing in surrealism. If you are interested in contemporary art, you can visit the W139 gallery or the Melkweg GalerieMuseum, which hosts free photo exhibitions that change every month.

The Netherlands Film Institute EYE has a free, permanent exhibition, and Dutch films are shown on the ground floor. In addition to the exhibition, the museum building itself deserves attention – by the way, you can get to it by the free ferry Buiksloterweg, which runs from the Central Railway Station around the clock.

In the Amsterdam Cheese Museum, you can learn about the history and features of cheese making, look at items related to cheesemaking, and try on the traditional costume of a Dutch cheesemaker. In addition, here you can taste various types of cheese, from famous to little-known and exotic – and all this is also free.


Photo: RossHelen/

Amsterdam has 165 canals, about three times as many as Venice. You can walk along with them or ride on free ferries that depart from the Central Station. Ferries run on three routes: in addition to the cinema museum, they can be reached, for example, to NDSM – a former shipyard converted into an art space. Entrance to it, by the way, is also free.

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After walking along the canals, you can visit the oldest closed courtyard of Amsterdam Beguinage, which appeared in the Middle Ages – it is called an island of peace and tranquility in the middle of the city center. In addition, there is one of the two remaining wooden houses in the city. The courtyard can be accessed through an inconspicuous wooden door on Spøy Square.

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Another place where you can relax from the hustle and bustle is on the outskirts and is called the “Amsterdam Forest.” It is a huge park with a river, ponds, gardens, and monuments. There is even a small goat farm where tourists can feed the animals.

On a rainy day, it’s worth going to the OBA Library, one of the largest in Europe. Here you can look through books and magazines in different languages, listen to piano music and go up to the top floor, which offers a panoramic view of the city center.

Another free terrace with panoramic views is located on the roof of the NEMO Science Centre. In summer, it turns into a kind of city beach with comfortable sun loungers.

Flea and floating markets


Amsterdam’s flea markets and markets are worth a look, even if you’re not going to buy anything. For example, there is the world’s only floating flower market, where you can admire exotic flowers and the famous Dutch tulips. It includes 15 shops that are located on floating platforms along the waterfront.

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The Art Plein Spui market can be called an open-air gallery: it sells paintings by local and foreign artists made in various styles and techniques. It works only on Sundays.

The largest and most famous market in the Netherlands – Albert Kuip – appeared in the XIX century. You can find almost everything there: from traditional and exotic products to jewelry and cameras.


Photo: Andrew Balcombe/

The National Opera and Ballet Theatre offers free concerts every Tuesday at 12:30 p.m. At the same time, but on Wednesdays and from September to June, free sessions are held in the ConcertgebauHall, which is considered one of the best concert venues in the city. In both cases, the concerts last half an hour.

From 20:00 on Tuesdays, except July and August, you can listen to jazz in the club Bimhuis. At this time, jam sessions are held there together with musicians from the Amsterdam Conservatory. And every first Monday of the month, dancers and musicians together arrange an impromptu performance – entrance to it is also free.

If you prefer blues or acoustic rock, you can go to the Maloe Melobar, widely known among musicians and blues lovers worldwide. On Wednesdays, there are free concerts – they usually begin at 21:30-22:00.

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