10 Best Free Things To Do In Amsterdam

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Amsterdam is a destination unlike any other, which is why millions of people visit every year. Although only 1 million people live in Amsterdam, there are almost 20 million visitors each year. 

Amsterdam is overall less expensive than other tourist destinations around the world and there are plenty of free things to do if you’re on a budget. 

Quick tips to save money in Amsterdam: 

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Here is a list of the 10 best free things to do in Amsterdam. 

1. Canal sight-seeing

Amsterdam is known for its unique city and its incredible canals are a huge reason for that. The canals provide a fun and charmful feel to the city.

If you’re staying at an Airbnb, they may offer free bikes to use while you’re visiting Amsterdam. Check with your host. This is a great way to get around Amsterdam at no cost at all. 

There are even canal cruises you can partake in, but they’ll obviously cost a few bucks (roughly $20 U.S. dollars per ticket).

You can get more information on Amsterdam’s canals here.

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2. Stroll at the parks

Amsterdam can be quite hectic during a busy tourist season, which means visiting a park during your trip may be ideal.

There are about 30 parks to choose from while you’re visiting Amsterdam and they all have something different to offer. Make sure to pack a picnic or go for a bike ride in the park. There are often free concerts at the parks as well. 

Here are some of the best parks to visit in Amsterdam:

  • Vondelpark 
  • Amstelpark
  • Beatrix
  • Amsterdamse Bos Park
  • Frankendael Park
  • Sarphatipark

3. Enjoy a free ferry ride

If you want to get on the water and explore a different part of Amsterdam, you can take a free ferry across the river.

There are different free ferries to choose from. Most trips are between 10-30 minutes long. Bikes and scooters are allowed on board. No tickets needed. 

You can get more information here.

4. Bloemenmarkt

The Netherlands are known for their beautiful flowers and vibrant landscape, so visiting the Bloemenmarkt is a must.

Bloemenmarkt is the world’s only floating market and is a must during your visit. Even if you aren’t a fan of flowers, you’ll still appreciate the natural beauty of it all.

The market also offers chocolate and cheese shops, souvenir shops, and you can even take tulip bulbs home. All you need is a customs-cleared stamp and you shouldn’t have any trouble at the border. 

5. I amsterdam sign

In the popular city square Museumplein, you’ll find one of Amsterdam’s iconic spots, the I amsterdam sign. 

Feel free to snap a photo while sitting on one of the letters (or standing next to it, of course). 

During the winter season, there are several ice skating rinks in Amsterdam you can enjoy for a low cost. 

6. Jordaan District

One of my favorite things to do when I visit a new city is to explore the area on foot.

Jordaan District is one of the most popular areas for tourists to visit because of the beautiful architecture, great restaurants, and shopping. There are two beautiful churches here that you can visit, whether you’re religious or not. I always enjoy looking at the architecture and taking it all in.

There are even flea markets and farmers’ markets in the area, depending on when you visit. 

You can get more information on the Jordaan District here.

Related: 12 Epic Travel Jobs For Traveler

7. Red Light District

Now, what kind of person would I be if I kept out the Red Light District?

When we think of the Red Light District, we often think about the obvious, but there’s actually a lot more this area has to offer. And even if there was nothing else to offer, it’s still a unique experience.

There is a wide variety of coffee shops, stores, museums, and drinking & dining in the area. 

If you do visit this area, stay hyper-aware and stick to your gut. If anything feels weird, peace out. Don’t take photos and stay respectful of people working in the area. 

You can get more information on the Red Light District here.

8. Events and festivals

Amsterdam has a wide variety of events and festivals almost every week and is particularly great for tourists because they cater to the English-speaking as well.

Spring events:

  • Koningsdag (Kingsday) April 27
  • Bevrijdingsdag (Liberation Day) May 5

Summer events:

  • Grachtenfestival | Mid-August
  • Gay Pride

Autumn events:

  • International Documentary Film Festival | November
  • Museum Night

Winter events:

Amsterdam Light Festival

Keep in mind, there are plenty of other events and these are just a few. 

You can get more information on events and festivals here.

9. Windmills

Amsterdam is known for its windmills and they even have a day dedicated to celebrating windmills (May 11). 

If your Airbnb or hotel offers free bikes, this will be a perfect day trip to visit the different windmills in the area.

There are 8 total windmills in the Amsterdam area, including:

  • De 1200 Roe
  • De 1100 Roe
  • Riekermolen
  • D’Amiraal
  • De Bloem
  • Gooyer
  • Molen van Sloten 
  • De Otter

You can get more information here.

10. Visit a nearby beach

It may come to a surprise to some people, but there are beaches nearby Amsterdam. So if you’re looking for different terrain and some sunshine, a visit to a local beach is a must.

It’s important to check the weather before you visit a beach in the area as the weather can be quite stormy and windy depending on the season. 

Getting to most beaches will require public transport, so keep that in mind. 

  • Zandvoort Beach
  • Bloemendaal Beach
  • Wijk Aan Zee Beach

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What do you recommend doing in Amsterdam?

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