Amsterdam can be an expensive city, however there are plenty of things which can be done on a budget. In this article we list 39 ideas for cheap things to do in Amsterdam for either under 5 euros or 5-10 euros.
We’ll consider museums, transport options, city views and various other activities.
Please also see our list 101 Free Things To Do in Amsterdam for a whole host of freebies.
Cheap Things To Do in Amsterdam: €5 or less
Museum Card (Museumkaart) – This card costs €65 (bear with us) but allows unlimited entry into over 400 museums in the Netherlands. Note, if buying over-the-counter you only get a temporary card which has a 5 museum visit limit and lasts 31 days.
The full annual validity is only possible for Dutch and EU residents who register the card online.
The Museumkaart allows you to enter many of the major museums in Amsterdam for free without having to queue up for tickets. This includes the Rijksmuseum, Van Gogh Museum, Hermitage and Stedelijk which all normally charge €15-€20 entrance.
So if you visit can visit 10+ museums with the card, you would effectively be getting entry for €5 or less, each time.
Houseboat Museum – Explore an authentic Amsterdam houseboat at Prinsengracht 296K – walk westwards from Spui. €4.50, open Tue-Sun 1000-1700.
Electric Ladyland – A unique museum showing fluorescent lighting art. At Tweede Leliedwarsstraat 5 in the Jordaan. €5, open Tue-Sat 1300-1800.
Amsterdam Tulip Museum – This is a small shop in the Jordaan district (at Prinsengracht 116) rebranded as a museum. It has displays on the history of the tulip. At €5 entry, perhaps a litlle steep for some unless you have a real interest in tulips. Open daily 1000-1800.
HEMA Breakfast – Fed up with expensive hotel breakfasts? Head over to Dutch chain HEMA where you can purchase a breakfast (baguette roll with omelette, croissant and jam plus a cup of filter coffee or tea) for just €2. Valid between 0900 and 1000, located at Nieuwendijk 174-176 (near Dam Square). It also has a cheap coffee and cake deal after 1600.
Have a picnic in the park – On a sunny day take a picnic with you to one of Amsterdam’s parks or open spaces. For example, there is a large underground Albert Heijn supermarket on Van Baerlestraat at Museumplein where you can pick up supplies – bread, cheese and a small bottle of wine can be had for around €5 – and take it to nearby Vondelpark or sit down on the grass at Museumplein. A wonderful way to spend a sunny afternoon…
Drink with a view – There are a few café/bars/restaurants where you can get a drink whilst admiring a panorama of Amsterdam. You could check out the terrace at Amsterdam Central Library, Café Blue° at the top of the Kalvatoren shopping centre, DAK restaurant on the roof of Nemo Science Museum, Canvas in the Volkshotel in east Amsterdam or the (more expensive) Skylounge bar of the Doubletree Hotel near Central Station.
Eat a raw herring – Forget the junk food chains. For a couple of euros you can get yourself an authentic Dutch delicacy – a raw (cured) herring covered with chopped onions. The taste is surprisingly good and it is packed with healthy oils. Available for sale at street fish stalls all over the city including at the Albert Cuyp street market.
Transport ride – A 1 hour single ticket for a GVB Amsterdam metro, bus or tram ride costs €3. Head to the GVB ticket office outside Central Station, grab a free transport map (lijnennetkaart) and see where you would like to go.
Historical tram ride – Every Sunday (Easter to end of October) you can take a ride on one of the city’s historic old trams. The line starts at the Tram Museum Haarlemmermeerstation depot in south-west Amsterdam roughly between the Olympic stadium and Vondelpark. The line is some 7km long and travels south through the Amsterdamse Bos (Amsterdam forest), Amstelveen and on to the village of Bovenkerk. The trams run between 1100 and 1700 and the full journey takes around 30 minutes. A single ride costs €3, a return is €5.
Art-deco swim – Go for a swim at the art-deco Zuiderbad building (Hobbemastraat 26, close to Rijksmuseum in the heart of the city). The pool is open daily and entrance is €3.75.
Cineville Pass (residents only) – Cinneville is an alliance of 42 art-house cinemas in 20 cities/towns around the Netherlands. It offers an unlimited monthly ticket (minimum subscription 4 months, Dutch bank account required) called the Cinevillepas for just €21 per month. Watch a couple of films a week and you are paying less than €3 per film.
Cheap Things To Do in Amsterdam: €5 to €10
The following museums in Amsterdam have an entry fee between €5 and €10:
Allard Pierson Museum – The city’s archaeological museum with a fine collection from ancient civilisations. At Oude Turfmarkt 127 in the centre.
Amsterdam Pipe Museum – A museum dedicated to smoking pipes and paraphernalia, located at Prinsengracht 488.
Anne Frank House – One of Amsterdam’s most important and well visited museums. House at Prinsengracht 263-267 where Anne Frank and family hid during WW2, where she wrote her famous diary. Essential to pre-book online.
Cat Cabinet – A quirky museum with a unique collection of cat-related art. Herengracht 497.
Diamond Museum – This museum from Coster Diamonds will tell you everything you ever wanted to know about diamonds, Paulus Potterstraat 8 near Museumplein.
Dutch Equestrian School Museum at the Hollandsche Manege – The oldest riding school in the Netherlands set in a beautiful neo-classical building at Vondelstraat 140.
Erotic Museum – For those inclined, the erotic-themed museum is at Oudezijds Achterburgwal 54 in Amsterdam’s red light district.
Hash, Marihuana & Hemp Museum – A museum dedicated to the cannabis plant at Oudezijds Achterburgwal 148.
Huis Marseille – A contemporary photography museum at Keizersgracht 401.
Koninklijk Paleis – The imposing Royal Palce on Dam Square is open to the public, worthy of a visit to see the impressive Citizen’s Hall (Burgerzaal).
Museum Van Loon – An Amsterdam canal-side merchant house and garden at Keizersgracht 672.
Museum Willet-Holthuysen – Another grand canal merchant house and garden at Herengracht 605.
Museumyard ‘t Kromhout – This working shipyard museum (of interest to enthusiasts) is involved in renovating old boats and engines. Only open Tuesdays, at Hoogtekadijk 147.
Pianola Museum – Small museum in the Jordaan with a collection of automated pianos, at Westerstraat 106.
Torture Museum – Museum in the centre of Amsterdam at Singel 449 which exhibits past instruments of torture.
Uitvaart Museum Tot Zover – Funeral museum which highlights how the Dutch approach death, at Kruislaan 124.
More ideas for things to see and do in Amsterdam for €5 to €10:
24 Hour GVB Transport Ticket – For €8 you can buy a GVB day ticket and ride Amsterdam’s trams, metro and buses for 24 hours. For example, explore modern architecture at the island of IJburg (tram 26); visit the Flevopark (trams 7/14); have a look at the Johan Cruijff ArenA Stadium (metro 54) or old Olympic Stadium (tram 16). Book a ticket online here, pick-up in Amsterdam.
Waterland Day Ticket – You can explore the Waterland area just north of Amsterdam which include historic fishing villages and picturesque green polders. A Waterland day ticket costs €10 and you can hop-on and hop-off the EBS buses all day.
Zaanse Schans – You can go and see the windmills and village at Zaanse Schans, some 15km north of Amsterdam. A day return train ticket from Amsterdam Central to Zaandijk Zaanse Schans will set you back €7.60 including €1 disposable ticket surcharge.
Bike Rental – Go local and get on your bike, it’s a great way to explore the city. A day’s bike rental should come in just under €10.
Hortus Botanicus – If you love plants why not visit one of the oldest botanical gardens in the world. Admission €9.50, Plantage Middenlaan 2a.
Church Panorama – If you are fit enough then you can climb to the top of the Westerkerk and Ouderkerk church towers. Giving great views of Amsterdam, tours cost €8 and are available April-October.
Ice Skating – The Dutch are crazy about ice skating. The Jaap Eden IJsbaan is an outdoor 400m ice rink open October-March, entrance costs €7.70. At Watergraafsmeer in east Amsterdam, the address is Radioweg 64.
Pedal Boats – If you want to discover Amsterdam’s canals under your own steam then rent a pedalo. A 1 hour rental costs €10 per person from Stromma (locations: Stadhouderskade 520, Leidsebosje 2 and Prinsengracht 279).
Royal FloraHolland Aalsmeer Flower Auction – For something a bit different outside of Amsterdam, visit the largest plant and flower trading centre in the world. Located at Aalsmeer (not far from Amsterdam Schiphol airport), admission to the flower auction and visitor’s centre costs €8 and starts from 0700 Mon-Fri. You will need to get there, either by car (free parking on site) or take Connexxion bus 357 from Amsterdam Central.
There you go, that’s 39 ideas for cheap things to do in Amsterdam. If you are on a budget it’s good to mix and match a range of activities. Yes, you can always do a few of the more expensive-but-essential ‘must-see’ things in Amsterdam. But by adding in some of the free or cheaper activities you can keep your total costs down.