Traveling to Amsterdam on a Budget

For less than $250/week

Traveling to Amsterdam on a budget

Amsterdam can be seen as a relatively expensive city to visit, especially when compared to some other European destinations. For the purpose of this post, I’m going to based my perception on the American standards and give you some recommendations to keep it on budget, as it is where I live. Costs for accommodation, dining out, and attractions can add up quickly. However, with careful planning and budget-conscious choices, it is entirely possible to enjoy Amsterdam on a more modest budget.

Hostels vs Hotels

The best way (for me) to save money while traveling is by staying in a hostel. It is also a good way to meet people from all over the world, which can be hard when traveling alone and staying in hotel rooms, and you can find plenty of cozy, cool and vibey ones.

If you decide to stay in a hotel, lodging will be for sure one of the largest expenses of your trip. You might find some cheap ones, (outside the centre) but they will still be more expensive and I still encourage you to stay in a hostel instead. Many hostels in Amsterdam also offer communal spaces such as lounges, kitchens, and outdoor areas, creating a welcoming atmosphere for guests to relax and interact.

Hostel prices in Amsterdam start at $10/per night in low season, against $60/night in a hotel for the same dates. Overall, hostels in Amsterdam provide an affordable and social accommodation option for travelers seeking a budget-friendly and engaging experience in the city.

My favorite for sure is the the Meininger Hostel: 100% recommended, it looks just like a hotel: modern, cozy, and renovated. You can choose whether you wanna share the room with 3, 6 or 12 people. The rooms are beautifully decorated, very clean and they offer vending machines in every floor. It is not in the centre but one train station away, which is not bad.

So let’s say we only spend $50 here.

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Walking and Biking

Transportation in Amsterdam shouldn’t be expensive if you decide to do what the locals do: walk or bike everywhere. You could rent a bike for 5 euros a day if you wanna experience the full dutch experience (you can literally find bikes on every corner) but it’s not necessary in Amsterdam, as everything is within walking distance (besides the Heineken Museum, which is 20 miles away) while you enjoy the beautiful views of the canal & architecture that this city has to offer.

If you are not staying in the centre but out in the suburbs for example, you could buy the 3-day ticket bundle (metro, bus, train) for 28 euros, or you can buy the Iamsterdam card from 60 to 105 Euros, depending on the amount of days, that will give you public transportation + attractions (we will talk about this later on). The GVB (Amsterdam’s public transport company) also offers various ticket options, including single-use tickets and multi-day passes, providing flexibility for travelers.

Let’s assume you are staying in the center but decided to buy an Iamsterdam card to enjoy all the benefits. $50 + $60 = $110



It can be relatively affordable to eat and drink in Amsterdam. A cone of fresh fries with mayonnaise (dutch typical food) won’t be more than 4 euros, prices stay within that price range for beer & wine. Food markets and street food stalls are great choices for budget-conscious travelers looking to sample local flavors without breaking the bank. The Albert Cuyp Market, for example, offers a wide variety of affordable street food, from traditional Dutch snacks like herring and bitterballen to international cuisines.

Seating in restaurants is of course a little bit more expensive, and prices change depending on your selection of restaurants. Prices could go from 7 euros per person to up to 60 or even more.

Supermarkets and grocery stores are the easiest way to keep food and drink costs low. Stocking up on fresh produce, bread, cheese, and other local specialties allows visitors to create their own budget-friendly meals while enjoying a picnic in one of Amsterdam’s parks or along the picturesque canals.

Let’s round the numbers to $20 a day in food, for a total of $100 for the week. There we have $210.

Museums and Attractions

There are a couple must-seen attractions in Amsterdam that could also fit in out budget. If you decide to buy the Iamsterdam card, you could go with the 80 euros card (48 hours of unlimited time) and play around with your schedule, or you could choose the museums you want and save some bucks.

Sex museum amsterdam

The museum is located just by the Central Station, in the centre. With an interesting and variety collection,  from pictures of the golden shower to live performances (people having sex in the middle of a room) and many pieces of art. It is not comparable to any other sex museum I have visited. Tickets are 5 euros and its open from 9:30am to 11:30pm every day.

Free with the Iamsterdam Card

Red light district amsterdam

A well known attraction worldwide. From brothels and sex shops to museums, it has it all.  It is a free to look. Unfortunately I do not know prices if you decide to get sassy.

The Netherlands stands out for being one of the most liberal and tolerant countries, embracing the fact that people work in this industry.  So instead of criminalizing it, they “legalized”  prostitution, giving employees health insurance and forcing them to pay taxes.

Heineken Experience

The Heineken Experience is one of Amsterdam’s most authentic and famous attractions, a good chance to test your bartender skills and learn about the most famous dutch beer there is. This factory used to manufacture all of the brand’s beer until 1988, when the production line was moved.

It is now a museum that offers self-guided tours, where you can discover the history of the company, the ingredients of the beer, the brewing process, a tasting room and the shop.

$210 + 18 = $238

At the end of the tour you can enjoy 2 Heinekens and learn how to perfectly draught a beer. Tickets are 18 euros if you buy them online, 21 at the entrance.

Amsterdam canal at sunset with colorful bikes on the railway

Amsterdam’s canals are an integral part of the city’s identity and charm. Known as the “Venice of the North,” the network of canals weaves through the city, creating a picturesque and romantic atmosphere. The UNESCO-listed canal belt, dating back to the 17th century, is a testament to Amsterdam’s rich history and architectural beauty. They were built in the 17th century to allow merchants to take their cargo directly to their own warehouses anywhere in the city.

Fun Fact: Amsterdam has more canals than Venice (and over 1500 bridges).

Free 🙂

coffee shop amsterdam

As the Netherlands is one of the few countries that have “legalized” cannabis, (There are still regulations, you can find more on this topic here) Amsterdam coffee shops are for sure in the bucket list experiences of many tourists that come visit, from cannabis savvys to curious first-timers.

My advice: Don’t underestimate the weed quality, I did that mistake myself. Even if you’ve tried cannabis in the past, the dutch quality is usually higher and the strains can be stronger.

8-10 euros= $248

Van Gogh Museum Amsterdam

Amsterdam is renowned for its world-class museums, offering a rich tapestry of art, history, and culture. You can spend an entire day wandering around.  The Rijksmuseum Museum houses one of the most interesting history collections. The Stedelijk museum, instead,  is one of the world’s richest collections of contemporary art, with over 90K modern paintings, sculptures, photographs, graphics and designs. The Van Gogh Museum is a must-visit for art enthusiasts, showcasing the largest collection of Van Gogh’s works in the world. For those interested in history, the Anne Frank House provides a poignant and immersive experience, offering a glimpse into the life of Anne Frank during World War II.


Free with the Iamsterdam card we bought

Amsterdam Market

Amsterdam’s markets are vibrant and bustling, offering a delightful sensory experience for both locals and visitors. The Albert Cuyp Market, one of the most famous street markets in Amsterdam, is a treasure trove of colorful stalls selling everything from fresh produce, cheese, and fish to clothing, flowers, and souvenirs. If you wanna go local,  Marqt and Nieuwmarkt/ Boerenmarkt sell fresh produce and flowers grown by Dutch farmers. For food enthusiasts, the Foodhallen is a must-visit, featuring a wide variety of international cuisines and culinary delights.

Free 🙂

Nightlife in Amsterdam

Amsterdam has a solid nightlife scene, with big variety when it comes to clubs and pubs. Is one of the most unique and diverse amongst Europe. There are venues, dance festivals and club nights for every taste. Being The Netherlands the former capital of the electro music, DJs keep the crowd going all night long.

It depends on you alcohol consumption 🙂

And this is how we could travel to Amsterdam on a budget and spend less than $250 in a week.