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5 Things To Do For Free In Amsterdam

Amsterdam…”Small city, big heart”

Black and white photo Amsterdam

Believe me or not, but it’s easy to spend a fortune in one of the most famous and stylish capitals in Europe, but Amsterdam has a lot of free goodies up for grabs. Here are top 5 attractions totally free of charge, yet interesting and so much fun:

#1 Visit the Bloemenmarkt

Take a trip to Amsterdam and, winding its quaint and unmistakably cosmopolitan streets, you’ll eventually find yourself at the Bloemenmarkt. A visual as well as cultural spectacle, the Bloemenmarkt is a floating flower market renowned for its depth of beauty the world over. It is in fact quintessential; the epitome of impermanence, a serenely beautiful manifestation of the temporal beauty known only to the traveller – a snapshot of something ‘other’, this floating monument enshrines our search for perennial beauty in the face of a world ruled by temperamental seasons.

Flower in Amsterdam

Resting between Muntplein and Koningsplein on the Singel Canal, the Bloemenmarkt is the world’s only floating flower market and a must see for any visitor. Enclosed in what appears to be a chain of greenhouses stacked upon a wooden mooring, the overall look of the market merges seamlessly with the high, ornate and many-windowed houses that line the canal. A riot of colours bursts from the shelves of this vibrant hot-spot, the tulip – national emblem of the Netherlands – vying with a cornucopia of equally bright and inviting flora and fauna.

To step into the Bloemenmarkt on a dreary day is to bask in natural wonder, while the heat of those easy summer days incites an aroma that seems to tickle the fancy even of the sunshine itself. Open from 9am to 5.30pm every day of the week except Sunday, when it opens at 11am, Bloemenmarkt is one of those truly bespoke cultural landmarks that begs hours of even the most casual visitor.

 #2 Relax  in Vondelpark

Vondelpark is Amsterdam’s most popular city park. It’s a peaceful and charming place perfect for a Sunday picnic, bike ride, decent book reading or even doing some yoga or meditation. If you get tired of overcrowded city center, don’t waste your time and hide there!

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#3 Go for a free boat ride

Most of boat rides in city center are pricey, but did you actually know of the ferries behind Centraal Station where you can take  the free ferries to parts of the city many don’t see? Two of them last less than ten minutes so make sure to take the ferry that goes furthest east to Buiksloterdijk as this journey lasts the longest. Ferries operate between 6.30am and 6pm/9pm.

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#4 Walk through the canals

Did you know there are more canals in Amsterdam than in Venice? Unbelievable! That gives you a great opportunity to admire a free, living museum of Dutch history and architecture when strolling down the streets and passing by the beautiful canals. If you don’t feel like walking all day long, pick up a bike and cycle around.

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#5 Experience free live music 

Let’s say you feel like going out with a bunch of friends on the cheap on a Sunday night. The best idea would be to go to Mulligan’s Irish Bar in Amstel for their free open jam sessions. Moreover, there are some free gigs at Jazz Cafe Alto on Korte Leidsedwarsstraat every Tuesday and free session of blues and soulful rock at Malo Melo on Wednesday night. In order to keep yourself posted on any free events going on in Amsterdam, check out the official website of the city.

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What else would you add to the list?

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Travel freak, vagabond, photography passionate, blogger, life enthusiast, backpacker, adventure hunter and endless energy couchsurfer living by the rule "Pack lite, travel far and live long!"

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{ 49 comments… add one }
  • Stef December 9, 2013, 11:06 am

    Great post. And thanks for the tip with the ferries. I didn’t know that. I was in Amsterdam last year and we did a boat tour which wasn’t good as it was raining and you couldn’t see much. I’d also recommend the Bloemenmarkt, I really liked it. Unfortunately I didn’t visit Vondelpark as it was raining all four days I was there :( So this is open for my next visit :)

    Reply
    • Agness Walewinder December 10, 2013, 2:14 am

      Maybe you can visit Vondelpark next time, awesome place!

      Reply
  • The Guy December 9, 2013, 12:03 pm

    Oh yes I remember that free boat behind the train station. I first caught it in 1993! I was very excited to catch a boat although it was a short journey. It also takes you to a very different side of Amsterdam. A lot quieter and more relaxing.

    Reply
    • Agness Walewinder December 10, 2013, 2:13 am

      So true!

      Reply
  • Dana Carmel @ Time Travel Plans December 9, 2013, 3:23 pm

    I could spend hours walking or boating through Amsterdam’s canals. I love that city!

    Reply
    • Agness Walewinder December 10, 2013, 2:13 am

      Me too!

      Reply
  • Kymee Martinak December 9, 2013, 5:33 pm

    LOVE IT>>>> I love this I hope some day to make it there.

    Reply
    • Agness Walewinder December 10, 2013, 2:11 am

      Hope you can make it there soon :). Summer is definitely the best timing!

      Reply
  • Bridget @ A Traveling B December 9, 2013, 6:23 pm

    Great recommendations! I loved Amsterdam when I visited and hope to make it back someday. I will certainly be using these suggestions. I had no idea the city had more canals than Venice!

    Reply
    • Agness Walewinder December 10, 2013, 2:11 am

      Yes, it does have more canals than Venice, it’s so crazy!

      Reply
  • Mike December 9, 2013, 6:56 pm

    Your black and white photos absolutely rock, Agness and Cez! I’m like anyone else if it’s fun and FREE I’m in lol! First on my list of the five you listed would be the canals in heartbeat. Then the free boat ride and I would love to go to Vondelpark to people watch! :)

    Reply
    • Agness Walewinder December 10, 2013, 2:10 am

      Thank you Mike. These are Instagram photos!

      Reply
  • Yara December 9, 2013, 8:53 pm

    Great post, great photos and great tips!
    I will keep that free boat ride in mind :)

    Reply
    • Agness Walewinder December 10, 2013, 2:10 am

      Thank you Yara. Always happy to help :).

      Reply
  • [email protected] December 10, 2013, 2:07 am

    Hi Agness, these are great tips. It has been a long time since the last time I was in Amsterdam; a return trip is in order. I didn’t know about the free ferries. Will definitely keep that one in mind. I’d like to check out Vondelpark. All my visits in the city was during fall and winter so I didn’t get a chance to hang out in the park. Picnicking sounds great. Your photos are all beautiful.

    Reply
    • Agness Walewinder December 10, 2013, 2:10 am

      Thank you guys! The free ferry is awesome, you can save a lot of money!

      Reply
  • santafetraveler December 10, 2013, 2:41 am

    Great post. I LOVE the black and white photos- especially the bicycles.

    Reply
    • Agness Walewinder December 11, 2013, 12:56 am

      Thank you! Black and white photos are definitely my favourite ones.

      Reply
  • rebecca kroegel December 10, 2013, 10:14 am

    wish I had of known about this free boat ride at the time! Amsterdam is such a great city with amazing history. I took a few walking tour whilst there, that was a great way to appreciate the city a lot more! Great pics by the way

    Reply
    • Agness Walewinder December 11, 2013, 12:57 am

      Thank you Rebecca. Maybe we can get back to Amsterdam once again together and go for this free ferry ride :)

      Reply
  • Becky Padmore December 10, 2013, 11:04 am

    Love the photos and lovely ideas, I would add window shopping at the Waterlooplein flea market :-)

    Reply
    • Agness Walewinder December 11, 2013, 12:57 am

      You are so much like me :).

      Reply
  • Shing December 10, 2013, 11:48 am

    I didn’t know about the free ferry rides so thanks for the tip Agness! I’m a huge lover of chess so I would recommend hanging out around Max Euweplein Square that’s near Vondelpark. Lots of locals hang out there so you can easily get chatting to people too – many of them can be rather eccentric! My kind of company!

    Reply
    • Agness Walewinder December 11, 2013, 12:58 am

      You are welcome sweetie. I don’t really know how to play chess, but hope to find out next time :).

      Reply
  • ardun December 11, 2013, 2:37 am

    Great photos Agness and what looks like an amazing city. Gotta get there next year! Also the free ferry is a great tip!

    Reply
    • Agness Walewinder December 12, 2013, 3:31 am

      Hey Ardun. Thanks a lot. I hope to meet you there next year!! :) You can visit me in Poland maybe… :)

      Reply
  • Renuka December 11, 2013, 5:34 pm

    Never been to Amsterdam, but would like to… I love your photographs! Amsterdam is known to have become quite crowded and touristy, so it’s hard to find solace in such cities. But I guess, as you said things like taking a boat ride or enjoy free music can quench a traveler’s heart. :)

    Reply
    • Agness Walewinder December 12, 2013, 3:50 am

      Yep, you can still do a lot of free and cool things in Amsterdam!

      Reply
  • Clare December 11, 2013, 9:25 pm

    Great post Agness! And great timing too! I’m off to Amsterdam in February. Can’t wait.

    Reply
    • Agness Walewinder December 12, 2013, 3:48 am

      Great to hear that :). Have fun!

      Reply
  • Elle December 14, 2013, 9:01 pm

    I’ve only been to Amsterdam once, but it was a great place to visit, and those canals, wow certainly worth a walk.

    Thanks for the great tips…maybe some soon day I’ll get to put some of them into practice.

    Reply
    • Agness Walewinder December 15, 2013, 8:02 am

      I’m so glad Elle you liked Amsterdam as much as I did :). These canals are truly amazing!

      Reply
  • Dave December 15, 2013, 9:01 pm

    Window shopping in the red light district?

    Reply
    • Agness Walewinder December 16, 2013, 12:18 am

      :-) LOL

      Reply
  • Michelle December 18, 2013, 8:13 pm

    I’ve been to Amsterdam a few times now, but I didn’t know they had free boat rides! guess it’s something to look forward to the next time i’m there :)

    Reply
    • Agness Walewinder December 19, 2013, 12:04 am

      Yes, definitely. You should try the free boats next time. You can save a lot of money!

      Reply
  • Disha Sharma December 21, 2013, 4:56 am

    hmmm, wonderful Agness, It’s really wonderful ! I never hear about Amsterdam in my life, I knwo it’s shocking but its also true & now when I visited on your this post so now I wish to be there & would enjoy :)

    Reply
    • Agness Walewinder December 22, 2013, 8:23 am

      It’s pretty shocking I must admit, but I’m glad you now know the city like Amsterdam really exists :-).

      Reply
  • Dubai Fishing December 27, 2013, 11:36 am

    These are great tips and I love your tips!

    Reply
    • Agness Walewinder December 27, 2013, 12:19 pm

      Thank you! Great to keep in touch!

      Reply
  • Sam | Travelling King January 3, 2014, 2:42 am

    Great tips!
    Cant wait to visit Amsterdam one day! I keep saying next year and then somewhere else pops up :P

    Reply
    • Agness Walewinder January 3, 2014, 2:55 am

      Hey Sam! Let me know. I might be around :).

      Reply
  • Marcel January 7, 2014, 8:17 am

    Hi there. Great post, can’t agree more on how beautiful Amsterdam really is… ;-)

    Another thing to add to the Vondelpark, might be the open air theater, that has free venues during summertime; music, theater, cabaret, dance etc…

    Furthermore, there are sometimes free concerts subject to season, in a.o. the Royal Concertgebouw, Bimhuis, Music Theatre and a few more, info here:

    Cheers !

    Reply
    • Agness Walewinder January 8, 2014, 2:11 am

      Hey Marcel. Thanks for sharing :)!!!!

      Reply
  • Chanel @ La Viajera Morena February 26, 2014, 7:16 am

    Excellent tips, especially about the ferry! Will definitely be doing that this summer! :)

    Reply
  • Frei September 24, 2014, 4:33 am

    Some awesome tips – even though I’ve lived in Amsterdam for a while I did not even know that the ferries were free to Amsterdam Noord! Thanks for that; will look into that on my next trip back.

    Except for the Bloemenmarkt, I would definitely add the Albert Cuyp Market, as there is no better way to experience the real Amsterdam culture then by walking around here. And if you love music, you can attend a free concert every Wednesday afternoon in het Concertgebouw (http://www.concertgebouw.nl/en/free-lunchtime-concerts).

    Owh and for more free activities to do in Amsterdam, follow Free Amsterdam on Twitter (https://twitter.com/freeamsterdam). They upload the information on free events daily. Worth to take a look at it :)

    Reply
  • Molly @Green Global Travel November 18, 2014, 6:17 am

    Simply must make it to Amsterdam one day! Especially cannot wait to experience the canals you mentioned :) Great list!

    Reply
    • Agness Walewinder November 19, 2014, 9:39 pm

      Thanks Molly!!

      Reply

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