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 colors 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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About Agness

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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48 Comments

  • 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 :)

  • 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.

  • 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!

  • 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! :)

  • 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.

  • 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

  • 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!

  • 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. :)

  • 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.

  • 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 :)

  • 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 :)

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

  • 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 !

  • 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 .

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

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

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