The best things to do in Amsterdam for FREE

By Jon Price

There’s really no shame in being a cheapskate. Amsterdam can be a pricey place, what with shelling out for expensive museums and decadent meals (well, it would be rude not to, right?). But enjoying the city on the cheap is easier and more rewarding than you may think. Here’s our pick of some seriously cool things to do that won’t cost you a single Euro…

Follow your nose

Holland is famed around the world for its tantalising tulips and picture-perfect flower arrangements, which pop up in fields and pastures across the Dutch countryside every spring. Whenever you choose to visit, the fabulous floating flower market, the Bloemenmarkt, can be visited year-round. From 9am to 5pm (or maybe a little earlier on Sundays), visitors can walk along the southern bank of the Singel river admiring blooms and bulbs to their heart’s content. There’s no charge for entry or browsing, but we can’t promise you won’t end up spending a pretty penny on the gorgeous bouquets and other traditional Dutch trinkets that adorn the stalls.

Sweet music

Amsterdam’s gorgeous Concertgebouw has been hosting magical concerts since 1888 and has a prominent reputation for being one of the world’s go-to venues for mindblowing acoustics. Better yet, the place hosts regular free lunchtime concerts and, thanks to an extensive renovation programme that took place in the early 1990s, sounds better today than ever before. Plan ahead, keep a close eye on the Concertgebouw’s website and you’re in for a treat.

Park Life

Compared to some European cities, Amsterdam is a little lacking in options when it comes beautiful gardens and green spaces to escape the hustle and bustle. However, the city’s main park, Vondelpark, is so impressive that it more than makes up for Amsterdam’s lack of options. Tree-lined paths are dotted with local Dutch plants and exotic overseas imports, many of which have stood here since Vondelpark first opened in 1864. The park is also home to a dizzying range of sheep, cows, squirrels and even parakeets for anyone who fancies a spot of birdwatching. Meanwhile the park’s open-air theatre and bandstand often host free concerts and theatrical performances. Oh, and don’t miss the luscious rose garden.

Art Attack

Free museums are all the rage in cities such as London and New York in Amsterdam, ticketless educational experiences can prove a little more difficult to discover. Anybody interested in art or local history should head to the often-overlooked Schuttersgalerij – a small yet splendid section of the gorgeous 17th century Amsterdam Museum that can be accessed for free. Inside, the gallery showcases historic paintings of wealthy Amsterdam citizens throughout the ages, ranging from regal portraits by old Dutch Masters to modern interpretations of contemporary celebrities and sportspeople.

All Aboard

Directly behind Amsterdam Central Station lies a small ferry port with a difference – one that offers completely free rides to the other side of the water.

There are three routes to choose from but our favourite is crossing the river IJ to the north of the city for ultra-wide views of the Amsterdam waterfront. Hop aboard ‘IJplein’ to visit local Dutch shops, ‘Buiksloterweg’ for a direct crossing straight across the water for a few quick Instagram snaps, or ‘NDSM Werf’ if you want to take in views of the city from multiple angles and explore Amsterdam’s industrial harbour that’s now a cutting edge space dedicated to art.

MakeMyDay offers unique and handpicked experiences in exciting cities around the globe, including Amsterdam.

Image: Rudy and Peter Skitterians from Pixabay