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Travel Guide Budget and Itinerary for Amsterdam

Visiting Amsterdam wasn't part of my original plan. However, I got cheap flight tickets to Brussels and figured that it was only a few hours away, so might as well. 

Amsterdam The Wandering Juan

Amsterdam is an interesting city that's quite small but packed with things to do for all types of visitors.

Travel Guide Budget and Itinerary for Amsterdam

Amsterdam is the capital of the Netherlands. The city is a popular European destination among tourists. it is a cultural hub home to numerous museums, universities, research institutes, and entertainment venues. From a small fishing village centuries ago, Amsterdam developed into an economic and financial hub. The city's canals are a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of its main tourist draws with many hopping on cruises to explore it. The city's opennes and tolerance make it a vibrant destination for everyone. 

Getting a Visa

You'll need a Schengen visa to enter Amsterdam and the region. I didn't apply at the Netherlands Embassy, I got my visa from different countries namely: Austria, Czech Republic, and Poland. Regardless of where you apply, the documents you need to submit are quite similar. 

Read my detailed post about getting a Schengen visa here: how to get a Schengen visa 

How to Get to Amsterdam

The way you enter the city affects your budget and itinerary for Amsterdam. Flights are definitely more expensive than traveling by bus or train. Thankfully, the city provides you with a handful of transportation options.

By Plane

Amsterdam Airport Schiphol is the country's main airport. Many airlines from different parts of the world have flights to and from here. Low-cost airlines also have direct regional flights to Amsterdam. Buy your tickets weeks or months in advance to get the lowest fares. 

You have multiple transportation options to get to the city center from the airport. You can take the bus just outside Schiphol Plaza or take the train below the airport. You can also take a taxi to your accommodation or rent a car.

By Bus or Train

You can enter the country by train or bus from different cities. I've taken the train numerous times to explore Europe, but the cheapest option is almost always by bus. I took the bus from Brussels to Amsterdam via www.flixbus.com


The train is also an option you can consider. You can book here: https://www.ns.nl/en.

Things to do in Amsterdam

When planning your budget and itinerary for Amsterdam, these are some of the attractions and things to do. Despite Amsterdam's small size, it has plenty to offer visitors who are looking for wholesome (and not so wholesome) activities.


Rijksmuseum The Wandering Juan

This museum dates to 1798 and is one of the city's most popular destinations, especially for art lovers. It's home to thousands of paintings, art, and other cultural artifacts. If you love museums, you could easily spend hours in here. 

Entrance fee: €22.50 

*Certain individuals can get a discount. You have to reserve a time slot to get inside. 

You can visit their website here: https://www.rijksmuseum.nl/en

Van Gogh Museum

Van Gogh Museum The Wandering Juan

This museum is home to the biggest collection of Van Gogh's artifacts and paintings. Here you'll find hundreds of drawings, etchings, letters, and paintings of the renowned painter. You'll see his realistic and impressionist works while exploring the museum. 

Entrance fee: €20

*You'll have to reserve a time slot.

Visit the museum's website here: https://www.vangoghmuseum.nl/en


Jordaan The Wandering Juan

This neighborhood is a popoular stop for visitors because of its picturesque appearance. Here you'll find many shops, restaurants, markets, and others. Walk around the neighborhood and/or grab a bite in one of the eateries or just simply soak in the views. 

Anne Frank House

Anne Frank House The Wandering Juan

Anne Frank's family were Jewish refugees hiding in Amsterdam. The house they lived in is now a museum and was largely left the way it was. Anne wrote the now famous diary while hiding from Nazi persecution. This attraction is one of the most famous in the city. Tickets often sell out as soon as they're available a month or so online. 

Entrance fee: €16

*Certain individuals get a discount. Book your tickets in advance.

Visit the museum's website here: https://www.annefrank.org/en/museum/

Royal Palace of Amsterdam

Royal Palace of Amsterdam The Wandering Juan

The king stays in this palace whenever he's in Amsterdam. Construction of the palace took place in 1648 and finished in 1665. 

Entrance fee: €12.50

*Certain individuals can get a discount.

Visit their website here: https://www.paleisamsterdam.nl/en/visit/

Dam Square

Dam Square The Wandering Juan

Many people congregate in this public square. You'll see the Royal Palace, National Memorial Statue, and New Church among others during your visit to this part of the city. There are also many cafes, restaurants, and shops in this area.

Oude Kerk

Oude Kerk The Wandering Juan

This church is one of the oldest structures you'll find in the city (it dates to the 13th century). Many churches in the region patterned their designs after Oude Kerk. The church grew with many additions taking place over the centuries.  

Entrance fee: €13.50

*Certain individuals can get a discount upon presenting a valid ID.


Westerkerk The Wandering Juan

Its Gothic features that make it one of the city's prettiest churches. Its tower (not seen in the picture) is one of the highest in the city. 


Begijnhof The Wandering Juan

This quiet and picturesque spot in Amsterdam takes you briefly away from the hustle and bustle of the city. Here you'll find some of the oldest houses in the city. Begijnen (pious Catholic women) used to live in this area. 

Canal Cruise

Canal Cruise The Wandering Juan

One of the best ways to experience and explore the city is to go on a canal cruise. You'll get to weave in and out of the historic canals and get beautiful views of the houses and buildings in different parts of the city.

You can book a tour from Get Your Guide.

Red-Light District

Much has already been said and written about Amsterdam's Red-Light District. It's quite an experience to actually be walking in it. You'll see all sorts of vices on display. There are window prostitutes, weed-based products, live shows, and others. There's also several shops, cafes, bars, and restaurants in this area or just outside of ir.

Some other attractions you might want to include in your budget and itinerary for Amsterdam.

  • Vondelpark
  • Rembrandt House Museum
  • Amsterdam Royal Zoo
  • Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam
  • Jewish Historical Museum
  • Nieuwe Kerk
  • Amsterdam Museum
  • NEMO Science Museum
  • EYE Film Institute Netherlands

Getting around Amsterdam

One of the most popular ways to explore the city is by bike. You'll see several people riding bikes in the city. Bike rentals cost around €5 to €10 depending on the company. You can also take the trams and subway to get to different parts of the city. I bought a transportation card during my stay because it pays off after just a few rides. You can buy tickets and a day pass from one of the machines near a stop or station. The cheapest way to get around is on foot. The city center contains most of the attractions. If you're used to walking for hours, seeing most of the center is easy. 

Day Trip

If you want to tick off another country on your list, you can include Brussles in your budget and itinerary for Amsterdam.

Brussels The Wandering Juan

Hop on a bus or train to Brussels. It takes a few hours to reach the capital of Belgium. Start early so that you can visit some of the city's highlights. It's easy to DIY this trip so you don't have to book one from Amsterdam.

Read my post here: budget and itinerary for Brussels

Where to Stay in Amsterdam

Amsterdam is an expensive city to visit. Even if you're staying in a hostel, you'll still pay more compared to other cities in Europe. You have plenty of accommodation options for your trip whether you want to splurge on a nice hotel room with breakfast or stay in a dorm to meet other people. 

I usually look for accommodation through Booking.com.

Budget for Amsterdam

Amsterdam The Wandering Juan

Amsterdam is one of the most expensive cities I've been to. Everything is expensive. A budget of roughly €90 to €100 a day covers taking public transportation, walking, staying in a hostel dorm, eating budget meals or supermarket food and drinks, and at least one paid attraction. You'll spend more if you want to eat out, drink, indulge in the city's vices, go on a canal cruise, go on day trips, go shopping, and other things you might want to spend money on. Plan your budget and itinerary for Amsterdam well so you can save some money.

Amsterdam on a Budget Tips

  • Avoid Amsterdam during the weekends and holidays. Accommodation is more expensive during these times. It's going to be difficult to find even a cheap dorm bed. Visit the city during the weekdays to reduce some of your expenses.
  • Buy food from grocery stores and supermarkets. Eating at a restaurant or a cafe frequently will eat into your budget quickly.
  • Walk to get from point A to B. Renting a bike and buying a transportation card costs money. The tourist area is quite small. It's easy to see most of the attractions on foot because most of them are within walking distance of each other. 
  • Consider staying in accommodation outside the city center. Hostels and hotels tend to be cheaper the further away they are from the center. Public transportation is efficient and reliable in Amsterdam so you won't have a problem getting anywhere.

Itinerary for Amsterdam

Here's a sample itinerary for Amsterdam. You can add or remove places depending on your interests, budget and time.

Day 1

Explore Jordaan

Anne Frank House

Oude Kerk



Royal Palace of Amsterdam and Dam Square

Day 2

Day trip to Brussels

Day 3

Van Gogh Museum 



You can end your days anywhere in the Red-Light District, Jordaan or the city center. There's plenty of bars, restaurants, and cafes in the center or just outside of it. 

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