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- Posted: Wednesday, July 21, 2010
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Free Things to do in Amsterdam
- Posted in:Free things to do
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The capital city of Holland has long been a popular choice for tourists visiting Europe. Often referred to as the ‘Venice of the North’ because of the many canals it is built around, Amsterdam is a scenic city with some stunning architecture, arts and culture, as well as nightlife and shopping. However, when it comes to sightseeing in Amsterdam, some of the most popular attractions in the city come with a price tag for admissions. But if you are on a budget then fear not as once again Hostels.com is here to save the day! Here’s our pick of some free things to do in Amsterdam for your visit to this great city!
Walk Along the canals and take in the bridge views
Amsterdam is a city built upon many canals and has resulted in the city often being called the ‘Venice of the North’. A great free thing to in Amsterdam is to take advantage of the natural scenery and good weather by walking around the city’s canals. You can stroll alongside a certain canal to follow its route, or make a plan of certain bridges and canals that you want to follow. The four main city centre canals are Prinsengracht, Herengracht, Keizersgracht and Singel. This is an activity that can be done by day or night. The canals of Amsterdam can be particularly pretty at night also as many of the bridges are lit up.
Located in an alley just off the popular area of Spui you will find the Begijnhof. This is a secret garden of sorts that really is not a secret anymore as it has found itself firmly on the tourist trail. Despite all the visitors it gets, Begijnhof makes for a great escape from the hustle and bustle of the city. A narrow, vaulted passageway will bring you to this beautiful garden surrounded by 14th century houses. One of these houses is Number 34 and is the oldest house in Amsterdam, dating from 1420. These houses have always been occupied by single women only and once they marry they have to move out. There is a beautiful little church in the Begijnhof that still functions with regular services. A visit to this popular old garden is a must and also a great free thing to do in Amsterdam!
One of the best things to do for free in Amsterdam is to check out its public parks. Parks always make our lists when it comes to free things to do in any city as they can be a great way to spend a few hours. Vondelpark is Amsterdam’s most popular park and makes for a great retreat from the city for a while. Although you will have to keep watching out for those bicycles as both locals and tourists cycle through and around Vondelpark. There are little lakes and big green areas with benches to sit on, as well as entertainment with free concerts and street performers throughout the summer months in Vondelpark. And in keeping with our budget thinking, pack a picnic and have your lunch or dinner in the park some-day for one of our favourite things to do for free in any city!
Sit in the squares
Another thing that Amsterdam has plenty of apart from canals and bridges is squares! Sitting out in these squares, or ‘pleins’ as the Dutch call them, is an excellent free thing to do in Amsterdam. Similar to Spanish ‘plazas’, these open air areas are packed full of people once the good weather comes in Amsterdam. Most of these squares are surrounded by restaurants and bars with outdoor terraces where you can have some food or a drink and watch the world go by! However, if you are on a budget then just sit in the actual square on one of the many benches or steps. This is a popular free thing to do in Amsterdam for many in places such as Dam Square, Leidseplein, Rembrandtplein and Museumplein.
Visit the Markten
Amsterdam is home to many markten or open air markets. A stroll through one these markets is a great way to experience the authentic culture of Amsterdam and it is also another of our free things to do in Amsterdam. They are alive with colours, sounds and smells of the true local flavour so you don’t have to buy anything to actually partake in the market atmosphere. The various markets in Amsterdam are based in neighbourhoods and are open all year round, regardless of the weather.
Some popular ones include the Albert Cuyp Market which has over 250 stalls selling almost everything. The Albert Cuyp market is open Monday to Saturday from 9am to 5pm and is located close by to the Heineken Experience. Another great market is the Dappermarkt which is considered Amsterdam’s most affordable and multi cultural market. The Dappermarkt is open Monday to Saturday from 9am to 5pm and can be found in the East of the city close to Artis Zoo.
By: Tracy Lynch