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A Backpacker’s Guide to Amsterdam

Backpacking is one of the best ways to explore Amsterdam. This friendly city welcomes backpackers from all over the world with its pedestrian walkways and various outdoor spaces. Hostels in Amsterdam are numerous and inexpensive. The city is safe and clean, making it ideal for first-time backpackers as well as seasoned pros.

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Entertainment

Backpackers on a budget can find free walking tours in Amsterdam. These tours are the best way to see the city at no cost. Most Amsterdam walking tours are operated by volunteers who are native to the area. They know the best places to eat, the most exciting clubs, the hippest shops, and museums and galleries that are off the beaten path.

Amsterdam has plenty of free activities throughout the year that should fit any taste. Look for free concerts and orchestral performances like those at Concertgebuow each Wednesday from fall to spring. You can also head to one of the city’s many parks or take a free ferry ride from Centraal Station.

The Amsterdam Card is a wise investment for backpackers. The cost of this card gives visitors access to public transportation and city museums for three days.

Dining on the Go

Dining out in Amsterdam can be very expensive. However, to save a few dollars, there are several options. Automats are peppered throughout the city. These are filled with meal-sized treats like kaasouffle, a type of fried cheese; kipcorn, a chicken dish; and several types of hamburgers. You can also try out a squat restaurant. These eateries are run by volunteers in once-abandoned buildings, which helps to keep prices low. Try De Peper near Vondelpark or head to Java Island to eat at Einde van de Wereld.

Another option is to purchase food at an outdoor market. The city’s largest is Albert Cuyp Market, located in the De Pijp neighborhood. Backpackers can find fresh fruits and vegetables, cheeses, and herring for far less than can be purchased in a restaurant. On Saturday’s backpackers might try the farmer’s market at Noordermarkt. Open from 9 until 3, this farmer’s market welcomes all who are interested in fresh food. Dutch foods you should try include chocoladeletters, hollandse nieuwe haring, patat, poffertjes, stamppot and the delicious stroopwafels.

Finding Accommodation in Amsterdam

The low price accommodation in hostels makes them attractive to backpackers. There are more than 50 hostels in the city, but they can fill up quickly. It is important to book rooms in advance, which can be done online. The biggest benefit of the large number of hostels in Amsterdam is that they are located in spots that are attractive to any backpacker. Backpackers can choose to stay at a number of hostels located near Centraal Station, Dam Square and the Red Light District. There are also excellent hostels near museums and the lively Leidseplein. Others may prefer to stay in a quiet area outside of Amsterdam. Those backpackers can choose to stay in a city campground like the Bostel Amsterdamse Bos, which is only a train ride away from the center of the city.

Location isn’t the only item to consider when choosing a hostel in Amsterdam. Some hostels provide breakfast or have beer gardens for their guests. Many have private rooms with baths for a slightly higher price. Female travelers may prefer to stay at Hostelle, which only offers rooms to women. Backpackers who are concerned about drugs and alcohol might choose a spot like Shelter City, where those activities are not allowed. As is true with most places, most hostels in Amsterdam do not provide toiletry items or bath towels. Backpackers should also inquire about storing luggage if they feel they will need this service.

Important Notes

Backpackers should review the laws of any place they visit. Amsterdam is viewed as a liberal city, but there are some important laws that must be obeyed by citizens and vacationers alike. Smoking tobacco is illegal in most public places, including many hostels. Marijuana cannot be carried by those under the age of 18. No one may carry more than five grams of marijuana at a time. All hard drugs are illegal in Holland. All visitors and citizens must carry identification at all times.

Amsterdam is a city made for backpacking. Backpackers who remember these tips are certain to save on their trip while having the time of their lives.

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Dunya Carter

Dunya is an avid traveller and travel writer from Brisbane, Australia. She writes for Venere, a website where you can find and book affordable accommodation in an Amsterdam youth hostel. She also writes articles for many travel blogs and websites.

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  • Cindy

    I was looking for travel tips to Amsterdam, this post really helped me out a lot as I’m travelling on a budget. Also love the tip about the outdoor market, can’t wait to explore! Do the hostels in Amsterdam provide a kitchen? I think it would save money as well to be able to cook your own meals. Otherwise I will look for serviced apartments Amsterdam instead. Anyways, great post, just what I needed!