With Easter Break coming up, The Saint looks at one of Europe’s most popular travel destinations, Amsterdam. Only just across the channel, Amsterdam is a vibrant, charming and enchant-ing city that can be experienced on a student budget. We researched what the city can offer both to those who are looking for a cheap get away and those who would like to experience all that the city has to offer no matter what the cost.
As with any European capital, Amsterdam is not a particularly cheap city to visit. Accommodation in the centre is in short supply, and therefore expensive. Many of the museums and art galleries charge for admission with the more expensive ones charging £10 or more. However, there are many ways to keep costs down whilst still viewing the sights and having a comfortable stay.
How to get there… If you are looking to save money in terms of transport then you should keep checking for deals and discounts. Websites such as ‘Low Cost Holidays’ and ‘Last Minute’ are usually good places to start. You can currently fly from Edinburgh to Amsterdam for £29.85, and back to Edinburgh for £38.11, leaving your total expenditure at only £67.96. However, as these prices are subject to change it is also worth researching the price difference between flying from London to Edinburgh, and catching a train down to the capital before you fly. Flights from London tend to be significantly cheaper as a rule of thumb. Once you have arrived at Schiphol Airport, the quickest, cheapest and easiest way to get into the city is by rail.
Where to stay… If you are working with a tight budget then there are plenty of hostels in Amsterdam, with varying rates depending on location and type of room (private or shared). Websites such as ‘Hostel World’ and ‘Trip Advisor’ are great to compare prices, and find what suits your needs. ‘Hostel World’ provides options for private rooms priced at approximately £20 a night, and almost halves the price if you are willing to tolerate the company of others.
Where to go… Although there seems to be a price attached to most of Amsterdam’s most famous attractions, there is still plenty you can do without spending a penny.
The Red Light District: Perhaps not everyone’s cup of tea, Amsterdam’s Red Light District is a historic part of town, and is defined by more than its seediness. You can take a stroll from De Waag (a medieval city gate and former weigh-house) through China Town, and along Zeedijk if you fancy a lower-key experience of the Red Light District.
Vondelpark: This city park is filled with grand gardens, open lawns, lakes and ponds. There are playgrounds, an open-air theatre, cafés, and plenty of people. You can enjoy a stroll, a bike ride or just relax on the grass by the lakes.
Beginhof: Often described as a ‘secret garden’, Beijnhof is the ideal place for an escape from the noise of the city. This hidden courtyard is surrounded by cottages, one of which is the oldest house in Amsterdam.
De Jordaan: Filled with inviting side-streets, intimate canals, galleries, quirky shops and cafes, this is one of Amsterdam’s most popular neigh-bourhoods. It is perfect to visit both during the day and at night, and is home to great restaurants as well as providing an exciting alternative nightlife location.
Of course this is not an exhaustive list of all the free attractions in Amsterdam: the Civic Guards Gallery, The Grachtengordel (Canal Belt), The Negen Straatjes (Nine Little Streets), and De Pijp (The Pipe) are other areas of interest in the city centre.
If finance is not your first priority, however, then many more options become feasible for your trip to Amsterdam.
How to get there… Before choosing your mode of transport, there are a few key factors to consider. Speed, comfort and baggage restrictions are all important elements that could impact your choice. Amsterdam is accessible by train, plane or ferry. It is very likely that your travel dates will determine your choice of transport.
Where to stay… As with when looking for budget accommodation, it is worth doing the research before you book in order to find the best value hotels. According to ‘Expedia’, the average price for a three-night stay in Amsterdam is £216 for a 3 star hotel, £323 for a 4 star hotel, and £599 for a 5 star hotel.
Where to go… Amsterdam is home to a variety of world famous attractions and museums, and if you are willing to pay often expensive admission fees then there are plenty of options available to you.
The Van Gogh Museum: More of Van Gogh’s work is collected here than anywhere else in the world, including his paintings drawings and letters. Each year 1.6 million visitors come to the Van Gogh museum making it one of the 25 most popular museums in the world. Cost: £11
Rijksmuseum: This museum – which translates to The State Museum in English – has existed for more than 200 years and is home to renowned Rembrandts, including The Night Watch, several paintings by Vermeer, Van Dyck and Jan Steen. Cost: £13
Het Scheepvaartmuseum (National Maritime Museum): Located just outside of the city centre, you can experience 500 years of maritime history. The museum was built on the water in 1655 and houses a wealth of artefacts including maps, globes, maritime paintings, intricate models of boats, and carved figureheads. Cost: £11
Other popular attractions in the nearby area include the Jewish Historical Museum, Rembrandt House Museum and the Artis Royal Zoo.