Amsterdam

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ShermansTravel experts rely on years of collective travel experience to bring you the best money-saving tips for your vacation. We take a discerning look at all the attraction passes, public transportation options, and other local bargains to make sure you get the most bang for your buck while traveling.

Amsterdam Money-Saving Tips

Language

Though we’re big believers in attempting the local language, virtually everyone in Amsterdam speaks English better than visitors could ever hope to speak Dutch. This is one destination where that dictionary might sit in your suitcase (except for some restaurant menus).

Picnics

The Netherlands are famous for cheese, and there's no better place to sample fromage than on a picnic in an Amsterdam park. Head to Vondelpark, the most visited park in the Netherlands, where you can buy great produce at open-air stalls, like the Albert Cuyp Markt. 

Pedal power

Amsterdam is one of the world's most friendly bike city with1.91 bicycle per household. Dedicated bike lanes – with reddish pavement – parallel all major streets so cruising the city is a breeze. Rental shops are at Centraal Station and around town – figure about $10 per day.

Parking

Unless you’re heading elsewhere after your trip to Amsterdam, don’t bother renting a car. Parking on the city’s narrow streets is expensive and often inconvenient.

”Coffeeshops”

Wander into an Amsterdam café for an excellent coffee, but in Amsterdam’s “coffeeshops” the menu is largely smokeable. Marijuana is nebulously legal in the Netherlands; its purchase is restricted to certain shops. Most are geared toward younger travelers – look for psychedelic murals and special signage. 

King's Day

Koningsdag or King's Day is a national holiday in the Kingdom of the Netherlands, celebrating the birthday of King Willem-Alexander. Expect private boats to fill the canals, live bands, and dance platforms to fill the streets and squares, and impromptu yard sales to fill sidewalks and parks. Wear something orange, the national color.

Gay Pride Weekend

Amsterdam is one of Europe’s most gay friendly cities; the Netherlands was the first nation in the world to legalize same-sex marriage. For one weekend in August, the town paints itself pink and rainbow, and celebrates with the world’s only floating gay pride parade.

Umbrellas and bikes

You'll find that most hotels are prepared with loaner umbrellas and bikes – a cultural comment, because in lieu of size, hotels have focused on what makes them unique: chic design, rare antiques, all-inclusiveness, or entertainment.

The Dreaded Airport Layover

If, for whatever reason, you find yourself stuck at the airport in Amsterdam for more than 5 hours, consider taking a half-day city tour with Holland Stopovers (www.hollandstopovers.com). For roughly $150 per person (with discounts for groups of two or more), they'll pick you up from the airport and guide you through the Dam Square, Royal Palace, on a walking tour through the city center, or on a canal cruise, and back to your origin point. 

Conscientious Tourism

Restaurant Freud, a non-profit restaurant staffed entirely by persons with psychological difficulties who are transitioning back into the workforce, provides gourmet meals at budget prices. The place is extremely popular with locals (so much so that their website is entirely and exclusively in Dutch), and the restaurant enjoys a quality reputation. Make reservations in advance.

Airport Transportation

Getting into Amsterdam from the Schiphol airport is fast and simple. Hit one of the plentiful ATM machines (that’s “Geldautomat” in Dutch) and buy a train ticket to Amsterdam Centraal Station and a tram pass. Avoid taxis, as they are some of the most expensive in Europe.

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