Planning a trip to Amsterdam, The Netherlands? In this post, you’ll find out all the incredible things you can do for FREE in Amsterdam!
Amsterdam is one of Europe’s most stunning and impressive cities to visit and completely deserves a spot on your travel bucket list.
Its rich culture and winding canals with spectacular fairytale-like buildings make it a top destination all year round.
Having lived here for almost 10 years, I still find myself in complete awe of the beauty and all of what this city has to offer.
Whether you are traveling on a budget or not, I thought I’d sum up this list for you of the best things you can do in Amsterdam for FREE. Why not take advantage and explore the city without spending too much?! 😉
10 Great FREE Things To Do in Amsterdam
1. Walk along the Canals and The 9 Streets (Jordaan)
Let’s start by exploring one of the most important and beautiful things to do when arriving in Amsterdam – a walk along its wonderful canals.
The canal belt is organized in this “spider-web” shape and covers the main part of the city center. You can easily reach it in just a few minutes’ walk from Amsterdam’s Central Station.
Out of a total of 165 canals, stretching for over 1000km in the entire city, the most important and picturesque ones to visit are the 3 oldest canals: Herengracht (Gentlemen’s Canal), Keizersgracht (Emperor’s Canal), and Prinsengracht (Price’s Canal).
You will absolutely love walking from one to another, admiring those stunning 17th-century buildings that were once the residence of the richest merchants, mayors, and most influential people of the city.
The 9 Streets (De 9 Straatjes) is an area on the canals that you should definitely not miss. It is a group of charming, old streets of Amsterdam, packed with cozy cafes, designer boutiques, and great restaurants.
2. See The Red Light District
Amsterdam’s Red Light district needs, of course, no introduction.
It is quite a unique experience to walk around and see the girls in the windows. But Amsterdam’s Red Light District is so much more than that! Have a look up at the beautiful old buildings along the canals, a coffee at De Walen (the medieval center of the town), or try the local cheese at the market at Nieuwmarkt.
The area is extremely vibrant and generally packed with tourists, so do expect to see many bachelor parties along the way. 😉
3. Take in the View from NEMO’s Rooftop
NEMO is Amsterdam’s Science Museum and offers a super interactive experience, especially fun for kids.
The reason I’m including it on our list of free things to do in Amsterdam is its awesome rooftop, which you can walk on and relax after a long day of walking in the city.
You can reach the NEMO museum in a less than 10-minute walk from Central Station.
4. Visit the Flower Market
The flower market in Amsterdam, the only floating flower market in the world, is definitely a must-see during your trip, and, you guessed it, totally free. Free to look around that is haha. You will have to pay in case you’d want to purchase any flowers but don’t worry, there are many affordable souvenirs and tulip bulbs for you to take back home.
You can find the flower market (Bloemenmarkt, in Dutch) in the heart of the city center, on the Singel canal, right next to Munttoren (Muntplein).
5. Take a Diamond Factory Tour – one of the best, most unique things to do in Amsterdam and totally for free 😉
Amsterdam is a major diamond center with a strong heritage in the industry since the 16th century.
As probably one of the best places to purchase these gorgeous stones, you can also find out exactly how they are made, inside one of the major factories in the city.
Coster, the oldest diamond polishing factory in the world, and offers FREE walking tours where you can learn all about the origins of diamonds, the 4Cs of diamond valuation, and much more!
6. Step Inside the Public Library
This 7-floor modern building is the largest public library in The Netherlands and the 2nd largest in Europe, with a collection of over 1,5 million books.
Have a look around and then head up to the top floor for a bite at the restaurant and beautiful views of the city from its terrace.
You can reach Amsterdam’s public library in a short walk from the main station, towards Oosterdok, at Oosterdokskade 143.
7. Take the Free Ferry to Amsterdam Noord
Another great and totally free experience is taking the ferry from Amsterdam Central station over the river Ij and crossing over to Amsterdam Noord.
This is a newer, up-and-coming neighborhood that hosts the impressive “Eye” Film Museum. While for seeing a screening or exhibition you’ll need to purchase tickets, there are some areas which you can access for free.
One of them is the restaurant and the terrace which offers great panoramic views over Amsterdam city center.
8. Listen to a Lunchtime Concert at the Royal Concertgebouw
This is such a treat offered by the Royal Concertgebouw, the National Opera House, for free!
The 30 minutes concerts are generally held at lunchtime on Wednesdays, (with the exception of July and August), in the Recital Hall. The tickets are free of charge, you will only be asked to pay a 2,5 EUR transaction fee.
You can find out more information HERE.
9. Take a Free Walking Tour of Amsterdam
Learn all there is to know about Amsterdam, from a local. From the trade history that made Amsterdam the richest city in the world during the Golden Age, to how it works behind the scenes in the Red Light District, and much more.
There are plenty of themes to choose from, besides the classical tour such as a Food tour, a Dark Side tour, or even an alternative one.
Tours are generally free of charge and only rely on tips. You can find out more and book your tour HERE.
10. Go to SkyLounge for breathtaking views of the city
Last but not least, one of the best things to do for free in Amsterdam is to go up to the SkyLounge rooftop and admire the stunning view of the city!
To me, this is the most spectacular one of all and a place where I take all my friends and family whenever they visit me here in Amsterdam.
I would highly recommend staying for a coffee or a cocktail too. 😉
I hope you found my list of free things to do in Amsterdam useful and hope you have a great time in this wonderful city! Happy travels! 🙂
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