Everyone knows that Amsterdam is where you travel to smoke pot legally — if you don’t, opt out — but what about the cost of travel in Amsterdam?
Holland is one of the most developed, sophisticated countries in Europe and Amsterdam is, by far, the most popular city for travel in Holland. Although a trip to the Netherlands isn’t going to set you back as much as travel to Switzerland or Norway, certain aspects of travel in Amsterdam are expensive, even by European standards.
Costs of Hotels and Hostels in Amsterdam
Lodging will be, without a doubt, one of the largest expenditures you incur when you travel to Amsterdam, whether you prefer to stay in a hotel or hostel.
When I travel to Amsterdam, I usually stay in a hotel, if only to appease my picky Swiss travel companions. My Amsterdam hotel of choice is the Hotel Washington, which runs around 150 euro for a triple room, or about $70 per person, per night. Hotel Washington is a beautiful, historic hotel located in the heart of the Amsterdam Museumplein. Although cheaper hotels in Amsterdam can be found, you sacrifice both location and quality as the prices goes down.
Amsterdam hostels are cheaper than hotels in Amsterdam, but are still expensive as that sort of accommodation goes. Whether you stay at St. Christopher’s at the Winston on Warmoestraat or the top-rated Flying Pig Hostel, you can expect to pay a minimum of 30 U.S. dollars per night for a single bed in a dormitory.
Transportation Costs in Amsterdam
Transportation is Amsterdam is a combination of trams, buses, bicycles and even an underground rail system that extends out to the suburbs. If you’re like me, you ignore most of these and simply walk through Amsterdam, whose urban core is definitely small enough to do so.
If you don’t want to walk or are staying too far out of town during your Amsterdam travel to make walking practical, visit the Amsterdam Tourist Information center just opposite Centraal Station when you arrive and pick up an Iamsterdam card. The Iamsterdam card provides you with unlimited use of Amsterdam’s trams and buses, as well as free entry into museums, for 72 hours after you purchase the card, which costs € 60 as of March 2012.
Food and Drink Prices in Amsterdam
In spite of how expensive hotels in Amsterdam tend to be, it can be relatively affordable to eat and drink in Amsterdam. A cone of fresh fries in Dam Square, for example, is unlikely to run you more than four euro, while a glass of house wine at any nearby café will cost around three euro.
Eating in proper Amsterdam restaurants (or coffee shops, as the case may be) is also rather affordable, although prices at “real” restaurants in Amsterdam tend to be more in line with what you’d pay in the rest of continental Europe. A set breakfast with eggs, meat and toast will cost you between 7-9 euro, while lunch and dinner salads can run more than €10 each.
The easiest way to keep food and drink costs low when you travel in Amsterdam is to eat breakfast at your hostel — and, if possible, cook in your hostel — and be judicious in your food and beverage purchases when you’re out and about. Remember: Budget travel doesn’t have to be impoverished travel, you just have to sacrifice in advance of every splurge.
Cost of Doing Things in Amsterdam
If you take my advice a few paragraphs up and purchase the Iamsterdam card, most of what you do in Amsterdam (for most of what there is to do when you travel in Amsterdam is museum-related) will be covered by the price of your card. If you don’t, you can expect à la carte entrance into museums, be they the Van Gogh Museum, Anne Frank House or even the Sex Museum, to run you between €10-20 each.
If you plan to smoke weed when you travel in Amsterdam, you can expect each bag to run between €8-10, which doesn’t include what you’ll spend on papers, filters and lighters. Don’t bother buying cigarettes if you’re not a tobacco smoker, though: It’s illegal to add tobacco to your joints in Amsterdam.
Don’t want to spend a ton of money when you travel in Amsterdam? Do like I do and occupy the majority of your time strolling the city’s streets and canals and practicing your travel photography skills.