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Amsterdam, Netherlands

Amsterdam Guide - Spend Less, Do More

Amsterdam canalsYou’ve seen the house where Anne Frank hid from the occupying forces in WWII, marveled at the masterpieces at the Rembrandt House Museum and even left the Van Gogh Museum with your ears intact. But did you know there is plenty more to see in Amsterdam and it won’t break your budget.

There’s no such thing as a free lunch…

But there is such a thing as free tastings of Greek wine, Lebanese falafel and Spanish ham. To savour these delicious treats head to the former gas works that has been converted into the Westergasfabriek market every first Sunday of the month. For just a few euros, this market also has some of the most unique souvenirs you can find in Amsterdam that no one else will bring home.

On a sunny day, the last place you'd want to be is inside. But you may just be tempted to visit Amsterdam's public library, Openbare Bibliotheek, which has spectacular views of the city from the top floor accompanied by free jazz and piano performances.

It might be one of the worst kept secrets in the city but the secret courtyard of Begijnhof is a sight to behold. Hidden behind a heavy wooden door on Spui Square, the secluded Begijnhof court dates all the way back to the Middle Ages.

Rent a stereotypical MacBike for a day, or…

Head to the world’s first restaurant with tables for only one person. Eenmaal's novel concept is solo dining with an exquisite fixed four-course meal surrounded by modern, industrial-chic ambiance. Phones are not recommended to encourage people to take a break from our fast-paced world.

Amsterdam’s historic Brown Cafés are well worth a visit after a meal. These traditional Dutch pubs date back to the 17th Century and feature some of the finest brews in the Netherlands. Perennial favourites include In 't Aepjen, dating back to 1475, and Café In de Wildeman which is one of the Netherlands' top ten bars.

Transport yourself from the 1600s to the 60s with the kitsch interior of Taart van mijn tante. This patisserie, literally meaning my aunt’s pie, features some of the best cakes and sweets that are sure to bring on the nostalgia.

If the nostalgia has tickled your interest in history, why not head to one of Europe's most prominent ethnographic museums. The Tropenmuseum features artifacts from all 4 corners of the world including a fascinating permanent exhibition on Dutch colonialism. Don't worry about the kids being bored, the museum has its own child-friendly program that will excite, inspire and enthrall them so much that they'll never want to leave.

You've saved so much already on your hotel, it's time to splash out on…

Windmill in tulip fieldA spectacular classical music performance at the Concertgebouw.  You may have seen them rehearsing at their free lunchtime performances but nothing can prepare you for the opulence and experience of the real thing featuring performances of all the great composers.

If there’s two images people associate with the Netherlands, it’s the Zaanse Schans Windmills and the tulips of the Keukenhof Gardens. The easiest way to get to both these famous sites is to hire a car and take a road trip. If you’re tired and hungry after your long drive to the Windmills, don’t despair and instead head to farm for a delicious demonstration of vintage cheese-making. If you’re still not satisfied, Zaans Gedaan will provide you with dessert with their vintage chocolate-making workshops. Keukenhof Gardens, meaning Kitchen Garden, is a must see with over 7 million flowers that bloom in the spring including the famous tulip that caused the Dutch Tulip mania of the earl 1600s.

Spend Less, Do More

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