1. Walk the canals
If you are starting at Amsterdam Central Station, take a left when stepping out of the main entrance, when facing the city centre. Head to the OBA library and go to the top floor. There is a restaurant but with confidence just head to the balcony to enjoy the view. Once you’ve soaked it in, head back down and make your way through to China Town then Nieuwmarkt then to the Red Light District. Stop at the main Dam Square, Bloemenmarkt then onwards to Rembrandtplein. Walk down the Albert Cuypstraat market and then towards Museumplein where you can walk underneath the Rijksmuseum archway. Circle your way back up to the 9 Straatjes/ de Jordaan area and finish where you started at Amsterdam Central Station.
Paid upgrade: rent a bike!
2. Enjoy the markets
I mentioned Albert Cuypstraat market but Amsterdam boasts many others, all for free. There is a secondhand book market near the American Bookstore and other markets all around Amsterdam. Check them out here.
Paid upgrade: buy a freshly made stroopwafel from the Albert Cuypstraat market.
3. Experience the serenity of the Begijnhof
This pristine courtyard is tucked away in the Spui. It is residential housing so don’t be loud and annoying.
4. Relax in Vondelpark or Amsterdamse Bos
Both are fantastic, open spaces in Amsterdam where you can sit on the grass pretty much anywhere you like. Lay down to read or to soak up some of that fleeting Dutch sun.
Paid upgrade: head to Lidl supermarket to grab a picnic to enjoy- have a cheeky wine or beer.
5. Take a ferry to Noord
The ferries behind Amsterdam Central are free to take and depart quite frequently. If you go to the NSMD Werf there are some areas with graffiti, but the boat ride in itself is lovely.
Paid upgrade: one of the largest flea markets in Europe takes place here once a month called the Ij Hallen.