Best activities in Amsterdam for families

We are budget travellers and so on our recent visit to the hip and cool city of Amsterdam we visited a few places of interest without trying to break the bank.  There were a few we didn’t tick off but the plan is to include these when we next visit the area.  Here are our best budget things to do in Amsterdam for families:

  1. CYCLING – Luckily we were travelling by motorhome and so were able to bring our bikes with us. Literally everyone cycles in Amsterdam, but yet no-one wears helmets!  We stood out a mile! ha ha.  If you don’t have the means there are plenty of bike rentals across the city which aren’t too expensive.  The cycle paths were so easy to find and with google maps on our phones we found getting around a breeze! There is a high theft rate so we decided not to cycle into the city centre but it was great to visit the many parks around Amsterdam.
  2. NEMO SCIENCE MUSEUM – Just a brilliant day out.  We arrived around 11am and didn’t leave until 4pm.  The boys thoroughly enjoyed the inter-activeness of the place.  A little over our budget at €16 per person, but well worth it.  It was all hands on and even in Summer holidays there was plenty of space.  The boys especially enjoyed the show that took place throughout the day and the science lab.
  3. 1hr CANAL CRUISE – The boys enjoyed listening to the information provided, until about half way through and then the novelty wore off.  It was good to see the city from the water, which has been described as Venice of the North.  However, for kids this can be a bit monotonous.  
  4. ANNE FRANK MUSEUM – I’d like to give more information on this but we hit a bit of a rock! You needed to book tickets online more than a month in advance!  I had just assumed (like in 1998) that you could just rock up.  However, based on my last visit this provides a lasting memory and such an insight to WWII!  Well worth the money.
  5. PARKS – There are so many parks to visit and if you don’t have a bike these are easily reached on foot!  One of the more notable was Flevopark.  As well as the usual walking, cycling and running tracks.  There were a few parks/cafes.  However, there is also an outdoor swimming baths.  Worth considering if you visit in summer and you need somewhere to cool off.   Gaasperplas (our local park) was also a good space with plenty of cycle and walking routes, as well as a beach area for hot days.  There are just too many parks to choose from such as Westerpark, Vondelpark and Oosterpark (has a large paddling pool – pierenbadjes) as does amstelbad.
  6. PUBLIC LIBRARY – if you find yourself with a wet day, it was recommended to us to visit the Public Library.  It has several floors with a cheap and cheerful restaurant on the top floor. A great place to take a break and enjoy the views of Amsterdam.
  7. TULIP FIELDS – From the end of March to the beginning of May, the fields not far from Amsterdam turn into a sea of colour.   Alas, we did not lay witness to this amazing event as we arrived in July but I’ve read that it’s beautiful to cycle around the area of Haarlem, in the north or Sassenheim, in southern Holland.  Most tourists visit Keukenhof Gardens, located in the town of Lisse close to Amsterdam but costs €16.  As a budget traveller this is not a comfortable cost and I’d prefer to cycle the fields around Haarlem instead.  
  8. WINDMILLS – although the most famous is UNESCO Site Kinderdijk, to get there from Amsterdam takes around 2 hours .(it’s closer to Rotterdam).  However, there are closer alternatives, such as Zaanse Schans (€25 per family or €10 adult/€6 child) and only takes approximately 1 hour to cycle from Amsterdam City Centre.  
  9. CLOGS & CHEESE – As national produces of Netherlands then a visit to a cheese &/or clogs museum is a must.  My researched showed that you can visit the Zaanse Schans Open Air Museum included a Clog museum with demonstrations on how to make clogs every 10 to 15 minutes!  If you follow your nose around the area, you will easily stumble onto the cheese factory.  As we have a non-cheese lover in the family we weren’t able to convince the boys that this trip was worthwhile!  I’m planning to just surprise him on my next visit.   
  10. EFTELING –  an hour and 15 minutes from the city centre, this enchanted theme park is situated in the middle of nature and comes with a fairytale theme.  There are approx 60 attractions with wide green spaces.  Unfortunately with a price tag of €35 per person, this was above our travel budget but reviews have suggested it is enjoyed by families for a full day out.

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