There’s so much to do in Amsterdam you don’t have to spend a fortune to have a good time.

The number one thing you can do to save money is book one of the cheap hotels in Amsterdam from Hostelbookers, and then you can spend your savings in the bars, cafes and coffee shops instead.

Eating on the cheap

For a tasty dinner under €10 Gartine is a top choice. Every little thing has been thought about carefully in this place, down to the carefully selected antique chinaware. Go for the scrambled eggs on toast – it’s as fresh as it gets as the hens are out the back clucking them out.

Another popular Amsterdam cuisine – especially for the post coffee shop munch – are the Febo Snackbar machines. These are basically vending machines that dispense fried meat and cheese in unidentifiable forms. Your mum would not want you to eat from these, but they sure are tasty.

Food markets are always a good option for eating on the cheap and the Avondmarkt is the best one in Amsterdam. Check out the hot spare ribs for a gastronomic delight. You should also try Falafel Dan – go between 3pm and 5pm and take advantage of the all-you-can-eat happy hour on falafel balls.

Know where to drink

Café Karpershoek is Amsterdam’s oldest café – now it’s one of the city’s favourite bruine kroegs. Or try Werck – it’s a café, restaurant and bar all rolled into one and a great place for a drink any time during the day. It’s housed in the incredible Westerkerk Church in the cool Jordaan Quarter. As the smallest pub in the city the Café Belgique is another must, it specialises in Belgian beer – save your pennies and stick to Vlo beer for €2 a pop.

And if cocktails are more your thing, get yourself to Vesper in the Jordaan.

Cool bargain shopping

For contemporary Dutch souvenirs Saskya & Co is the best place to be. You can choose from a range of soft slipper clogs and traditional fabrics to take back to the folks at home. Other good places to pick up a treat include the area known as the Nine Little Streets: Reestraat, Hartenstraat, Gast-Huismolensteeg, Berenstraat, Wolvenstraat, Oude Spiegelstraat, Runstraat, Huidenstraat and Wijde Heisteeg. You’ll find all the coolest gifts, tea rooms and galleries here.

Openbare BibliotheekOff the beaten path museums

No doubt you already know about the Rijksmuseum, Rembrandt’s House, Stedelijk and the Van Gogh Museum, but have you heard of the Foam Fotografiemuseum? Pioneers, established and emerging artists come together to show off the best in photography in Amsterdam. There’s also a café with coffee and cake too.

It might as well be a museum – the Openbare Bibliotheek is the largest library in Europe and is spread over 10 floors. There are more than 600 PCs inviting you to surf the net for free and the cool furniture and piano in the foyer makes for a super cool library experience. If that’s not enough for you, you can also enjoy wonderful panoramic vistas of the city from the huge windows.

The NEMO Science Centre is a cool spot to enjoy the sun after all the culture and education – the sloped roof makes for an ideal sunbathing spot.

Beaches in Amsterdam

Speaking of sunbathing, any sun worshippers will be pleased to know there are a few beaches in Amsterdam worthy of your bikini/speedo body. When the sunshine beams on the city Bloemandaal aan Zee is the place to be, and best of all it’s free! Although you’ll probably end up getting through some cash at the clubs on the seafront – keep an eye on local posters to see if there are any beach parties under the stars while you’re there.

There’s also the Blijburg aan Zee City Beach to check out on the Ljburg Island complex. Make the most of the sunbathing by day and wild parties by night.