.Amsterdam with kids? Why not! If kids live there kids can visit and there is tons of kid appropriate activities in Amsterdam. We recently spent 3 days in Amsterdam with our kids and had a blast. The best part is we only spent $673 for the 4 of us to get there!
How to Get to Amsterdam Cheaply
We scored a flight deal to Amsterdam back in November for $400RT on Delta Airlines from Ft. Lauderdale. We had 60,000 Skymiles which reduced the price to $200 each for a total of $673 for our family of four, lap infants only pay taxes. Booking flight deals are one of the main ways we are able to afford to travel so much. Don’t think you have to fly a lot to earn miles, here are 12 ways to earn miles without flying.
Where We Stayed in Amsterdam
Finding a cheap hotel in Amsterdam was hard. The affordable ones were way out of the city limits. Many also have a occupancy rule of only two people in the room and kids are no exception. Booking two hotels would have been even more expensive so we chose to book an Airbnb.
We stayed in this Airbnb in the Schinkelbuurt neighborhood of Amsterdam. The apartment was small so I wouldn’t recommend it for large families or families with older kids. Since there was only 1 bedroom we brought along our travel crib for our infant and our 3 year old shared the bed with us. Despite the size our Amsterdam Airbnb was extremely clean, less than 2 minutes walk to several restaurants and a short walk to the bus that took us straight to Amsterdam Centraal Station. Our host was also amazing providing tons of recommendations and left us a bottle of wine as a welcome gift!
How We Saved Money in Amsterdam
The I amsterdam City Card is a great way to save money. We used the 72hr I amsterdam City Card including Amsterdam & Region Travel Ticket as we knew we wanted to explore some nearby cities. Mostly everything we did was covered by the card with the exception of food and the Heineken Experience. However, two of the restaurants we ate at offered a 25% discount if you had the card and a discount was also given at the Heineken Experience.
The cards cost 87 Euros for adults but children receive free or reduced admission in most places it’s only recommended to purchase for children over 10. If you plan on visiting a lot of museums the card is worth it. However, if you are not a museum person it probably won’t save you as much money.
I’d recommend adding up the entrance fees to the things you want to do and then seeing if it adds up to more than the cost of the card. There is also the regular IAMsterdam City Card without the Travel Ticket which is 77 Euros, however the travel ticket alone is 33.50 Euros for 3 days. The travel ticket covers all trains, buses and trams in Amsterdam and surrounding cities including the train from the airport to Amsterdam Centraal. I’m not sure the cost for a single ride but we rode either a bus, tram, metro, or train at least 4 times a day.
Day One: Vondel Park, Anne Frank House, Canal Tour
We landed in Amsterdam at bright and early 6AM. After clearing customs we went to the Visitor’s Center in arrivals 2 to pick up our IAMsterdam Cards. We got the Amsterdam & Region Travel one and the card covered all of our transportation and 99% of the things we did in Amsterdam.We took the train which is right at the airport to our Airbnb to meet our host who kindly allowed us to check in early with the girls. I always ask if this is possible before booking the Airbnb. We grabbed breakfast at the restaurant, Kiebert, on the ground floor of the apartment building.
To avoid jet lag as much as possible we then walked to the infamous Vondel Park where the kids ran around and were able to play preventing them from falling alseep too early.
After the park we all took a nap at the normal time the kids would if we were home. When we woke up we ate and headed to the Central area of Amsterdam to visit the Anne Frank House. Be sure to book your ticket online months in advance as the line for same day tickets is typically a 2-4hr wait and you can only go after 3:30PM if you don’t have a ticket already purchased. Unfortunately I didn’t know you could buy tickets online until it was too late and they were sold old so we didn’t get to go inside because we didn’t want to waste 4hrs on line.
We always take it easy day one so we got dinner and headed in for the night as we had a long day ahead of us.
Day Two: Rijksmuseum, Houseboat, Tulip, & Cheese Museums, Zaanse Schans, & Heineken Experience
We got up early to head to the Rijksmuseum which is home of the I Amsterdam sign so we could get some pictures without a million people in it also. The Rijksmuseum is right next to the Van Gogh Museum and included in the IAmsterdam Card but this is something we weren’t really interested in seeing. The line gets extremely long, even at 8:45AM, 15mins before the museum opens there was a line of about 25 people.
Our next stop was the Houseboat Museum- a very tiny houseboat which shows you what a typical houseboat looked like in the past although some still are less modern. It took no more than 10 minutes to explore.
Just a 5 minute walk away is the Amsterdam Tulip Museum. I love tulips and was super excited about this visit. The museum is small but I was so glad we went as I learned so much about them and their history in Amsterdam. It’s crazy what people did to get their hands on these flowers years ago.
Right next to the Tulip Museum is the Amsterdam Cheese Museum. You can sample all of their cheeses and check out a small display area downstairs. It takes 30mins max to get through this small museum and it’s free of charge.
From here we walked to Amsterdam Centraal Station where we caught the train to Zaanse Schans. The train ride itself is 15 minutes and then it’s a 10-15minute walk once you get to the train stop. We first visited one of the working windmills that you can actually walk up to the top. If you’re lucky and it’s windy like the day we were there you will see the windmills start to spin around.
Next we visited Catharina Hoeve, a replica of a traditional cheese farm. Here we were able to watch a free demonstration on how cheese in made. You can then try all the cheese you want including cow, goat and sheep’s cheese.
After trying a ton of cheese we walked 3 minutes and visited Klompenmakerij, a wooden shoe workshop. Here we saw how clogs are made and saw a variety of designs. The demonstration is also free of charge.
All of these attractions are 3-5 minute walking distance from one another and only take about 30mins to go through each. We took the bus (#391) back to Amsterdam Centraal, which picks up right in front of the Zaanse Schans Museum. While 10mins longer you avoid the walk to/from the train station. We didn’t know about the bus until we got there or we would have taken it there too.
Back in Amsterdam we headed to the Heineken Experience. I’ve read it’s not really worth it but my husband wanted to go. If you don’t drink beer I can see how the 18 Euros might be a bit much but you get 3 full beers for this price plus learning about Heineken’s process and the history.
Day Three: Pancakes Amsterdam, Voldendam, & Marken
For breakfast we headed to Pancakes Amsterdam and it did not disappoint. They have a wide variety of sweet and savory options. We decided on the Blueberry, Apple Crumble, and Chocolate options.
After breakfast we took bus 316 from Amsterdam Centraal Station straight to Voldendam. We got off at the 2nd Voldendam stop, Julianaweg-centrum, which is right by the Voldendam Museum. This was included in our IAmsterdam Card so we checked it out.
We walked around this fishing town for a while. You can find a variety of seafood from the stands along the water and boy is it good. There is also a Cheese Factory and Wood Workshop. We didn’t go into the Wood Workshop but our cheese obsessed kids had us going into the Cheese Factory again.
We took the ferry included in our I amsterdam City Card over to Marken, which is the cutest little fishing town. Marken would be the perfect place to rent bikes with kids. You can do so at the store in front of the bus depot.
We took the bus back to Amsterdam from here. When we arrived in 35mins we walked about just seeing what we would find. We ended up in China Town which so happens to be one street over from the Red Light District. Our GPS took us through it to get back to our Airbnb. Even at 5PM there were girls in their door trying to get customers so be mindful when walking in this area with older kids. My parents visited Amsterdam the same time we did and offered to watch the girls for us one night. This was a great opportunity for us to have alone time while traveling with our kids.
Money and Credit Cards in Amsterdam
Credit cards are widely accepted in Amsterdam and we never visited a place that didn’t take them. However I’d get some Euro coins as most public restrooms charge .50 Euros per person.
Amsterdam with Kids, What Kid Gear Do You Need?
There is a lot of walking to be done in Amsterdam, one day we walked 10.71 miles! For Kennedy we used the carrier for her the whole time. For older and heavier toddlers I recommend using an umbrella stroller and he city is very stroller friendly. Each bus has a stroller/wheelchair section so you don’t even have to worry about folding up your strollers to board the bus. We didn’t get in a car once on our trip so bringing a car seat is completely unnecessary.