How To Do Amsterdam With A Bunch Of Mates

Want to do Amsterdam with a big group without spending a packet? Read on... Illustrations by Livi Gosling

How To Do Amsterdam With A Bunch Of Mates

by Anna Jay |
Published on

Sex shows and spliffs not your scene? No worries. Amsterdam has so much more to offer than the tourist traps it’s most known for. One of the cheapest and easiest trips to do for a long weekend, it’s a great place to go with a load of mates. There’s loads to do, and you can get a good balance of culture, drinking and fun stuff without spending a fortune.



It’s pretty much the easiest place to get a flight to, with flights going out of every international airport in the UK. Easyjet starts at around £21 each way, but if you fancy a treat, British Airways flights start at just £39. Their flight times are way more tempting (no, I don’t want to leave the house at 3am please thankyou Easyjet) and you can drink ALL the alcohol for free, AND take two pieces of hand luggage. Yes, please.

Once you get there, the quickest and cheapest way is to get the train to Amsterdam Centraal, it’s just €5 and takes about 15-20 minutes.

Staying: Airbnb & hotels

First choice for accommodation is always Airbnb, especially in such a cool, creative city like Amsterdam and you’re going with a bunch of mates. On a recent trip, we stayed at the beautiful Da Costa Inn, near the hipster neighbourhood of Jourdaan.

If you’re looking and need some direction, look around this area and you’ll definitely find a gem. Check out this apartment too. It’s bloody beautiful and if nothing else is excellent for your insta feed.

If hotels are more your vibe, London’s Hoxton has just opened a branch in the ’dam. Rooms start at about £87 for two people, not too shabby.

Bike hire

Cycling is the ONLY way to get around in Amsterdam. Compared to London where you could be squashed flat at any given moment, cycling in this canal city is super relaxed for even the nerviest cyclist.

Don’t get ripped off by inner-city cycle hire where the bikes are more Boris than beaut, and instead head to Bike4U where you’ll get a decent ride at a nice price. Thursday-Sunday cost us just €19, about £14 including a lock and lights.


And for the best bit – there’s some ruddy good food in this city. If you want a genuine Mexican where your frozen margaritas come with a jug on the side because they’re so HUGE, head to Los Pilones in the centre of Jourdaan.

The tapas at Pata Negra is ideal for a big group, just order everything on the menu and share. Once you’ve finished stuffing your face with so much patatas bravas you can hardly move, head to the bar opposite, more on that below...

For an afternoon treat, Dutch ice cream joint IJscuypje are spread around the city, where a single scoop comes in at just €1.50 (madness). Rhubarb or Blood Orange are highly recommended, especially plopped on top of a steaming waffle.


Drinks are super cheap in Amsterdam, especially with the euro treating us to an excellent exchange rate. Opposite Pata Negra (see above) there’s a brilliant bar called Café de Huyschkaemer, where a decent Aperol Spritz is just €3.50 (£2.50).

But sometimes, when there’s a bunch of you, drinking in your apartment can be the best option, and if you’ve got a pack of cards, then you’ll probably have a great night. If, like us, you find your local corner shop owner happens to be a gin expert, you might come away with a bottle of ‘Dutch Courage’ – apparently, gin originates from Holland, who knew?


If you’re into arts and culture, Amsterdam has so much on offer in terms of galleries and festivals. Unseen photo fair is an annual event held every September, and is definitely worth a trip. Packed full of young cool things with style inspiration for days, you’ll also fill your boots with forward-thinking photo inspiration, and obvs it’s all great fodder for your insta feed.

Although I’ve not been there, the Anne Frank house should be on your must-see list, but try and go mid-week to avoid the queues. Another gallery for you artsy folk is the Rijksmuseum, one of the most famous art galleries internationally with paintings by Vermeer and Rembrandt. It’ll make you feel like you’re part of a scene in The Goldfinch.


If shopping’s more your vibe, Amsterdam is full to the brim with ace interior and clothes shops that’ll add a bit of Dutch cool to your room back home. For clothes, visit Weekday (basically a mix between Cos, Monki and Cheap Monday). They sell it on ASOS over here but only a small collection – the jeans are a dream. etq. is an awesome concept store – think Dover Street Market but with way more concrete and stuff you can actually afford (just).

Take a stroll down Haarlemmerdijk for smaller interior shops, specialist boutiques and a shop that just sells Dutch cheese (a must).

**Like this? Then you might also be interested in: **

How To Have A Cheap, Cliché Free Trip To Paris

How To Interrail Like A Champ If You’ve No Idea What You’re Doing

How To Do Helsinki On A Budget

Follow Anna on Twitter: @annarosejay

Illustrations by Livi Gosling

This article originally appeared on The Debrief.

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