Thinking about where you’re going to head to this summer on a budget? It’s easy to ‘do’ Amsterdam in 4 days. Properly chilled out, a great place for friends and a fantastic place to visit. I went with a group of my close friends, we’re often up to no good so our trip was full of belly laughs. See how we did it.
Take the Ferry.
From Newcastle, we got onto the DFDS seaways overnight ‘voyage’ from Newcastle to Amsterdam. It takes about 14 hours, and for us, was an experience in itself. First thing I remember was having civilised drinks and candle-less birthday cake (health and safety of course) for Sarah’s birthday, and then the next thing I know our Hully falls into the cabin in his pants and all riots ensued. Chris and Hully had spent half of the week’s Euros in duty free. The poor singer serenading us tunes like Little Lion Man and Tell me Ma began to dread us when we walked into the room. He earned a big tip though!
Sparky: “One more song! One more song!”
Singer: “One? I’ve got six left, mate.”
Sparky: “Oh… SIX MORE SONGS!”
How they let us back on for the journey home (and upgraded us), I have no idea. If you’re in the North East, I highly recommend getting the ferry to Amsterdam if you’re in a large group. It turns out SO much cheaper then flying when you’re camping!
Hully had lost his passport in the cabin and Kieren put it in his pocket for safe keeping. Kieren then realised he still had it as he drove off the ferry (the rest of us were foot passengers). We’re still not entirely sure how Hully actually got into Amsterdam.
Take One Car.
There were a group of 8 of us, we piled all of our camping gear into one car for Kieren and Sarah to drive and the rest of us were foot passengers, we pooled the overall cost and divided it by eight. There’s a couple of coaches that you can get on that will take you into the centre of Amsterdam. From Sunderland and Newcastle, it really isn’t a long drive to get onto the ferry in North Shields – and about 30 minutes (or less) drive on the other side so maybe not even a tank of petrol to get from Amsterdam and back.
Kieren and Sarah
The most cost effective way of visiting Amsterdam is to camp. We went to an amazing campsite just north of the river named Vliegenbos which was SO good. Running showers, flushing toilets (playing rock music in the bathrooms!), electricity, places to stay and play and a little shop/cafe too! There is also a large polish supermarket nearby which sold the most amazing “Buzz” Blueberry cider and a selection of (what Sparky would call “questionable”) meats to barbecue. The first day was spent still feeling the effects of hitting it heavy on the ferry over. It was cracking the flags so we stayed on the campsite in the sun. The boys began a very serious game of 4 a side footie with a group of Estonians who we tried to convince that Bonnie Tyler’s “Total Eclipse of the Heart” was our National Anthem – theirs was questionable too! Sunderland 5 – 2 Estonia, if you’re interested.
Vliegenbos is a short walk to Veer IJplein ferry terminal where you can get a FREE shuttle ferry back and forth to Amsterdam Centraal until about midnight. SO handy for us (and beautiful too!) especially when some wanted to stay at the campsite and others wanted to explore. We could go backwards and forwards as much as we wanted.
The IJPlein ferry dropped us off behind Amsterdam Centraal train station. This may be weird, but I there’s a stall in there for a morning smoothie and I can’t it recommend enough. It’s called “Shakies” and I would get one with Soy Milk, Strawberries and Bananas each morning. Gorgeous, and not the same as at home!
Keep a Travel Journal.
Instead of buying yourself souvenirs, also it’s SO hard to by PG gifts for your family, keep a travel journal. I had the mickey taken out of me for doing it but its the best souvenir to get from trips and saves you money on tat. It also became a lot of entertainment for the others to “document me documenting” (below) and “Ooooh don’t misbehave, Katie will write you up!”.
Things to Do.
Obviously, you should embrace the culture, architecture and museums while you’re there. We went for a canal trip (however if you’re going to the Heineken Museum you can get a shuttle boat back into town), a couple of museums but also just went for a good walk around the area. I highly recommend the Heineken Museum and Anne Frank Haus. Most of all though, just enjoy yourself. Don’t “over plan” when it comes to Amsterdam, you won’t get lost or bored there, I was away with my best pals and we’ll be re-hashing stories in many more years to come!
Me, Kieren, Sarah, Young Chris, Sparky, Hully, Steven Brown & Lucy