Last Updated June 14, 2023

7 Budget-Friendly Dutch Cities Beyond Amsterdam

Welcome, savvy travellers! Ready to explore the Netherlands on a budget? We've curated a list of 7 must-visit budget-friendly Dutch cities, from the underrated treasure of Utrecht to the ancient charm of Nijmegen. These hidden gems will leave a lasting impression without emptying your wallet. So, grab your clogs, channel your inner Van Gogh, and dive into the land of canals and cheese. Say "Dag!" to overpriced tourist traps and "Hallo!" to these stunning cities, where you can stretch your Euros while enjoying a "gezellig" (cozy and fun) time. Embrace the frugal Dutch life and discover it's more exciting than counting tulips!


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Utrecht: The Underrated Dutch Treasure

Utrecht, Netherlands

Often overshadowed by its big sister Amsterdam, Utrecht is a fascinating destination with its rich history, picturesque canals, and lively atmosphere. This compact city offers all the charm and culture of the Netherlands without the overwhelming crowds or hefty price tags. Let's dive into the budget-friendly attractions, accommodations, and culinary delights that Utrecht has in store for you!

Top Budget-Friendly Attractions and Experiences

Utrecht is a treasure trove of affordable activities and cultural experiences. Stroll along the stunning Oudegracht (Old Canal) and marvel at its unique wharf cellars, or climb the 465 steps of the Dom Tower for sweeping views of the city.

History buffs can dive into the past at the Centraal Museum, which houses an impressive collection of art and artifacts, while nature lovers can take a break at the serene Wilhelminapark.

Don't forget to visit the quirky Miffy Museum, dedicated to the beloved children's book character, especially if you're travelling with kids.

Affordable Accommodations: Hostels, Hotels, and Aparthotels

Solo travellers, couples, and families can all find budget-friendly lodging options in Utrecht.

For the backpackers and social butterflies, consider a stay at Stayokay Utrecht Centrum, a modern and lively hostel right in the heart of the city. 

Couples looking for a cozy yet affordable retreat can check out the charming Hotel Oudegracht, nestled along the picturesque canals.

Families or groups in search of a home away from home can opt for the stylish and well-equipped City Center Lodge Utrecht aparthotel, offering the convenience of self-catering in a central location.

Savoring Utrecht's Culinary Delights on a Budget

Indulging in Utrecht's gastronomy doesn't have to break the bank. Treat your taste buds to the city's famous Dutch pancakes at the cozy and affordable Pannenkoekenrestaurant De Muntkelder or enjoy a hearty meal at the budget-friendly Gys, offering delicious organic dishes.

Don't forget to sample some local cheeses and other Dutch delights at the various street markets scattered throughout the city.

A visit to Utrecht isn't complete without sipping a cup of coffee at the Village Coffee & Music or enjoying a refreshing beer at the Kafe Belgie, both known for their laid-back atmosphere and wallet-friendly prices.

Navigating Your Way to Utrecht

Reaching Utrecht is a breeze, thanks to its well-connected public transportation network. From Amsterdam Schiphol Airport, simply hop on a direct train to Utrecht Centraal Station, which takes around 30 minutes and costs approximately €11.

For those travelling from other Dutch cities, you'll find frequent and affordable train connections to Utrecht. Once in the city, most attractions are within walking distance, but you can also take advantage of the efficient local bus and tram network to explore further.

Haarlem: The Cozy Amsterdam Alternative

Ah, Haarlem! The smaller, more relaxed, and dare we say, cozier version of Amsterdam that won't have you rubbing elbows with tourists on every corner. Haarlem is brimming with culture, history, and delicious treats that won't drain your wallet. So, grab your comfy walking shoes and prepare to fall in love with this charming Dutch gem!

Haarlem, Netherlands

Unmissable and Wallet-Friendly Haarlem Attractions

Haarlem is a city that rewards those who stroll its picturesque streets with a plethora of delightful sights and experiences. Venture to the Grote Markt, the beating heart of Haarlem, where you'll find the stunning Sint-Bavokerk and an array of lively cafes.

If your inner art enthusiast is begging for attention, the Frans Hals Museum should be next on your list.

And let's not forget the Windmill De Adriaan – after all, what's a trip to the Netherlands without a windmill selfie? Don't worry; we won't judge!

Budget Accommodations: Hostels, Hotels, and Aparthotels

Whether you're a solo traveller, a love-struck couple, or a family on the move, Haarlem has a variety of lodging options that won't break the bank.

For those looking for that social environment, try the Hello I'm Local Boutique Hostel, where you'll find a charming Dutch atmosphere and friendly faces. 

Couples seeking a romantic and affordable nest should book a room at the Hotel ML, a lovely historic hotel in the city centre. 

Families and groups seeking a cozy retreat will love Park 43, a welcoming and well-appointed aparthotel in the heart of Haarlem. With spacious living areas and self-catering facilities, guests can enjoy a comfortable, central stay while exploring the charming city.

Haarlem's Tasty Treats That Won't Empty Your Wallet

Get ready to indulge in Haarlem's culinary scene without spending a fortune! Satisfy your craving for Dutch classics like bitterballen and poffertjes at the wallet-friendly Grand Café Brinkmann, or treat yourself to a delicious sandwich at Brasserie van Beinum, a popular spot with the locals.

For a sweet treat, head to the charming Hofje zonder Zorgen and try their mouth-watering apple pie – just don't forget to wipe the drool off your chin!

And if you're looking for a drink with a side of conviviality, Jopenkerk is your go-to spot for craft beer in a unique church setting.

Traveling to Haarlem Affordably

Getting to Haarlem is as easy as pie (apple pie, to be exact!). From Amsterdam, hop on a train at Amsterdam Centraal Station, and within 15 minutes and around €6, you'll find yourself in the heart of Haarlem.

If you're coming from Schiphol Airport, a direct train will whisk you away to Haarlem in just 30 minutes, costing around €8.

Once you're in the city, most attractions are just a leisurely stroll away, so put on your comfy shoes and start exploring!

Groningen: The Vibrant Northern Star

If you thought the Netherlands was all about tulips and wooden shoes, think again! Groningen, the energetic northern star, is here to show you a different side of the Dutch experience. With its rich history, lively student scene, and bustling nightlife, Groningen offers a unique blend of culture and excitement that won't put a dent in your budget. So, let's grab our bicycles and take a ride through this vibrant city!

Groningen, Netherlands

Groningen's Affordable Must-See Sites and Activities

Get ready to dive into Groningen's treasure trove of sights and experiences that won't cost an arm and a leg.

Start your journey at the iconic Martinitoren, where climbing the tower rewards you with stunning panoramic views of the city (and maybe some sore muscles, but who's counting?).

Immerse yourself in history at the Groninger Museum, which boasts a diverse collection of art and artifacts that will surely impress your inner culture vulture.

Don't forget to wander around the picturesque Noorderplantsoen Park, a green oasis perfect for a leisurely stroll or a budget-friendly picnic.

Budget Accommodations: Hostels, Hotels, and Aparthotels

Fear not, budget-conscious travellers! Groningen has a plethora of accommodations to suit every taste and wallet size.

For solo travellers looking to meet fellow travellers, The Rebel Rebel Hostel offers a quirky and welcoming atmosphere that will make you feel right at home.

Couples in search of a romantic and budget-friendly stay should check out the City Hotel Groningen, conveniently located in the heart of the city.

Meanwhile, families and groups can enjoy a cozy and comfortable stay at the Asgard Appartementen, featuring well-equipped apartments that'll make you feel like a true Groninger.

Scrumptious and Budget-Friendly Bites in Groningen

Your taste buds are in for a treat as you explore Groningen's mouth-watering and affordable culinary scene.

For a hearty Dutch breakfast or lunch, head to the charming Broodje van Eigen Deeg, where you can feast on scrumptious sandwiches and pastries.

If you're craving something exotic, Wadapartja offers a budget-friendly taste of Indonesian cuisine with a Dutch twist.

And for those late-night hunger pangs, nothing beats a visit to De Uurwerker, a lively student hangout serving up delicious pizza and drinks at wallet-friendly prices.

How to Reach Groningen Without Spending a Fortune

Groningen may be tucked away in the north, but getting there doesn't have to be a pricey endeavour. From Amsterdam, you can catch a direct train to Groningen, which will have you there in around 2 hours and cost around €30.

If you're already in the Netherlands, regional buses and trains are your best bet for budget-friendly travel.

Once you've arrived, Groningen's compact city centre is perfect for exploring on foot or by bicycle, so strap on your helmet and get ready for an adventure

Maastricht: The Charming Southern Belle

Tucked away in the southernmost tip of the Netherlands, Maastricht is a delightful city that effortlessly blends history, culture, and charm. With its winding cobblestone streets, ancient Roman ruins, and cozy cafés, this enchanting gem is just waiting to be explored by budget-savvy travellers like yourself. So, lace up those walking shoes, and let's dive into the captivating world of Maastricht!

Maastricht, Netherlands

Wallet-Friendly Attractions and Experiences in Maastricht

Your adventure in Maastricht begins with an array of budget-friendly attractions and experiences that'll leave both your wallet and your heart full.

Marvel at the stunning architecture of the Basilica of Saint Servatius, a Romanesque masterpiece steeped in history.

For a breath of fresh air, head to the serene City Park, where you can meander through lush greenery and even stumble upon ancient city walls.

And if you're up for a unique underground experience, take a guided tour of the St. Pietersberg Caves – just be sure to watch your head (and your budget)!

Budget Accommodations: Hostels, Hotels, and Aparthotels

Maastricht offers a variety of budget-friendly accommodations that'll have you resting your head in style without breaking the bank.

Travelling alone or looking for some new friends? The Green Elephant Hostel & Spa provides a hip, eco-friendly atmosphere perfect for making new friends.

Couples seeking a cozy and affordable stay can snuggle up at the Boutique Hotel Grote Gracht, where charm and romance abound.

And for families and groups, the Townhouse Design Hotel & Spa in Maastricht offers spacious, modern apartments that'll make you feel right at home in this quaint southern city.

Savor Maastricht's Culinary Delights on a Shoestring Budget

Prepare your taste buds for a budget-friendly culinary journey through Maastricht's delectable food scene. For a delicious and inexpensive breakfast or lunch, make your way to the bustling Markt square, where you can find mouth-watering sandwiches and pastries at local vendors.

Craving something sweet? Treat yourself to a heavenly slice of Vlaai, a traditional Limburgian fruit pie that won't empty your wallet.

And when evening falls, indulge in some budget-friendly comfort food at Café Sjiek, a local favourite offering delicious Dutch and Belgian dishes at wallet-pleasing prices.

Easy and Affordable Ways to Get to Maastricht

Reaching the charming city of Maastricht doesn't have to be a costly endeavour. From major Dutch cities like Amsterdam or Rotterdam, you can catch a direct train to Maastricht, with ticket prices starting from around €25.

If you're already in the Netherlands or nearby Belgium, regional buses and trains offer budget-friendly travel options.

Once you've arrived in Maastricht, the compact city centre is best explored on foot, so put on your most comfortable shoes and get ready to discover this southern belle's enchanting allure!

Leiden: The Quaint City of Canals and Culture

Leiden, often overshadowed by its bigger sibling Amsterdam, is a charming city filled with canals, culture, and history. A perfect getaway for those seeking a more laid-back and affordable Dutch experience. So, buckle up. We're about to explore the best of Leiden without emptying your wallet!

Leiden, Netherlands

Affordable Leiden Attractions You Can't Miss

Start your Leiden adventure by visiting the picturesque Burcht van Leiden, a historic fortress that offers stunning views of the city (and guess what – it's free!).

Next up, take a leisurely stroll through the Hortus Botanicus, one of the oldest botanical gardens in the world, without spending a fortune on admission.

Don't forget to explore the city's numerous museums, like the Naturalis Biodiversity Center, where you can use your charm to snag some student discounts.

Budget Accommodations: Hostels, Hotels, and Aparthotels

For solo travellers looking for a social atmosphere, Flying Pig Beach Hostel (best name ever!) offers affordable dorm rooms and a laid-back vibe. 

Couples seeking a quiet getaway can cozy up at the Boutique Hotel d'Oude Morsch, a budget-friendly hotel with a dash of elegance.

Lastly, families looking for space and convenience should consider ExLibris Boutique Hotel, where you can cook meals (check out the kitchen, seriously wow), saving you some dollars for more exciting adventures. 

Leiden's Delicious Eats That Won't Break the Bank

Hungry, eh? No worries! Leiden has plenty of budget-friendly options to satisfy your cravings. Start your day with a visit to the local bakery, Mamie Gourmande, for some scrumptious pastries.

For lunch, head to the lively Oude Singel Street, where you'll find affordable Dutch treats at spots like Eazie.

In the evening, indulge in a delicious yet wallet-friendly pizza at the popular pizzeria, Donatello's.

Getting to Leiden on a Budget

Reaching Leiden doesn't have to cost you an arm and a leg. From Amsterdam, you can hop on a train for a quick and affordable journey.

If you're already exploring the Netherlands, consider renting a bike and pedalling your way to Leiden like a true Dutch – it's a fun, active, and budget-friendly way to travel.

Delft: The Picture-Perfect Dutch Postcard

Delft, a charming town filled with picturesque canals, historic buildings, and those famous blue-and-white ceramics, is the Dutch postcard that comes to life. Delft is home to world-famous Delft Blue pottery (my mother-in-law's favourite). You'll be able to grab some souvenirs!

If you're ready to explore this quaint gem without spending all your loonies, just follow our guide. Let's dive into the best of Delft on a budget!

Delft, Netherlands

Budget-Friendly Delft Experiences and Attractions

Begin your Delft adventure by wandering the cobbled streets and marvelling at the stunning architecture – no entrance fees are required! Don't miss the iconic Nieuwe Kerk and its panoramic views of the town.

If you're a history buff, check out Museum Prinsenhof Delft and the Vermeer Centrum Delft, where you can snag discounts with a Netherlands Museum Card.

Want some fresh air? Relax in the peaceful Agathaplein or take a leisurely stroll around the scenic Delftse Hout Lake.

Budget Accommodations: Hostels, Hotels, and Aparthotels

With popular hostels now closed, this budget-friendly gem steps up to the plate. Just a short hop from the city center via public transport, the Campanile Hotel & Restaurant Delft offers cozy rooms, free Wi-Fi, and a tasty on-site restaurant. A perfect, affordable alternative for those seeking comfort without breaking the bank. 

Couples seeking a budget-friendly getaway will adore Hotel de Plataan, a charming eco-friendly hotel near the historic heart of Delft.

With its tastefully designed and fully-equipped apartments, WestCord Hotel Delft Aparthotel provides families and groups with a convenient self-catering experience in a central Delft setting, perfect for those yearning for a homey atmosphere.

Affordable Culinary Adventures in Delft

Ready for some tasty and wallet-friendly eats? Start your day with a delicious Dutch breakfast at Kek, a cozy café offering plenty of options.

For lunch, grab a bite at Hummus, a popular spot serving up, you guessed it, hummus and other Mediterranean delights.

In the evening, treat yourself to a hearty and affordable dinner at Stads-Koffyhuis, a local favourite known for its sandwiches and warm atmosphere.

How to Reach Delft Without Splurging

Getting to Delft doesn't have to be a budget buster. If you're coming from Amsterdam, hop on a train for a quick and affordable trip.

Travelling within the Netherlands? Rent a bike and cycle your way to Delft like a true Dutch – it's a fun, healthy, and budget-conscious way to explore. Just remember to practice your best "sorry" (it's a Canadian thing, I can't help it) in case you accidentally bump into someone on the bike path!

Nijmegen: The Ancient Gem with a Modern Twist

Nijmegen, the oldest city in the Netherlands, offers a unique mix of ancient history and contemporary vibes that'll have you saying, "I can't believe I haven't visited sooner." If you're ready to uncover the treasures of Nijmegen without emptying your wallet, stick with us as we guide you through the best budget-friendly experiences in this charming city. I really need to learn to pronounce it properly. 

Nijmegen, Netherlands

Top Affordable Attractions and Experiences in Nijmegen

Start your Nijmegen adventure by exploring the historic city centre, where you'll find centuries-old architecture, picturesque squares, and vibrant street art.

Don't miss the Valkhof Park, home to ancient Roman ruins and the fascinating Valkhof Museum (bonus: the museum is free on the first Sunday of each month!).

If you're craving some nature, take a leisurely stroll or bike ride along the Waal River. And for a lively evening, head to the bustling Grote Markt square and enjoy live music, local brews, and the city's infectious energy.

Budget Accommodations: Hostels, Hotels, and Aparthotels

Solo travellers will love the friendly vibes and convenient location of Barbarossa, a modern hostel housed in a historic building.

Couples looking for a place to celebrate a special event at an affordable retreat should check out Hotel Credible, a stylish boutique hotel close to Nijmegen's top attractions. 

Families in search of space and value will appreciate the comfy aparthotels at Hotel Nimma. There one bedroom apartment is great for a family or group at a rate that is perfect for those looking to save money. 

Tasty and Budget-Friendly Bites in Nijmegen

Ready to indulge in Nijmegen's culinary scene without breaking the bank? Start your day with a scrumptious breakfast at Fika, a cozy café serving up Nordic-inspired dishes.

For a delicious and affordable lunch, head to Tati, a trendy eatery offering tasty vegetarian options.

When dinner rolls around, indulge in Nijmegen's local flavours at Brouwerscafe & Restaurant De Hemel, a brewery and restaurant housed in a historic building, offering a unique atmosphere and a delightful selection of affordable Dutch dishes and craft beers.

Affordable Transportation Options to Nijmegen

Reaching Nijmegen on a budget is a breeze. If you're travelling from Amsterdam, hop on a train for a comfortable and cost-effective journey. Coming from a nearby city? Rent a bike and experience the Dutch way of getting around – just don't forget your helmet! 

And if you're already in Nijmegen, take advantage of the city's excellent public transportation system to explore even more hidden gems. Happy travels!

Budget-Friendly Dutch Cities to Explore: Conclusion

As we bid farewell to our whirlwind tour of the Netherlands' hidden gems, it's clear that this captivating country has much more to offer than just the hustle and bustle of Amsterdam.

With our list of 7 budget-friendly Dutch cities in hand, you're now equipped to embark on a cost-conscious adventure that still delivers unforgettable experiences, rich culture, and scrumptious cuisine.

By exploring these lesser-known cities, you'll be treated to a more authentic Dutch experience while keeping your wallet happy.

So go on, plan your dream Dutch vacation, and don't forget to share your stories and photos with fellow frugal travellers.

After all, the best way to truly appreciate the Netherlands is by venturing off the beaten path and discovering its charming, wallet-friendly secrets! Proost! (Cheers!)

About the author

Welcome to my website Ačiū, the home of practical travel tips for exploring Europe on a budget. As a travel enthusiast who's experienced the highs and lows of globetrotting, I'm committed to providing trustworthy and up-to-date information that won't break the bank or leave you stranded.

From my personal experiences to extensive research, I've got you covered with insider tips on saving money, hidden gems, must-see attractions, and everything in between. You won't find any fluff or fake Instagram-worthy photos here, just real advice for real travellers.

So if you're ready to embark on a European adventure that won't drain your wallet or leave you feeling stranded, stick around and let's explore together. Because life's too short to miss out on the magic of travel.



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