As a country in Western Europe, the Netherlands isn’t exactly cheap to visit, but it’s not overly expensive either. It really depends on what you’re comparing it to. However, there are always tricks and tips that can help you travel the Netherlands on a budget. So, let’s take a look at exactly what it costs to travel the Netherlands.
In this blog, we’ll explore the costs for everything from accommodation and transport, to tours and food, and everything in between! Of course, we’ll discuss various different options, allowing you to pick and choose the things that work best for you. In this way, you’ll be able to create your perfect Netherlands travel budget and enjoy it your way.
Preparation costs to travel to the Netherlands
When planning your trip to the Netherlands, there are a few important things you’ll need to arrange in advance. Things such as your arrival in the country, whether you need a visa, and travel insurance are all well worth preparing long before you set foot in the country. So, how much do these things cost?
There are many ways you can arrive in the Netherlands. Visitors from the US, Australia, and Canada will typically fly direct to Amsterdam International Airport. Costs vary depending on where you’re coming from, and at what time of the year you choose to fly. But, for a rough idea, a one-way ticket from New York to Amsterdam typically costs between $100 — $300.
TIP: Use Skyscanner to find the best prices for your tickets to and from the Netherlands. You can search for the cheapest month or the cheapest destination from the Netherlands. In this way you might find a cheap transfer destination.
Within Europe there are plenty of other ways to get to the Netherlands, and one of the most popular options is to take a high-speed train. You can find regular direct international links from Paris, Brussels, Berlin, Frankfurt, and even London to name a few. Here’s a quick rundown of average costs:
- Paris — Amsterdam: €67 — €135 (standard fare) or €72 — €155 (comfort fare)
- Brussels — Amsterdam: €44 — €82 (standard fare) or €45 — €95 (comfort fare)
- London — Amsterdam (Eurostar): €40 — €432.20
- Berlin — Amsterdam: from €39 (standard) — €60 (comfort)
- Frankfurt — Amsterdam: €38 (standard) — €60 (comfort)
It’s worth noting that the cheapest fares can be secured by booking in advance. Also, many of these services will stop off at various other cities in the Netherlands, such as Rotterdam and Utrecht, not just Amsterdam.
Another way to arrive in the Netherlands is by ferry from the UK. There are 3 companies that offer car ferry services from England to the Netherlands; Stena Line (Harwich to the Hook of Holland), DFDS Seaways (Newcastle to Amsterdam), and P&O Ferries (Hull to Rotterdam). Prices vary depending on the time of year, time of day, and what type of vehicle (if any) you’re bringing. For the most accurate prices, it’s best to check their websites directly.
Finally, if you plan to drive your own vehicle in the Netherlands, you don’t need to worry about buying a Eurovignette. They only apply to vehicles over 12 tons. Most visitors can drive or ride straight into the country with no additional costs!
Visitors from EU states, the EEA, Switzerland, the US, and Australia are able to stay in the Netherlands for up to 90-days without a visa. If you’re coming from another country, it’s essential that you check if you’ll need a Schengen visa to visit — you can do that here. If you do need one, the standard fee is €80, although there are exemptions and exceptions that you can check out here.
When preparing for any trip, the best advice is to hope for the best and plan for the worst. No one wants to get sick or injure themselves while on their travels, but these things can and do happen. So, it’s best to be prepared just in case and obtain both travel and medical insurance. Not only does this give you peace of mind, but it can also help you save money!
One brilliant and affordable option for long-term travelers is SafetyWing, which offers medical and travel insurance for just $37 for a 4-week period. This can easily be bought online and keeps you covered for everything from health issues to lost luggage.
Transport costs to get around in the Netherlands
The Netherlands is a pretty small country, so it’s easy enough to get around without any hassle. The Dutch are a nation of motorhome lovers and cyclists, and I’d definitely recommend traveling around the country using one or the other! However, there are plenty of other ways to get around. Here’s how much each option will cost.
Car rental in the Netherlands
The Netherlands is a superb country to explore by road, and it’s super affordable too. Car rentals typically start at around US$20 for a small economy car, and rise to around $45 for premium options. Prices do fluctuate throughout the year though, and they can be far more expensive during the high season. On the flip side, with most companies, the price per day will drop the longer you rent for.
Motorhome rental in the Netherlands
When in Rome, do as the Romans do, or so they say! Take your road trip to the next level and rent a motorhome, you won’t regret it! You might be surprised at how affordable it is as well, especially when you consider it will save you money on accommodation. Smaller van prices can start as low as around $70 a day, although the majority of simpler models start from $130 — $150. Again, a lot depends on the time of year, the length of the rental, and the quality of campervan you’re interested in.
Bringing your own vehicle to the Netherlands
If you have your own vehicle already, it’s easy enough to bring it to the Netherlands from within mainland Europe. From the UK, you can take a car ferry as mentioned previously. There are no real additional costs, and you DON’T NEED the Eurovignette if your vehicle is less than 12 tons! There are only 2 toll roads to be aware of in the entire country: The Kiltunnel and the Westerscheldetunnel. Cars pay €2 to travel through the Kiltunnel, and €5 for the Westerscheldetunnel, though larger campervans may be required to pay €7.45 for the latter.
Whether you rent a vehicle or bring your own, you’ll need to keep it fueled up from time to time. However, being a small country, you probably won’t need to worry about doing it too often. A liter of petrol typically costs around €1.65. Diesel is generally slightly cheaper though, sometimes by as much as 20 cents.
Public transport in the Netherlands
The Netherlands has a reliable public transportation network, making it easy to get around if you’re not keen on driving. Within most cities, you can expect to pay around €2 for a metro, tram, or bus ticket. Alternatively, you can normally find great deals on a variety of travel passes that provide unlimited travel on public transport either in a specific city or region. Prices generally start from around €7.50, so you can see it’s fantastic value!
Public transport is also a great way to get around the country, and trains are particularly convenient. The Netherlands has the busiest rail network in the world, and even many small villages are easy to get to. It’s worth noting that buses in the Netherlands are typically regional, and that trains offer the best options for longer distances. To give you a rough idea of how much train travel costs in the Netherlands, here are some typical ticket prices:
- Amsterdam to Rotterdam = €17.20 (one way, standard class)
- Amsterdam to Utrecht = €8.10 (one way, standard class)
- Amsterdam to The Hague = €13.20 (one way, standard class)
Bike rental in the Netherlands
The Dutch love to cycle, and getting around the Netherlands by bike is a superb and cheap way to see the country. It’s a very bike-friendly country, and you can be sure to feel safe on the many specialized bike lanes. It’s also possible to take your bike on the train, and other forms of public transport.
Touring the Netherlands by bike is perhaps the most stress-free way. Not only do you avoid traffic and parking spot problems, but you’re able to get out into the countryside and discover so much more. Plus, it’s much cheaper! There are tons of companies that rent out bicycles for tourists, and prices typically range from €10 — €40 per day depending on the type of bike you want. Prices per day generally drop the longer you rent it for, with weekly rentals from €50 to €150 on average.
TIP: For information about traveling in the Netherlands, check out our blog post “How to get around in the Netherlands“.
Accommodation costs for staying in the Netherlands
You’ll find plenty of options when it comes to finding the perfect accommodation in the Netherlands. From swanky hotels to back-to-basics campsites, whatever your style, we’ve got you covered. It is worth noting though, that especially in Amsterdam, accommodation will almost definitely be your highest expense. With that in mind, let’s see how much they all cost.
Hotels can be found across the Netherlands and cover every price range. A hotel is the most expensive option, but you can find some good deals if you dig around and book in advance during the low season. The lowest prices you can expect are around €40, but are more commonly far higher, starting at around €80 and rising in excess of €150.
Hostels are a great option for travelers, combining affordability with an unrivalled social aspect. However, they’re not so cheap in the Netherlands. In Amsterdam, prices for a bed in a dorm room generally start at €24, and often exceed €40, especially in more central locations. Costs are only marginally lower in other cities, and at a minimum, expect to pay at least €16 for the cheapest dorm room options. Private rooms are typically on par with hotels.
TIP: Hostel beds sell out fast in the Netherlands, especially in Amsterdam. So, be sure to book in advance or make other arrangements.
AirBnb has stormed the Netherlands, and more and more locals are putting their pads online in the hopes of housing travelers. There are some amazingly unique places on offer as well, from house boats in the center of Amsterdam, to tiny houses, and even a hut in an ecovillage. Prices vary widely depending on the location and type of accommodation, but on average, you can expect to pay between €25 and €80. Seek outside of major cities, and it’s possible that you’ll find a bed for as little as €14.
The Dutch love camping, and as a result, the country is full of clean, modern campsites. Most of these are designed with both motorhomes and simple tent pitches in mind, and are fitted out with everything you need. It’s also one of the cheapest options, especially if you’re cycling or hiking with just a tent. Pitches typically cost around €15 to €30, with many options for groups, single tents, motorhomes, and more. Be aware that wild camping is NOT ALLOWED in the Netherlands, and if you’re caught, you can expect a fine of around €90.
Costs for food and drinks in the Netherlands
The Netherlands gives you plenty of choices when it comes to keeping yourself fed and watered. Obviously eating out will eat into your budget, especially in tourist centers such as Amsterdam. Budget travelers would generally do better buying their groceries at the store. While costs in the Netherlands are obviously more expensive than Asia or South America, they’re pretty much on par with the rest of Central Europe.
The Dutch word for supermarket is ‘supermarkt’ — easy enough to remember, right? Most supermarkets in the Netherlands are small to medium-sized local stores, rather than the huge hypermarkets found elsewhere. So, no need to worry about heading out of town for what you’ll need, you’ll almost always find a local store in the heart of residential areas.
For premium brands and the highest quality products, look for chains such as Albert Heijn (AH) or Marqt. Alternatively, budget supermarkets such as Jumbo, Lidl, and Dirk van den Broek offer lower prices and some pretty good deals. For bio and eco goods, prepare to spend a little more, and look out for Ekoplaza stores. Here’s a quick rundown of average prices of the most common goods:
- Loaf of bread: €1.19
- Milk (1L): €0.90
- Local cheese (1 kg): €10.53
- Chicken fillets (1kg): €8.40
- Rice (1kg): €1.85
- Potatoes (1kg): €1.38
Besides supermarkets, there are a bunch of local artisan stores, bakeries, and delis offering a superb range of goodies. These will generally be more expensive than shopping at the supermarket, although you might find some delicious bargains. Either way, the quality is well worth the price, and fresh baked goods with local cheese and cold cuts make a luxurious breakfast for a fairly low price!
Of course, when you’re on your travels you might not always feel like cooking, and eating out at a restaurant is a great way to discover some local delicacies. However, it is certainly much more expensive, and if you’re on a budget, you’ll probably want to avoid eating out too often. Prices in city centers, and especially Amsterdam, are often very high, and sadly, not always worth it. Don’t worry, there are some superb places to eat out, but it’s important to do your research.
A standard meal in a cafe will typically cost around €15 per person. A more substantial 3-course dinner in a restaurant will generally cost between €20 and €30 per person.
The Dutch are big on street food, and we have a wide array of tasty bites available from market stands and food vendors throughout most cities. Things like bitterballen and croquetten are great for a tasty snack, while Broodje Haring, a cured herring sandwich, makes a sumptuous light lunch. In general, you can expect to pay between €2 and €10 for street food in the Netherlands.
Alcohol and Tobacco
The cost of any trip goes up when you factor in alcohol and tobacco, and it can get pretty pricey in the Netherlands. A packet of 20 cigarettes will cost around €7 for a brand like Marlboro, and up to €14 for premium brands. A large beer (500ml) in a typical pub can cost up to €7 in tourist areas, though €4.50 is more typical across the country. However, draft beer is generally sold in smaller measures and costs around €3. In the supermarket, the same beer in a 500ml bottle will cost around €1.10 and a mid-range bottle of wine €6.
Many visitors are drawn to the Netherlands to indulge in the vices on offer in Amsterdam. From the red light district to coffee shops, there’s a reason Amsterdam bustles with tourists all year round. You can only buy weed and hash from licensed coffee shops. On average, a gram of hash costs €8 in an Amsterdam coffee shop, while a gram of weed costs €12. However, prices can range from €4 to €35 per gram.
Tours and activities to explore the Netherlands
The Netherlands has lots to offer in terms of tours and activities, catering to every taste. Some of the most popular activities are listed below.
From the Anne Frank museum, to the quirky Dutch funeral museum, there’s over 400 museums across the country. While some are free to enter, entry prices typically vary from €4 to €25. However, for culture vultures looking to visit as many as possible, it’s worth buying a MuseumKaart, or museum card, which grants you free access to almost all of them. A card costs €64,90 for adults and €32,45 for kids.
Self-guided multi-day tours generally start at around €300 to €400 per person for 3 nights, which includes accommodation. Alternatively, a cycling city tour generally costs €25 — €40 per person in a public group.
The most popular park and gardens in the Netherlands attracts millions of visitors each year, all eager to take in the stunning tulip fields. The entry ticket costs €19 for adults and €9 for kids. Driving? Then reserve an all-day parking pass for €6. If you plan to travel from Amsterdam via public transport, you can pick up a combi-ticket for around €29.50, which includes the bus there and back, plus entry to the park. A guided tour will cost €69.
For information about the best time of the year to see the tulips in bloom, check out our post “When is the best time to visit the Netherlands“.
Budget travelers rejoice! If you were worried that the costs to travel the Netherlands were a little steep, you’ll be pleased to know that there are tons of free attractions to enjoy as well. The Netherlands is home to a veritable hiker’s paradise, in that there are 20 national parks scattered across the country. Most of these are free to enter, and some, such as De Hoge Veluwe even offer free bicycles that you can borrow. Filled with hiking trails and cycle paths that take in stunning scenery and a variety of wildlife, such as wild boar, deer, and wild horses, it’s a great way to unwind after a heavy weekend in the city!
Many museums also offer free entrance, but the magnificent open-air museum Zaanse Schans is a must! A stroll around the grounds takes in the famous windmills and canals, and showcases historic crafts such as wooden clog making.
Travel budgets for the Netherlands
Now you should have enough information to create an accurate Netherlands travel budget, taking in everything from arrival to what to eat. However, if you need a helping hand, I’ve crunched the numbers and come up with 3 different budgets for the different types of travelers out there.
Backpacker budget for the Netherlands
You’re traveling on a shoestring budget and are trying desperately to stretch the pennies. You don’t mind camping, and enjoy visiting the countryside and lesser-known towns rather than spending too much time in more touristic cities. Food is whatever is on special offer in the local store, cooked up on your own cooking gear. In terms of transport, you either walk, cycle, or you take public transport. You should be able to travel around the Netherlands for US$40 to US$100 per day.
Explorer budget for the Netherlands
You’ve come to the Netherlands to see and do as much as you can. For you, comfort isn’t so important, and you’re happy to stay in a dorm room in a hostel or get to know the locals via AirBnb. You’ll typically use public transport, but may cycle if the price is right. You want to visit a few attractions while you’re here, and will eat out occasionally. You should be able to travel around the Netherlands for US$90 to US$150 per day.
Road warrior budget for the Netherlands
You want to go Dutch, and have decided to hire a motorhome. This will be your home and your transport, though you might use public transport or cycle within the city. You’ll cook most of your own food, but aren’t concerned about eating out now and then. For entertainment, you’re happy to pay to enjoy the occasional attraction. You should be able to travel around the Netherlands for US$180 to US$220 per day.
Luxury budget for the Netherlands
You’re coming to the Netherlands to relax and spoil yourself! You’ll enjoy the comforts of a fancy hotel, fine dining, and will rent a car to get around at your own pace. There are tons of museums and attractions you want to see. You should be able to travel around the Netherlands for US$250 to US$500 per day.
We love to hear from you!
Thanks a lot for reading through this article about the travel costs for the Netherlands. We really hope this will give you an idea of how much you need for an incredible trip through our small, but versatile home country! If you have been to the Netherlands and have an amazing tip to share, of if you have a question, please leave a comment below.