There are few major cities on Earth where the past and present blend as flawlessly as in Amsterdam. First and foremost, the people of Amsterdam welcome visitors from all over the world and enjoy making sure they have a good experience in the city whether it is clubbing, visiting museums, riding the canals or viewing the tulips. Here are some tips on traveling to Amsterdam that will make your trip smoother.

Get the Right Hotel
Amsterdam has some of the most expensive hotel rooms in Europe, but it also has some of the least expensive. Dam Square is the place where tourists gather to see the Royal Palace and other sights, and the hotel prices are higher there, but you can find cheap rooms just a few blocks away. Some of the lower-priced hotels have communal bathrooms, but they also offer free Wi-Fi and beautiful views of the city. There are also budget hotels near Central Station within walking distance of Dam Square.

Get the Right Transportation
Cars are few in the city and most people use public transportation, bikes or their feet. It’s a small city, and you can walk across it in half an hour. If you rent a bike, you can stay a bit farther from the city center and get even lower hotel rates.

The city center is a UNESCO World Heritage Site with its canals and 17th century gabled houses. It’s is full of hidden treasures such as secret gardens, small cafes, galleries and pubs and loads of public art.

Check Out the Hostels
Amsterdam has excellent hostels that cater to all kinds of travelers from single backpackers to families and seniors. Some are very fancy, and still cheaper than a budget hotel with private rooms and dorms. Most hostels offer social areas, free city tours, kitchens, game rooms and libraries. There are hostels that maintain a party vibe for singles looking for a good time.

Find the Free Activities
– The Rijksmuseum has an entrance fee, but you can enjoy its gardens, fountains and sculptures for free.
– There are hundreds of free contemporary art galleries.
– Take a free, three-hour walking tour of the city.
– There are several wonderful open-air markets including a floating flower market, a flea market and a multi-cultural food market.
– Attend a free concert every weekend during the summer at Vondelpark Open Air Theatre

Choose the Right Time
June through August is the most popular time to visit because of the mild weather and long days. There are many free concerts around the city. If you want to visit during this time, you need to book well in advance. The hotel prices may be lower in April and May and September and October. Spring is when the tulips bloom. The holiday season around Christmas is considered a magical time in Amsterdam with beautiful decorations and markets, ice skating rinks and a world famous Saint Nicholas parade.

Go for the Unique
You can rent a houseboat and have great stories to tell about your vacation in Amsterdam. Renting a houseboat is actually cheaper than a budget hotel.

The best tip for visiting Amsterdam is to not be discouraged by the high prices of hotels. There are not only budget hotels and hostels, but the luxury hotels also offer lower prices at certain times of the year.

This article was contributed by Fiona Moriarty of Hipmunk, the most comprehensive travel search website allowing you to find the best deals on anything from flights and hotels to train rides and Homeaway rentals.