Are you planning to visit Amsterdam for 3 days? An itinerary and a guide to the top must-see places in Amsterdam, including a clear map, will help you plan.
Amsterdam will enchant you with its atmosphere. Friendly, warm and calm. You feel so good here, you don’t want to leave.
Romantic canals surrounded by houses that look like something out of a Gingerbread House fairy tale. Renowned museums that immerse you in the lives of Van Gogh and Rembrandt, the history of Holland or the golden era of Dutch seafaring.
Thoughtful and original details that make you constantly look around and keep your eyes peeled.
Dutch countryside with windmills or tulip fields and gardens.
These are just some of the magnets that attract millions of visitors each year, making Amsterdam a regular top visitor destination in Europe (in 2019, it ranked 5th after London, Paris, Istanbul and Rome).
- Is it possible to visit Amsterdam in 3 days?
- What to see and do in Amsterdam in 3 days?
- Amsterdam in 3 days: the historic centre
- Amsterdam in 3 days: MUSEUM QUARTER
- Amsterdam in 3 days: AMSTERDAM-NOORD
- Route map of what to see in Amsterdam in 3 days
- How to enjoy Amsterdam in 3 days?
- Accommodation in Amsterdam
- More information about Amsterdam
Is it possible to visit Amsterdam in 3 days?
Yes, the historic centre of Amsterdam can be explored in one day. If you want to see more than just the famous canals and look inside renowned museums and attractions or visit the Dutch countryside, you need to set aside at least 3 days. You won’t see everything, but you will see a lot.
Plus, Amsterdam is beautiful any time of year, so you can always come back and explore more.
What to see and do in Amsterdam in 3 days?
Amsterdam in 3 days: the historic centre
Itinerary for Day 1 in Amsterdam:
- House of Anne Frank
- De 9 Straatjes
- Dam Square
- Red Lantern Quarter
- Rembrandt House and Bloemenmarkt
House of Anne Frank
A visit to the Anne Frank House is almost a must in Amsterdam. A place that takes you back to the Second World War in its rawest form and brings you closer to the life of Anne, a young Jewish girl who hid with her family in the back of the house for two years. After their discovery, they were taken to a concentration camp. Only my father, who published Anna’s diary, survived.
TIP: It’s best to book tickets for Anne Frank Huis in advance. Reservations are required at busy times.
De 9 Straatjes
After a visit to the Anne Frank House, you’ll probably want to relax a little with a walk where you can just admire the beautiful UNESCO canals. The Prinsengracht canal starts right at Anne Frank Huis.
From the canal, follow the charming streets of De 9 Straatjes. You’ll find plenty of vintage shops and restaurants between the Prinsengracht and Singel canals (including the remaining two UNESCO-listed canals, the Keizersgracht and the Herengracht). You can admire the crooked houses for which Amsterdam is famous.
Do you know why they are crooked (like Pisa)? The structure of the houses is held up by wooden stakes that are drilled into the wet soil. Over the years, the posts have become unevenly twisted and dipped, giving the houses their typical appearance.
Dam Square and the Royal Palace
We’re moving back to where it all began for Amsterdam. In Dam Square in the heart of the city.
This is the large square where Amsterdam was founded in 1270 at the mouth of the Amstel River. Here they built a dam (Dam in Dutch) and this gave the name to the square, but also the name of the town by combining the name of the Amstel River and Dam.
In the middle of the square, you will not miss the National Memorial, which is dedicated to the victims of the Second World War. World War II.
Another important place is Royal Palace (Koninklijk Paleis). It is one of the 3 official palaces of the royal family and is considered the most important building of the Dutch Golden Age.
You probably won’t meet the King here, as he is based in the palace in The Hague, but the beautiful period rooms and vast paintings are worth seeing.
To the left of the Royal Palace sits the popular Madame Tussauds Museum with wax figures ranging from Marvel movies to Prince Harry and Meghan. On the right, it says The new church (Nieuwe Kerk). An impressive Gothic building from the 15th century, where the kings and queens of the Netherlands have been officially installed for centuries.
The wedding of the current King William Alexander of Orange to his wife Maxima also took place in 2002. In addition, exhibitions are regularly held here (in 2022, the World Press Photo Exhibition will be held here).
Red Lantern Quarter
Amsterdam is known for its liberal attitude towards prostitution and marijuana. That’s why you can’t miss the Red Light District (De Wallen), which is the imaginary centre of the darker side of the city.
And so beautiful. And touristy. Moreover, you don’t have to be afraid to come here during the day even with children.
In the evening, red lights are turned on at the windows of brothels where women offer their services (no photos allowed!). There are plenty of restaurants, bars, sex shops, coffeeshops, the Museum of Prostitution and the majestic Old Church (Oude Kerk).
Do you still have time? In the surrounding area you can visit the Rembrandt House, where the famous 17th century Dutch painter Rembrandt lived and worked. Or check out the Bloemenmarkt, a riverside flower market that has been operating in Amsterdam since the 19th century.
Amsterdam in 3 days: MUSEUM QUARTER
Itinerary Day 2 in Amsterdam:
- Cruising the canals
- Quartier De Pijp
- Magere Brug
The next day we start with art. It would be a great shame to visit Amsterdam and not visit at least one of the world’s top museums. The Museumplein (Museum Quarter) has several to choose from, so you can spend the whole day here.
The main museum in Amsterdam is the Rijksmuseum. The magnificent building houses the finest collection of art by Dutch masters from the Golden Age, from Rembrandt to Vermeer.
But the Rijksmuseum is not just art. You will also learn more about the history of the Netherlands and be treated to historic ships, a collection of porcelain or dollhouses from the 17th century. In the square in front of the museum, you can take a picture with a huge sign saying I am Amsterdam.
- Price: full admission is 23,50 €; children under 18 years of age are free.
- Tickets: Click here to purchase tickets in advance.
- Opening hours: Rijksmuseum is open daily from 9:00-17:00.
- Address: Museumstraat 1
A short walk away, the Van Gogh Museum is housed in a modern, partially glazed building and houses the world’s largest collection of Van Gogh, including his personal collection of letters.
- Price: full admission to the Van Gogh Museum is €22; children under 17 are free.
- Tickets: Reservations are required for all. Tickets can sell out days in advance. Click here to purchase tickets in advance.
- Opening hours: mon-thurs 9:00-17:00, fri 9:00-21:00, sat-sun 9:00-18:00
Next door is the Stedelijk Museum, dedicated to modern art and design from around the world. You can recognize it safely from a distance – the building is shaped like a bathtub.
On the other side of the Van Gogh Museum is the Moco Museum, where you can see works by Dali or street art artists Haring and Banksy.
Cruising the canals
One of the best ways to get to know Amsterdam is by cruising the canals. Not when the city is literally interwoven with canals. There are 165 of them with a total length of 71 km and over 1700 bridges, which is 4 times more than in Venice.
The boat departs directly from the Rijksmuseum or from the nearby Heineken Experience Museum. It takes an hour to get there. The price is most often in the range of 15-20 €.
Quartier De Pijp
After the cruise, you can continue visiting the museums or head to the De Pijp district, which is directly adjacent to the museum district (a few minutes’ walk). The De Pijp district has a different, distinctive character of its own. I love the white brick houses here.
The largest market in Amsterdam – Albert Cuypmarkt – passes through the quarter. It’s the perfect place to buy souvenirs and sample street food. If you have a sweet tooth like us, tryStroopwafels – 2 waffles combined with syrup. The market is open from Monday to Saturday from 9:00-17:00.
Do you still have time and are you looking for something typically Dutch? Go to the Heineken Experience Museum. In an interactive way, you will learn more about how Heineken beer is produced, you will try to make your own label and you will also have a tasting. It’s fun and something different to try again.
- Admission: full admission is 21 €.
- Tickets: Buy your ticket here.
- Opening hours: SUN-THU 10:30-19:30, FRI-SAT 10:30-21:00
- Address: Stadhouderskade 78
It’s probably getting on for the evening, so it’s time to head along the Amstel River to Magere Burg. It’s a nice, shorter walk along the quiet waterfront.
The Magere Burg is a specially designed pedestrian bridge that is beautifully lit up in the evening and is the perfect end to the day. From the bridge it is only a few minutes to the historic centre.
Amsterdam in 3 days: AMSTERDAM-NOORD
Itinerary for Day 3 in Amsterdam:
- National Maritime Museum
- This is Holland and A´DAM Lookout
We will leave the third day in Amsterdam more open. We walked through the historic centre in 2 days and on the third day we had the opportunity to see different, yet equally interesting places. One where you might soak up the Amsterdam atmosphere even more.
But first, let’s start with a typical place for the whole of the Netherlands:
National Maritime Museum
The National Maritime Museum is one of the best museums you can visit in Amsterdam. In the 17th century, the whole country was a maritime power and the museum tells you everything you want to know about seafaring. Interactive form that will entertain even families with children. Tickets you can order in advance.
Next to the museum is a replica of the VOC ship Amsterdam. You can get on board, try to control the rudder, lie in a hammock, shoot a cannon or use virtual reality to go back to 17th century.
From the Maritime Museum, continue past the waterfront and the Montelbaanstoren tower to Amsterdam-Centraal station.
This is Holland and A´DAM Lookout
This is Holland and the A´DAM Lookout are two great attractions located next to each other in Amsterdam-Noord. It can be reached from Amsterdam Centraal Station, where a free ferry departs every few minutes.
Once you get off, take a left. You’ll have seen Amsterdam’s tallest building, A’DAM, from the ferry, so you’ll know exactly where to head. And what awaits you here?
On the upper floor A´DAM Lookout is a revolving restaurant and lookout with panoramic views of Amsterdam. Plus, you can swing in the highest swing in Europe over the edge of the observation deck.
Thanks to virtual reality, you’ll experience a roller coaster ride over the city, and you’ll be amazed by the light and sound effects in the elevator that takes you up in no time.
- Admission: from €14.50, children 4-12 years from €8.50 (prices when booking online, €2 more on site); prices vary according to the package you choose; BUY TICKETS
- Opening hours: 10:00-22:00
- Address: Overhoeksplein 5
Behind the A´DAM Lookout is the circular building that houses This is Holland. Here you will experience the real Holland in the most entertaining way.
A 5D flight over the canals and the most beautiful places of Amsterdam and its surroundings (you will fly over windmills and tulip fields, where you can even smell the scent of tulips). You will feel like you are actually flying in a helicopter.
Learn more about the history of the Netherlands before your flight. Again in an interesting and entertaining way.
- Admission: full admission costs € 23.01 and € 19.47 for children aged 4-12.
- Tickets: reservations are required for This is Holland. Click here to purchase tickets.
- Opening hours: This is Holland is open daily from 10:00-18:00.
To the left of the two buildings you will see an architectural gem – the Eye Film Museum, which is a cultural centre and includes a huge collection of foreign and domestic films, including a film exhibition.
A´DAM Lookout and This is Holland are located in Amsterdam-Noord. What to do with the rest of the day? How about getting on your bike and riding through another part of Amsterdam that is different from the previous ones?
It’s not touristy here, so you get more of a real Amsterdam relaxed vibe. There are also other excellent restaurants here.
Alternative: Itinerary for Day 3 in Amsterdam
- Windmills Zaanse Schans
- The towns of Volendam, Edam and the Zaanse Schans windmills
- Keukenhof Tulip Fields (in spring)
Another option is to dedicate your third day in Amsterdam to the Dutch countryside, because it’s definitely worth it. Iconic windmills or tulip fields that play with all the colours every spring. You can go on your own or choose one of the organized trips.
Windmills Zaanse Schans
Windmills are a symbol of the Netherlands. The windmill museum in Zaanse Schans is located north of Amterdam and is an ideal excursion for families.
You can just walk around freely and enjoy. As well as the mills, you can visit the cheese factory, the clog factory, the bakery museum, the Willy Wonka biscuit and chocolate museum, the weavers’ house and more.
There is already an entrance fee – you can pay on the spot for individual museums or buy Zaanse Schans Card which will get you everywhere. You can also visit the mills from Amsterdam as part of the trip with transport.
Tulip fields Keukenhof
Tulips are the national flower of the Netherlands. Every spring, from March to mid-May, the tulip fields open to visitors, where you can see the long meadows full of colour and fragrance. It’s a wonderful experience.
There are also plenty of activities for the kids, you can eat on hay bales and just enjoy the Dutch comfort.
The Keukenhof Tulip Fields can be found an hour south-west of Amsterdam near the town of Lisse.
Tours and tickets for the Keukenhof Tulip Fields (on sale only until mid-May)
Route map of what to see in Amsterdam in 3 days
HOW TO USE THIS MAP: Above you will find a detailed map of the route in Amsterdam. Click at the top left of the map to see separate layers with highlighted locations. You can hide and show the different layers or click on the icons on the map to see the names of the places I mention in my guide to Amsterdam in 3 days. If you want to save the map, star it. For a larger version, click on the icon in the upper right corner.
How to enjoy Amsterdam in 3 days?
- Walk through Amsterdam on foot. Not many cities have so many beautiful corners and details.
- Buy single or multi-day tickets with unlimited use of the metro, trams and buses in Amsterdam.
- Or think about the I am Amsterdam City Card which includes unlimited transport and free entry to most places in Amsterdam. A popular way to save money in Amsterdam if you want to get to know it all. More about the card in my tourist card comparison.
- Book your tickets in advance. Advance reservations are required at some venues and some venues sell out days in advance. In most cases, all you have to do is show your mobile phone with your ticket and you’re good to go. No waiting in lines. In addition, reservations are free, no extra charge (sometimes even cheaper) and there is no cancellation fee up to 24 hours in advance. Links to bookings can be found above or in my guide, What to see in Amsterdam .
- Get yourself a the Amsterdam Pass tourist card which gives you free entry to the Rijksmuseum, the Heineken Experience, a boat cruise, bike hire and tours of the surrounding area including the Keukenhof, windmills, Rotterdam and The Hague. The card has great value for money. More information in a separate article on Amsterdam Pass .
Accommodation in Amsterdam
- Leonardo Hotel: a 4-star hotel on the edge of Rembrandt Park with a rooftop terrace, bar and spectacular views of Amsterdam.
- Hotel Holiday Inn: A modern hotel with excellent transport links – located a short walk from Sloterdijk Station, with a 10-minute train ride to the airport and the city centre’s main train station.
- Hostel Via Amsterdam: accommodation with a lively and friendly atmosphere, where you have a choice of separate rooms with private bathrooms or a bed in shared rooms.
- Hotel Levell: This hotel is located in the southeast of Amsterdam, making it a good choice for those arriving by car. The city centre is a 20-minute metro ride away (the stop is 200 metres from the hotel).
- XO Hotels Blue Square: clean, elegant hotel outside the centre with good accessibility and at an excellent price.
Check out our full range of accommodation in Amsterdam.
Ask in the comments if you have further questions about our 3-day itinerary in Amsterdam. Have a safe journey!
More information about Amsterdam
AMSTERDAM: Plan your trip with our detailed guide to Amsterdam.
AMSTERDAM WITH CHILDREN: In a separate article, we share tips on what to do in Amsterdam with children.
HOW TO SAVE IN AMSTERDAM: Amsterdam Pass is one of the ways to save money on sightseeing in Amsterdam.