3 days in Amsterdam: Itinerary + My Best Tips

2

How to spend 3 Days in Amsterdam: The Best Itinerary + Where to Stay

You want to spend 3 days in Amsterdam and you’re looking for the best things to do?

You’re at the right place!

In order to help you plan your stay, I have prepared for you this 3-day itinerary in Amsterdam.

It’s perfectly optimized to allow you to discover the city’s must-see attractions.

In addition to the best places to visit and activities for each stage of your itinerary, I will also give you all my best tips and accommodation suggestions depending on your budget.

So, what are the best places to visit in Amsterdam in 3 days? Where to stay?

Let’s find out!

How to avoid waiting in line (and save a lot of time!) at Amsterdam’s tourist attractions

It’s the fate of many a large European city, and the capital of the Netherlands is no exception: the main tourist attractions are packed with visitors, some of them prepared to spend over an hour queueing to get in.

If you’ve ever visited the Duomo in Florence or been inside the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona, you’ll definitely know what I’m talking about!

But if you’re an experienced traveller (and you follow my blog!), you’ll also know that it doesn’t have to be that way.

Let me start right now by giving you 2 ways of saving loads of time and money during your 3 days in Amsterdam:

1. The I Amsterdam City Card

The I Amsterdam City Card gives you free entry or discounts on the city’s museums and attractions.

Valid for between 1 and 5 days (depending on what you choose when booking), it also gives you free access to public transport, including trams, buses and the metro.

Once you’ve reserved your pass, you’ll receive email confirmation which you can use to pick up your pass when you arrive in Amsterdam.

Here’s what’s included with the City Card:

  • Free entrance to all the city’s museums
  • A canal cruise
  • Discounts on attractions such as the Amsterdam Dungeon or the Heineken Experience
  • 25% off bike hire and in certain restaurants
  • Unlimited use of public transport during your 3 days in Amsterdam.

Click the button below for a description of all the attractions included, and to purchase your I Amsterdam City Card:

2. Skip the line tickets for Amsterdam’s tourist attractions

The final solution to get quick access to the most popular attractions is to buy fast track tickets for each of the sites individually according to what you want to see during your 3 days in Amsterdam.

You’ll have no problem finding fast track tickets for all the museums and activities on your list and it’s a really great way to see as many of the sites as you can!

Here’s the list of the ones for the itinerary that I’m going to describe in detail.

Just click on the links to book. I’ll include them as you go through the article as well:

3 days in Amsterdam: recommended itinerary

Now let’s get down to business with my itinerary for your 72 hours in Amsterdam. I’ve created a city route for you to follow each day with a map to help you get around easily.

I’m assuming that you’ve decided to spend 3 full days in Amsterdam and that you’ve purchased the I Amsterdam City Card or your fast track tickets so you can visit as many places as possible.

If you still have questions once you’ve read this article or need help planning you holiday, please send me all your questions via the comments section right at the end of this article.

So, what should you see in your 3 days in Amsterdam?

Day 1 of your Amsterdam itinerary – The historic centre

itinéraire Amsterdam jour 1
Itinerary: 3 days in Amsterdam – Day 1

Day 1 visits:

A. Dam Square and the Royal Palace
B. The Amsterdam Dungeon or the Amsterdam Museum
C. The Béguinage (Begijnhof)
D. The flower market
E. Zuiderkerk and Nieuwmarkt
F. The Red Light District
G. Oude Kerk

A. Dam Square and the Royal Palace of Amsterdam

To kick off the the first of your 3 days in Amsterdam, head for Dam Square, the city’s main square.

Using Amsterdam central station as your reference point, it’s just a 10-minute walk away via Damrak or Nieuwendijk. Or you can take the tram.

After marvelling at the National Monument and the surrounding buildings including the Nieuwe Kerk church, you should visit the Royal Palace of Amsterdam.

Serving as the Town Hall from the 17th to the 19th century, and then as a royal residence, the palace has several rooms furnished with period pieces and adorned with paintings and sculptures.

Since entry is not included in either of the 2 passes, you should buy tour fast track museum tickets in advanced. The price is the same as at the ticket office but you won’t have to queue early in the morning!

The audio guide is included as well, so you get the full history of the royal palace. Book here for:

place du Dam Amsterdam
Dam square and the Royal Palace

B. The Amsterdam Dungeon or the Amsterdam Museum

Now it’s less than a 5-minute walk to the Amsterdam Dungeon and the Amsterdam Museum.

I’ll let you decide which one to visit because they are completely different even though they both relate to the city’s history:

1) The Amsterdam Dungeon immerses you in the dark history of the Netherlands. See witches being burned at the stake and a trial during the Spanish inquisition with staged productions and short showsby actors in period costume.

You’ll soon be soaking up the atmosphere, especially if you’ve “volunteered” to be tortured!

The I Amsterdam City Card gets you a 25% reduction on your entrance ticket. Another good reason to get it!

If you don’t have the pass, you can reserve your entrance ticket by clicking here.

2) The Amsterdam Museum if you want to learn more about the history of Amsterdam but in a more conventional and more realistic way.

Interactive, modern and instructive, it takes you through the the 1,000 years of the history of the Dutch capital.

Free entrance with the Amsterdam City Card. If you don’t have the pass, you can purchase your tickets here.

Voyage Tips - Advice

If you’re not tempted by the Dungeon or the Amsterdam Museum, in the same area you’ve also got the Body Worlds exhibition, Madame Tussauds and the Ripley’s museum.

Amsterdam Dungeon
Amsterdam Dungeon

C. The Béguinage (Begijnhof)

End the morning with a quiet exploration of the the Béguinage, one of the oldest inner courtyards in Amsterdam.

This place was for a long time home to a community of mainly women known as the Béguines. The homes remain occupied today, so be careful not to make too much noise of cross the fences.

The Béguinage is also the site of Amsterdam’s last wooden house – and one of the city’s oldest. This type of housing became strictly forbidden because of the high risk of fire.

Begijnhof
Begijnhof

D. The flower market

Continue your day by following the canal to reach the “Bloemenmarkt”, or flower market which is just a 5-minute walk from the Béguinage.

This is the perfect opportunity to pick up a few tulip bulb as a souvenir of your 3 days in Amsterdam! You’ll be spoilt for choice when it comes to colours.

You can also buy (yourself) a bouquet of freshly cut tulips here or (easier to take home with you) some wooden tulips.

There are also smalls shops selling souvenirs, including clogs, magnets and postcards.

marché aux fleurs Amsterdam
Amsterdam flower market

E. Zuiderkerk and Nieuwmarkt

Now walk along the Kloveniersburgwal canal for around ten minutes to reach the Zuiderkerk church.

From the top of the bell tower, accessible only with a guide and at certain times of the day, you can enjoy an unobstructed panoramic view over the entire city.

Now continue to the Nieuwmakt square which you’ll recognise form the building in the middle of the square which looks like a small castle. It’s actually the old gateway to the city which has today been converted into a café and restaurant.

To the north of the square, you’ll find the small Chinatown district of Amsterdam.

Nieuwmarkt Waag
Nieuwmarkt – 3 days in Amsterdam

F. The Red Light District

Next, you should explore another must-see site on this 3-day Amsterdam itinerary, although in a slightly different vein: the famous Red Light District.

Even if the name means nothing to you, you’re sure to have heard talk of it! It’s in this district that you’ll find the famous red-fronted windows behind which prostitutes sit.

Offering their “services” here is completely legal and these women pay their taxes just like everyone else. But don’t take photos of them if you want to avoid any hassle: it’s strictly prohibited.

To go deeper into the subject (and no, it’s not what you’re thinking!), there areguided tours of the district in English. If that’s something you want to do, you need to book here:

Voyage Tips - Advice

Here’s some slightly less traditional but equally instructive ideas:

red light district Amsterdam
Red light district, in Amsterdam

G. Oude Kerk

The Red Light District is also home to Amsterdam’s oldest church:

the Oude Kerk which was built in the 1300s.

With entry to the church costing 15€ and the church housing contemporary exhibitions of a quite strange genre, I don’t particularly recommend you visit.

On the other hand, the red brick exterior and large stain glassed windows make for a beautiful exterior.

Voyage Tips - Advice

Entry to the Oude Kerk is free with your I Amsterdam City Card.

So if you have the City Card, don’t hesitate to go have a look inside and make up your own mind!

Oude Kerk Amsterdam
Oude Kerk Amsterdam

Day 2: Best places to visit

itinéraire Amsterdam jour 2
Visit Amsterdam in 3 days: Day 2

Day 2 visits:

A. Jordaan district
B. The Cheese Museum
C. Anne Frank House
D. Visit a museum: Rijksmuseum, Van Gogh, MOCO or Stedelijk
E. Vondelpark
F. Canal cruise

A. Jordaan district

Three days in Amsterdam will give you enough time to visit the city’s iconic neighbourhoods. You’ve already made a start by exploring the historic centre and the Red Light District.

For this second day, you should continue with the Jordaan, a traditional Amsterdam neighbourhood.

Walk along the canal taking in the red brick houses and past the Westerkerk church, the largest Protestant church in the Netherlands.

Voyage Tips - Advice

If you don’t want to miss any of the must-see attractions of the Jordaan, you can also book a 2-hour guided tour in English by clicking here.

And if you’re a foodie, you should go for this fantastic food tour by clicking there!

quartier Jordaan Westerkerk
Jordaan / Westerkerk

B. The Cheese Museum

Talking of local products, they’re very much the focus of the next stop of the day!

We’re off to the Cheese Museum! And it’s not far to walk because it’s right here in the Jordaan district.

OK, “museum” is admittedly a bit of exaggeration – it’s just a few explanations about cheese-making reduced to the basement.

But cheese-lovers will make up for it with the free tasting of Gouda in every variety (pesto, truffle, chilli..) in the shop at ground level.

Voyage Tips - Advice

Are you tempted by a tasting workshop of the finest Dutch cheeses?

You should try the tasting of 5 cheeses made by Henri Willing who is known for his high-quality traditional cheeses, all served with local wines and beers.

Book your cheese-tasting in Amsterdam here.

musee du fromage
Amsterdam cheese museum

C. Anne Frank House

Staying in the Jordaan district, on the other side of the canal from the museum, the next attraction you’ll come to is Anne Frank House.

It’s here that the young Jewish girl and her family hid during the Second World War. Anne Frank’s diary recounts their life during this time.

You can explore the different rooms in the house as well as photos and objects that belonged to the family, all alongside extracts from the diary.

Entrance tickets are available for sale online only from the official website (click here). 80% of the tickets are made available online 2 months in advance, and the rest are released in tranches from 9.00 am each day.

Since the house is one of Amsterdam’s most popular tourist attractions, tickets go very quickly and it’s best to book in advance.

Voyage Tips - Advice

If you haven’t managed to get tickets, you can make up for it by taking a guided tour of the former Jewish district.

The tour, which lasts 2 hours, is packed with information about Anne Frank and life at that time:

maison d'Anne Franck Amsterdam
Anne Frank house – Amsterdam

D. Visit a museum: Rijksmuseum, Van Gogh, MOCO or Stedelijk

3 days in Amsterdam is enough time for you to explore at least 1 of the city’s most famous museums. They can all be found around the Museumplein, or Museum Square.

It’s around a 30-minute walk along the canal to get there from the Anne Frank House, or a 2-minutes tram ride.

Depending on your interests, you can visit:

Voyage Tips - Advice

If you fancy a little pick-me-up after the museums, you should take in the House of Bols Experience next to the Museumplein.

You’ll learn all about the process of making the oldest spirits brand in the world, and get to taste an excellent cocktail at the end of it!

You can book your tickets by clicking here.

Rijkmuseum
Rijksmuseum

E. Vondelpark

After an afternoon spent indoors, go and get some fresh air in the Vondelpark, the biggest park in the city and

just a 5-minute walk away.

The park contains several lakes, well-maintained paths for walking or cycling and play areas for the kids.

Vondelpark
Vondelpark

F. Canal cruise

End this second day with an experience you can’t possibly miss during your 3 days in Amsterdam, and that’s a canal cruise.

You’ll discover the city’s architecture and traditional houses from a different angle on this trip.

There are several different cruises to choose from depending on the duration and the boat. I’ve picked out 5 of them for you (click on the links for details):

Don’t forget: if you’ve bought the I Amsterdam City Card, you’re entitled to a free cruise!

Croisière canaux Amsterdam
Canal cruise – 3 days in Amsterdam

3rd day in Amsterdam: where to go?

itinéraire Asmterdam jour 3
3 days in Amsterdam – Day 3

Day 3 visits:

A. The Albert Cuyp Market
B. Heineken Experience
C. Skinny Bridge
D. Visit a museum or guided tour of Amsterdam by bike
E. A’DAM Lookout

A. The Albert Cuyp Market

On the final day of your 3-day itinerary in Amsterdam, start the morning at Albert Cuyp Market.

This open-air market is one of the biggest in Europe. You can buy fruit and vegetables, fish and cheeses there, as well as flowers and souvenirs.

The market is open from Monday to Saturday. It is located in the De Pijp neighbourhood.

B. Heineken Experience

After spending as much time as you want at the market, you should head for the Heineken Experience

a 5-minute walk away.

You’ll be welcomed into the old brewery premises dating back to 1867. On the tour, you’ll learn all about the history of the company as well as the different stages of beer production.

The tour ends at the bar where you can try a little pint!

You need to books your tickets in advance here!

Heineken Experience Amsterdam
Heineken Experience Amsterdam

C. Skinny Bridge

Next, head to the Skinny Bridge (Magere Brug in Dutch) for a photo opportunity.

Fans of James Bond will no doubt recognise the bridge – it features in the film “Diamonds are Forever”.

Build in 1670, it was originally so narrow that only 2 people could pass each other. It has since been widened twice, in 1871 and in 1969, so a few more people can now pass on it.

Another particular feature of the Skinny Bridge is that it opens to allow canal boats through.

Magere Brug
Magere Brug

D. Visit a museum: or a guided tour of Amsterdam by bike

For the afternoon programme, you have several options:

1) Visit a museum.

Close to the Skinny Bridge, for example, you have the Hermitage Amsterdam, the Rembrandt House Museum and the Tropenmuseum of ethnography.

Or you can return to the Museumplein and explore one of the museums you didn’t have the time to see yesterday.

2) If you’re visiting Amsterdam with kids, you should take the, to the zoo in Amsterdam or to the NEMO Science Museum which is great fun.

3) Explore the city by bike: you can ire one or book a guided tour by bike to immerse yourself deeper in the local culture.

To rent bicycles in Amsterdam, click on the button below:

Or for a guided tour, click here:

Voyage Tips - Advice

You might also want to stop at a coffee shop at some point during the afternoon. Consuming cannabis while sitting comfortably in a dedicated café is another Amsterdam institution, and it’s completely legal here!

Amsterdam velo
Visiting Amsterdam by bike

E. This Holland/A’DAM Lookout

At the end of the afternoon, head to Amsterdam central station from

where you can take the ferry shuttle (free of charge) across the river. It lands at Buiksloterweg quay from where it’s a 5-minute walk to reach THIS IS HOLLAND.

Attraction that takes you on a 10-minute virtual flight over the Netherlands. The add to the experience, the seats move and you can even smell the scent of the tulips as you fly over the fields.

The City Card entitles you to a discount.

If you don’t have a pass, you can book your tickets online by clicking here.

To end the day, you should head up to the A’DAM Lookout, Amsterdam’s panoramic observation deck. From the terrace, you can behold the city one last time and try out the highest swing in Europe!

Entry to the’ DAM Lookout is included in the City Card Amsterdam.

Voyage Tips - Advice

If you want, you can also substitute one these activities on your third day with a trip out to one of the places to visit near Amsterdam.

In particular, you could choose to explore (click on the orange links to book):

Adam Lookout
A’dam Lookout

Where to stay in Amsterdam

So now you know exactly what to do and see in Amsterdam in 3 days!

There’s just one small detail to take care of: where to stay?

To make life easier for you, here’s my selection of the best places to stay in Amsterdam depending on your budget:

  • Hans Brinker Hostel Amsterdam: Youth hostel 400 metres from the Rijksmuseum and 10 minutes from the Vondelpark. Bed in a dormitory from 26€, including breakfast. Strong points: the location, the warm welcome, the atmosphere. An excellent choice if you’re looking for a cheap accommodation in Amsterdam!
  • Motel One Amsterdam: Located 2 km from the Rikjsuseum and the Albert Cuyp Market. Clean and well-decorated double room from 110€ per night, breakfast 11.50€. Strong points: helpful staff, location 2 minutes from the metro, the good breakfast.
  • Jaz Amsterdam: Situated a 15-minute metro ride from the centre. Spacious and stylish room from 110€, breakfast 16.95€. Strong points: very friendly staff, good facilities, the fabulous breakfast.
  • Motel One Amsterdam-Waterlooplein: Situated close to the Zuiderkerk and a 15-minute walk from Dam Square. Modern room with comfortable bed from 154€, breakfast 11.50€. Strong points: close to the centre, delightful staff, good and varied breakfast. It’s my favourite for its excellent value for money in Amsterdam!
  • Mövenpick Hotel Amsterdam City Centre: Located just a 10-minute walk from the railways station and the centre of Amsterdam. Spacious, modern and comfortable room, some with a river view, from 190€, breakfast 25€. Strong points: location, comfort, friendly staff, access to the sauna included. The best hotel for a high end stay in Amsterdam!
  • NH Collection Amsterdam Grand Hotel Krasnapolsky: Located right on Dam Square, this luxury hotel offers rooms with a sleek and modern décor from 310€, breakfast included. Strong points: central location for exploring Amsterdam on foot, exceptional bed (so comfortable!), the excellent breakfast. Perfect for a romantic break in the heart of the city!
  • Hyatt Regency Amsterdam: 5* hotel situated 800 metres from the zoo. Bright and elegantly decorated rooms from 360€, breakfast 28€. Strong points: the staff are concerned to ensure the well-being of their guests, the decoration, the location, the excellent restaurant. The best hotel in Amsterdam for a luxury stay!

And if you prefer to rent a luxury apartment for your stay in Amsterdam, the Keizersgracht Suite 471 is the best address in the city!

Voyage Tips - Advice

If these hotels are full or don’t suit you, you should take a look at the traveler’s favorites by clicking here: The Best Hotels in Amsterdam

Since I had a very early flight home on the morning of my departure, I also tried out the Ibis Schiphol Amsterdam Airport, located 10 minutes from the airport (free shuttle). And I was pleasantly surprised: the rooms are modern, comfortable, and you can’t hear the planes at all.

Amsterdam in 3 days with kids

Are you visiting Amsterdam in 3 days with your kids? No problem!

This compact city means you can get everywhere on foot or by tram. Unlike other cities, you can even take a pushchair (just remember to look out for the bikes because crossing the street).

For activities to enjoy with kids during these 72 hours in Amsterdam, you should look in particular at:

Voyage Tips - Advice

I haven’t mentioned them in this article, but you could also take them to:

More things to do in 3 days in Amsterdam

If you want to organise your own programme of things to see and do in Amsterdam in three days, or simply add a few activities or guided tours, you should definitely read my article dedicated to the city.

My complete guide brings together the 30 top things to do and seem in the capital of the Netherlands.

Simply click on the following link to read it: The ultimate guide to visiting Amsterdam!

Voyage Tips - Advice

The article below also includes all the best things to do outside of Amsterdam:

If you want, you can replace the suggestions for day 3 with one of these excursions.

Renting a boat in Amsterdam

If you want to rent a boat for a nice day on Amsterdam’s canalas, you should book it with Samboat.

Motorboats, sailboats, yachts, small boats without a license, with or without a skipper: they simply have the most complete offer for boat rental!

So, what are you waiting for to book your boat trip on Amsterdam’s canals? 😊

Map of your 3-day itinerary in Amsterdam

To help you visualize your daily itineraries during your 3 days in Amsterdam, I have created this map with all the places to visit day by day. You can view the legend of the map by clicking on the top left button, the one with a little arrow.

You can thus see the suggested itineraries for each day.

3 Days in Amsterdam: Flight prices and tips

As always, you should book your plane tickets as early as possible to get the best prices.

To check the rates and schedules for flights to Amsterdam, you can use our flight comparator, in partnership with Skyscanner:

Once you will arrive at Amsterdam Schiphol airport, you will have 2 options to reach the city center:

  • Take the train to the central train station
  • Take the #397 bus to go to the Museumplein.

You should choose according to your hotel location!

For the “Schiphol airport – Amsterdam city center train”, you should really book your tickets in advance. You will save a lot of time when you will arrive!

You will get the ticket directly on your mobile (no need to print it), so you won’t need to queue at the ticket counter or vending machines.

To book your round trip “airport – city center” train ticket, simply click the button below:

If you don’t want to take a flight, you can also get to Amsterdam by train from many European cities.

To check the schedules, the rates and to book your tickets, it’s right there:

Need help planning your 3-day itinerary in Amsterdam? You can ask me your questions in the comment section located at the end of this article. I’d be happy to help you organize your stay in Amsterdam!

Book your trip now and save money!

You’re traveling to the Netherlands? These articles will help you !

Discover all my articles about Amsterdam: All my articles to help you plan your trip to Amsterdam are listed there.

You’re using Pinterest? Here is the picture to pin!

Best places to visit in Amsterdam in 3 days
Best places to visit in Amsterdam in 3 days
Anonymous

Creator of the Voyage Tips blog, travel and photography lover. I give you all my best tips to plan your next trip.

Discussion2 Comments

  1. Irene

    I am interested in taking the 3 day itineary in Amsterdam from May 4th to May 6th I am a bit confused there some places that u mentioned we need to purchase a fast track tickets. However some of the attraction sites you mentioned if we purchase let say an I Amsterdam City Card I don’t need to buy the fast track tickets?

    If you could assist to list out which attraction sites you will suggest to buy the fast track ticket and which sites which we only need to buy the amsterdam city card?

    And which site we need to buy the Amsterdam Pass?

    appreciate your earliest reply as I would like to purchase and arranged everything before I arrive in Amsterdam on May 3rd. Thanks so much

    • Vincent
      Vincent

      Hello Irene,

      Whenever an attraction is included in the I Amsterdam City Card, I have made this clear in the article.
      You can also find a detailed list here: Amsterdam City Card (click here). Once you are on the purchase page, there is a “Full description” section.

      For these attractions, you do not need to buy an extra ticket. You just need to show your Amsterdam City Card.

      For the tours in this article, you may wish to purchase a ticket in addition to the City Card:
      – A skip-the-line ticket for the Royal Palace of Amsterdam – click here (never included in the passes)
      – A ticket for the Anne Frank Museum – you have the link here
      And of course, if you also want to do guided tours, you have to book them in advance by clicking on the green buttons or the orange links in the article.

      If you prefer to buy the Amsterdam Pass, you can book it by clicking here: Buy the Amsterdam Pass.

      I wish you a pleasant 3-day stay in Amsterdam!

Leave A Reply