Amsterdam is one of the most beautiful cities in Europe and you will fall in love with its adorable streets, panoramic canals, colourful flowers everywhere and just so many bikes. As a tour guide and tourist myself, I have visited Amsterdam many times and I based this 3 day itinerary for Amsterdam on my experience.

3 day itinerary for Amsterdam buildings along canal

3 Day Itinerary for Amsterdam – Let’s Go!

How many days do you need for Amsterdam? 

This is the most common question I get about Amsterdam. To be honest, most people will tell you 2 days in Amsterdam is enough, but I truly believe 3 day itinerary for Amsterdam offers a much better experience as you are able to do all the best things in Amsterdam, relax a little and also enjoy some of the best days trips outside of Amsterdam.

You came all the way to Amsterdam, it would be a shame not to see also parts of the Netherlands. This 3 day itinerary for Amsterdam includes that as well. If you are looking for 2 day itinerary for Amsterdam, you can simply skip the last day.

Best Time to Visit Amsterdam

Amsterdam is located in the Netherlands, which is a country in Northern Europe. This means it has super long days when the sun doesn’t set until 10 pm at the end of June/ July and of course short days during December.

The best time to visit Amsterdam is in May, June, July, August, and September. Yes, the busy tourist season is during July and August, but it means you will have nice long summer days to enjoy the city. It rarely gets too hot here and you won’t have as much rain during this time. 

It does rain a lot in the Netherlands. 

Here is the average temperature in Amsterdam during the year:

  • December – March: 6-10 Degrees = 42-50 Fahrenheit 
  • March-April /October-November: 10-14 Degrees = 50-58 Fahrenheit
  • May -June -July-August-September: 15-23 Degrees = 59-74 Fahrenheit

Things to do in Amsterdam included in this 3 day itinerary

Amsterdam is a great city for singles, couples, families, and young and old. As for the best things to do in a 3 day itinerary of Amsterdam, here is a list of must visit attractions or experiences in this city:

The Best Museums in Amsterdam:  

  • Anne’s Frank Museum – An absolute must-see and you must get your ticket early.
  • Van Gogh Museum – The Van Gogh Museum contains the largest collection of Van Gogh’s paintings and drawings in the world and it is my personal favourite of the Art-focused museums.
  • Rijks Museum – The most famous painting at the Rijksmuseum is definitely Rembrandt’s ‘Night Watch’.
  • The Heineken Museum – A must-do and really fun experience for any beer lovers.

The 3 Best Tours in Amsterdam: 

The Must-see areas in Amsterdam: The Red Light District, Dam Square & Damrak, Jordaan District, and Vondelpark.

More about these in our 3 day itinerary for Amsterdam below.

3 day itinerary for Amsterdam – Overview

Day 1 of your 3 day itinerary for Amsterdam: 

Anne Frank’s House, De Negen Straatjes’ (The Nine Streets), Flower market, Beginhof, Dam Square, Royal Palace, Oude Kirk, Red light district

Day 2 of your 3 day itinerary in Amsterdam

Bike ride or food tour in the morning, Van Gogh Museum, and Canal cruise with a dinner if you wish.

Day 3 of your 3 day itinerary

Day trip to Keukenhof, half-day tour to visit Windmills & a Cheese farm & small cute villages in the countryside, or Heineken experience.

Day 1 of your 3 day itinerary for Amsterdam

Anne Frank’s Museum 

This museum is the former house where Anne Frank, a young Jewish girl spent almost 2 years in hiding before being discovered by the Nazis and taken to a concentration camp where she passed away at the age of 16. Her personal diary known as Anne Franks’s Diary was published by her uncle and became an international bestseller. It’s available to buy in paperback or as a kindle version.

Anne Franks museum is very popular and since the area of the house where Anne and her family hid is very small, there is a limited number of visitors allowed. There are various rooms in the house, photos, and objects that belonged to the family, and you can read extracts from the diary as you walk through the museums. 

I personally believe it’s the best way to start your 3 day itinerary in Amsterdam. The tickets do sell out, so book ahead for your first day in Amsterdam and then you can see the rest of the sites. 

Entrance tickets can be purchased online only from the official website here. 80% of the tickets are made available online two months in advance, and the rest of the tickets are released in pools from 9.00 am each day.

Address: Prinsengracht 263–267, annefrank.org

Open Monday-Thursday from 9 am-6 pm and Friday-Sunday from 9 am–8 pm (shorter hours in the winter). 

Entry is 14 EUR. Tickets are only sold online.

3 day itinerary for Amsterdam canal bikes

3 day itinerary for Amsterdam – Such a pretty city

De Negen Straatjes’ (The Nine Streets) in Amsterdam 

This quaint, picturesque canal-district area features vintage & designer boutiques and cosy cafes to recharge with a coffee or lunch. I love this part of Amsterdam and as it is only a short walk from Anne’s Frank Museum, be sure not to miss it. 

Located in the area between the Singel, Herengracht, Keizersgracht and Prinsengracht. Free

Flower market or Bloemenmarkt

It really is amazing to see this market, a truly Amsterdam experience. You can of course buy fresh flowers or tulip seeds or some other souvenirs. 

Located Singel t.o. 508. Reguliersdawarsstraat.

Monday – Saturday: 9:30am to 5:30pm, Sundays: 11:30am to 5:30pm Free

Beginhof

Beginhof is a beautiful courtyard with an ancient poorhouse (hofje or facility to support and provide housing for the dependent or needy.) in central Amsterdam, not very far from the Flower market.

The courtyard is lined with old houses and it’s very peaceful here. House number 34 is the oldest house in Amsterdam, built during the sixteenth century. It’s a nice stop to include in your 3 day itinerary for Amsterdam.

Entrance from Spui

Monday – Friday: 9am until 5pm. Free entry

Dam Square & Damrak

The main square is called Dam Square and the Damrak (main street) connects it with Amsterdam Central Station. 

The name Dam comes quite literally from the first dam ever built. During the 13th century, this is where the first dam on the Amstel River was built, hence the name. 

It’s also where the 17th-century Royal Palace is located.

This glorious neoclassic building was first built as the city’s town hall, then transformed into the king’s royal palace, and now houses several official acts. The royal family no longer lives here.

Other landmarks in Dam Square include the Nieuwe Kerk (New Church) and the Madame Tussaud Museum and the National Monument. Walk up the Damrak street toward the station and you will pass two places selling the famous french fries that are loved by the people in Amsterdam.

Order a small portion and try it with mayo or any other sauces. So delicious. My personal choice is the fries at Manneken Pis Damrak, next to vegan Maoz.

As you approach the top of Damrak you will notice a gorgeous set of houses over the water! Great spot to take beautiful photos here! 

Red light District 

Just a short walk from Amsterdam Central station, you’ll find the famous Red Light District in the part known as De Wallen. I wrote a whole post about where the red light district is and the do’s and do not’s to follow when you get there.

I couldn’t possibly write this 3 day itinerary for Amsterdam and not include it, as everyone is always curious to see. Once you get here, it might not be your cup of tea.

Red Light District gets its name from the red-coloured window displays where women sell their services. It dates back to the 17 century when Amsterdam was a busy port and this area was where sailors came for entertainment. 

3 day itinerary for Amsterdam red light district

3 day Itinerary for Amsterdam – Take a walk through the red light district

 

In 1911, the Dutch government made this profession legal. Today prostitutes rent one-cabin rooms with a window display and pay their taxes just like any other working citizen living in Holland.

This part gets very busy at night, especially on the weekends and apart from the working women’s windows, there are many Sex shows, drinking holes, and coffee shops selling weed and lots of food. If you wish you can seak out the skinny alley, a tiny alleyway near the church.

Please do not take any photos of the women in the windows and if you are looking for nightlife, you are probably better off going out around Leidseplein. 

Located between Oude Kerk (Old Church) and Nieuwmarkt Square

Free to walk around, it gets busy on nights over the weekend.

Interested to take an inside peek into the Sex Industry? Join a Brothel Tour

Get an inside peek at Amsterdam’s sex industry and join this fascinating Brothel Tour of the Bonton nightlife club. Listen to candid commentary from your guide, a real-life sex worker, as you explore the building’s lush interior. See changing rooms and the VIP rooms too.

This eye-opening Brothel Tour includes a meet-and-greet with female club workers, with a chance to ask questions. A different, yet interesting experience to include in your 3 day itinerary for Amsterdam.

Coffee Shops 

Be warned. Coffee shops and cafes are not the same things here in Amsterdam.

Coffee shops in Amsterdam may look from the outside like any other bar, but far from it. Coffee shops in the Netherlands sell cannabis and other substances and you can usually smell them before you see them.

If you wish to have a coffee, look for a cafe instead.

There are a few things to know about coffee shops:

  • Coffee shops can only sell “soft drugs”, like marijuana and mushrooms, but are prohibited to sell “hard drugs”.
  • They are not allowed to sell alcohol.
  • Coffee shops sell cannabis and other substances in various formats. You can order tea with cannabis, different types of space cakes, or smoke a bong.
  • If this is your first time, let the staff know and they will recommend what to order.

Day 2 of your 3 day itinerary for Amsterdam

Bike Ride in the morning

There is nothing better than a bike ride in Amsterdam! It lets you see the city from a different perspective and with a guide, you don’t have to worry about getting lost, plus you get to see more places.

3 day itinerary for Amsterdam girl with bike

3 day itinerary for Amsterdam – A Bike Tour is essential

Amsterdam is full of bikes, and this is how locals move! There are more bikes than people in the Netherlands! 

There are a few options for bike tours in Amsterdam. This shorter Guided Bike Ride covers the city highlights, and this 3-hour Central Amsterdam Guided Bike Tour are both fantastic choices.

Or if you’re keen to explore the beautiful countryside, then a 3 Hour E-Bike Tour includes a visit to a Cheese and Clogs Farm is highly recommended!

Food Tour in Amsterdam

I know Amsterdam or Dutch food is not internationally known but Amsterdam is a melting pot of many cultures and has a lot to offer! If you love to learn more about Amsterdam’s food, taste some and eat your way around the city, you should choose one of these two amazing food tours mentioned below.

They start at 11 am or midday so you might have to choose to do one of the Bike Tours above or alternatively join this Food Tour in Albert Cuyp Market, or a Walking Food Tour of Jordaan District. I highly recommend trying to include a food tour in your 3 day itinerary for Amsterdam, for what is certain to be a fun (and delicious) time.

You can read about my experience on this awesome Food Tour of Amsterdam here.

Van Gogh Museum

The best way to spend your afternoon on your second day of the 3 day itinerary for Amsterdam is by visiting the Van Gogh Museum.

The museum is located at museum square and this is also where you find the Rijks Museum, famous for the dutch painters (particularly Rembrandt’s ‘Night Watch’) as well as Stedelijk which is a museum for modern art, contemporary art, and design.

But for me, the Van Gogh Museum is the best one to see. It houses over 200 paintings, 500 drawings, and hundreds of letters written by the artist.

You will learn more about the painter and his life and overall it is just a very enjoyable experience.

To avoid crowds, I suggest visiting the museum in the late afternoon. There is also a faster line for tourists with the I Amsterdam City Card. 

You can purchase your ticket to the Van Gogh Museum online here.

And even better book the entry to the Van Gogh Museum combined with a Canal cruise here

River Cruise

A river cruise through the canals in Amsterdam is yet another must-do experience and I think it’s the perfect way to finish your second day of this 3 day itinerary for Amsterdam.  

Admire the canals, bridges, and merchant houses of Amsterdam, and if you prefer you can book a river cruise with drinks and dinner. 

See Amsterdam at its most picturesque on a 1.5-hour canal cruise by night. Discover the historic city centre as you sail past the Skinny Bridge, Golden Bend, and more. Book your ticket online here.

Or if you prefer to enjoy an evening of fine dining on a 3-hour dinner cruise of Amsterdam’s canals, book this tourDepart from Centraal Station to see Amsterdam’s best sights while enjoying your choice of a 3-course meal with wine.

Day 3 of your 3 day Itinerary for Amsterdam

The final day of your 3 day itinerary in Amsterdam is dedicated to some great day trips from Amsterdam with a finish at the Heineken MuseumAnd perhaps if there is something you missed (Amsterdam Food Tour for example), you can do so on your final day too.

If you have only 2 days in Amsterdam, you can skip this last day or swap a few things around with day 2.

Morning Trip to Keukenhof

3 day itinerary for Amsterdam Keukenhof

3 day itinerary for Amsterdam – A day trip to Keukenhof is a wonderful day trip.

Visit the world’s largest spring garden on a tour from central Amsterdam. It’s simply incredible to see.

There are two options, both are day tours from Amsterdam:

 1. You can either purchase a ticket with skip-the-line entry and transport from Amsterdam here:

2. Or you can select this super popular day trip – Keukenhof Gardens with a Windmill Cruise.

I’d also like to recommend another wonderful day trip exploring the Dutch countryside. You will discover the quaint villages of Zaanse Schans, Volendam, and Marken and a stop at a traditional Dutch cheese factory is a definite highlight. 

Don’t miss the Zaanse Schans, Volendam, and Marken Day Trip to give you a different perspective of Amsterdam.

Heineken Experience

You will return to Amsterdam and you can enjoy the interactive tour around the original Heineken brewery called simply Heineken Experience. You purchase your ticket online here.

You will discover more about the history and evolution of the famous Dutch beer Heineken. The guided tour takes 1,5 hours and at the end, you can enjoy the two beers included in the ticket.

  • Adress: Stadhouderskade 78, Amsterdam.
  • Open: Monday to Thursday: 10:30am – 7:30pm (last admission 5:30pm)
  • Friday to Sunday: 10:30am – 9pm (last admission 7pm)
  • Entry: Adults: €18, Youth (aged 12-17): €14.50, Youth (under 11): free admission.

NOTE: If you’ve got an I Amsterdam City Card, receive a 25% discount on the entrance ticket.

3 day itinerary for Amsterdam tulips buildings

3 day itinerary for Amsterdam – Tulip season in Amsterdam is beautiful

Where to stay in Amsterdam for the first time

The best places to stay in Amsterdam are near Dam Square, Leidseplein, if you like to be in the heart of the city and close to restaurants, bars and attractions. Amsterdam accommodation is pricey and many hotel rooms in the historic centre are very small.

You might be able to stay away from the historic centre but near the metro or tram stop and get a bigger or more comfortable hotel. So often it is location vs comfort.  

Here are my recommendations for hotels to stay in for every budget:

Luxury Hotel: Hotel Estheréa – This stunning hotel has so much style! Each room is beautifully decorated and you cannot beat the location, just 300m from Dam Square. We love that this is a family-owned and operated hotel. With many rooms overlooking the canals and a superb breakfast available, this is a superb choice.

3 day itinerary for amsterdam hotel esther's

Credit: Booking.com

Rooms from $430 per night – Check price & availability on Booking.com

Mid-Range Hotel: Anantara Grand Hotel KrasnapolskyThis 5-star hotel, in the centre of Amsterdam, is located on the edge of the famous Dam Square and opposite the Royal Palace. A top choice to enjoy a very comfortable stay in this beautiful city for your 3 day itinerary for Amsterdam.

3 day itinerary for Amsterdam Anantara Grand Hotel Krasnapolsky

Credit: Booking.com

Rooms from $380 per night – Check price & availability on Booking.com

Budget Hotel: Hotel van de VijselThis hotel is in a great location, 300 m from Leidseplein and near Vondelpark and museums. The property boasts excellent facilities with modern, stylish touches to provide a very comfortable stay.

3 day itinerary for amsterdam hotel van de vijsel

Credit: Booking.com

Rooms from $330 per night – Check price & availability on Booking.com

How to get around during your 3 day itinerary for Amsterdam

Amsterdam is a great city to walk around as it’s very flat and there are always new streets and areas to explore on foot. This is a compact city and it’s not difficult to navigate around the different districts. If you’re not so keen on cycling everywhere like the locals do, the metro system in Amsterdam is fantastic. In saying that, single-ride metro tickets can add up quickly over 3 days.

My best piece of advice would be to buy the Amsterdam City Card to SAVE on everything, and that includes transport too! This card allows you to experience the best of Amsterdam. Visit world-class museums and attractions for FREE, enjoy unlimited access to Amsterdam’s public transport, and you can even enjoy a free canal cruise.

The Amsterdam City Card offers maximum value and convenience.

Alternatively, a transport ticket may be your best option to maximise your time in Amsterdam. I’d recommend that you consider buying a Travel Ticket for 3 days. Purchase one ticket valid on all public transport within Amsterdam and to Schiphol Airport. This ticket is valid on buses, ferries, metro, trains, and trams over a period of 3 days.

Private Transfer from Schiphol Airport to City Centre:

If you’d like to pre-arrange a private car transfer from Schiphol Airport to your hotel in Amsterdam, make a reservation online here and be super organised.

Final Word on the perfect 3 day itinerary for Amsterdam

I hope you have enjoyed reading this 3 day itinerary for Amsterdam and if you have any questions about exploring Amsterdam, please leave a comment below and I’ll get back to you.

If you’re travels are continuing in Europe after your 3 day itinerary in Amsterdam, check out my comprehensive guide on how to travel Europe by train. This detailed guide includes my best tips and advice for travelling around this amazing continent.

If you plan on visiting Italy (you really should if you have the time, it’s a wonderful country), don’t miss my Ultimate 3 days in Rome Itinerary and my Florence in 2 Days Itinerary: The Complete Guide. If you’re interested in tasting the best food when you travel, then don’t miss these 10 delicious dishes in Rome you need to try and you will want to check out where to eat the best pizza in Florence – 5 essential places to visit. 

Food Map of Europe

Our Ultimate Food Map of Europe will definitely give you some inspiration to head off on a European adventure for sure! Perhaps you’re interested in visiting the 10 Cheapest Countries in Europe or maybe the 8 Smallest Countries in Europe? 

The Best Group Tours in Europe

And, if you don’t have the time to travel slowly in Europe but really want to discover more, then a group tour could be the answer. We highly recommend Expat Explore. They offer a variety of group tours around Europe to suit everyone, and you’ll have a fantastic crew to take care of all the details. Your only task is to turn up and have an amazing time.

Check out Expat Explore Tours, and if you see a tour that you want to book, use our promo code VERYHUNGRYNOMADS at checkout for an additional 5% discount off your trip!

  • 🔥 Hot Tip: Purchase the Amsterdam City Card for FREE Attractions & Transport, valid for 5 days
  • Must-have item 1: Rick Steve’s Pocket Guide to Amsterdam
  • Must-have item 2: Belkin Powerbank to charge your phone/camera during the day
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TRAVEL PLANNING RESOURCES  

✈️ Flights: Aviasales & CheapOair are the best websites to book cheap flights.

🏨 AccommodationBooking.comAgoda, and Hotellook are the top platforms to search for fantastic hotels and accommodation options at the best price.

🏥 Travel Insurance: Don’t forget travel insurance! We recommend World Nomads or SafetyWing.

🚌 Transportation: To book trains, Trainline is the best and cheapest website. To book transport in Europe, USA & Canada, we use Omio & FlixbusUS. For travel in Asia, we use 12Go. For all other countries, we use BookaWay to compare and book Bus, Ferry, or train tickets to get around.

🚘 Car Rental: DiscoverCars, & Europcar are reliable platforms to book rental cars.

👫 Group ToursG Adventures or Expat Explore offers the best group adventures around the world. Use our promo code VERYHUNGRYNOMADS at checkout to receive 5% off your Expat Explore Trip!

📸 Day Tours & TripsGetYourGuide & Viator are the only platforms you will need. They offer everything at unbeatable prices.

🎒 LuggageOsprey Farpoint 40L Backpack or Samsonite Luggage Range (we love this Stack’d Carry-On Spinner Suitcase).

🛄 What to Pack: To help you get started on packing, here is our ULTIMATE Packing List for all Travellers.

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💰 Send Money Anywhere: WISE is the best online account that lets you send money, get paid, and spend money internationally. It’s so easy to use and way cheaper than any bank transfer.

📶 Stay Connected: Airalo eSIM allows you to get connected the moment you land at your destination and you can avoid those expensive data roaming charges. We LOVE this product!

✅ Check out our Travel Resources Page for more Useful Tips to Save you Money!