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A Weekend in Amsterdam: Perfect 3 Day Amsterdam Itinerary

Amsterdam is one of the most beautiful cities in Europe. It conquered my heart with its fairytale-looking historic center and relaxed cycling lifestyle. Many friends and family visited me during my time in Amsterdam, and each time, I wanted to create a unique Amsterdam itinerary that included must-visit places and off-the-beaten-path activities.

This 3 day Amsterdam itinerary will cover everything you need to know and see, including some local insider tips!

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Amsterdam Itinerary: How Many Days in Amsterdam?

Amsterdam is not a big city compared to other European capitals. However, there is plenty to see, and part of the fun is living like a local, which includes biking around and spending a few hours soaking up the sun from a terrace on the canals while sipping coffee or a glass of white wine. A 3 day Amsterdam itinerary is enough to explore the main highlights—you will have a busy holiday. If you have an extra day, you could relax or take a trip to Giethoorn or Keukenhof.

It’s hard to get to know Amsterdam in just 3 days as it has so much to offer, but this is the ultimate 3 days in Amsterdam itinerary to discover the city. You can also pick and choose attractions and activities to make an Amsterdam 2 day itinerary if you’re pressed for time.

Amsterdam Itinerary 3 Days

Day 1: Getting to Know the Culture

3 Days Amsterdam Itinerary

Every time I arrive in a new city, I like to spend the first day getting familiar with the surroundings and what the city offers. Everything is new and exciting, giving me much energy to explore and walk around. The first day on your 3 day itinerary Amsterdam is all about familiarizing yourself with the city.

Morning: Walking Tour

Make sure to have a filling breakfast at the hotel. I like to start my 3 days in Amsterdam itinerary with some physical activity: a walking tour! I am a big fan of walking tours, as they are the perfect way to navigate the city and get a feel for what I would like to explore more.

There are a variety of walking tours in Amsterdam, and you should pick based on your interests and preferences. I strongly recommend a more general walking tour that will make you discover the city center’s most iconic monuments and landmarks. You want to ensure the tour leads you to Dam Square, the Royal Palace, Nieuwe Kerk, and the National Monument.

  • Time needed: 2-3 hours
  • Cost: Average from €20-30 per person

Afternoon: Museumplein (Museum Square)

Whether you enjoy more traditional Dutch art or prefer modern work, the Museumplein has something to offer everyone. You should visit the Van Gogh Museum and Rijksmuseum to learn about Dutch art and history, including masters such as Van Gogh, Rembrandt, Vermeer, and Hals. If Dutch art is not your piece of cake and you prefer something more modern, look at the Stedelijk Museum and Moco Museum. The first covers modern and contemporary art, photography, and design, while the latter shows works from Dali and Banksy, among other temporary exhibitions.

Make sure to buy tickets for any of these museums online and in advance—they are often fully booked!

  • Time needed: 2 hours average per museum 
  • Cost: Between € 20 and € 24 per museum ticket 

Evening: Michelin Star Dinner 

After a long day of walking, you’ll want to sit down and enjoy a nice drink and meal. Luckily for you, right behind Museumplein (actually in the same building as the Rijksmuseum) is one of Amsterdam’s best restaurants: Rijks. This 1-star Michelin restaurant opened its doors in 2014 but recently underwent a renovation and reopened in Autumn 2023. The chef gets his inspiration from Dutch ingredients, often including many international flavors that have influenced the cuisine over the centuries. It was truly a unique experience!

  • Time needed: Minimum 2.5h
  • Cost: € 130 for a 6-course menu (€ 210 with wine pairing included) 

Day 2: Dig Deep Into the City

After the first day of this Amsterdam itinerary, I learned much more about the city and spotted which attractions or activities I wanted to do and spend more time on in the following days. So, I used the second day to do everything else on my must-see list, focusing on the areas of the city I haven’t been to, or that attract me the most.

Morning: Farmers Markets 

If you followed day 1 of my Amsterdam 3 day itinerary, you would probably have gone to Rijks and indulged in the 6-course dinner and, of course, the wine pairing. You are probably not ready for a big breakfast, so I propose hitting the city. You can grab a coffee at any cute cafe close to your hotel. I love getting coffee in The Netherlands because it always comes with a little cookie—usually a stroopwafel, the typical Dutch waffle consisting of two round dough waffle halves with sweet syrup in between. It feels like a treat!

While sipping your coffee, you should visit one of Amsterdam’s many farmer’s markets. Below is a list of the main ones you can pick depending on your hotel location. However,  and  are my favorites!

  •  (de Pijp, Mon-Sat): It’s the largest and also the most touristic market. You’ll find many stands selling stroopwafelspoffertjes, and street food. 
  • (de Jordan, Sat): Personally, my favorite; I love Noordermarkt because I always find some new delicatessen to try. It also has a section dedicated to vintage clothes, jewelry, and home-décor. This market is a real gem!
  • (Oost, Mon-Sat): This is one of the most “local” markets, not very frequented by tourists. Focused on clothing, fresh produce, and cheese, it is the perfect place to grab snacks and picnic in Oosterpark.
  •  (Oud-West, every day): A small market right behind FoodHallen (Amsterdam’s indoor food court), but it’s full of great food options. Try Boergeert for the best sandwiches and Gouden Tent for some delicious hummus.

Afternoon: Anne Frank’s House

3 Days Amsterdam Itinerary

After a lovely morning spent browsing the market and having a few bites, it’s time to visit Anne Frank’s house. The museum is built around Anne Frank and her family’s hiding place, and it’s located in de Jordaan. Even if you only have time for an Amsterdam 2 day itinerary, you must visit this landmark. Seeing how they lived and learning more about their story and wartime from the guide is impressive. But make sure to book your ticket far in advance; getting a ticket on the spot is nearly impossible!

  • Time needed: 1-1.5 hour
  • Cost: € 16 for visiting the house only, or € 23 for the house + an introduction to the history (it’s worth the extra €7!).

Once you’ve visited Anne Frank’s house, head north along Prinsengracht and stop by . You deserve Amsterdam’s most famous appeltart met slagroom. Finding a table might be challenging, particularly on a sunny day. If you can’t find one, take your cake and enjoy it sitting on the side of the canal—cake with a view!

Evening: Canal Tour

3 Days Amsterdam Itinerary

After a quick stop at your hotel to refresh, you are ready for a night out in the city! There are plenty of things to do depending on your interests and preferences, but regardless, I suggest you take a canal tour. Here, you can find many options: from a two-hour guided canal tour to a romantic dinner cruise, even renting your own boat! You can’t leave Amsterdam without seeing the city from the canals, and the best time to do so is during sunset.

If you went on the dinner cruise, you can continue your night at Boom Chicago (a fun improv comedy club),  (a live music piano bar), or even go dancing. You should check Resident Advisor for the most complete guide. Alternatively, you should make a reservation for a restaurant. My favorites right now are , and 

Day 3: Live Like a Local

I am generally tired on the last day of my Amsterdam 3 day itinerary! After walking around, visiting museums, and doing all the activities I can squeeze in two days, I want to sit down and relax. So, I keep my last day for relaxing activities and a nice meal.

Morning: Amsterdam Noord

3 Days Amsterdam Itinerary

If you took the train from the airport to the city, you probably arrived at Amsterdam Centraal (Amsterdam central train station) and noticed a big river on the north side. Amsterdam’s most famous and iconic landmarks are located in the southern part of the city, with many people not even knowing about the northern part. With a quick ferry ride, you can reach Amsterdam Noord, the most up-and-coming neighborhood, with many trendy restaurants and cafes. Many Amsterdammers spend their weekends in Noord, escaping from the crowds on the main side of the city. You can take the ferry towards NDSM, Buiksloterweg, or Ijplein and visit the Straat Museum, Eye Filmmuseum, or WONDR Experience. There are also plenty of places where to have brunch: my favorite is Pllek (NDSM), but if you are towards Ijplein, you should reserve a table at Chateau Amsterdam (the first urban winery in the Netherlands and the largest in Europe)

Afternoon: Walk at the Park

Amsterdam is one of the greenest cities in Europe, and you should not miss the opportunity to walk through one of the city’s many parks during your 3 days in Amsterdam itinerary. Vondelpark is the largest and busiest. It’s located in Oud-Zuid, and it will take approximately 1 hour to walk around. There are plenty of areas where to sit down and have a coffee. Alternatively, you can visit other city parks, which are equally beautiful but less crowded: ,, and . If you are in Westerpark, you might want to check out Fabrique des Lumières (the new digital art center in Westergas).

  • Time needed: 2 hours
  • Cost: € 17
  • Suggested tour: Fabrique des Lumières

Evening: Candlelight Concert 

To end your 3 day itinerary Amsterdam, treat yourself to a romantic candlelight concert. There is a new concert almost every weekend, and you can expect a very intimate and powerful experience. The musicians are amazing, and the setting is gorgeous.

  • Time needed: 1 hour
  • Cost: Between € 24 and € 49
  • Suggested tour: Candlelight Concert

Where to Stay for a 3 Day Amsterdam Itinerary?

Amsterdam has some fantastic hotels and a wide range of accommodations. Remember that Amsterdam is not budget-friendly regarding accommodation, so you might have to splurge a little to have a comfortable place. If you follow this Amsterdam 3 day itinerary, you will want to choose accommodation in the city center to easily reach all the main points of interest. For some quick suggestions, these are my top three based on what is your vibe and interests:

De Wallen/Centrum: The Pragmatic Solution

3 Days Amsterdam Itinerary

Amsterdam’s locals define Centrum as the entire area within the canal ring. Still, tourists can consider De Wallen/Centrum as the area between the Red Light District and the Singel Canal. You have plenty of accommodations, restaurants, and shopping options. Most tram lines and the central metro (M52) pass by this area, but you won’t need them because all main attractions are within walking distance. Hotel Nes offers an excellent location right in front of the Amstel River: all the attractions are within 15 minutes walking distance, and it’s super quiet at night. If you are on a budget, you should check out The Flying Pig Downtown (this hostel has flying reviews and offers dormitory and private accommodation).

De Jordaan: A Modern Fairytale

3 Days Amsterdam Itinerary

This is my favorite part of the city, with its romantic views of the canals surrounded by the typical Dutch rowhouses. Jordaan was a working-class neighborhood, but it turned into the most trendy part of the city in the past decades, with many fine-dining restaurants, cool cafes, and boutiques. Amsterdam Wiechmann Hotel is a lovely hotel in one of Amsterdam’s most picturesque corners, just 10 minutes from Anne Frank’s house. If, instead, you are not afraid to splurge a little, then treat yourself with a stay at Pulitzer Amsterdam: this charming 5-star hotel, just a couple of minutes away from De 9 Straatjes, has everything you need, including Jansz restaurant (one of Amsterdam’s most loved fine-dining restaurants).

De Pijp: Living Like a Local

3 Days Amsterdam Itinerary

This is Amsterdam’s hippest neighborhood and has the best nightlife. Most streets are lined with bars, restaurants, or cafes, from which you can people-watch the most stylish Amsterdammers. De Pijp is still very much local, especially at night! Just at the border with the Museum Quartier, The College Hotel Amsterdam is one of my favorite hotels in the neighborhood: 10 minutes away from the Van Gogh Museum; this 4-star hotel offers the best value for money and an excellent location. Just a lovely walk across the Amstel river (so officially, it would be situated in the Oost neighborhood), you will find Volkshotel: this is Amsterdam’s preferred hotel among creatives, offering a sauna and hot tubs on the rooftop and one of Amsterdam’s best nightclubs in the basement.

You can also check out these options!

Hotel Luxer
Amsterdam Wiechmann Hotel
Hotel Atlantis Amsterdam

How to Get Around During Your Amsterdam Itinerary

You’ll be surprised to discover that Amsterdam is pretty small: you can cross the city in just about 1 hour of walking. If you feel fit enough and have good shoes, you can explore the town simply by walking. Suppose you prefer energy for walking through museums or dancing in any of Amsterdam’s famous nightclubs. In that case, you can use the city’s efficient public transport system: purchase an OV-chipkaart at the main stations or pay using Google. Note that ferries (connecting Amsterdam’s central city with Noord) are free!

Alternatively, you can rent a bike and explore the city like a local: the bike traffic might initially feel intimidating, but you’ll get used to it quickly!

Best Time for 3 Days in Amsterdam Itinerary

The best time to visit Amsterdam is between April and October. Spring is lovely: temperatures rise, it’s mostly sunny, and daylight stretches until 10.30 p.m. Summer also offers good weather, allowing you to enjoy a boat tour until evening. However, these are also the most crowded seasons when thousands of tourists come to Amsterdam to visit the blossoming tulips. Autumn and winter can have rather harsh weather, often windy and rainy. However, Amsterdam has excellent indoor activities, and honestly, nothing beats the cozy vibe of Amsterdam’s brown bars, where you can sit for a borrel (a drink often including some snacks like bitterballen and kaas) waiting for the rain to stop.

Keep in mind that there are many festivals in The Netherlands throughout the year, but three celebrations completely take over the city: King’s Day (April 27th), Amsterdam Pride (second weekend of August), and the Amsterdam Dance Event (third weekend of October). All three events are amazing and a once-in-a-lifetime experience, but expect the city to be very crowded and hotels to be fully booked months in advance.

Did You Get Travel Insurance Yet?

The Insurance companies I recommend are Hey Mondo and Safety Wing

Hey Mondo is great if you are looking for a great value flexible policy. They offer single-trip cover, annual multi-trip cover, and long-term travel cover. Safety Wing is great value, with monthly coverage starting at $45.08. It’s super easy to use, and it just renews each month. I currently use them as they offer me free cover for my son as part of my policy.

Read my full travel insurance post here, where I go into detail about all companies. 

Quick Tip: View my full Europe packing guide here including a downloadable checklist. And check out my Europe Essentials shopping list here.

Amsterdam Travel Guide Planning

🧳 Any recommendations on what I should pack for Amsterdam?

Yes! I have created a whole packing guide to Amsterdam which you can read here and you can also check out my packing list for Amsterdam on Amazon here.

🚗 Where can I book bus or private transportation while I’m in Amsterdam?

I strongly recommend using Bookaway. You can book almost all transport in the major tourist destinations through them online. They don’t just cover buses they also cover shuttles, ferries, and private drivers.

🎫 Where can I buy tickets for museums, attractions, and tours in Amsterdam?

I recommend either Viator or GetYour Guide. They have a lot of options!

👩‍⚕️ What is the best insurance to have while traveling?

I recommend using Heymondo for a great value policy. The app also offers you 24/7 Dr Chat. For Digital Nomads check out SafetyWing digital nomad insurance.

I have also written a blog post covering all my recommended travel insurance here.

✈️ Any flight recommendations?

WayAWay offers you cheap flights with cashback. You can use this code CLAIRE22 to get 10% off. Otherwise Skyscanner or Expedia are my go-to flight searching platforms.

📱What do you use for internet connection while traveling?

I’m a big fan of personal WiFi devices and they have saved my ass so many times when traveling. I wrote a full review of the top travel WiFi devices you can read here. I personally use GlocalMe as I can either pop in a physical sim card or use their local carrier.

With regards to my phone connection, I use e-sims while traveling, so rather than having to swap out my regular sim card I can download the app and buy a virtual sim card. I recommend using either Airhub or Alosim. Both have great coverage of multiple countries and are very easy to use.

🛏️ What is the best platform to use for booking accommodation?

The 3 best platforms that I normally use are, and Expedia. They offer great deals and multiple options. I always check all three to be sure of the best deals.

🛅 Do you have any luggage recommendations for traveling?

I do have a complete list of the best packing and luggage products that I recommend, you can check the list here. I’m currently traveling with this suitcase and this backpack.

Amsterdam Itinerary 3 Days: Final Thoughts

Hopefully, this ultimate Amsterdam 3 day itinerary helps you plan the perfect getaway! Amsterdam is a beautiful city worth exploring for a weekend. While an Amsterdam 2 day itinerary will be jam-packed with sightseeing, 3 days is the perfect length to get familiar with the city. Bon voyage!

Author’s Bio

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We are Steff and Victor. American and Brazilian by birth, we are citizens of the world! Together, we have lived in the USA, Brazil, Germany, Poland, Singapore, the Netherlands, and Spain and visited more than 50 countries. As passionate travelers and fellow expats, we created this blog to share our experiences, adventures, and insights from living in Europe and exploring the world.

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