5 Days in Amsterdam: Ultimate Amsterdam Itinerary

5 days in Amsterdam: what to do and see?

Do you want to go to Amsterdam for 5 days and are wondering what to visit?

You are in the right place!

To help you organize your days, I have therefore prepared an itinerary for you to visit Amsterdam in 5 days. 

I’ll start by giving you good tips to avoid waiting in front of the main tourist sites and then I’ll detail my program with the visits to do for each day.

And to finish, I give you my selection of the best hotels to stay in Amsterdam according to your budget + some ideas of cool activities for a family trip.

You will see, thanks to all my advice and tips, you are sure to make the most of your stay in Amsterdam!

So what to do in Amsterdam in 5 days?

Our advice to avoid queuing in Amsterdam

Visiting a European capital (in Italy, in Spain, in Austria ) often goes hand in hand with the world, seeing a lot of people (we are talking about tens of thousands of tourists per day!) and Amsterdam is no exception.

It is therefore not uncommon to see a long queue forming in front of emblematic sites and museums such as the Royal Palace or the Rijksmuseum.

There’s nothing more infuriating than seeing your 5-day Amsterdam schedule upset because you’re hanging around for 2 hours at each location.

But I have good news: by following my advice, you can avoid this inconvenience and visit all the must-sees during your 5-day trip to Amsterdam.

I give you the 3 best solutions to not waste time below:

1. The Amsterdam Pass by Stromma

First choice you have to skip the queues and save money: take the Amsterdam Pass on your 5-day Amsterdam itinerary!

Here is what you can visit with the Amsterdam Pass:

  • 2 city museums : the Rijksmuseum and the Van Gogh Museum
  • The canals on a cruise

And it’s not over, the Amsterdam Pass also includes the  transfer by train from Amsterdam Schiphol Airport to Amsterdam Station (in the city center).

2. The City Card I Amsterdam

Always with the aim of having quick access to sites and discounts on attractions and museums , you can also choose the City Card I Amsterdam.

The latter also has the advantage of including public transport. You can therefore take the tram, metro and buses for free.

The City Card is only valid for a period of 24h to 120h. You will therefore be able to benefit from its advantages throughout your 5-day stay in Amsterdam.

Once you have ordered the card online, you will receive an email with instructions for picking up the City Card on your arrival.

Here is what the City Card entitles you to:

  • Free admission to the city’s museums
  • A canal cruise
  • Discounts on certain attractions such as the Dungeon or the Heineken Experience
  • 25% discounts on bike rentals and in some restaurants
  • Unlimited use of public transport for 5 days in Amsterdam.

3. Skip-the-line tickets to tourist attractions in Amsterdam

Finally, there is another very practical solution to avoid the queues and see as many things as possible during your 5-day Amsterdam tour: buy skip-the-line tickets.

You will need to get one for each visit in order to have priority entry. For the capital of the Netherlands, there are skip-the-line tickets for most museums and for activities (cruise, observation tower, etc.).

You can also book all your day trips around Amsterdam in advance.

You will see that there is a huge choice of things to do during these 5 days in Amsterdam!

To make a first selection, I have prepared for you the list of those corresponding to the itinerary that I have concocted for you.

You just have to  click on the links to reserve them. I also give them to you as I go along in the article so that you can see which day it corresponds to:

Visit Amsterdam in 5 days: the best itinerary

After this practical information, it’s time to discover my 5-day itinerary in Amsterdam.

The program is presented as follows: one circuit per day with all the places of interest not to be missed + indications of walking/public transport times + 1 map to find your way around.

The schedule is based on the fact that you want to leave for 5 full days in Amsterdam and that you have taken the Amsterdam Pass, the City Card I Amsterdam or your skip-the-line tickets. 

If you still have questions after reading this article or if you need help organizing your vacation, do not hesitate to ask me your questions in the section dedicated to comments, at the very end of the article.

So  what to visit in Amsterdam in 5 days?

Day 1: The Historic Center

Visit Amsterdam in 5 days: 1st day

The visits of day 1: 

A. Dam Square and the Royal Palace
B. The Amsterdam Dungeon or Amsterdam Museum
C. The Beguinage
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

I suggest you start this 5-day visit to Amsterdam by Dam Square. In the heart of the historic center, it is the main square of the city.

It includes in particular:

  • The national monument
  • L’Eglise New Church
  • The Royal Palace in Amsterdam.

The visit of the latter is really essential. You will be able to discover the many rooms of the old town hall, later transformed into the residence of the royal family and then into a museum.

Period furniture, many paintings and sculptures have been preserved.

There’s always a long queue in front of the Royal Palace, so it’s best to buy your skip-the-line tickets in advance. The price is the same as at the counter with the link I give you here and you will also have an audio guide.

Please note that the Royal Palace is not included in the Amsterdam Pass or the City Card.

Tips for your Amsterdam itinerary:
To reach Dam Square:

  • 10 minutes on foot from Central Station via Damrak Street or Nieuwendijk Street .
  • The tram from anywhere in town.
Dam Square and the Royal Palace, 5 days in Amsterdam
Dam Square and the Royal Palace, 5 days in Amsterdam

B. The Amsterdam Dungeon or Amsterdam Museum

I then leave you the choice of the program:

  • Discover the Amsterdam Dungeon, a place where you can witness a torture session, an Inquisition trial or a witches’ stake. In the form of scenes with actors in costumes, it is the ideal opportunity to discover the dark history of the country. 

You will see that during the 1h15 that the circuit lasts, it is easy to get carried away in the atmosphere. Spectators are also regularly invited to participate. I let you discover how…

The City Card I Amsterdam entitles you to a 25% reduction  on the entrance ticket.

Without this Pass, the entrance ticket must be reserved by clicking here.

  • Visit the Amsterdam Museum.

A more classic visit to this museum dedicated to the 1000 years of history of the capital of the Netherlands. Modern and interactive presentation , you will learn a lot.

Free admission with the City Card. Otherwise I recommend that you buy your tickets by clicking here.

The Dungeon and Museum is a 5-minute walk from Dam Square.

Tips for your Amsterdam itinerary:

If you are not thrilled by these 2 proposals, in the surroundings of the square, you can also do the Body Worlds exhibition , Madame Tussauds or the Ripley’s museum.

Amsterdam Itinerary 5 days
The Amsterdam Dungeon

C. The Beguinage

After this morning of indoor visits, the rest of the day will be devoted to a walk in the city center.

Start by going to see one of the oldest inner courtyards in the city located near the Dungeon or the Amsterdam Museum.

It is called “Le Béguinage” because it previously housed a community of women called the Béguines.

A small peculiarity of this absolutely charming place: you can see one of the oldest wooden houses in Amsterdam and one of the only ones still standing. This type of construction has indeed been banned in Amsterdam due to the risk of fire.

Begijnhof - Amsterdam itinerary

D. The Flower Market

Continue your walk by joining the banks of the canal where one of the most popular sites is located: the famous flower market.

The Bloemenmarkt brings together several super nice little shops that sell the emblematic flower of the Netherlands, the tulip. They come in all shapes and colors: fresh, bulbs, carved in wood.

You can also take advantage of your visit to the flower market to buy some souvenirs. We find the traditional postcards and magnets but also the most typical like the famous wooden clogs. 

I’m sure you’ll find at least a little something to bring back from your 5 day trip to Amsterdam !

The flower market in Amsterdam itinerary
The flower market in Amsterdam

E. Zuiderkerk and Nieuwmarkt

Continue this circuit by the Zuiderkerk church, located a 10-minute walk from the market via the Kloveniersburgwal canal.

If you are lucky, you may be able to climb to the top of the bell tower to contemplate the city. But the opening hours are a bit random because you must be accompanied by a guide to climb.

That doesn’t stop you from going to see her.

Not far from Zuiderkerk, there is another well-known square in the city: the Nieuwmarkt square. The small castle with red shutters built in its center is in fact an old gateway. The ground floor houses a café-restaurant.

If you continue a little north, there is a tiny Chinatown with traditional Asian grocery stores and shops.

Nieuwmarkt – 5 Day Amsterdam Itinerary
Nieuwmarkt – 5 Day Amsterdam Itinerary

F. The Red Light District

We now come to the “caliente” part of the program!

If I say “Red Light District”, does that mean anything to you? Come on, don’t pretend, everyone has already heard of this emblematic district of Amsterdam, known to be a hotspot for prostitution.

It is here, behind the windows with red fronts, that the young ladies who offer their services in all legality stand. To tell you, they are even subject to tax, like any employee.

You should also avoid taking pictures of them because it is forbidden and they are well “guarded”.

Guided tours of the red light district are organized every day to discover the whole history of the place (without putting it into practice, of course! that’s only for you…). The one I recommend is also available in French.

Red light district in Amsterdam
Red light district in Amsterdam

G. Old Church

Also in the Red Light District is Amsterdam’s oldest church, built in the 1300s.

The Oude Kerk has a pretty typical facade with red bricks and large stained glass windows.

If you have the Amsterdam City Card, you can also visit it for free, but otherwise it’s not worth paying the €15 entrance ticket.

The interior of the church has been transformed to accommodate contemporary exhibitions which completely distorts the place. A bit of a shame if you want my opinion…

5 days in Amsterdam
Old Church Amsterdam

Day 2: Best Things to Do on Day 2

Amsterdam itinerary - Day 2
Visit Amsterdam in 5 days: 2nd day

The visits of day 2: 

A. The Jordaan district
B. The cheese museum
C. The Anne Frank house
D. Visiting a museum: Rijksmuseum, Van Gogh, MOCO or Stedelijk
E. Vondelpark
F. Canal cruise

A. The Jordaan District

After a good night’s sleep, I suggest you spend the morning in another very typical neighborhood: the Jordaan.

Do not hesitate to take a random stroll through the alleys, along the canal. In particular, you can admire the traditional houses with red brick facades and the church of Westerkerk, the largest Protestant church in the country.

The Jordaan district is located west of Dam Square.

Quartier Jordaan / Westerkerk
Quartier Jordaan / Westerkerk

B. The Cheese Museum

Also worth seeing in the Jordaan: the cheese museum.

This is a very good place to taste all kinds of gouda, an excellent local cheese that can be found flavored with pesto, chilli or truffle. The shop on the ground floor of the museum offers a wide selection and the tasting is free.

The museum part, on the other hand, is in the basement and is a little poor with a small exhibition and some explanations on the methods of producing cheese. 

The Cheese Museum in Amsterdam - Amsterdam places to see
The Cheese Museum in Amsterdam

C. The Anne Frank House

Still in the Jordaan district, there is a visit not to be missed during these 5 days Amsterdam itinerary, that of the Anne Frank house.

This is where the little girl wrote her world-famous book, The Diary of Anne Frank.

He tells the story of his whole family, forced to hide in a part of this house to escape the deportation of the Jews during the Second World War.

The different rooms of the house, embellished with photos, objects and extracts from the diary, allow you to immerse yourself in the living conditions of the family at this very difficult time.

An essential piece of information to know to visit the Anne Frank House: entrance tickets can be purchased ONLY online and on the official website by clicking on the following link.

80% of tickets are put online 2 months in advance and the rest are available in dribs and drabs every day from 9 a.m. These tickets go very quickly and I advise you to book them as soon as possible.

The house is located across the canal from the cheese museum.

The Anne Frank House - Amsterdam things to do
The Anne Frank House Amsterdam

D. Rijksmuseum, Van Gogh, MOCO or Stedelijk Museum

After having discovered all the essentials of the Jordaan, it is time to reach the museum district.

As you probably know, Amsterdam is home to several world-famous museums. Most are grouped around the Museumplein, which bears its name very well since it can be translated as “museum square”.

To get there from the Anne Frank House, you have 2 options:

  • On foot in 30 minutes by the canal
  • By tram in 20 minutes.

The most famous museum is undoubtedly the Rijksmuseum. It’s the biggest in town. You can admire a very important collection of paintings from the Dutch Golden Age.

Among the must-see masterpieces are:

  •  Vermeer’s Milkmaid
  •  Rembrandt’s Night Watch
  •  Van Gogh’s Self-Portrait with a Gray Felt Hat .

Admission to the Rijksmuseum is included with the City Card I Amsterdam or the Amsterdam Pass. Otherwise, it is really imperative  to buy your skip-the-line tickets in advance for the Rijksmuseum by clicking here.

Depending on the time you have or your interests, you can also visit:

  • The Van Gogh museum dedicated to the famous Dutch painter, you can admire 200 of his paintings. Free admission with the City Card and the Amsterdam Pass. Otherwise, I can only advise you to take a skip-the-line ticket here.
  • The MOCO dedicated to contemporary works of art with an exhibition on Banksy. Free admission with the City Card and 10% with the Pass Amsterdam.
  • The Stedelijk Museum, museum of contemporary art and design. Free admission with the City Card and 10% with the Amsterdam Pass.
Rijkmuseum - what to do Amsterdam

E. Vondelpark

To get some fresh air after these few hours at the museum, go and relax in Vondelpark.

The city’s largest park is a 5-minute walk from Museumplein.

The park has several lakes, well-maintained paths for walking or cycling, and play areas for children.

Tips for your Amsterdam itinerary:
Would you rather like a little pick-me-up when leaving the museum?

Then you have to visit the House of Bols Experience. And you won’t have to go far because it’s located in a building next to the Museumplein.

The visit includes the discovery of the manufacturing process of the oldest brand of spirits in the world but ends above all with the tasting of an excellent cocktail. 

If I have inspired you, you can book your tickets for the House of Bols by clicking here.

Vondelpark - what to see Amsterdam

F. Canal Cruise

We are coming to the end of this second day. I suggest you conclude in style with another essential activity of this 5-day stay in Amsterdam: a cruise on the canals.

Take a seat comfortably in the barges that roam the canals and discover the architecture of the capital from a new angle.

You will have the choice between several types of cruises with small variations in terms of duration, circuit and boat.

I have selected 5 of the most popular for you.

You just have to click on the links to access the information and book them:

Tips for your Amsterdam itinerary:
Note that if you have  taken the City Card I Amsterdam  or  the Amsterdam Pass, you are entitled to a free cruise.

Canal Cruise, Amsterdam itinerary
Canal Cruise, Amsterdam

Day 3: Places of interest to visit in Amsterdam

Visit Amsterdam in 5 days: day 3
Visit Amsterdam in 5 days: 3rd day

The visits of day 3: 

A. The Albert Cuypmarkt
B. Heineken Experience
C. Magere Brug
D. Museum visit or guided bike tour of Amsterdam
E. A’DAM Lookout

A. Albert Cuypmarkt

Start the third day of your 5-day Amsterdam tour at the Albert Cuypmarkt.

The Amsterdam market is one of the largest open air in Europe. In addition to the classic fruits and vegetables, there are local productsfood stalls but also flowers and souvenirs.

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

B. Heineken Experience

Before the lunch break, go enjoy a small pint of beer at the Heineken Experience, which is only 5 minutes from the market.

You will be able to visit the former premises of the famous company ‘s brewery and discover its history as well as the stages in the production of a beer.

At the end of the visit, you can refresh your throat for free!

It is better to book your tickets in advance here!

Heineken Experience Amsterdam - 1 week in Amsterdam
Heineken Experience Amsterdam

C. Magere Brug Bridge

End the morning with a photo break at the Magere Brug bridge.

Cinephiles and fans of the James Bond saga will not fail to recognize the bridge that appears in the film “Diamonds are Forever”.

This bridge dates from the 17th century and was originally so narrow that barely 2 people could cross it at the same time. Which earned him the nickname Skinny Bridge (“skinny bridge in French).

Since then, it has been widened twice to allow a few more people at a time and also opens to allow barges to pass.

It is not exceptional but it is a historical element of the city of Amsterdam.

Lean Use

D. Museum or Guided Bike Tour of Amsterdam

In the afternoon, I suggest you continue to visit Amsterdam in 5 days with different options:

  • Visit a museum.

Among those located near the Brug mage, we can mention the Hermitage Museum, the Rembrandt House Museum or the Tropen Museum

But as Amsterdam is not very large, you can also easily return to the side of Museumplein and visit the museums that you did not have time for yesterday.

  • Rent a bike or take part in a guided bike tour to discover every corner of the city.

Amsterdam has many cycle paths that run absolutely all over the city. If the weather is nice, it can be really nice to take a little bike ride and immerse yourself in the local culture.

It is indeed the favorite mode of transport of the inhabitants. You will see that there are bikes everywhere!

Visit Amsterdam in 5 days – Bike tour
Visit Amsterdam in 5 days – Bike tour

E. Holland / A’DAM Lookout

In the late afternoon, return to Amsterdam Central Station.

At the back of the building, take the sea shuttle (free) which allows you to cross the river and will drop you off at the Buiksloterweg quay.

From there, join in 5 minutes on foot the next activity of the day: This Is Holland.

This attraction allows you to fly virtually over Holland for about ten minutes. To complete the experience, the seats move and you can even smell the scent of tulips as you pass over the fields.

A reduction is offered with the City Card.

It is also possible to  book your tickets online by clicking here. 

Next, I suggest you conclude the day by climbing to the top of the A’DAM Lookout. From its panoramic terrace, there is an unobstructed view of the entire city.

For fun, you can even experience the highest swing in Europe.

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

Adam-Lookout - best things to do Amsterdam
A’dam Lookout

Day 4: The Windmills of Zaanse Schans

After having discovered the majority of the main places of interest of the city, it is time to continue this itinerary of five days in Amsterdam by a visit of the surroundings.

Today, I suggest you go to Zaanse Schans, a tourist site known for its waterside mills. The place is so photogenic that it is on all the postcards!

The place was certainly designed only for tourists with shops selling cheese, clogs, souvenirs (more expensive than in Amsterdam) but it is well done and the facilities respect the traditional side.

On the site, there are also 2 small museums: one on watchmaking (a specificity of the village) and the other dedicated to the mills and their functioning.

It is also possible to visit the inside of the mills for free with your Amsterdam Pass/City Card (5€ each otherwise) and to take a mini cruise to see them from another angle (also free with the Amsterdam Pass).

You have several options to get to Zaanse Schans from Amsterdam:

  • Take bus no. 391 or 891 from Central Station. There are about every 15 minutes.
  • Take the train to Zaanse station (20 minutes journey) and walk 15 minutes to arrive at the mills.
  • Opt for a day trip with transport and guide included.

This is the excursion for you (click on the link to book):

Zaanse Schans

As the visit of the mills will surely not take you all day, I advise you to continue with a visit to the village of Haarlem.

You can also get there by train but it is likely that you will first have to take the train back to Amsterdam (20 mins) and then another train to Haarlem (15 mins).

While preparing my visit to Amsterdam in 5 days, I hadn’t really heard of Haarlem and I’m quite surprised because the small town is really worth a visit.

It’s a very picturesque place, with beautiful brick housescobbled streets and a magnificent church which I found particularly impressive. The entrance fee to visit it is only €2.50.

To make sure you don’t miss anything of this charming locality, I advise you first to go through the tourist office, on the church square. For 50 cents, you can buy the route to follow with all the essentials. It is titled “Monumental Haarlem”.

Tips for your Amsterdam itinerary:
There are also other excursions organized to visit the mills and which also include the visit of certain villages known as Edam or Volendam.

Haarlem, not to be missed around Amsterdam

Day 5: Villages of Waterland

Visit Amsterdam in 5 days: Day 5
Visit Amsterdam in 5 days: 5th day

A 5-day Amsterdam itinerary gives you time to discover another must-see near the city: the villages of Waterland.

These authentic and traditional villages are so nicknamed because they are crossed by canals and some are located by the sea.

A Pass, sold at the automatic terminals of Amsterdam Central Station , allows unlimited use of the bus to travel between Amsterdam and all the villages. It costs 10€.

I also advise you to go to the information center of the station to get the map of the lines and the timetables.

Here is the list of the 7 Waterland villages that you can discover during the day:

  • Broek in Waterland, and its little wooden houses
  • Monninckendam where you can visit the Waterlands Museum and Saint Nicholas Church
  • Marken: a really pretty little island with its harbor and waterfront restaurants.
  • Volendam: very cute village, with quite a few small shops and restaurants towards the harbour.
  • Edam: a typical village where it is good to walk to admire the very beautiful houses.
  • Purmerend: not mandatory as I found much less typical. It looks more like a small town.
  • Beemster: Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site for its polder, an artificial stretch of land obtained by draining water. Lake Beemster was drained from the 17th century using 43 water mills, a technical feat.

Tips for your Amsterdam itinerary:
If you prefer to take an organized excursion instead , you should know that they all include a visit to the mills of Zaanse Schans. So if you have already visited the site yesterday or made an organized excursion, it is not necessary to do it again.

Instead, you can go to Zandvoort, a seaside resort 30 minutes by train from Amsterdam, ideal for enjoying the beaches. 

A little further (1h35 by car) you also have the village of Giethoorn, nicknamed the Venice of the NorthBook a day trip here!

Between mid-March and mid-May, I also recommend visiting Keukenhof Park and its millions of tulips. Ticket with transport from Amsterdam on sale here!


Accommodation in Amsterdam

There you go, you now know what to do in Amsterdam in 5 days!

It’s time to ask about your accommodation and book your hotel.

To make your life easier, I give you my selection of the best places to stay in Amsterdam according to your budget:

  • Hans Brinker Hostel Amsterdam: Youth hostel located 400 meters from the Rijksmuseum and 10 minutes from Vondelpark. Dormitory bed from €26, breakfast included. Most: the location, the warm welcome, the atmosphere. An excellent choice where to stay cheap in Amsterdam!
  • Motel One Amsterdam: Located 2 km from the Rijksmuseum and the Albert Cuyp Market. Clean and well-decorated double room from €110 per night, breakfast at €11.50. Most: the helpful staff, the location 2 minutes from the metro, the good breakfast.
  • Jaz Amsterdam: Located 15 minutes by metro from the center. Spacious and designer room from €110, breakfast €16.95. Most: the very friendly staff, the facilities, the breakfast at the top.
  • Motel One Amsterdam-Waterlooplein: Located near Zuiderkerk and 15 minutes walk from Dam Square. Warm room with very comfortable bedding from €154, breakfast at €11.50. Most: close to the center, charming staff, good and varied breakfast. It is our favorite for its price/performance ratio in Amsterdam!
  • Mövenpick Hotel Amsterdam City Centre: Located just 10 minutes walk from the train station and the center of Amsterdam. Spacious, modern and comfortable double room with some views of the river, from €190, breakfast €25. Most: the location, the comfort, the friendliness of the staff, access to the sauna included. This is our recommendation for an upscale stay in Amsterdam!
  • NH Collection Amsterdam Grand Hotel Krasnapolsky: Located right on Dam Square, this luxury hotel offers rooms with sleek and modern decor from €310, breakfast included. Most: the central location to visit Amsterdam on foot, the exceptional bedding, the excellent breakfast. Perfect for a romantic stay in the heart of the city!
  • Hyatt Regency Amsterdam: 5* hotel located 800 meters from the zoo. Bright and elegantly decorated room from €360, breakfast at €28. Most: a staff concerned about the well-being of customers, the decoration, the location, the excellent catering. This is the best choice for a luxury stay in Amsterdam!

Tips for your Amsterdam itinerary:
Having a return flight very early the morning of my departure, I also tested 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.

Visit Amsterdam in 5 days with the family

Do you want to visit Amsterdam for 5 days with your children?

No problem! Everything is easily done on foot and if they get tired you can always take the tram to get around.

For a 5-day stay in Amsterdam with the family, here are the places to choose:

  • The flower market
  • The Jordan district
  • Le Vondelpark
  • This is Holland
  • The zoo
  • Le NEMO Science Museum
  • The discovery of the mills.

Tips for your Amsterdam itinerary:
You can also concoct a more suitable program for them and take them to:

Map of your 5-day Amsterdam itinerary

To help you visualize your  itineraries during these 5 days in Amsterdam,  I made you a map listing the  places to visit day by day. You can display the map legend by clicking on the top left button with a small arrow. You will then be able to view the routes for each day.

Need help planning your 5 day Amsterdam itinerary? Do not hesitate to ask me your questions in the comments.

Are you going to Amsterdam? Read Also:

Camille L.

Passionate about foreign languages, cooking and writing. I wish to share with you the places, the meetings and the gastronomic discoveries which gave relief to my travels.

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