Do you want to find out what to see in Amsterdam in 3 days?
You are in the right place because in this article you will find a complete itinerary divided by days, which will allow you to plan a perfect visit to the capital of the Netherlands.
I want to emphasize that I wrote this guide after having visited the city many times (due to my work) over the years.
Here’s what you’ll discover by reading this detailed guide:
- Advice on where to stay in Amsterdam for 3 days
- A detailed itinerary divided by days and districts
- For each attraction you will find advice on what to see and details on tickets, times and locations
- Lots of curiosities about the city and its main attractions
Are you ready? Happy reading and happy travelling!
Before we start...
Where to stay in Amsterdam
- Cheap : Cityhub Amsterdam
- For couples : nhow Amsterdam Rai
- For families : Yotel Amsterdam
- Lusso : Hotel Estherea
Where to stay in Amsterdam for 3 days
In this first section, I’ll explain which are the best neighborhoods to stay in Amsterdam.
But first a brief parenthesis about the prices.
Unfortunately, Amsterdam is one of the most expensive European capitals in terms of accommodation.
If you want to save money, the only way is to visit the city during the colder months and book your hotel at least 2-3 months in advance.
In general, the most expensive neighborhoods are the central ones (Medieval Center, Red Light District, Jordaan) obviously the further you go from the center, the lower the prices.
Without this parenthesis, what are the best areas to stay in?
Since you are visiting the city for just 3 days, my advice is not to leave the centre.
So the areas I recommend are:
- Medieval Center and Red Light District : This is the oldest part of the city, hosts many attractions and is well connected to the rest of Amsterdam. Find hotels in this area.
- Museum Quarter or Leidseplein : these are two adjacent areas, the Museum Quarter is famous for hosting the most important museums in the city, while Leidseplein for its nightlife. Find hotels in this area.
- Jordaan : it is one of the most suggestive districts of the city, characterized by typical Dutch houses, completely surrounded by canals. The neighborhood is famous for hosting the Anne Frank House. Find hotels in this area.
How to save a lot in Amsterdam in 3 days
If it’s your first time in Amsterdam you should know that the city is not cheap at all. The items that will weigh the most on your budget are obviously the stay and then access to the various attractions.
Prices for accommodation depend on the area you choose, the time of year, and the time you book the hotel (the sooner you book, the less you pay).
How can you save on attractions instead?
The best way to do this is to purchase the Amsterdam City Card.
It is a tourist pass that allows you to:
- use the entire public transport network of the city for FREE
- enter dozens of attractions for FREE, including the Rijksmuseum, the Moco Museum, the Rembrandt House and many others.
- take a FREE canal cruise.
- receive discounts in several restaurants and shops.
Is it really worth it?
In my case, without the card, the cost was €226, with the card instead only €140 (€125 the cost of the card for 4 days and €15 for discounted access to the Heineken Experience), in practice a saving of €86 .
Where to buy it?
You can conveniently buy it online at any time and activate it when you arrive in Amsterdam.
What to see in Amsterdam in 3 days: Itinerary day by day (with map)
Day 1: Medieval Center and Red Light District
The 9 streets of Amsterdam
Let’s start our 3-day itinerary in Amsterdam with a walk in one of the most suggestive corners of the city. De Negen Straatjes which translated means the 9 streets.
It is in fact a crossroads between some narrow streets in the center and the Singel, Keizersgracht, Herengracht and Prinsengracht canals.
The area in question is famous for its picturesque views and for being an interesting commercial area, full of vintage shops, galleries and bars where you can enjoy a coffee overlooking the picturesque canals of the city.
The ideal place to start taking beautiful souvenir photos.
- Location : Location on Maps
Continuing our itinerary towards the medieval center of the city, you will come across a unique market in the world. Bloemenmarkt is the only floating flower market in the world! In fact, all the stands and shops are supported on floating barges lined up one after the other.
If you are lucky enough to visit the city during the flowering period, you will witness an incredible show, thousands and thousands of colorful flowers on display. The ideal background for taking beautiful and original photos.
Other than that, you can buy bulbs or seeds to take home at very competitive prices.
- Location : Location on Maps
After the visit to the Bloemenmarkt continue the itinerary for about 450 meters (follow the map) until you reach Begijnhof.
It is an ancient closed courtyard, dating back to the 1300s which until the 1970s housed the beguines, unmarried women who dedicated their lives to serving the needy and praying.
In addition to being beautiful, the courtyard is a real oasis of peace. In the center we find a church surrounded by several very pretty houses. One of these is Het Houten Huis, the oldest house in Amsterdam (dating back to 1420).
To access the courtyard of the beguines you will have to go to a side street with a gate, which is the only way in.
- Location : Location on Maps
The next stop on this 3-day Amsterdam itinerary takes us to the Dungeon, an interactive museum located just a 2-minute walk from the Courtyard of the Beguines.
What is it about?
Of one of the most interesting and entertaining museums in the city. It was initially born as a museum of macabre stories, until over time it became an interactive museum that tells 500 years of history, through the darkest and most macabre events that the city has known.
The show is interactive because all the stories come to life thanks to scripts and actors who interpret the various characters and the events that characterize each story.
In total we find 11 immersive scenes for a total of 80 minutes of show. Along the way you will find yourself in different environments, including the courts of the witch hunt, the story of the Flying Dutchman, ships, wizards’ laboratories and much more.
In short, it is a truly engaging experience, thanks to the fact that all the senses are stimulated, first of all with a dark and gloomy setting, and then thanks to sounds and smells.
Highly recommended especially for couples and groups of friends (but it’s also good for families with children). The only thing to keep in mind is that the show is entirely in English.
- Tickets : admission costs €23 per person and can be purchased online on this site.
- Hours : every day from 11:00 to 17:00.
- Location : Rokin 78, 1012 KW Amsterdam.
What to see in Amsterdam in 3 days? Our itinerary continues to discover the medieval center with a visit to the most important square in the city.
Dam Square is very old, its first construction dates back to the 13th century, a period in which it served as a dam, very important to counteract floods, which were very frequent at that time.
Dam Square is surrounded by beautiful Baroque buildings, of which the most important is certainly the Koninklijk Paleis (the royal palace).
What else to see in the Dam?
- The National Monument : a 22-meter obelisk commemorating the victims of the Second World War.
- De Bijenkorf : an important chain of luxury department stores (such as the Galeries Lafayette in Paris).
- The Wax Museum : The first Madame Tussauds museum to open its doors in mainland Europe. If you’ve never been to a wax museum I highly recommend it. You can find the tickets here
Our itinerary continues to discover the oldest church in Amsterdam, the Oude Kerk which literally means “old church”.
The religious temple is located between the medieval center and the Red Light District, on an architectural level it is a remarkable work, first built in the Romanesque style and then restructured in the Gothic style.
You can also go inside but honestly the church is very bare, and apart from a beautiful organ and climbing the tower there isn’t much else to see (contemporary art exhibitions are periodically organised).
I recommend the internal visit only if you have the Amsterdam City Card.
Red Light District in Amsterdam
What to do in Amsterdam in 3 days?
At this point it should be almost evening, the first evening of this 3-day itinerary in Amsterdam I suggest you spend it in the famous Red Light District.
It is one of the oldest areas of the city, also known as De Wallen, it was initially built around 1500, a period in which it was decided to create an entertainment area for the many merchants and sailors who visited the city for work.
From then until today the neighborhood has maintained its reputation as an adult entertainment area.
Today, in fact, the neighborhood is famous for its many red-lit shop windows, where prostitutes perform and show themselves to potential customers.
In addition to the shop windows, the neighborhood is full of clubs, coffeeshops, sex shops and theaters where you can watch a show (obviously spicy).
What to do in the neighborhood? There are two activities that I highly recommend, we will see them shortly but first some important tips to keep in mind:
- it is forbidden to smoke cannabis on the streets of the Red Light district, please!
- it is forbidden to drink on the street, you risk a fine of €95.
- it is strictly forbidden to take pictures, make videos or make fun of the girls in the shop windows, please!
The Bulldog The First
The first must-do activity in the Red Light District, is obviously visiting a coffeeshop. What I recommend mostly for its history is the Bulldog The First, as the name suggests it is the oldest coffeeshop in Amsterdam.
In fact, its opening dates back to 1975. It is certainly a very touristic place, but it is worth a visit for its historical significance. However, the interiors are very beautiful and characteristic, and the general setting is very relaxing. The visit is also recommended for those who do not smoke cannabis. You can safely sip a coffee and take some pictures.
- Hours: every day from 8:00 to 01:00.
- Location: Oudezijds Voorburgwal 90. Location on Maps
Red Light Secrets
The second visit I recommend in the Red Light District of Amsterdam is the Red Light Secrets Museum, a museum entirely dedicated to prostitution and the famous showcases that characterize the area.
A curiosity about the museum is that the owner worked for many years as a sex worker in the neighborhood. And inside you will discover many curiosities about her history and profession. For example, you will be able to understand why a prostitute does this job, how it feels and much more.
Among the various activities offered by the museum, you will also be able to access one of the showcases of the Red Light District for a few minutes, and experience “how it feels” to be observed by the hundreds of people strolling along the neighborhood avenues.
All in all, a fun and interesting visit.
- Tickets : admission costs €14.50 per person and can be purchased online on this site.
- Hours : Every day from 11:00 to 22:00, except Fridays and Saturdays when it closes at 23:00.
- Location: Oudezijds Achterburgwal 60h, 1012 DP Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Day 2: Museum Quarter and Leidseplein
Ready for this exciting second day in Amsterdam?
To start the itinerary, I suggest you go to Museumplein, the square in the Museum Quarter, famous for hosting some of the most important museums in the world.
The first stop is the Rijksmuseum, the most important museum in the Netherlands (in the world Top 10).
What does it host? Works by great Dutch artists who made the history of the Netherlands. It traces a period that starts from 1100 up to 1950.
Among the artists you can admire we have the inevitable Rembrandt (whose most important work is housed right here, and it is “The Night Watch”) Van Gogh and many others.
The museum is very large, including 80 exhibition rooms and over 8,000 works. For this reason, during the visit I suggest you to follow one of the suggested itineraries.
- Tickets : admission to the Rijksmuseum costs €23.50 for adults (free for children under 18) and tickets can be purchased online on this site.
- Hours : every day from 9:00 to 17:00.
- Location : Museumstraat 1.
After the Rijksmuseum, I suggest you head towards the green lung of the city. The Vondelpark. A huge city park that extends for 48 hectares.
The park dates back to 1865 and is one of the most beautiful parks in the Netherlands. Inside, as well as being well-kept, it hosts its own fauna, with ponds, swans, ducks, squirrels and much more.
If you are visiting Amsterdam as a family, it is one of the most suitable places for children. In fact, the park offers various activities for the little ones, among these we have the usual games such as swings, tunnels, as well as animals, many thematic gardens, fountains and much more.
In short, this is the ideal place to relax for 1 or 2 hours before continuing on to our next stop.
Van Gogh Museum
To reach the next stage, go back towards the Rijksmuseum, right in front of it you will find one of the most visited museums in the city. The Van Gogh Museum, the most important institution in the world, completely dedicated to the works of Vincent Van Gogh.
Inside the 3 floors that make up the museum, you can admire around 200 paintings signed by the Dutch genius of post-impressionism. In addition to his works, the museum houses hundreds of letters and drawings that belonged to him.
In addition, the Van Gogh Museum houses important works by impressionist and post-impressionist artists, who have in some way inspired Vincent’s work.
Advice : don’t forget to take the audio guide (in Italian) it will be very useful to get to know the behind the scenes of the works, and many interesting details on the life of Van Gogh.
- Tickets : Tickets cost €21 and can be purchased online at this official reseller. I highly recommend purchasing a little in advance, because the museum is very visited and sometimes you have to wait even 1 or more weeks to find a place. If you have the I Amsterdam City Card, access is free (also to be purchased in advance, find more info here )
- Hours : every day from 09:00 to 18:00.
- Location : Museumplein 6.
House of Bols
Our 3 days itinerary in Amsterdam proceeds with a light but at the same time very interesting visit.
House of Bols is the interactive museum dedicated to the quintessential Dutch distillate. Genever (a kind of gin).
The visit includes a guided tour where you will learn about the history of the Bols brand one of the first distilleries in the Netherlands, the history of Genever, production methods and much more.
At the end of the tour (which includes several thematic rooms) you will be able to taste a Genever-based cocktail made on the spot by the official barmen of the House of Bols (there is even an Italian guy, Mauro who is very good!).
- Tickets : The ticket for the House of Bols costs 17.50€. You can find the online ticket here.
- Hours : Tuesday to Sunday from 12:00 to 17:00. Closed on Mondays.
- Location: Paulus Potterstraat 12 14 16. Location on Maps
Evening at Leidseplein
Finally, to end the evening with a taste of the local nightlife, I suggest you head to Leidseplein, the nightlife district of Amsterdam.
The area is located within walking distance of the Museumplein and is easily accessible on foot.
Here you will find dozens and dozens of places to spend the evening. The best (for me) is the Melkweg. A huge space concert hall / disco, where thematic events are organized every week.
The music ranges from techno (if you’re lucky enough to be there on Tuesday they organize techno tuesday!) to rock up to hip hop rhythms. For more information, visit their Facebook page or their official website.
Day 3: Jordaan and De Pijp
Anne Frank House
Today’s first stop is the Anne Frank House, the house where the young girl of Jewish origins hid between 1942 and 1944. Period in which the Nazis occupied the Netherlands.
Anne is first and foremost famous for her diary, a work in which the young woman wrote about her life during those two years. Unfortunately, in 1944 the hiding place of the Frank family was discovered and all members were deported (father, mother, Anne and sister).
Unfortunately, the only one to return was Otto Frank, who once the war was over decided to publish his daughter’s diary.
The rest is history, Anne Frank’s Diary is one of the most read books in the world, most likely most of those who are reading these lines have read it or heard about it.
Well, in Amsterdam you will have the chance to visit the hideout of the Frank family.
All spaces have remained almost unchanged. Inside you will be able to see her hideout, the rooms where Anne and her family lived, various objects that belonged to her, some fragments taken from the original copy of her diary and much more.
The visit is very touching, but in my opinion essential during a trip to Amsterdam.
Here are the details for the visit:
- Tickets : admission costs €16 for adults, €7 for children aged 10 to 17 and €1 for children aged 0 to 9.
- Hours : every day from 9:00 to 22:00.
- Location : Westermarkt 20. Location on Maps
Anne Frank themed guided walking tour (in Italian )
Want to learn more about Anne Frank’s story?
I propose this a guided walking tour that will give you the opportunity to discover the history of Anne Frank and Amsterdam during the Second World War.
During the tour, you will explore the Jewish Quarter by visiting the Portuguese Synagogue, the Jewish Historical Museum and the Auschwitz Monument.
Plus, you’ll discover numerous little-known details about the life of Anne Frank, her family and the Dutch Resistance during the German invasion.
You can book the tour in Italian on this website.
A few steps from the Anne Frank House, you will notice the presence of a huge bell tower, it is the Westerkerk, which literally means church of the west, one of the most impressive Protestant churches in the city.
Architecturally, you will immediately notice that it is in perfect symbiosis with the local architecture, from the outside it is very beautiful, but inside (like most Protestant churches) there is not much to see.
Tip: try to climb the 85m high bell tower. On the other you can admire one of the most suggestive panoramas of the city.
- Cost : Free.
- Hours : Monday to Saturday from 11:00 to 15:00. Closed on Sunday.
- Location : Prinsengracht 279. Location on Maps
What to see in Amsterdam in 3 days?
Another unmissable visit is certainly the museum dedicated to houseboats in Amsterdam. It is also located in the Jordaan neighborhood, a short walk from the Anne Frank House.
The Houseboat Museum is the only museum in the world dedicated to this strange practice. Which? That of living in houseboats located in the canals of the city.
The museum itself is obviously located inside one of these floating houses. An ancient boat dating back to 1914.
Inside, you’ll learn about the history and origins of this practice, see exactly what life is like on a houseboat, all the different living spaces, and so much more. The visit does not last long and is cheap.
What to do in Amsterdam in 3 days?
On this third day I propose you to visit a Bruin Café (or Brown Café), it is a traditional Dutch pub, characterized by a dark brown color of the interior, due to the smoke, which has filled the spaces of these pubs for decades.
Today obviously it is no longer possible to smoke inside, however this feature has remained and distinguishes them from any other establishment.
In the Jordaan district, one of my favorite Bruin Cafè is located, Cafè Chris, a place that has been in business guess what? since 1624! 400 years of history.
Inside the restaurant you can drink excellent beer, genever or eat typical Dutch cuisine.
Albert Cuyp Market
Next stop? Visit Albert Cuyp Market the largest daytime market in Europe. The market is located in the De Pijp district, located southeast of the center of Amsterdam. To get there, I recommend taking tram line 3 from Hugo de Groot Plein station.
What can you find in this famous market? Pretty much everything. It houses hundreds of stands selling fresh food, traditional dishes, fast food, clothing, flowers and much more.
A must visit for anyone in Amsterdam. Among other things, if you want to buy souvenirs at honest prices, this is the best place to do it!
After a tour of Albert Cuyp Market, head to the next stop which is a short distance away. The Heineken Experience is an interactive museum dedicated to the famous brand and located in the first historic Heineken plant.
The experience will lead you to discover the history of the brand, its production methods (you will be able to see exactly how beer is produced from the beginning to the bottling), a whole series of interactive experiences and finally the tasting area which includes 2 or 5 beers based on the type of experience purchased.
In fact, you can buy the normal ticket (21€), or the VIP one (55€).
The difference between the two?
The VIP one gives you access to reserved areas, 5 tastings instead of 2, a guided tour and gadgets.
Which one to choose? Personally, I’ve had the normal experience, which I consider sufficient, but obviously the choice is yours (also because there’s a big difference in price).
- Tickets : admission costs €21 per person and can be purchased online on this site.
- Hours : Every day from 10:30 to 19:30, except Fridays and Saturdays when the closing time is 21:00.
- Location: Stadhouderskade 78, 1072 AE Amsterdam.
Evening at De Pijp
The De Pijp neighborhood (where you are right now) is increasingly becoming one of the most interesting areas in terms of the offer of clubs and pubs in which to spend an evening.
For this reason, for our third day in Amsterdam I recommend you stick around (unless you want to party, in which case it’s best to go back to the Leidseplein).
What to do in the evening in De Pijp? The neighborhood is famous for its breweries, it is no coincidence that it is the neighborhood where Heineken was born, so it could not have been otherwise.
Here are a couple of breweries I know and would recommend:
- Café Gollem: If you’re looking for classic brewery with lots of beers both bottled and on tap, this is the place to go. Excellent prices, very kind staff, young and cool atmosphere, and for beers you’ll be spoiled for choice. In addition to beers, the place also offers food (mostly snacks and platters). In addition, you will be able to meet Amber, the club’s mascot cat. Location on Maps
- Brouwerij Troost: As far as I know it’s the only microbrewery in town. There are visible fermenters and the interior of the room is very original. The restaurant self-produces about ten beers (you can also take the “tasting” menu with 6 beers). But not only that, it also offers a la carte beers, and excellent typical dishes of Dutch cuisine. Location on Maps
- Rayleigh & Ramsay Van Wou: if you don’t like beer and prefer excellent wine, I recommend this place instead. In addition to the wine (glass or whole bottle) the restaurant prepares delicious tapas-style dishes. Location on Maps
More tips for visiting Amsterdam in 3 days
Getting around in Amsterdam
I wrote a very in-depth article about it (find it here), here I give you a brief summary of how to get around to reach the different areas of Amsterdam.
- Center: Amsterdam’s historic center (Red Light District and medieval centre) is easily accessible by metro and trams. For the metro you can use lines 51, 52 and 54 which stop in the central station. For the metro, the area is covered by lines 1, 2, 5, 13 and 17.
- Jordaan: if you are in the center you can easily reach the neighborhood on foot. It takes just 10 minutes of walking. Otherwise you can arrive by tram, especially lines 5, 13 and 17.
- Museumplein: the Museum Quarter of Amsterdam can be reached both by metro and by tram. For the metro you have to take line 52 (get off at Vijzelgracht). For trams, however, the area is covered by lines 2, 5, 12 and 17.
- Amsterdam Noord: if you want to reach the northern part of the city (which houses the famous NDSM cultural centre) I recommend that you take the free ferry that leaves from the central station pier.
How to save on transport
Unfortunately transport in Amsterdam is VERY EXPENSIVE. An ordinary ticket for a single journey costs €3.20! If you are not staying in the centre, it is easy to use public transport 5-6 times a day. Do the calculations of how much you would spend :).
For this reason, especially if you don’t stay in the centre, I suggest you get the GVB Card. In practice, a pass that allows you to use the means of transport in an unlimited way. The cost depends on the duration of the pass which varies from 1 to 7 days. For example, the 3-day pass costs just €21 (about €7 per day).
Where to do it? The GVB card can be purchased online on this site (it is activated only on first use in Amsterdam).
When is the best time to go to Amsterdam?
We say the answer is that it depends on your budget. In fact, Amsterdam in terms of accommodation is very expensive.
If you have a budget, the best time to visit Amsterdam is spring (where you can admire the tulips in bloom) or summer, which is the most expensive of the year.
If, on the other hand, you don’t have a lot of budget and want to spend as little as possible, then I suggest you visit the city in late autumn or in winter (except December). But keep in mind that it rains almost every day, and that the temperatures are decidedly low (generally between 10 and 0 degrees, with peaks on some days that bring temperatures below 0).
When are flights to Amsterdam cheaper?
Flights to Amsterdam are cheaper in the winter months (January and February in particular) and in the late autumn period (November in particular).
Are you going to Amsterdam? Read Also:
- 4 Days in Amsterdam: Ultimate 4-Day Amsterdam Itinerary
- 5 Days in Amsterdam: Ultimate Amsterdam Itinerary
- Visit Madame Tussauds Museum in Amsterdam
- Visit the National Maritime Museum Amsterdam