Best 3 Days in Amsterdam Itinerary| Amsterdam City Breaks Guide

This 3 days in Amsterdam itinerary is jam packed full with the best things to in Amsterdam weekend break for first time visitors.

Amsterdam is one of the most charming cities in the world – the ideal destination for a city break. It’s hardly surprising that the city is a go-to European city break spot for visitors from the UK, and many parts of the world.

Prinsengracht canal in Amsterdam

So, what to do in Amsterdam in 3 days? In short plenty, from its great nightlife, cosy cafés, museum and art galleries, cobbled streets and the picturesque web of canals.

In this Amsterdam 3 day break guide, I’ll show you why Amsterdam is a marvel that has something for every visitor – young and old and is a great city break option. With many guilty pleasures awaiting visitors on a long weekend visit to Europe’s ‘sin city’.

Get this Amsterdam: 1, 2, 3, or 5-Day Go City All-Inclusive Pass to help you save money and time with a 1, 2, 3, 4, or 5-day pass that includes access to more than 50 top attractions, museums, tours, sightseeing bus tour, cruises and a near-perfect ⭐⭐⭐⭐ rating.

Dam Square Royal Palace Amsterdam

This travel guide will show you why city breaks to Amsterdam are so popular. How do you get your Amsterdam weekend break started? Read on.

3 Days in Amsterdam: A Amsterdam City Break Complete Travel Guide

Three days in Amsterdam is barely enough time to appreciate the charm and appeal of this beautiful city. However, this things to do in Amsterdam guide is designed to help you make the most of your time in the Dutch capital, it’s filled with the best places to see in Amsterdam in 3 days.

Best Things to Do in Amsterdam in 3 Days

How to spend 3 days in Amsterdam itinerary? This Amsterdam in 3 days guide is jam packed full of the best things to in Amsterdam for 3 days for first time visitors from what to see like Dam square, tulip fields to canal boat tours, where to eat & the best Instagram spots and cools places to visit in the capital city of Netherlands. 3 day Amsterdam itinerary, Places to visit in Amsterdam, What to do in Amsterdam Netherlands, Mistakes to avoid in Amsterdam, weekend in Amsterdam, Amsterdam bucket list

1 Day in Amsterdam Itinerary

Take a Canal Cruise Tour

Canal Cruise Tour Amsterdam

One of the best things to do in Amsterdam in 3 days is to take a canal cruise tour. Amsterdam is surrounded by water. In fact, its canals were built from the taming of the Amstel River. The canals are an engineering marvel, and there’s really nothing like having a feel of the city from a boat.

To get a real understanding of the canal system and the city’s history, I recommend taking one of the many canal cruise tours that operate in the city.

You can get these canal cruise boats at various spots in the city. However my recommendation is to catch the canal cruise from outside the Amsterdam Centraal Station. This way you get to see the city start to finish and a great activity to your Amsterdam weekend itinerary. 

If you are with a partner and want to take the romantic level up a notch, then a night canal cruise with 4 course dining experience should do the trick. This way you see the canals covered in fairy lights and have a romantic dinner that your partner will not forget!

Why not try the 1 hour canal cruise with GPS audio guide, or a combination ticket of the city canal cruise and Rijksmuseum.You can try something different and try this evening pizza cruise in Amsterdam.

⭐️ RATING: 4.1 out of 5 Stars (3200+ reviews) | ⏳ TOUR LENGTH: 1 Hours |  🎟️ BOOK NOW

The Anne Frank House

Anne Frank House amsterdam scaled

If this is your first time to Amsterdam, then a visit to the Anne Frank House is one of the top things to do in Amsterdam. I visited the Anne Frank House on my first visit to Amsterdam, and it made me sad and in awe of how resilient human being can be.

It really drives home what people were going through at this time, and it’s a lesson in history you will never forget.

If you have read Anne Frank’s diary, then you’ll want to see the house where she wrote her personal account of the Second World War while in hiding. This house is one of best historical sights to see in Amsterdam.

I visited Auschwitz and Birkenau concentration camps last years in Krakow, Poland and this gave me an even greater insight into what conditions people were living in during this period in history.

You can only buy tickets to the Anne Frank House online, and you need to be on time for your time slot. Tickets are released two months in advance. Book your tickets online to avoid the long queues.

If you are spending more than 3 day in Amsterdam, then why not check out other cities in The Netherlands like Rotterdam.

Museum Quarter Amsterdam

Museum Quarter Amsterdam

Top of your Amsterdam weekend break list is visiting the museum quarter widely considered the cultural hub of Amsterdam, the Museum Quarter is the city’s pinnacle of sophistication and home to many museums – the Van Gogh Museum, the Stedelijk Museum, and the Rijksmuseum.

The Best Museums in Amsterdam:  

  • Van Gogh Museum – This museum houses the largest collection in the world of Van Gogh’s drawings and painting.
  • Stedelijk Museum – This is a must-see museum for modern and contemporary art and design in Amsterdam
  • Rijksmuseum – This museum is dedicated to Dutch arts and history with art pieces from the great Dutch masters like Rembrandt, Vermeer and Van Gogh.
  • The Heineken Museum – A cool and fun experience for any beer lovers.

The area promises fun because of the kaleidoscope of attractions and activities in Amsterdam. 

Learn about Dutch history at Rijksmuseum

Rijksmuseum amsterdam

The Rijksmuseum, following years of renovation, is now a beautifully designed museum. This is another place to see in Amsterdam in 3 days.

The museum houses over a million-art work, craftworks, and historical objects, including a robust collection of classic Dutch painters such as those of Rembrandt, Johannes Vermeer, and Frans Hals. This museum is also great if you want to learn more about Dutch history.

⭐️ RATING: 4.7 out of 5 Stars (20344+ reviews) | ⏳ TOUR LENGTH: 1.5 Hours |  🎟️ BOOK NOW

I Love Amsterdam Sign

Oud Zuid amsterdam

One of the best things to do in Amsterdam is visit the ‘I Love Amsterdam” signs. There is hardly anything more iconic than the iAmsterdam sign in the city. Just in front of the Rijksmuseum, at the Museumplein, you can enjoy the views of the sign from your ideal perspective.

They have removed the sign from this area, but you can still find various iAmsterdam around the city.

I know visiting these signs are super touristy but hey you only live once. This just one of the many touristy and non-touristy things you’ll be doing on you 3 day Amsterdam trip.

Learn to paint like Van Gogh Museum

Van Gogh Museum Amsterdam

Seated right behind or in front of the Rijksmuseum and where the iAmsterdam sign use to be (depending on which direction you are coming from) is the Van Gogh Museum.

The Van Gogh Museum is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Amsterdam. The museum is home to many of Vincent Van Gogh best artworks and a biography of his life uniquely laid out in chronological order, from his earliest works to the last.

Although the museum is not the biggest one you’d find, this Amsterdam attraction is still worth visiting as the artworks inside include those of famous artists like Manet, Monet, and Matisse, make it one of those absolute must-visit Amsterdam attractions.

If you have already visited the Rijksmuseum and iAmsterdam sign, then the Van Gogh Museum is another excellent place to see in Amsterdam. Get your tickets here for the Van Gogh Museum.

⭐️ RATING: 4.7 out of 5 Stars (20344+ reviews) | ⏳ TOUR LENGTH: 1.5 Hours |  🎟️ BOOK NOW

Prinsengracht Canal

Prinsengracht canal in Amsterdam

The Prinsengracht (Prince’s canal) is a 3.2 km long canal running parallel to the Keizersgracht in the epic center of Amsterdam. Named after the Prince of Orange, together with the other main canals, the Herengracht and the Keizersgracht, they form Amsterdam´s Canal Ring, which was declared UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2010.

The Prinsengracht is considered the most beautiful of Amsterdam’s four main canals. This is also where the Prinsengracht concert, a free open air classical music concert is hold during August on the water in front of the hotel Pulitzer Amsterdam.

Browse the flowers at the Bloemenmarkt – Amsterdam Flower Market

Bloemenmarkt Amsterdam

You can head to the Amsterdam Flower Market (The Bloemenmarkt) for a few flowers. This market is located on the Singel Canal and is a fantastic display of flowers at this floating flower market is beautiful to behold.

Ensure you ask the vendor to check if you‘re allowed to take a particular flower variety back home as some flowers are not allowed outside of the EU.

Visit the Red Light District – De Wallen

De Wallen Amsterdam

Again, if this is your first visit to Amsterdam then exploring the red light district and trying some ash cake is a must. Why visit Amsterdam without part-taking in the top two Amsterdam tourist attractions, (whether you’re a boy or girl). 

Take in a peep show and visit a café – I did, just be respectful of the ladies in the windows and don’t take photos on them. If you are looking for a good night out, then the red light district has everything you could ever want.

⭐️ RATING: 4.5 out of 5 Stars (1400+ reviews) | ⏳ TOUR LENGTH: 2 Hours |  🎟️ BOOK NOW

A’DAM LOOKOUT

ADAM Lookout Amsterdam

Are you looking for unusual things to so in Amsterdam? Then visit A’DAM LOOKOUT. This observation deck comes with an 360º unrivalled panoramic view of Amsterdam and houses Europe’s highest swing at 100 metres above the ground.

You’ll be able to see the city’s historical centre and the famous canals which belong to the UNESCO World Heritage list. A’DAM LOOKOUT is located on top of the A’DAM Tower in Amsterdam North.

⭐️ RATING: 4.7 out of 5 Stars (1300+ reviews) | ⏳ TOUR LENGTH: 3 Hours |  🎟️ BOOK NOW

2 Days in Amsterdam Itinerary

Rent a Bike and Explore Amsterdam

Rent a Bike and Explore Amsterdam

As day one was jammed packed with some of to the top things to do in Amsterdam, we will be taking it easy on day 2 of our Amsterdam city break. If you are museumed (yes that is a word) out and looking for other magnificent places to see in Amsterdam. Then read on.

Another top thing to do in Amsterdam is to hire a bike and explore the city. There are plenty of rental bike shops dotted around the city. You’ll feel like a local as you whiz along the canals, just remember to ring your bell for people walking in the streets to avoid accidents.

I love that only in Amsterdam bike outnumber cars and people. It’s one of the top activities you should do on your Amsterdam weekend breaks.

You can even do actual bike tours in Amsterdam with a local– This is great for getting around and is one of the best things to do in Amsterdam.

⭐️ RATING: 4.6 out of 5 Stars (37+ reviews) | ⏳ TOUR LENGTH: 5 Days |  🎟️ BOOK NOW

Do A Tour of The Jewish Quarter

The National Holocaust Memorial of Names in Amsterdam

On this tour of Amsterdam’s Jewish neighbourhoods, including the historic Jewish Quarter and the picturesque Plantage district. You’ll learn about Jewish life throughout the 16th century to the persecution of the Jews during the Second World War and how this shaping the city’s culture and heritage.

As you walk through the narrow streets and alleys of the Jewish Quarter, you’ll see many historic buildings and landmarks in Amsterdam, including the beautiful Portuguese Synagogue, the Jewish Historical Museum, and the Headquarters of the Jewish Council. You’ll also discover sites like the Dokwerker and the Auschwitz Monument.

⭐️ RATING: 4.6 out of 5 Stars (280+ reviews) | ⏳ TOUR LENGTH: 2 Hours |  🎟️ BOOK NOW

Visit Dam Square & Royal Palace Amsterdam

Dam Square Royal Palace Amsterdam

A medieval centre and the most visited attraction in Amsterdam. Dam Square is known for its network of canals, traditional architecture, coffee shops, and shopping centres. It is considered the ultimate centre as it is a historical hub and major area of attraction.

At Dam Square in the heart of Amsterdam is the Amsterdam Royal Palace. The palace built initially as a city hall for Amsterdam’s magistrates, and today, it is one of the three palaces which was placed at the King’s disposal by an Act of Parliament.

It is now a site for Royal Events such as the reception of foreign heads of state upon their visit to The Netherlands. Aside from the days of Royal Events, visitors are allowed access into Europe’s largest secular building of the 17th century.

Begijnhof Garden

Hidden in the heart of Amsterdam, Begijnhof Garden is a peaceful place with historic buildings. Originally built as a residential community for lay women of the Catholic Church, the garden has been around since the 14th century.

While private residents still surround the garden, visitors are welcome to the notable structures such as the English church and a recently restored a wooden house that dates back to the 16th century. This place is great to get your Instagram photo session on.

Heineken Experience

Heikeken Brewery Amsterdam

One of the city’s coolest things to is a Heineken experience tour. On this 2.5-hour guided tour, you get to explore the history of the Heineken family and how this small Dutch brewer became the world’s most famous beer brand.

Together with your expert guide, you will get a VIP glimpse behind the scenes and see the special collection depot that holds approximately 120,000 objects. Visit one of the hidden bars to do a beer tasting and try out 5 different beers with snacks.

⭐️ RATING: 4.8 out of 5 Stars (190+ reviews) | ⏳ TOUR LENGTH: 2.5 Hours |  🎟️ BOOK NOW

3 Days in Amsterdam Itinerary

Vondelpark

Vondelpark Amsterdam Netherlands

Vondelpark, the largest and most popular park in Amsterdam is an excellent place for relaxation, biking, walking, or even people-watching. It is definitely a nice place to rest after a heavy night out in Amsterdam.

It has a playground where you can play sports, and during the summer, it is normal to find locals hanging out for drinks at the park’s café‘ Blauwe Theehuis.

Foodhallen

Located in the western part of Amsterdam, Foodhallen (street food hall) is an indoor food market where different vendor serves a variety of delicious foods. A place to try out some weird and experimental cuisine like a hot dog covered in cheese and popcorn!! Let’s just say it’s not something I’ll be trying again.

Rembrandtplein Square

Rembrandtplein Square Amsterdam

One of Amsterdam’s most famous squares, Rembrandt Square has a lot to offer visitors. One of the most popular features is the presence of fashionable clubs like Rain Restaurant Bar & Club and Escape which attracts a host of impeccably dressed individuals.

There are also bars, restaurants, cafes, and international food chains to keep you busy as you stroll through this popular leisure spot.

Visit the Famous Albert Cuypmarkt

People At The Albert Cuyp Market At Amsterdam Netherlands

Your time in Europe’s attraction capital will not be complete without visiting the famous Albert Cuypmarkt street market where you’ll find cheese, fresh stroopwafels, Dutch pancakes and more. It is the city’s largest street market with a lot of history.

The Cuyp Market has been in place since 1905 and is still one of the most famous daily market in Amsterdam, even a century later. From fish and spices to makeup and cameras, you can get anything you desire at low prices.

Amsterdam City Center

The famous heart of Amsterdam is unsurprisingly the most visited place in the city. Though the place is not enormous, there are lots of attractions on offer here, including a chance to explore the canals on foot.

See the Gingerbread Houses

3 Days in Amsterdam Itinerary

A highlight of what to see in Amsterdam in three days is the Gingerbread Houses. Head out of the city centre to the boats on the Damrak where you’ll find the famous Instagram gingerbread houses.

Opposite a wide bike path and several bridges over the canals, the Gingerbread houses are a popular tourist site where you have an opportunity not only to enjoy fantastic views but take excellent Instagram photos. You can also catch canal tour boats from in front of the gingerbread houses on your city break to Amsterdam. 

Where you’ll be viewing the houses is sorta of on a side walk, so if you want great holiday photos get there early when there is less traffic and people walking by. Also watch out for birds that fly over head and don’t get too close to the edge or you might fall into the water. Which is not a good look.

Say Hello to the 9 Streets Area

The Negen Straatjes (Nine Streets), an area on the corner of Lekkeresluis and Papiersmolenluis is a beautiful scene. Whenever you visit – whether it’s during the day or at sunset, the view is always exceptional.

You can sit on any of the benches, relax, absorb all of its glory, and take pictures too. If you want to know even more cool things to do in Amsterdam, then check out this outsiders guide to Amsterdam. Amsterdam is a city meant to be explored on foot slowly, this is how you’ll find the little undiscovered hidden café or charming street with unique shops on a city break to Amsterdam.

How to Get to Amsterdam

3 Days in Amsterdam scaled

As an international tourism hub, getting to Amsterdam is easy. Since most of the international airlines connect to Schiphol Airport, finding a flight, there should be relatively easy.

The Schiphol Airport is an impressive structure, and with a train station underneath, visitors can travel into the city and anywhere in the Netherlands. Why not check out Rotterdam if you planning on spending longer that 3 days in The Netherlands.

Transport in Amsterdam/Getting Around Amsterdam

The public transportation system is a great way to get around the city, and this comprises of the bus, metro, tram, and ferries. This is managed by GVB, the city-owned public transportation operator.

Amsterdam is a very walkable city as most of the main things to see in Amsterdam are within walking distance of each other.

Tram

Amsterdam Centraal Stationsplein

Amsterdam’s tram system is one of the largest in Europe and runs daily from 06:00 to 03:30. The Amsterdam city card (popularly known as ‘I Amsterdam city card’) gives its holder unlimited use of the GVB transport system, including the use of buses, metro, and the trams, and discounts/free access to many city attractions.

On my visits to Amsterdam, I found that buying a pass on the tram covering the number of days I was visiting was enough to get around and see everything. You can get your ticket from the conductors as you board the tram and you can just say how many days you want on your ticket.

Just always remember to tap in and out as you leave the tram. You can also use one of my favourite travel apps Citymapper as they have a Citymapper Amsterdam for central Amsterdam. I use it every day in London and live and die by this app.

Bus

The GVB manages 55 bus lines in the city, running from 06:00 till 00:30 daily. You can access the main bus station in Amsterdam when you walk out of the Amsterdam Centraal Station towards the city centre. Bus timetables are strategically displayed at every bus station to make trips more accessible for users.

Metro

As a relatively small city, there are only four metro lines in Amsterdam. While the metro is typically a more convenient and fast way of travelling, it is more useful for those in Amsterdam who want to travel to peripheral districts rather than around the neighbourhood or city centre. There is a total of 52 metro stops, and the metro lines run from 06:00 till 12:30.

Uber

You can get an Uber in and around Amsterdam but just be aware if you are going partying around Dam Square in the evenings/early morning, getting an Uber can take up to 45 minutes, and rates per ride are £45 to £50. Equal to want you would pay for an Uber at peak times in London.

Where to Stay in Amsterdam

2 Days in Amsterdam Itinerary

While you could quickly settle for an apartment, a local guesthouse, hostel, or fancy hotel in Amsterdam, picking the best place to stay in Amsterdam can spell the difference between a successful weekend getaway or a trip to Amsterdam to forget.

Though relatively small, each neighbourhood in the city is different. First time to Amsterdam where to stay? Well here are some of the best hotels in Amsterdam.

Best Places to Stay in Amsterdam for First-time Visitors

Westerpark

Westerpark Amsterdam

The Westerpark neighbourhood is close enough to Amsterdam’s city centre, yet far enough to allow for a more relaxed stay in the sin city.

It is a perfect neighbourhood for first-timers because of its convenient location, with easy access to the city’s attraction, hotspots, restaurants, shops, and even the city’s nightlife without being put off by the offerings of the red light district if you are on a weekend trip to Amsterdam.

Best Hotel in Westerpark: WestCord Art Hotel

Westerpark WestCord Art Hotel

The WestCord Hotel, an amazing three-star hotel, just a 15-minute walk from the city’s centre, and sits next to the green Westerpark. The contemporary rooms are all en-suite with the usual hotel amenities.

The hotel also has a swimming pool and a bar plus sunbathing areas on the terrace. This is great if you are visiting Amsterdam in the summer months.

Best Place to Stay in Amsterdam on a Budget

Oud Zuid (South)

I Love Amsterdam Sign

Oud Zuid is a major tourist area, yet it is the cheapest neighbourhood in Amsterdam. Made up of several neighbourhoods, you would find markets, parks, and even world-class museums in the area. This is a great area for doing Amsterdam city breaks on a budget.

Best Hotel in Oud Zuid: Hotel Verdi

Oud Zuid Hotel Verdi

Hotel Verdi is a budget accommodation option that has rooms for two and four persons. Some rooms have en-suite while other have shared bathrooms. Some rooms have breakfast included in the price, Wi-Fi available, and there is also a garden for anyone to relax after a day’s adventure. 

Best Hotel in 9 Streets: Hotel Hegra

9 Streets Hotel Hegra

If you are interrailing with friends and trying to save on accommodations, then this type of accommodation is great for a group of travelling friends.This is the hotel  I stayed in on my first visit to Amsterdam and it was good enough for a new graduate with no money. The room I shared was with 3 other friends and included breakfast. 

The rooms are small basic and clean and the staff there is friendly. Most importantly the hotel is centrally located, right next to the canals, 5 minutes walk from Dam Square if you are on a long weekend in Amsterdam.

You will be within walking distance on most of Amsterdams main attractions even the red light district but far enough away to enjoy a glimpse of  local life. This is a budget hotel right in the centre of Amsterdam.

Best Place to Stay in Amsterdam for Nightlife

De Pijp

Leidseplein is Amsterdam’s most popular nightlife spot and a great place to visit if you want to experience Amsterdam’s nightlife and great for night owls during your city breaks in Amsterdam.

However, De Pijp, in South Amsterdam, is also a trendy area of the city with a nightlife that can rival that of any part of the Amsterdam. Also known for its youthful and bohemian vibes, De Pijp has lots to offer for those looking to stay away from the hustle and bustle of Amsterdam centre.

Best Hotel in De Pijp: The Arcade Hotel Amsterdam

De Pijp The Arcade Hotel Amsterdam

The Arcade Hotel brings the fun to you with its lively bar. It also features single to quad rooms, with each room having features such as TV, Wi-Fi, and a private bathroom.

Best Place to Stay in Amsterdam for Relaxation

Jordaan District

Jordaan Amsterdam Netherlands scaled

Sitting close to the heart of Amsterdam, Jordaan is a cool, quaint, and an authentic place with lots of stuff on offer. It has a traditional village-like setting, fabulous restaurants, local music scene, and vintage stores contributing to the appeal of the neighbourhood.

Jordaan is a more expensive part of Amsterdam where you’ll find all the Instagram worthy photo spots in the city.

Best Hotel in Jordaan: Hotel II Fiore

Hotel II Fiore has en-suite rooms with amazing features such as free Wi-Fi, TV, complimentary toiletries, tea and coffee machines, a hairdryer, and a separating seating area. There is also an on-site Italian restaurant and visitors can rent bicycles for their journey into the city if you are on a long weekend in Amsterdam.

Best Place to Stay in Amsterdam for Families

De Plantage

As a predominantly residential part of the town, De Plantage is an ideal place for families. Usually calm and quiet, De Plantage has lots of family-friendly attractions and some important historical attractions to see on your Amsterdam holidays.

It is also a 20-minute easy walking distance from the city centre, but you can use the metro for easy travels to and from the heart of Amsterdam.

Best Hotel in De Plantage: Wittenberg

wittenberg hotel amsterdam

Comfortable, contemporary, clean, and airy – Wittenberg is home to various studios and apartments available for rent. With 24 hours reception, visitors can also enjoy other features such as free Wi-Fi, bike hire facilities, and luggage storage for city breaks in Amsterdam.

These are some of the best Amsterdam hotels and areas to stay while on your short breaks to Amsterdam. I find that they are also best areas to stay in Amsterdam for first time visitors on their Amsterdam holiday.

Where to go after 3 days in Amsterdam itinerary? Day trip From Amsterdam

Rotterdam: Hop on a train to this gorgeous underrated city in The Netherlands, and enjoy 2 days in Rotterdam wander the trendy neighbourhoods and be impressed by the ground breaking architecture.

Cologne Germany: Approximately 3 hours away by train is the quaint city of Cologne, under visited in comparison to neighbouring European cities, enjoy 3 days in Cologne where you’ll full in love with its old worldly charm, Gothic Cathedral and great beer.

London: Take a quick trip on the Eurostar to London St. Pancras station, and spend anywhere from one day in London, 3 days in London to 5 days in London, checkin out the top tourist attractions and Londons hidden gems.

I hope this 3 Days in Amsterdam guide helps you fall in love with Amsterdam.

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