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3 Days in Amsterdam: Detailed Itinerary (+Map & Essential Info)

3 Days in Amsterdam: Detailed Itinerary (+Map & Essential Info)

Visiting Amsterdam in the Netherlands for 3 days and wondering how to plan your time? In this guide, we share a recommended 3-day Amsterdam itinerary for first-time visitors. It includes all the must-sees as well as a half-day excursions to the countryside that will make your trip so much more memorable.

This 3-day Amsterdam itinerary is perfect for a first visit to Amsterdam and will help you make the most of your trip. It is quite packed, but definitely doable. If you want to take things easier and linger around, simply skip one or the other attraction that interests you less. We also include some alternative suggestions making it very simple to personalize this itinerary based on your interests.

To make your planning easier, we also created a map indicating all the places mentioned in our guide. For each site and attraction, you’ll also find our experience-based tips such as when to visit, which tickets to reserve in advance, etc.

Good to know: What makes our itineraries different from others is that you’ll be sure to experience the best of the city in the specific time frame (in this case, the VERY BEST of Amsterdam in 3 days). We take into account walking distances, opening times, and the time that you need in order to visit each place. We also do our best to make sure that you visit each place at the most optimal time.

For example, we won’t tell you to visit a lively city square or a cozy neighborhood in the morning when everything is still closed and there are hardly any people around; while you’re much better off starting your day at a popular museum before it gets too busy there.

TIP: If you want to visit some of the top attractions in Amsterdam and book everything in one place and just a few clicks, consider this digital Amsterdam Pass. It allows you to pre-book time slots for some of the best museums/attractions and saves time and money.

How to see the best of Amsterdam in three days

Important! Nowadays, many of the most popular museums in Amsterdam work with timed-entry slots, and some attractions only sell tickets online. Depending on the season, tickets for some of these museums sell out several weeks in advance.

So if you absolutely want to visit a certain place, be sure to plan ahead and book your tickets as soon as possible! It saves time and money and takes away all the stress.

Depending on ticket availability, you may have to adjust your itinerary, especially if you are planning the trip at the last minute. The good thing is that there are plenty of really nice alternatives to the most popular attractions.

Please note that the hours in this itinerary are only indicated for your reference, to give you a better idea of how much time you need for various attractions. You can easily adjust it based on your interest and/or ticket availability.

LEARN MORE: Amsterdam Travel Tips

Canal cruise is a must with 3 days in Amsterdam
A canal cruise is a must-do in Amsterdam!

Map of this 3-day Amsterdam itinerary

To help you plan your trip, we created a map indicating all the places mentioned in our article.

As you can see below, we used different colors for each day. That way, you have a good overview of how this itinerary is structured. We grouped the sites in the most logical way, taking into account the best times to be at each place.

However, depending on the location of your accommodation and other factors, it might be more logical for you to do things slightly differently. So use this just as inspiration for what can be done, adjust where needed, and plan your own perfect city trip to Amsterdam.

How to use this map: Use your computer mouse (or fingers) to zoom in or out. Click on the icons to get more information about each place. Click the arrow on the top left corner for the index. Click the star next to the map’s title to add it to your Google Maps account. To view the saved map on your smartphone or PC, open Google Maps, click the menu and go to ‘Your Places’/’Maps’. If you want to print the map or see it in a bigger window, click on ‘View larger map’ in the top right corner.


This is our recommended itinerary for 3 days in Amsterdam:


Rijksmuseum – Floating Flower Market – Begijnhof – 9 Streets – Dam Square – Royal Palace – Damrak – Central Station – Canal Cruise – West Church & Anne Frank House – Dinner in the Jordaan neighborhood.

DAY 1 planning info/ tickets to book:

On the first day in Amsterdam, you’ll likely want to see the historic old town and explore the nicest areas around the famous Canal Belt (Grachtengordel). In addition, we recommend visiting two of the most popular museums in the city – Rijksmuseum and Anne Frank House. See below for our recommendations on how to make it all fit together in a day.


This is what your first day in Amsterdam could look like:


9 – 10.30 AM.

Rijksmuseum (or The Empire Museum) is the most impressive museum in the Netherlands. It houses a big collection of art, but the main focus is on Dutch masters such as Vermeer, Rembrandt, and Van Gogh.

In terms of significance, you could compare Rijksmuseum to the Louvre in Paris or Uffizi Gallery in Florence.

Some of the most important artworks such as ‘The Milkmaid’ or ‘The Night Watch’ are displayed in The Gallery of Honour. In addition, be sure to check out the unique Cuypers Library. The museum often has temporary exhibitions too, although they usually require a separate ticket.

If you just want to see the main highlights, plan about 1-1.5 hours here. In addition, you can also visit the gardens which are open to the public for free. They are rather small, so you only need a few minutes.

Good to know: Rijksmuseum is one of the most popular places to visit in Amsterdam, so be sure to book timed-entry tickets in advance.

TIP: If you want to learn some background about the most important artworks at Rijksmuseum, be sure to get an audiovisual guide (available at the museum for a small extra fee). Alternatively, consider visiting with a guided tour – it’s the best way to make the most of your visit and better appreciate what you’re seeing.

Rijksmuseum - 3 days Amsterdam itinerary
Rijksmuseum Amsterdam ship model of William Rex
William Rex Ship Model at Rijksmuseum.
Johannes Vermeer painting 'The Milkmaid' at the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam
‘The Milkmaid’ painting by Vermeer is one of the must-sees at the Rijksmuseum.
Albert Cuyp Library Rijksmuseum Amsterdam
Albert Cuyp Library at the Rijksmuseum.

Floating Flower Market

10.45 – 11 AM.

Next, we recommend a short stop at the Floating Flower Market. It’s located about 10-15 minutes walk from Rijksmuseum.

The market stalls are built over the Singel Canal so if you see it from the back side, it does indeed look like a floating market. However, as you walk through it, it looks just like a regular market.

Many people come here hoping to see lots of colorful tulips or other flowers. But which flowers you’ll see (if any) will highly depend on the season. The market is really tourist-oriented and you’ll mostly find flower bulbs and Dutch souvenirs for sale here.

Good to know: Amsterdam Flower Market is open daily except on Sundays. So if your first day in Amsterdam falls on a Sunday, simply come here the next day. It’s quite centrally located, so it’s not difficult to adjust your itinerary a bit so that you can pass here.

Amsterdam Floating Flower Market
Floating Flower Market.
Tulips at the flower market in Amsterdam
Amsterdam flower market.

Amsterdam Begijnhof

11.10 – 11.20 AM.

Amsterdam Begijnhof (Beguinage) is another nice addition to any Amsterdam itinerary. It’s located about 5 minutes walk north of the Flower Market.

On the way, you can also pass several other nice places, such as the historic Munt Tower or Spui Square, as well as some popular shopping streets. If you want to do some shopping, try Dutch syrup waffles, etc. you will need to foresee a bit more time here.

Anyway, back to Begijnhof, which is not to be missed in this part of town. Begijnhof (or Beguinage) is a historic architectural complex surrounded by walls and small houses, with a church and green space in the middle. You’ll find similar sites in many places in Belgium too, for example, in Bruges and in Antwerp. They were built for beguines, lay religious women who lived in a community without taking vows or retiring from the world.

Nowadays, Amsterdam Begijnhof is a residential area, but because of its historic significance, the site is also open to the public.

TIP: Don’t miss a black wooden house in the corner of the square in front of the chapel (at nr. 34). This is one of the two oldest surviving wooden houses in Amsterdam.

Good to know: Amsterdam Begijnhof is usually open daily, between 9.30 AM and 6 PM, and is free to visit.

Beguinage in Amsterdam
Amsterdam Begijnhof.
Amsterdam Begijnhof in summer with flowers
Amsterdam Begijnhof.

9 Streets & Lunch

11.30 – 1 PM.

The 9 Streets (De Negen Straatjes) is one of the coziest areas along Grachtengordel, Amsterdam’s Canal Belt. It’s a small neighborhood around the famous canals Singel and Prinsengracht and consists of just 6 blocks between Leidsegracht and Raadhuisstraat.

This area has a rather authentic feel and is very popular with both locals and tourists. Here, you’ll find many independent shops and fashion boutiques, but also several food stores, small cafés, and restaurants.

This is a very nice place to walk around, do some (window) shopping, and people-watching. Just be careful and stay on the sidewalks as the streets are narrow and there is lots of bike traffic.

TIP: The Nine Streets could be a nice area to stop for lunch, but it’s also very busy. You’ll often see long queues stretching at some of the most popular eateries here long before they even open. Some of the most popular places include Pancakes Amsterdam and Fabel Friet, where – according to some locals – you can get the best fries in Amsterdam. Restaurant de Struisvogel is also very popular but is normally only open for dinner.

Amsterdam Grachtengordel canals in the 9 Streets area
Amsterdam canals in the 9 Streets area.
Art gallery Carré d'artistes - 9 Streets Amsterdam
Art Gallery – 9 Streets.
Flower shop - Nine Streets in Amsterdam
Flower Shop – 9 Streets.

Dam Square & Royal Palace or Madame Tussauds

1 – 2.30 PM (you’ll need just a few minutes if you don’t visit any of the attractions inside).

Next, walk to the historic city center at Dam Square. This is the main square in Amsterdam and has been the heart of the city ever since its early beginning. On the way here, you could take a quick look inside the impressive historic building of Magna Plaza Shopping Mall.

Dam Square is home to the Royal Palace, although it’s only used as a ceremonial residence; the Dutch King and his family live in The Hague. On the Square, you’ll also find New Church, Amsterdam’s old Stock Exchange building, and National Monument to commemorate WWII.

Some of the most exclusive 5* hotels in Amsterdam like Grand Hotel Krasnapolsky or Hotel TwentySeven can also be found on Dam Square. Amsterdam’s biggest department store Bijenkorf is also located here, just like the popular tourist attractions such as Madame Tussauds or Ripley’s Believe It Or Not!.

Madame Tussauds has a collection of local and international celebrities, including the Dutch Royal Family, Van Gogh, and Anne Frank.

TIP: If you are interested, you could visit one of the above-mentioned attractions and/or the Royal Palace. Here you can check if Royal Palace is open during your travel dates. If you want to be sure to visit, get your tickets in advance! Also for Madame Tussauds and other popular tourist attractions, it’s best to book in advance.

Good to know: Royal Palace or some of these attractions could also be good alternatives if you are not able to get tickets for the Anne Frank House Museum (more info below). In that case, you could even visit all the attractions here.

Amsterdam Royal Palace and Dam Square
Amsterdam Royal Palace and Dam Square.
National Monument on Dam Square in Amsterdam
National Monument on Dam Square.
Magna Plaza Shopping Mall in Amsterdam
Magna Plaza Shopping Mall.

Damrak & Central Station

2.30 – 3 PM.

After visiting Dam Square, walk on Damrak toward the Central Station. Damrak is the wide street that connects the railway station to the historic town.

Don’t miss the beautiful covered gallery called Beurspassage and the historic Stock Exchange building Beurs van Berlage.

As you get closer to the station, on your right you will see some of the most-photographed crooked houses in Amsterdam.

Damrak street in Amsterdam Holland
Damrak street.
Beurs van Berlage old stock exchange building in Amsterdam
Beurs van Berlage – old stock exchange in Amsterdam.
Beurspassage Amsterdam
Damrak leaning buildings Amsterdam
The famous crooked buildings on Damrak, close to the station.
Amsterdam Centraal Station
Amsterdam Central Station. LOVERS Canal Cruises start here.

Canal Cruise

3.15 – 4.30 PM.

Next on this itinerary, we recommend doing a canal cruise. You could either opt for a canal cruise starting from Central Station or head to Anne Frank House first and do the cruise starting near the museum later in the day.

Amsterdam’s canal system spans over 75 kilometers (46 miles) and is very impressive. Taking a canal cruise is one of the must-dos in Amsterdam as it gives you yet a different perspective on the city.

You’ll see some of the oldest and most prestigious canals in Amsterdam, sail a small part of the Amstel River, and see many bridges and crooked traditional buildings.

There are tons of cruise options, but no matter where you start, the route they take is usually quite similar. Most of the cruises take about 1 hour, some – 1.5 hours.

Good to know: For this itinerary, you could opt for this popular traditional cruise starting from Central Station. In the warm season, we recommend a cruise on an open-air boat instead. For the latter, you can opt to take it starting from Central Station or from Anne Frank House later in the day.

TIP: For a more special experience or if you like to also have a small snack in the afternoon, you can also opt for this popular canal cruise with a cheese and wine option.

READ ALSO: Amsterdam Canal Cruise: Tips & Info

Amsterdam canal boat trip
A canal cruise is a wonderful way to explore more of the city.
Old hospital Prinsengracht Amsterdam
An old hospital on Prinsengracht Canal is nowadays a modern coworking space.
Modern houseboats in Amsterdam.
Modern houseboats in Amsterdam.
Open-boat canal tour in Amsterdam
If you’re visiting in the warm season, we recommend an open-boat canal cruise.

Anne Frank House & West Church

5 – 6 PM.

Anne Frank House may not need an introduction. But if you are not familiar with it – it’s a museum dedicated to the Jewish girl Anne Frank and the diary that she kept while hiding here with her family during WWll.

Anne Frank House is one of the most popular museums in Amsterdam and the tickets here always sell out. So if you want to visit, you absolutely have to reserve your tickets as soon as possible (typically, six weeks before your visit).

Following this 3-day Amsterdam itinerary exactly as described here, you could plan on visiting here at around 5-6 PM. However, depending on the availability of the tickets, you can easily adjust your schedule as needed. You could come here around noon after your visit to Rijksmuseum, or pretty much any time in the afternoon or even later in the evening.

The museum is normally open until 10 PM, so if you are booking your tickets in advance, it shouldn’t be difficult to find a timeslot that suits your itinerary.

Good to know: Tickets are timed, you have to arrive on time, and you should count about 1 hour for a visit. Anne Frank House has steep stairs and narrow passages, so it’s not suitable for people with mobility issues. The Secret Annex and the old part of the museum are not accessible by wheelchair.

Pictures are not allowed inside the museum.

TIP: Next to the museum, you can see one of the nicest churches in Amsterdam, West Church. If it’s open, take a look inside. Also, you can find a little statue dedicated to Anne Frank next to the south facade of the church.

Alternative: If you cannot get the tickets for Anne Frank House anymore, you could visit the Royal Palace, Madame Tussauds, or Ripley’s Believe It Or Not’ instead – see higher above for more info.

Anne Frank picture at Anne Frank House in Amsterdam
Anne Frank House.
Anne Frank House building exterior - Amsterdam
Anne Frank House.
The statue of Anne Frank next to West Church in Amsterdam
The statue of Anne Frank, next to West Church.

Jordaan Neighborhood & Dinner


You could end your day with a walk through the Jordaan neighborhood. This rather big residential area is located just across the Prinsengracht Canal from Anne Frank House.

If you want to see the most scenic part of Jordaan, check out the northern side in the direction of the Brouwersgracht Canal. You could walk from Anne Frank House next to Prinsengracht all the way to Brouwersgracht and then come back via the network of smaller streets in Jordaan.

There are also many really nice restaurants and local cafés in the Jordaan neighborhood. You can choose between simple traditional restaurants and cafés or fancier contemporary restaurants. There’s truly something for all budgets.

Here are some restaurant recommendations: Pesca for fish and seafood, Cannibale Royale Rozengracht for meat, or Winkel 43 for simple local dishes and traditional apple pie. I indicated all these restaurants on our map, and there are countless other options.

Good to know: Many restaurants are best booked in advance. So do some research before you go, and see if you can reserve a table at the place that you like.

In the evening, walk back to your hotel enjoying the scenery of the beautifully lit canals around you.

Jordaan neighborhood canal in Amsterdam
Jordaan neighborhood.
Winkel Cafe in Jordaan neighborhood Amsterdam
Winkel Cafe in Jordaan.
Dutch apple pie at a restaurant in Jordaan neighborhood Amsterdam
Dutch apple pie at a restaurant in Jordaan.


Van Gogh Museum – Vondelpark (optional) – Albert Cuyp Market  – Heineken Experience (or Moco Museum) – Rembrandt Square – Rembrandt House Museum Life of Anne Frank Walking Tour (optional) – Dinner around Leidseplein.

DAY 2 planning info/ tickets to book:

On the second day in Amsterdam, we recommend getting to know two of the most famous Dutch painters – Van Gogh and Rembrandt, visit a local market, and Heineken Experience. If interested, you could also take a WWII-themed tour.


Here are our recommendations on how you could plan this day:

Van Gogh Museum

9 – 11.30 AM.

The Van Gogh Museum is a great place to get to know Vincent Van Gogh and his art beyond the most famous masterpieces. It’s a must-see in Amsterdam!

The museum has the world’s largest collection of Van Gogh’s art with several hundreds of drawings and paintings. Plus, you can also see fragments of personal letters between Vincent and his brother Theo, and learn more about his life as an artist.

Following this itinerary, you could come to Van Gogh Museum on the second day of your trip. Be sure to book your tickets in advance because the tickets always sell out at least a week or two in advance. Also, try to get the earliest time slot because this museum is extremely popular and gets very busy during the day.

TIP: For a small extra fee, you can get an audiovisual guide that gives you some background behind the works you see.

Good to know: Van Gogh Museum is located on the Museum Square right next to Rijksmuseum. If you want to prevent backtracking and don’t mind spending half a day visiting two big museums one after the other, you could decide to visit here on day 1 of this itinerary as well. However, we recommend visiting these two museums on two separate days or you risk getting overwhelmed and unable to appreciate what you see.

Alternative: If you are not able to get tickets for Van Gogh Museum, consider visiting Moco Museum instead. It’s a wonderful contemporary art museum and is located just nearby.

LEARN MORE: Tips for Visiting Van Gogh Museum

Van Gogh Self Portrait with Pipe and Straw Hat (Amsterdam Van Gogh Museum)
‘Self-Portrait with Pipe and Straw Hat’ painting (1887) at Van Gogh Museum.
Van Gogh's painting 'The Bedroom' in Museum in Amsterdam
‘The Bedroom’ painting (1888) at Van Gogh Museum.


11.30 AM – 12 PM – OPTIONAL.

Vondelpark is one of the largest and best-known parks in Amsterdam. It’s located just near Museum Square, just a few minutes walk from Van Gogh Museum.

The park is mostly popular with locals, and you’ll see people biking, jogging, and walking their dogs here. It’s especially nice to visit in the warm season when everything is green, but it’s also not an absolute must, so you can just decide on the day itself if you feel like making a small detour here.

Not far from the northern entrance, there is a nice cafe where you could have some lunch. However, we recommend another place for lunch – see below.

Good to know: If you do a bike tour in Amsterdam, pretty much all bike tours will come to Vondelpark. Indeed, since the park is quite large, coming here by bike is the best way to see more of it.

We recently did this popular ‘Backstreets and Hidden Gems’ bike tour and it included Vondelpark in its itinerary as well. If you are interested in doing a tour like this, you could do it in the morning or afternoon of the second day in Amsterdam; just adjust the rest of your planning accordingly.

Vondelpark entrance gate - Amsterdam
Amsterdam Vondelpark

Albert Cuyp Market & Lunch

12 – 1.15 PM.

Albert Cuyp Street Market is a very popular outdoor market in central Amsterdam. It’s located in the De Pijp neighborhood, about 10 minutes walk from Van Gogh Museum, and is popular with locals and tourists alike.

Albert Cuyp Street market has a very nice atmosphere and is a great place to try some traditional Dutch food or buy some souvenirs.

You can simply walk through the market in 10-15 minutes, or you can spend an hour or even longer here, especially if you decide to try local specialties at different market stalls. There are also a couple of nice cafes and restaurants if you rather sit down for a meal.

Good to know: The outdoor market is open daily except on Sundays, from 9.30 AM to 5 PM.

TIP: If you are interested in learning more about traditional Dutch food (and tasting it), you could also visit the market with this highly-rated food tour. It usually starts around 1 PM and takes about 2 hours – a perfect alternative to lunch and something that you could easily fit into this itinerary.

Albert Cuyp Markt outdoor market in Amsterdam
Albert Cuyp outdoor market.
Poffertjes Albert Cuyp Market Amsterdam
Poffertjes (Dutch mini-pancakes) at the Albert Cuyp Market.
Dutch souvenirs - wooden shoe magnets - for sale at Albert Cuyp Market in Amsterdam
Dutch souvenirs at Albert Cuyp Market.

Heineken Experience

1.30 – 2.30 PM. (18+ ONLY !).

Heineken Experience is one of the most popular attractions in Amsterdam and quite rightly so. Even if you are not interested in beer, or – like me – don’t even drink beer at all, I find that it’s well worth a visit.

Set inside the original Heineken Brewery in Amsterdam, this is so much more than an interactive beer museum. You’ll discover the story of the Heineken brand, visit the historic brewing room, and learn about the ingredients and the process of beer-making.

In addition, you’ll find yourself inside a sort of alternative beer universe with interactive exhibits and virtual reality experiences. Of course, you’ll also get to taste some refreshingly cold Heineken beer.

Good to know: Heineken Experience is very popular and many time slots sell out at least a few days in advance. So be sure to book timed entry tickets. You need at least 1 hour for a visit here.

While you can stay at the Heineken bar or rooftop terrace longer, we recommend leaving some time for several other amazing places in your itinerary – see below.

Alternative: If you are not interested in Heineken Experience or if you have kids in your group, you could visit Moco Museum instead.

Heineken Brewery historic room at Heineken Experience Amsterdam
The historic brewing room is just one of the many highlights of the Heineken Experience.
Heineken Experience Amsterdam
Heineken Experience.

Rembrandt Square

3 PM.

Next, head back to the city center and visit the area around Rembrandt Square (Rembrandtplein). This part of Amsterdam where the Amstel River meets some of the oldest canals is one of the most prestigious areas in the city.

The headquarters of are located here, just like several other big companies. Some of the most exclusive hotels in Amsterdam such as Waldorf Astoria or Tivoli Doelen can also be found here. Several famous crooked houses on the shore of the Amstel River are also located in this part of the city.

Rembrandt Square itself is a bustling place with lots of cafes and restaurants.

On Sundays between mid-March and October, there is a weekly Art Market here as well.

This is not really an important stop, just a nice area to walk through on your way to the next place we recommend visiting – see further.

Rembrandt Square (Rembrandtplein) Amsterdam
Rembrandt Square.
Art market on Rembrandt Square in Amsterdam
Art market on Rembrandt Square.

Rembrandt House Museum

3.30 – 4.30 PM.

There is one more museum that we highly recommend visiting in Amsterdam, and that’s the Rembrandt House Museum. It’s located about 10 minutes walk from Rembrandt Square in the 17th-century house where Rembrandt lived and worked at the peak of his career.

Because of its unique setting, this museum is very different from most others. A visit here is a bit like taking a trip back in time – you are literally stepping into the living room, the kitchen, or the studio of the famous painter. Everything is very well restored and kept as close to the original as possible.

This museum is one of my personal favorites in Amsterdam. It’s small and immersive and you can explore everything in about one hour. Not only it’s a great place to learn more about Rembrandt and his work, but it also gives you a glimpse into the everyday life of rich citizens of Amsterdam some 400 years ago.

Good to know: The museum is set in the original house and has limited space, so the number of visitors is capped. If you want to be sure to visit at a specific time, book your timed-entry tickets in advance.

TIP: Be sure to get an audiovisual guide (included with a ticket) – it makes a visit so much more interesting.

Rembrandt House Amsterdam
Rembrandt House.
Rembrandt House Museum - 3 days in Amsterdam itinerary
Rembrandt House Museum.
Rembrandt House Museum Amsterdam - Rembrandt family living room
Rembrandt family’s living room – Rembrandt House Museum.

Life of Anne Frank & WWII Walking Tour

5 – 7 PM – OPTIONAL.

If you want to make the absolute most out of your time in Amsterdam and you are interested in World War II history, we highly recommend this walking tour. It’s dedicated to Jewish history and the holocaust as well as the life of Anne Frank. We took many guided tours in Amsterdam and this one really stood out; the guide was excellent.

The tour starts in front of the Jewish Museum, takes you through the former Jewish neighborhood, passes the historic town center, and ends at the Anne Frank House. It doesn’t include a visit to any of the museums though.

Good to know: The main reason why we recommend this tour in the early evening of day 2 of this itinerary is because of where it starts (just 5 minutes walk from Rembrandt House). But since this tour is extremely popular and runs multiple times a day, you could easily plan it at any other moment of your trip.

Alternative: Instead of doing this tour, you could also visit some of the Jewish sites on your own. However, keep in mind that both – Jewish Museum and the Portuguese Synagogue usually close at 5 PM. So if you want to visit here, adjust your itinerary so that you get here at 4 PM at the latest. The same ticket includes entry to both sites.

The National Holocaust Names Monument is open to the public longer and is free to visit. The Memorial to Auschwitz Victims is located inside a park and can be visited at any time.

Amsterdam Jewish Museum
Jewish Museum.
Stolpersteine stumbling stones with names of Jewish holocaust victims in Amsterdam
Stolpersteine stumbling stones with the names of Jewish holocaust victims.
Amsterdam Holocaust Names Monument
National Holocaust Names Monument.

Leiden Square & Dinner

8 PM.

If you take the above-mentioned WWII tour, it will end close to Anne Frank House. You could find a nice restaurant for dinner in this area, but you could also walk to Leiden Square (Leidseplein).

Leiden Square is located southwest of the most impressive canals, about 20 minutes walk from either Anne Frank House or Jewish Museum. It’s actually very close to Museum Square and Vondelpark which you visited earlier this day, but evenings are simply a more special time to come here.

The area around Leiden Square is filled with theaters, entertainment venues, and tons of cafes and restaurants. It’s a nice place to be in the evening and the atmosphere is usually great, especially when the weather is nice.

For a special treat, check out Restaurant Watergang, for a gourmet Asian fusion meal – Momo Bar & Lounge at the Park Centraal Hotel. If you are feeling nostalgic for American food, Hard Rock Café is also just nearby.

There are many restaurants in this area, but if you want to dine at a restaurant of your choice, you’ll have to reserve a table in advance.

Gourmet fish dish at a restaurant in Amsterdam
Gourmet fish dish at a restaurant in Amsterdam.


Amsterdam countryside tour (tulip fields if visiting in the spring) – A’DAM Lookout – East Docklands Red Light District Tour Dinner in China Town.

DAY 3 planning info/ tickets to book:

  • Dutch countryside tour – there are many options for various durations and group sizes. We chose this highly-rated tour because it starts early and gets back to the city before 3 PM leaving plenty of time for other activities.
  • Red Light District tour – there are several options. We took this popular tour and I can highly recommend it.

On the third day, you could start with a half-day tour and visit the countryside outside Amsterdam and explore the more modern side of the city.

You could end the day at one of the oldest parts of Amsterdam, De Wallen, known as home to the famous Red Light District.


Here’s what your last day in Amsterdam could look like:

Amsterdam Countryside Tour

8 – 3 PM.

On the last day of your visit, you could explore some of the beautiful countryside near Amsterdam. There are several nice options, and a lot also depends on the season when you are visiting.

Since you only have three days in Amsterdam, we recommend a half-day tour and not a full-day excursion. If you start early, you can do more sightseeing in the city upon return.

Here are some of the best choices for a short excursion near Amsterdam:

  • IN EARLY SPRING: Keukenhof Gardens and Lisse tulip fields. You could opt for a bus transfer + garden tickets, which should take about 5 hours. Alternatively, consider this popular tour that not only brings you to Keukenhof but also to see the windmills of Zaanse Schans. The latter option would take up the biggest part of the day, however.

LEARN MORE: Tips for Visiting Keukenhof Gardens & How to Visit Lisse Tulip Fields

  • ALL YEAR: Zaanse Schans, Edam, Volendam, and Marken. We recently did this tour. Since it starts very early, visits all 4 places, and only takes around 6-7 hours, it’s one of the best options if you want to make the most of your short time in Amsterdam.

LEARN MORE: Best Places in the Countryside Near Amsterdam

  • If you are not interested in the countryside, there are also many nice smaller towns that you could visit as a (half) day trip from Amsterdam. Haarlem, just 20 minutes by train, is one of the best options for a quick excursion. My personal favorite is Delft, about 1.5 hours by train from Amsterdam. In the summer, you could also take a train and visit Alkmaar Cheese Market.

LEARN MORE: Best Day Trips from Amsterdam

Zaanse Schans windmills - Amsterdam 3 days itinerary
Zaanse Schans windmills.
Keukenhof tulip garden near Amsterdam Netherlands
Keukenhof Gardens are must-see if visiting the Netherlands in the spring!
Colorful tulip fields near Amsterdam
Colorful tulip fields near Amsterdam.
Edam village near Amsterdam in the Netherlands
Edam village near Amsterdam.
Dutch kibbeling and shrimp sandwich
Dutch kibbeling and shrimp sandwich – a quick lunch in the countryside.

A’DAM Lookout

3 – 3.45 PM.

No matter which tour you choose in the morning, it will likely start and end close to the Central Station in Amsterdam. So when you come back to the city, we recommend a quick visit to A’DAM Tower on the other side of the IJ River, easily reachable by a free passenger ferry behind the station.

The ferry ride takes just a minute or two and ferries run non-stop. Many tours even end on the northern side of the river since it’s easier traffic-wise, so in that case, they’ll drop you off just near the Amsterdam Tower.

A’DAM Lookout is a rooftop experience located at the very top of the tower and offers stunning 360° views of the city. In addition, there are several attractions such as giant ADAM letters, a rooftop swing where you literally hang with your feet over the edge, and they also play a short film about the history of Amsterdam and the tower itself.

Even the elevator that brings you to the top is an experience in itself. And be sure to also visit the bathrooms – you can enjoy amazing city views while washing your hands.

There are also two rooftop bars – one inside and one (seasonal) outside. Grab a drink and sit down for a few minutes enjoying the views of the city and watching the boats go by on the river below.

Good to know: You’ll need a ticket for A’DAM Lookout. Normally, you can simply get the tickets on the spot. A’DAM Lookout is also one of the attractions included with the GoCity Explorer Pass.

Amsterdam Tower (A'DAM Tower).
Amsterdam Tower (A’DAM Tower).
Amsterdam skyline view from ADAM Lookout rooftop
View from ADAM Lookout.
ADAM Lookout swing
Rooftop swing at A’DAM Lookout.

East Docklands

4 – 5.30 PM (you’ll need just half an hour if you do not stop anywhere).

After visiting A’DAM Tower, take the ferry back to the Central Station. From here, walk left in the direction of the East Docklands.

This is the more modern side of central Amsterdam. It gives you yet a different perspective of this diverse city.

First, you could walk on the Oosterdokskade, a wide waterfront promenade where you’ll see a floating Chinese restaurant Sea Palace. When the weather is nice, you’ll see lots of people sitting by the river enjoying the views.

As you walk further east and cross the footbridge, you’ll reach a very unique green ship-shaped building. This is the NEMO Science Museum, the best museum in the Netherlands for families with children. There is a nice rooftop cafe here too, and if it’s still open, you could walk up the stairs and check out the views from here (this part doesn’t require a ticket).

Continuing further down the waterfront, you’ll see some old ships and The National Maritime Museum. This is yet another interesting museum that is often overlooked by most visitors, simply because of the lack of time.

Alternative: If you decide not to take any excursion outside Amsterdam in the morning, or if you come back to the city earlier, you could visit one of these museums. With kids, definitely go to NEMO, just be aware that you need at least 2-3 hours for a quick visit there. Many people spend half a day. Maritime Museum can be done in much less time.

Good to know: Both of these museums are usually open until 5 PM, so be sure to adjust your schedule accordingly if you want to visit any of them inside.

Sea Palace Chinese Restaurant on Eastern Docklands Island in Amsterdam
Sea Palace Chinese Restaurant at Eastern Docklands.
Mr. J.J. van der Veldebrug and NEMO Museum - Eastern Docklands Amsterdam
Eastern Docklands and NEMO Science Museum.
The National Maritime Museum (Scheepvaartsmuseum) in Amsterdam
The National Maritime Museum.

De Wallen & Red Light District

6 – 8 PM (you’ll need much less time if you are not taking a tour or visiting any of the places inside).

De Wallen is one of the oldest parts of Amsterdam, nowadays best known as home to the Red Light District.

While most people come here expecting to see the famous red-light windows, coffeeshops, and quirky attractions, there is so much history in this area that we highly recommend taking a tour with a local guide. It will give you a totally different perspective of the entire area around the Red Light District, and you’ll learn more about its past and present.

We recently took this highly-rated tour and found it very interesting. While we had been to this area countless times before, we learned so much this time. Highly recommended!

If, however, you simply want to see what this area is about or visit one of its unique museums (The Red Light Secrets Museum is the best one), then you can just go on your own. You really don’t have to worry about walking around the Red Light District; apart from being shocking to some people, it’s just a regular neighborhood where local families live too.

If you are a bit uncertain, go during the day or early in the evening. Late at night and especially on weekends, the Red Light District can be very busy and a bit rowdy. Depending on when you come here, you will have a totally different experience. For the most authentic experience, it’s best to visit here in the evenings except maybe Sunday or Monday when it’s usually very quiet.

De Wallen - Red Light District Amsterdam
De Wallen – Red Light District.
The Bulldog The First Coffeeshop - Red Light District Amsterdam
The Bulldog The First Coffeeshop.
The Old Church (De Oude Kerk) in Amsterdam
The Old Church is located right in the heart of the Red Light District.
Nieuwmarkt market and historic De Waag building in Amsterdam
De Waag building and Nieuwmarkt market, just near the Red Light District.

Dinner in Chinatown

For dinner, you could head to Amsterdam’s China Town, located just near the Red Lights District. There are restaurants for all tastes and budgets here.

For a simple meal, locals recommended us a Thai restaurant called Bird and it was excellent. On another occasion, we had dinner at A-Fusion, which is a more gourmet experience. The latter definitely has to be reserved in advance.

We indicated these restaurants on our map.

Thai dinner at a restaurant in Chinatown Amsterdam
You’ll find lots of great Asian restaurants in the Chinatown area.

Where to Stay for 3 Days in Amsterdam

There are so many really nice areas and hotels to stay in central Amsterdam that deciding where to stay can be overwhelming. On the other hand, if you are looking for accommodation just a few weeks in advance, the prices can be so high that – depending on your budget – the choice can be a lot more limited.

PRO TIP: Book your hotel as soon as you know your travel dates!

For this itinerary, you could stay pretty much anywhere in the historic center. If you want to be right in the middle of it all and close to everything, then consider the area close to Dam Square and the 9 Streets. Hotel Estheréa is a fabulous choice here, or – on a higher budget – Pulitzer Amsterdam.

If you are planning several excursions outside the city, then you may want to stay closer to the Central Station. Park Plaza Victoria is a very popular hotel in this area. We once stayed at Hotel Mai in Chinatown just 5 minutes walk from the station; it’s also a good mid-budget option. There are many others too.

If you are planning to visit Rijksmuseum one day and Van Gogh Museum the next day as recommended in this itinerary, you may also consider staying closer to the Museum District. Park Centraal Amsterdam is a wonderful choice in this area. We recently stayed here and loved this hotel.

On a lower budget, check out ClinkNOORD Hostel across the IJ River from the station. It can easily be reached by the free passenger ferry that runs every couple of minutes. If you are looking for a hostel-type of lodging, The Flying Pig Downtown is one of the best-rated choices in a very central location.

LEARN MORE: Where to Stay in Amsterdam for First Visit

Flowers at the entrance of Pulitzer Amsterdam Hotel
Flowers at the Pulitzer Hotel Amsterdam.

So, this is our suggested itinerary for 3 days in Amsterdam.

I hope that this detailed guide will give you a better idea of what can be done in Amsterdam in three days. Once again, use this itinerary as inspiration and adjust it to your personal interests or ticket availability, and plan your own perfect trip!

TIP: Take a look at our tips for visiting AmsterdamThis article contains lots of useful information and tips to make the most of your first trip. Check it out!

More travel inspiration for Amsterdam & beyond:

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Amsterdam 3 days itinerary for first visit
Detailed first-timers itinerary for 3 days in Amsterdam, the Netherlands

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Monday 19th of February 2024

This is exactly what I was looking for. We will be in the summer in Europe and looking for options and recommendations. We don't like the one day-rush visit to cities, we try to maximized our time even if we don't have a change to visit a lot of cities/places. Only question we have is about the Red Light District, I am traveling with my wife and 2 daughters (15 and 18), is it ok to do a quick walk early in the evening?

Thanks in advanced for your advice and dedication.


Monday 19th of February 2024

Hi Oscar, sure, you can visit the Red Light District with your family. I get this question all the time and I always tell people that plenty of local families live in that area, there is even a daycare center right in the middle of it. It's a unique neighborhood, that's for sure, but it's totally safe to visit and we have walked through it with our (much younger) kids many times. The rest is all in your head and how you react to it. There is just one place in this itinerary that you can't visit with under 18s and that's Heineken Experience. Have a great trip!

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