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4 Days in Amsterdam: Detailed Itinerary, Map & Tips (Perfect for 1st Trip)

4 Days in Amsterdam: Detailed Itinerary, Map & Tips (Perfect for 1st Trip)

Visiting Amsterdam for 4 days and wondering how to best plan your time and make the most of your trip? In this guide, we share a suggested Amsterdam 4 days itinerary based on our recent visit (and taking into account what can actually be done). It includes all the top sights, several amazing places that are usually overlooked by first-time travelers, and a few really nice tours that will make your trip even more special. Take a look!

The capital of the Netherlands, Amsterdam is a lively charming city that has a lot to offer to any type of traveler. With unique architecture, fascinating history, impressive landmarks, world-class museums, and countless fun attractions, you can easily fill four days in Amsterdam and never get bored.

In addition, it’s very simple to add at least one (half) day trip outside the city into your itinerary. On this particular trip, we opted to visit some windmills and a few of the nicest villages near Amsterdam. You will find this option described below, together with some alternative recommendations.

Our suggested 4-day Amsterdam itinerary shows you the very best of Amsterdam but also allows you to get a bit off the beaten path and truly experience the city.

Good to know: This itinerary is based on our personal experience and on what can actually be done. It’s quite busy but also not too packed. It takes into account opening times, walking distances, and the time you need to visit each place. We also include some alternative suggestions so that you can personalize and plan your own perfect trip based on what interests you the most.

To help you plan your trip to Amsterdam, you will find our interactive map indicating all the places mentioned in this article. That way, you will have a much better idea of how it all fits together.

And finally, on each day of this itinerary, you will also find our personal restaurant recommendations for dinner, as well as some tips on where to eat for lunch.

Amsterdam four days itinerary for first visit
 

PRO TIP: Where applicable, you will find practical info and tips on which tickets to prebook for the main signs in Amsterdam. Be sure to pre-book tickets to all the places that you absolutely want to see!!!

Some of the most popular museums in Amsterdam nowadays only sell tickets online, and they always sell out. Without advance reservations, you will not be able to visit certain places at all. Planning a spontaneous visit to Amsterdam as we used to do in the past is no longer straightforward.

The good thing is that by booking in advance, you can immediately see if the place you want to visit is open that day. That way, you can adjust your schedule where needed and can be sure that you will be able to see all the top sights that the city is famous for.

Where to stay: For this itinerary, we recommend staying in the heart of the city – the area between the Central Station and Rijksmuseum. Close to the station, we recommend Park Plaza Victoria Amsterdam. Closer to the main museums, we absolutely love Park Centraal Hotel.

YOU MAY ALSO LIKE TO READ: 1 Day in Amsterdam & 2 Days in Amsterdam

 
 

MAP of this 4-day Amsterdam itinerary

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

As you can see below, each day has a different color, so you quickly get a good overview of how this itinerary is structured. We tried to group the sites in the most logical way so that you can walk between the sights as much as possible. When possible, we also take into account the best times to be at each place.

Good to know: Please note that the hours in our itinerary below are only indicated for your reference, to give you a better idea of how you could plan your time. A lot depends on your choices and how long you spend at each place.

Of course, you can easily adjust this itinerary and swap things around. So use this just as inspiration for what can be done and adjust it to your interests. When planning your time, keep in mind the opening times of the attractions and be sure to check the availability of certain tickets or tours that we recommend before finalizing your sightseeing itinerary (and book them asap).

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 4 days in Amsterdam:

DAY 1

Central Station – Bike Tour (optional) – Canal Cruise – Damrak – Dam Square – Royal Palace (optional visit inside) – Begijnhof – Floating Flower Market – Cat Cabinet (optional) – 9 Streets – West Church – Anne Frank House.

DAY 1 planning info/ tickets to book:

  • City bike tour (optional) – if interested, you could do this popular bike tour (more info below). Book in advance!
  • Canal Cruise – we recommend this open-boat canal cruise starting from either Central Station or near Anne Frank House. In the colder season (or if you prefer a (semi) covered boat), take this classic canal cruise from the Central Station. This classic cruise is also included with this Amsterdam Pass which gives you access to the two must-see museums (see also day 2 of this itinerary for more info).
  • Royal Palace (optional) – tickets.
  • Anne Frank House timed-entry tickets are available about 6 weeks in advance and you absolutely have to book asap. If you can’t get the tickets anymore, check if this guided tour is available. It’s the only tour that includes a visit to the museum.

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

Amsterdam Central Station

9.30 AM

Start your visit to Amsterdam at the Central Station. The impressive Neo-Gothic/Renaissance-style building dates from the end of the 19th century and looks more like a palace than a railway station. It was designed by P. Cuypers, the same architect who also built the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam.

In many ways, Central Station is the tourist hub of Amsterdam. If you are arriving by plane + train from the airport or by train from Brussels, Paris, or London, this will be your first introduction to the city.

Most of the main highlights are within walking distance from the station and all kinds of activities start in this area as well. As you will see below, we recommend kicking off your 4 days of sightseeing in Amsterdam with a bike tour of the main highlights (optional), followed by a canal cruise. Both of these start just near the station – see further.

Amsterdam Centraal Railway Station building facade
Amsterdam Centraal Railway Station.
 

City Bike Tour

10 AM – 1 PM.

If you are fit enough for a bike ride, I highly recommend starting your day with this popular bike tour of the main highlights in Amsterdam.

It’s a good way to see a lot in a short time, get your bearings, and you can later revisit some of the places that interest you the most on foot if you feel like it.

Some of the places mentioned in our itinerary below are also covered by this tour. But you will also see several nice areas that are located a bit further away (such as Vondelpark or De Pijp, etc.). It saves you a lot of walking and is a great introduction to Amsterdam!

Good to know: This bike tour starts close to the cruise ship terminal, about a 10-minute walk from the station, and it takes about 3 hours. There are usually several bike tours a day, the first one starting at 10 AM. If you do it, you’ll be back at the station area at around 1 PM.

TIP: You could have lunch at the historic 1st-class waiting rooms inside the station (Grand Café Museum Restaurant 1e Klas), grab a quick bite along the way (there are many options at the station), or skip lunch altogether and book a canal cruise with some food included – see below.

ALTERNATIVE: If you are not interested in a bike tour (or are worried about biking in an unfamiliar city), simply continue with the rest of the itinerary below. In that case, start with the canal cruise in the morning. You’ll then have more time to visit a few other places during the day. There are also various walking tours available if you want to visit some of the main highlights with a local guide.

Amsterdam bike tour - biking over a traditional bridge in Westelijke Eilanden district in Amsterdam
Biking with a local guide is a great way to discover Amsterdam.
Brouwersgracht canal in Amsterdam
Brouwersgracht canal in the Jordaan neighborhood.
 

Canal Cruise

2 – 3 PM.

Next, it’s time to explore Amsterdam’s impressive canal system. Amsterdam has 165 canals extending for over 75 kilometers (46 miles) and the official city site says it has 1,753 bridges. They call it the Venice of the North but there are more canals and bridges in Amsterdam than in Venice…

Taking a canal cruise is really a must-do in Amsterdam! You will see some of the oldest and most prestigious canals in the city with impressive 17th-century buildings, sail on the Amstel River and admire many impressive bridges and crooked traditional buildings.

Good to know: There are many options for canal cruises in Amsterdam. This is the most popular traditional cruise starting from the Central Station. In the warm season, we recommend a cruise on an open-air boat instead.

TIP: If you don’t want to waste time for lunch, you can also opt for this canal cruise with a cheese and wine option.

No matter which canal cruise you choose, for this itinerary, be sure to choose one that starts at the Central Station, and be sure that the time suits your itinerary too! For example, if you are doing a bike tour, you could probably book a cruise no earlier than 1.30-1.45 PM. If you are not doing any tour in the morning, you can take the cruise at around 10 AM or even earlier if available.

READ ALSO: Amsterdam Canal Cruise: Tips & Useful Info

Canal cruise boat on Herengracht in Amsterdam
A canal cruise is a must-do in Amsterdam!
Old bridge on Amstel River - Amsterdam canal cruise
Old bridge on the Amstel River.
Boat tour on canals in Amsterdam - view from under the bridge
Boat tour on canals in Amsterdam.
 

Damrak

3.30 PM.

Damrak is the main street leading from the railway station to the historic old town.

As you leave the station and start walking southward, on your left, you will see some of the most-photographed crooked houses in Amsterdam.

Walking further, on the left side, you’ll find the impressive building of Beurs van Berlage, the historic Stock Exchange of Amsterdam. Nowadays, it’s an events venue.

On the opposite side of the street, check out the beautiful covered gallery called Beurspassage.

Amsterdam 4 days itinerary - Damrak
Damrak – one of the most photographed places in Amsterdam.
Amsterdam historic stock exchange Beurs van Berlage on Damrak.
Beurs van Berlage – the historic Stock Exchange in Amsterdam.
Beurspassage covered gallery in Amsterdam
Beurspassage.
 

Dam Square & Royal Palace

3.45 PM.

Dam Square is the historic heart of Amsterdam. Here you will find the Royal Palace, Amsterdam’s old Stock Exchange building, the New Church, and some popular attractions like Madame Tussauds or Ripley’s Believe It Or Not!

This area is also popular for shopping with some of the biggest main-street brands represented.

Good to know: If you are here in the afternoon, simply look around the square and move on. However, if you are not planning to take a bike tour in the morning, you will have plenty of time to explore this part of the city.

In that case, we highly recommend visiting the Royal Palace (see here for availability and tickets).

Alternatively, Madame Tussauds is always fun with many Dutch celebrities represented, from the Royal Family to Anne Frank or Van Gogh.

Royal Palace on Dam Square in Amsterdam
Royal Palace and Dam Square.
Amsterdam Royal Palace interior
Amsterdam Royal Palace interior – Photo packshot/Depositphotos.com
 

Amsterdam Begijnhof

4 – 4.10 PM.

Next, visit Amsterdam Begijnhof (Beguinage). You will find this type of architectural complexes in several places in the Netherlands and Belgium. In the past, they were built for beguines, lay religious women who lived in a community without taking vows or retiring from the world. So a bit like a monastery, but not quite as extreme.

The Amsterdam Begijnhof is a real oasis in the busy city center. Nowadays, it’s a residential area, and because of that, they only open it to the public during the day (usually between 9.30 AM and 6 PM). It’s free to visit.

TIP: Note the black wooden house in the corner of the square in front of the chapel (#34). This is one of the two oldest wooden houses in Amsterdam.

Amsterdam Begijnhof (beguinage)
Amsterdam Begijnhof.
 

Spui

4.15 – 4.25 PM. OPTIONAL

Just next to Begijnhof, you’ll pass a cozy square called Spui. On certain days of the week, there is an outdoor market here.

On Fridays, you can find a Book Market here. You’ll see all kinds of old books, posters, postcards, etc. On Sundays, there is an Art Market here, where you will find lots of local artists selling their works – paintings, photographs, sculptures, etc.

But even if there is no market, it’s worth passing by as there are some nice buildings on the square.

Spui town square in Amsterdam
Spui Square.
Spui book market in Amsterdam
Spui Book Market.
 

Kalverstraat, Heiligeweg & Munttoren

OPTIONAL

On the way to the Floating Flower Market, you could stop for some waffles or cookies on Kalverstraat/ Heiligeweg.

In this area, you’ll find some very popular places like van Wonderen Stroopwafels or Belicio Cheats cookie store (indicated on our map). However, these places are really touristy and it’s not uncommon to stand half an hour in a queue waiting for a super overpriced waffle. The cookies are actually better and there is usually no queue. If you like ‘Instagrammable’ food and it’s not too busy, you could stop for a few minutes here.

Just before you reach the Flower Market, you’ll see an old tower with carillon bells, Munttoren (Mint Tower). The original 15th-century tower was part of Amsterdam’s old city walls and was heavily damaged during the Great Fire. The tower you see today has been rebuilt in the 17th. Nowadays, there is a Delft porcelain shop here.

It’s just a short photo stop.

Munttoren in Amsterdam
Munttoren.
Colorful waffles for sale at van Wonderen Stroopwafels shop in Amsterdam
Colorful Dutch waffles for sale at van Wonderen Stroopwafels shop.
 

Floating Flower Market

4.30 – 4.45 PM.

Next, head to the Floating Flower Market. It’s located just 5 minutes walk from the Begijnhof.

This is one of the most tourist-oriented places in the city where you can also find flowers, but for the main part, it’s actually all flower bulbs and Dutch souvenirs.

The market is indeed built a bit over the Singel Canal, but once you are there, you won’t really see that it ‘floats’. For that, check the views from the other side of the canal.

Good to know: The Flower Market is open daily except on Sundays, typically until 5.30 PM.

Amsterdam Floating Flower Market
Floating Flower Market
Amsterdam flower market - souvenirs and colorful wooden tulips for sale
Wooden tulips and souvenirs at the flower market.
 

Cat Cabinet

OPTIONAL

If you are a cat lover, you may want to know that Amsterdam has a small museum dedicated to cats – the Cat Cabinet (KattenKabinet).

This is by no means a must-see in Amsterdam, but I was recently in the city with a friend who adores cats and the moment she heard me mention this museum, we just had to go see it. And she loved it! So if you are also a cat lover, you may want to check it out.

Inside, you can see all kinds of paintings, posters, and other artifacts with and about cats. They also have a Picasso drawing of a cat and a few other special pieces. And yes, there are also a couple of resident cats, but they are not always at home.

Good to know: Cat Cabinet is open daily except on Mondays until 5 PM. If you decide to visit and you are here in the late afternoon, come here first, before going to the Flower Market. You need about 20- 30 minutes for a quick visit here, so try to arrive at 4.30 PM at the latest. You can find more info and get tickets here. Normally, you should be able to just get a ticket on the spot as well.

KattenKabinet cat museum in Amsterdam
KattenKabinet cat museum is nice to see, but only a must for cat lovers.
 

Nine Streets

5 – 6 PM.

The 9 Streets (De Negen Straatjes) is a 6-block area of old streets in one of the nicest areas of Amsterdam’s Canal Belt (Grachtengordel). These narrow streets can be found between Leidsegracht and Raadhuisstraat (north-south) and Singel and Prinsengracht canals (east-west). (You can find it indicated on our map as well).

This area is known for specialty stores and quirky fashion boutiques, as well as vintage shopping. You will find a small bakery, the most popular fries in Amsterdam, and several cafes and restaurants here too.

Because most businesses are local and rather small, the 9 Streets area feels very authentic despite being extremely popular with locals and tourists alike. It’s a very nice place to walk around, do some (window) shopping, or sit down for a drink and do some people-watching.

De Kaaskamer cheese shop in 9 Streets in Amsterdam
Cheese shop on the 9 Streets.
Runstraat - 9 Streets Amsterdam
Runstraat, one of the famous ‘9 Streets’ in Amsterdam’s old town.
 

Anne Frank House

6 – 7 PM.

Anne Frank House is a museum dedicated to the Jewish girl Anne Frank and her diary that she wrote while hiding here with her family during World War ll.

This is one of the most popular museums in Amsterdam. So if you want to visit inside, you absolutely have to reserve your tickets as soon as they are released (typically 6 weeks in advance).

The good thing is that this museum is open quite late (normally until 10 PM), so if you are booking your tickets in advance, you should be able to easily find a timeslot that suits any Amsterdam itinerary.

Following this 4-day itinerary exactly as described here, you could come here at around 6-7 PM. But depending on the availability of the tickets, adjust your schedule as needed. Entry is timed and you need about 1 hour for a visit.

Good to know: The Anne Frank House has steep stairs and narrow passages, so keep this in mind if you have any mobility issues. There is no wheelchair access to the Secret Annex or the old part of the museum.

Also, pictures are not allowed inside the museum.

Anne Frank picture at Anne Frank House Museum in Amsterdam
Anne Frank House Museum.
 

West Church & Anne Frank Monument

7.15 PM.

The West Church (Westerkerk) is located right next to Anne Frank House. In the past, it was possible to visit its tower – Westertoren – but it’s being renovated and it looks like it will still take quite a while (see their website for updates).

TIP: Next to the southern facade of the Church, you can find the Anne Frank Monument. It’s a small statue and easy to miss if you are not specifically looking for it.

Good to know: If you are interested in seeing the interior of the church, it’s usually only open between 11 AM and 3 PM. In that case – or if you want to climb the tower when it opens up again (likely not before the end of 2024) – you will have to adjust this itinerary.

You could come here right after visiting Damrak and Dam Square and then go to the other places later – it’s all really close to each other.

Anne Frank Monument next to West Church in Amsterdam
Anne Frank Monument next to West Church.
Westerkerk (West Church) in Amsterdam
Westerkerk.
 

Dinner

7.30 PM.

There are many restaurants in the area close to the Anne Frank House. We recommend crossing the Prinsengracht canal to the neighborhood called Jordaan. This is where you’ll find some really good restaurants and avoid tourist-oriented eateries in the center.

TIP: We had dinner at Pesca (it’s indicated on our map) and it was one of the best restaurants we went to in Amsterdam.

It’s a seafood restaurant with a very unique concept. You first have to choose your food at the ‘fish market’. You are then guided to the wine sommelier who helps you choose the wine based on your food choices. You are seated at the table and they bring all the dishes in random order and the intention is that you simply share all the dishes together. The service and the food are amazing and we found that it was much more affordable than it looked like at first sight.

If you want to be sure to have a table here, be sure to book in advance! This counts for many of the better restaurants in Amsterdam.

Pesca Restaurant in Jordaan neighborhood Amsterdam
Fish ‘market’ at Pesca restaurant in Jordaan neighborhood.
Seafood at Pesca restaurant in Amsterdam
Seafood at Pesca. You can order small quantities of many different seafood dishes, so it’s an ideal place to try a bit of everything.
 

DAY 2

Van Gogh Museum – Vondelpark (optional) Rijksmuseum – Albert Cuyp Market – Heineken Experience – Moco Museum (optional) Leidseplein.

DAY 2 planning info/ tickets to book:

The second day of this Amsterdam itinerary takes you to Amsterdam’s famous Museum Square (Museumplein). There are many museums here. The two must-sees are Rijksmuseum and Van Hogh Museum, and you can easily visit them on the same day. You could also visit Moco Museum if interested.

Good to know: All these museums are open daily (except for some exceptional events or public holidays).

TIP: If you are planning to visit both – Rijksmuseum and Van Gogh Museum as well as take a classic canal cruise (not necessarily all on the same day), you can also opt for this digital Amsterdam Pass. It allows you to book timed-entry slots for all three attractions in one go.

If you don’t feel like visiting that many museums in a day, simply adjust this itinerary and visit one of the main museums (Rijksmuseum or Van Gogh Museum) another day. We grouped all these museums together purely based on their location as this would be the most logical way to see them all without having to walk too much.

 

Here is what your second day in Amsterdam could look like:

Van Gogh Museum

9 – 11.30 AM.

We recommend starting with the Van Gogh Museum first thing in the morning. This museum is very popular but the spaces aren’t very big, so it gets very busy during the day. Since they work with timed entry slots, it’s not too bad in the morning.

The Van Gogh Museum is a must-see in Amsterdam. After all, he is one of the best-known Dutch artists of all time.

This museum houses the world’s largest collection of Van Gogh’s art, with several hundreds of paintings and drawings. In addition, you can see fragments of his personal letters to his brother Theo. It’s a great place to really get to know Vincent Van Gogh and his art, beyond the most famous paintings.

Good to know: The Van Gogh Museum tickets are only available online and they always sell out. Furthermore, if you want to be able to choose the best time slot, you have to book well in advance. We recommend getting tickets for the earliest available time slot (usually 9 AM) and arriving at least 15 minutes before the museum opens.

TIP: For a small extra fee, you can get an audiovisual guide. It’s really worth it and makes your visit to the museum so much more rewarding.

LEARN MORE: Tips for Visiting Van Gogh Museum

Van Gogh Museum - Amsterdam 4 days itinerary
Van Gogh Museum is a must-see!
Young boy Portrait of Camille Roulin painting Van Gogh Museum Amsterdam
‘Portrait of Camille Roulin’ by Vincent Van Gogh.
 

Lunch + Vondelpark (optional)

11.30 AM – 1 PM.

You could have lunch at the Van Gogh Museum, at the Rijksmuseum, or at one of the cafes on the Museum Square.

TIP: You could also walk to the nearby Vondelpark, the main park in the center of Amsterdam. It’s nice to see, especially if the weather is good. And there is a cozy cafe where you could have some lunch.

However, if you do one of the bike tours mentioned on day 1 or day 4 of this itinerary, you will visit the park by bike (and save time and some walking on this day). Otherwise, it could be a nice addition to your itinerary.

Depending on what you decide to do for lunch, book your timed-entry ticket for the Rijksmuseum accordingly!

Good to know: We recommend just a very light lunch in between the two museum visits. There is a better place to eat that we mention a bit further in this itinerary – see the Albert Cuyp Market info further below. Since the market is not that far away from the museums, you could also go there for lunch. In that case, rearrange this itinerary. The distances aren’t huge so you could perfectly go there after visiting Van Gogh Museum and before going to Rijksmuseum.

Vondelpark gazebo in Amsterdam
Vondelpark.
 

Rijksmuseum

1 – 2.30 PM.

Rijksmuseum (or The Empire Museum) is the most important museum in Amsterdam. In terms of style and significance, you could compare it to the Louvre in Paris. However, it’s incomparable to the Louvre in size, and you can see the main highlights in just 1-1.5 hours.

Some of the must-sees here include ‘The Milkmaid’ by Johannes Vermeer and ‘The Night Watch’ by Rembrandt, along with yet another version of a self-portrait by Vincent Van Gogh

Many of the most important artworks are displayed close to each other in the room called The Gallery of Honour. Don’t miss the Cuypers Library too. It’s very impressive! You can also visit the gardens of the museum – they are open to the public and are free to visit.

Good to know: Also for the Rijksmuseum, booking timed-entry tickets in advance is a must! Here too, you can get an audiovisual guide and listen to some background information about some of the main pieces of the museum.

Amsterdam 4 days itinerary - Rijksmuseum is a must-see
Rijksmuseum.
Rembrandt's paintings at the Gallery of Honor in Rijksmuseum Amsterdam
Rembrandt’s paintings at the Gallery of Honor in Rijksmuseum.
Cuypers Library Rijksmuseum Amsterdam
Cuypers Library at Rijksmuseum.
 

Albert Cuyp Market

3 – 4 PM.

Albert Cuyp Street Market is an outdoor market located in De Pijp neighborhood, about 10 minutes walk from Rijksmuseum. Here you will find everything from clothing and souvenirs to Dutch cheeses, exotic fruit, and food from all over the world.

This bustling market is a great place to soak up a more local atmosphere in Amsterdam. This place is very popular with locals and tourists alike.

You can simply walk through the market or buy some souvenirs. But I highly recommend trying some Dutch specialties here as well. There is no better place in Amsterdam where you can find all the traditional foods in one place.

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

As already mentioned you could also come here for lunch, in between the two museum visits. In addition to all the market stalls and street food, there are several nice cafes and restaurants here as well.

Albert Cuyp Market in De Pijp neighborhood in Amsterdam
Albert Cuyp Market in De Pijp neighborhood.
Dutch souvenirs at Albert Cuyp Market Amsterdam
Dutch souvenirs at Albert Cuyp Market.
Poffertjes - Dutch mini pancakes at Albert Cuyp Market in Amsterdam
Poffertjes – Dutch mini pancakes at Albert Cuyp Market.
Fresh Dutch syrup waffles (stroopwafels) baked at Albert Cuyp market in Amsterdam
You can try some freshly-baked Dutch syrup waffles (stroopwafels) at the market.
 

Heineken Experience

4.30 – 6 PM.

You are probably familiar with the Heineken beer that can be found all over the world. The site of their original brewery in Amsterdam has been transformed into an interactive beer museum. Whether you are a fan of beer or not, it’s totally worth a visit (I don’t ever drink beer, but I absolutely loved the experience).

This is not a traditional museum – although you’ll start with the exhibits focused on the early days of the Heineken brand and the historic brewery. As you continue through the museum, you will learn more about the art of beer making, the ingredients, etc. The last part of the experience is much more contemporary with interactive exhibits and virtual reality experiences. And of course, you get to taste some cold beer.

Good to know: Heineken Experience doesn’t allow minors, so you have to be at least 18 in order to visit here. This experience is very popular, and most time slots sell out at least a few days in advance. So be sure to book timed entry tickets when planning your itinerary.

TIP: If you want to enjoy the views from their rooftop, you’ll need to get an additional ticket upon arrival (there are machines at the entrance). Buy it first before visiting the museum part, so that you are sure to be able to go up after your visit (they have limited numbers and the strangest rules about visiting hours/when you can purchase rooftop tickets).

Heineken Experience - 4 days in Amsterdam
The old brewing room at Heineken Experience.
Heineken beer tasting at Heineken Experience Amsterdam
Beer tasting at Heineken Experience.
 

Moco Museum

6 – 7 PM. OPTIONAL/ ALTERNATIVE

Moco Museum is located on the Museum Square, right next to Van Gogh- and Rijksmuseum. It could be a good alternative to Heineken Experience if you are traveling with minors, but you can also do both.

Featuring works of contemporary artists such as Banksy, Haring, Hirst, and many others, this is a very different museum experience from the others in Amsterdam. It makes art more accessible and will definitely appeal to kids and teenagers as well.

Good to know: Moco Museum is small so you don’t need that much time (also because it’s located so close to the others). Plus, it’s open late in the evening when all the other places are long closed, so it’s quite possible to add a quick visit here to your Amsterdam itinerary.

If you would like to see the untraditional works of some of the world’s most famous modern artists, Moco Museum is well worth it!

Also here, if you want to be sure to visit, it’s recommended to book your tickets in advance. But depending on the season and the time of the day, walk-ins should be possible too.

Moco Museum Amsterdam
Moco Museum.
 

Leidseplein & Dinner

In the evening, head over to Leidseplein (Leiden Square), just a short walk from Museum Square. This lively square has a very nice atmosphere, especially in the evenings.

Here, you can see the impressive building of the Internationaal Theater Amsterdam and one of the iconic Amsterdam hotels Hard Rock Hotel Amsterdam American (this area/hotel is also an excellent place to stay in!). Just nearby, there is a casino as well.

On the square, you can see The Bulldog Cafe and The Bulldog Palace. These iconic Amsterdam institutions are located in a beautiful historic building that used to house a police station.

You will find many other cafes and restaurants here too. In the warmer months, the entire square is lined with terraces and the nearby streets are filled with restaurants too. So the area around Leidseplein could be a very good place for a drink or even dinner.

You’ll need to reserve a table for dinner at the better restaurants, but many ‘simple’ places should be ok without advance reservations. Still, it pays to do some research because the choice is overwhelming and there is a lot of difference in prices and quality. If you want to be sure to dine at a specific place, be sure to reserve!

TIP: If you are nostalgic for American food, you’ll find Hard Rock Café nearby. For excellent Asian fusion food, try Momo Bar & Lounge located inside the Park Centraal Hotel. We recently stayed at this hotel and it became one of our absolute favorites in Amsterdam.

Restaurants on Leidseplein Amsterdam in the evening
There are many restaurants around Leidseplein.
 

DAY 3

Dutch countryside tour – A’DAM Tower – Eastern Docks and/or NEMO Science Museum (optional) – Red Light District.

DAY 3 planning info/ tickets to book:

  • Dutch countryside tour – there are many options for various durations and group sizes. We did this highly-rated tour because it starts very early (our tour started at 8.15 AM). Not only do you visit the most popular places without big crowds, but you still have plenty of time to explore more of the city in the late afternoon (we were back in Amsterdam before 3 PM).
  • NEMO Science Museum (optional) – timed-entry tickets.
  • Red Light District tour – there are several options. We took this popular tour and I can highly recommend it.

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

Countryside Tour: Zaanse Schans, Edam, Volendam, Marken

8 – 3 PM.

If you want to take a break from all the landmarks and museums in the city, you could escape to the countryside for a couple of hours. There are countless options as to where to go and what to see (a lot also depends on the season).

On this 4-day trip to Amsterdam, we opted for this guided tour to some of the nicest little towns and windmills near Amsterdam. We visited Zaanse Schans, Edam, Volendam, and Marken. It’s a very short visit where you basically just spend about an hour in each place. But it gives you a different perspective of the Netherlands, beyond the capital city, and we found it well worth it.

We opted for this tour because a tour like this is the only way to see all these amazing sites in such a short time. Plus, the proximity of these places to the city and the early departure time meant that we still had the whole afternoon to spend in Amsterdam upon return.

As mentioned, there are many alternatives for a (half) day excursion to the countryside near Amsterdam (both – with guided tours or simply going on your own by train or by bus). You can find some inspiration in our guide below.

READ ALSO: Best Places in the Countryside Near Amsterdam

Edam village excursion near Amsterdam
Edam village near Amsterdam.
Zaanse Schans windmills near Amsterdam
Zaanse Schans windmills.
 

A’DAM Lookout

3 – 3.45 PM.

Upon return to the city, you could easily visit A’DAM Tower, across the IJ River from the Central Station. For us, it was extremely easy to do since the tour ended in this part of town. So it was literally 3 minutes walk from the bus.

If you are coming back to the Central Station after your excursion, you can just hop on the passenger ferry that runs every couple of minutes between the station and the northern part of town. I indicated the location of this ferry on our map. The ferry ride takes just a minute or two and is free of charge.

A’DAM Tower is a project with different parts of the building used for various purposes such as a hotel, a music venue, etc. The main reason to come here is the A’DAM Lookout – the Rooftop experience.

There are several things that you can do here. First, enjoy the stunning 360° views of Amsterdam. Since the city is completely flat, you can see really far from here. Second, they have a rooftop swing where you literally hang with your feet over the edge of the tower. In addition, you can take a picture with giant A’DAM letters, and watch a short film about the history of the city and this tower.

There is also a rooftop bar – one inside, with panoramic views overlooking the city, and the other one outside, at the very top. It’s a nice place to sit down for a drink, rest your legs a bit, and enjoy the views.

Good to know: There is a fee to visit A’DAM Lookout and you can simply get the tickets on the spot. If you would like to come to the rooftop bar in the evening, it’s best to reserve a table since it tends to get very busy.

After your visit here, take the ferry back to the city center.

A'DAM Tower and passenger ferry from Amsterdam Centraal Station
A’DAM Tower and passenger ferry.
A'DAM Tower swing over the edge experience in Amsterdam
A’DAM Tower swing and city views.
Drink with a view at ADAM Lookout rooftop bar.
Drink with a view at the A’DAM Lookout rooftop bar.
 

Eastern Docks Island & NEMO Science Museum (optional)

4 – 5.30 PM. OPTIONAL

NEMO Science Museum is one of the best Amsterdam museums for families with children. It’s an interactive hands-on museum with a focus on science and technology.

This is one of those museums where you can play and experiment with the exhibits, and kids will love it. So if you are visiting Amsterdam with kids or teens, check it out!

Good to know: Also here, if you want to be sure to visit, you have to pre-book timed-entry tickets in advance.

TIP: Without kids, it’s still worth coming here to see the ship-shaped building and visit its rooftop terrace (accessible without a ticket).

In addition, as you walk to the NEMO Museum from the station, you’ll pass a nice modern part of town called Oosterdokseiland (Eastern Docks Island). When the weather is nice, you’ll see locals sitting by the water enjoying a drink or a snack and watching the ships go by. It’s nice to come here either way – even if you are not visiting NEMO.

Sea Palace floating Chinese restaurant on Oosterdokskade in Amsterdam
Sea Palace floating Chinese restaurant on Oosterdokskade.
NEMO Science Museum and pedestrian bridge - Amsterdam 4 days
NEMO Science Museum.
 

China Town & Nieuwmarkt

5.30 – 6 PM.

As you cross the canals and get back to the old town, check out the area between the Saint Nicholas Basilica and the Nieuwmarkt. The Red Light District is located here (more about it below), but there is more to see here.

To start with, you could check out the Basilica (from the outside if it’s closed). Next, head to Zeedijk, a narrow old street where you can see one of the two oldest wooden houses in Amsterdam (the other one is located inside the Begijnhof, mentioned on day 1 of this itinerary). As you walk further, you will pass Amsterdam’s China Town. It’s a very small area, with lots of (Asian) restaurants.

Finally, you’ll reach Nieuwmarkt Square. Here, you can’t really miss De Waag, a castle-like building that served as one of the city gates in the past. Nowadays, there is a restaurant inside.

On the same square, you will also find an outdoor market. Depending on the hour and the day, you’ll find different stalls here – from Farmer’s Market on Saturdays to antiques and flee market on Sundays in the summer, to a daily market selling a bit of everything… The market usually starts to close at around this time, so you may be able to appreciate the architecture around you a bit better.

Good to know: If you take the Red Light District walking tour that we did (see below), you will pass these places (and many more) with the tour guide as well.

One of the oldest wooden houses in Amsterdam - now Cafe In ‘t Aepjen, on Zeedijk 1
One of the oldest wooden houses in Amsterdam is located in this area.
He Hua Temple in China Town Amsterdam
He Hua Temple in Amsterdam China Town.
De Waag Amsterdam
De Waag.
 

Red Light District

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

End your day at the famous Red Light District in the heart of Amsterdam. This is one of the oldest parts of the city, also known as “De Wallen” with narrow streets and canals.

But most tourists mainly know this area for its nightlife, infamous coffeeshops, and legalized prostitution with distinctive red-lit windows where sex workers display themselves.

Prostitution is regulated in the Netherlands, and this district provides a safe and controlled environment for it. This is just one of the many Red Light Districts in Benelux, but it’s definitely the most famous one.

Nowadays, more and more women working here are moving away to the quieter side streets, and the area has more coffeeshops, stores, and unique museums. The Red Light Secrets Museum is the best one if you want to visit one museum in this area.

Good to know: The area is at its busiest at night and especially during weekends. Depending on when you visit, you’ll have a totally different experience.

TIP: If you are interested to know a bit more about this unique historic part of Amsterdam, consider visiting with a local guide. We recently took this highly-rated walking tour of the Red Light District and found it really educational and fun. Recommended.

Casa Rosso theater in Amsterdam's Red Light District
One of the canals of the Red Light District.
The Bulldog Red Light District - the oldest coffeeshop in Amsterdam
The Bulldog at the Red Light District is the oldest coffeeshop in Amsterdam. They have many more shops and cafes all over the city.
 

Dinner

The Red Light District is located just next to Amsterdam’s China Town, so you’ll find tons of good Asian restaurants nearby.

For a simple meal, head to a Thai restaurant called Bird. This restaurant was recommended to us by our Red Light District tour guide and it didn’t disappoint.

If you are looking for something a bit more special (and quite a bit more expensive), check out A-Fusion. This restaurant should definitely be reserved! We dined here on another occasion and the food was amazing!

Asian food at A Fusion Restaurant in Amsterdam
A-Fusion Restaurant – Asian food gourmet experience.
 

DAY 4

Excursion outside the city or bike tour off the beaten path – Lunch in Jordaan – Rembrandt House Museum – Jewish Neighborhood – Life of Anne Frank Walking Tour.

DAY 4 planning info/ tickets to book:

  • Excursion outside the city or bike tour (optional) – see below.
  • Rembrandt House Museumtimed-entry tickets.
  • Jewish Museum & Portuguese Synagogue (optional) – tickets.
  • Anne Frank Walking Tour – we took this amazing tour and truly enjoyed it.

There are so many ways how you could spend the fourth day in Amsterdam! So much depends on your interests and preferences. Below are some recommendations based on what we did on various trips.

Here is what day 4 in Amsterdam could look like:

Excursion Outside the City (optional)

In the morning, you could take another (half) day tour and explore some of the nicest places outside Amsterdam. Here are some recommendations:

  • If you want to see a smaller Dutch town without having to go far from Amsterdam, you could visit Haarlem. It’s less than 20 minutes from Amsterdam by train and you can easily see most of the main highlights in 3-4 hours. For a more special experience (and a slightly longer visit), Delft could be a great option, but it’s a bit further away (1 hour by train).
  • If you don’t care about spending more time in the city, you could also consider visiting Giethoorn. This is one of the most picturesque villages in the Netherlands with canals instead of streets. You’ll need to book a tour to get there without a car, and you should count 8-10 hours for a visit.

Alternatively, stay in the city – there are so many more amazing places to see and things to do on day 4 in Amsterdam! See below for our recommendations.

READ ALSO: Best Day Trips from Amsterdam

Keukenhof tulip garden near Amsterdam in the Netherlands
Keukenhof tulip garden near Amsterdam.
Royal Delft factory experience can be visited on a day trip from Amsterdam
Royal Delft Experience in Delft.
Haarlem town near Amsterdam
Haarlem town near Amsterdam.
Giethoorn village with canals instead of streets is a popular day trip destination from Amsterdam
Giethoorn village with canals instead of streets.
 

Bike Tour off the Beaten Path

+- 9.30 AM – 2 PM. OPTIONAL/ALTERNATIVE

If you rather explore the city of Amsterdam a bit more, you could consider this bike tour that takes you a bit more off the beaten path in Amsterdam. Some places covered are the same as the bike tour mentioned on day 1 of this itinerary, however. We recently did this tour and it was really nice to see some lesser visited places in Amsterdam that most tourists never get to.

However, if you take a bike tour on day 1 of this itinerary, it’s probably going to be very similar.

Alternatively, take a look at this amazing bike tour that takes you just a bit outside the city. On this tour, you explore picturesque villages and waterways of the Waterland district north of Amsterdam. This is an excellent option if you want to get a feeling of real Holland, beyond the busiest tourist attractions.

TIP: If you do any bike tours in Amsterdam, I recommend doing it in the morning. It will be much less busy on the roads in the morning than in the afternoon.

Amsterdam bike tour - 4 days Amsterdam itinerary
Biking off the beaten path in Amsterdam.
Het West-Indisch Huis in Amsterdam
Het West-Indisch Huis – former headquarters of the Dutch West India Company.
Bike in Vondelpark Amsterdam
Bike in Vondelpark.
 

Lunch in the Jordaan Neighborhood

Depending on what you choose to do in the morning, you could have lunch in the Jordaan neighborhood. Both bike tours mentioned above start and end very close to this area.

For some of the best apple pie in Amsterdam, head to Cafe Winkel 43 or Café Papeneiland. I’m sure there are many other places that have delicious apple pie too. It seems to be the locals’ favorite.

TIP: Alternatively, if you are not taking any tours in the morning, consider this highly-rated food tour of the Jordaan neighborhood. They usually have several starting times around lunch, depending on the season.

The nice thing about this tour is that you visit one of the most authentic areas in central Amsterdam with a local guide. Plus, you get to know the city through its food.

Dutch apple pie at Winkel 43 cafe in Jordaan area in Amsterdam
Dutch apple pie at Winkel 43 café in Jordaan.
 

Rembrandt House Museum

3 – 4 PM.

In the afternoon, we highly recommend visiting the Rembrandt House Museum. Located in the very house where the famous 17th-century painter lived at the peak of his career.

The house is beautifully restored and the museum is really well done. Plus, you get an audiovisual guide which makes a visit so much more interesting. You can see the rooms where the family lived, all kinds of objects collected by Rembrandt, and the studios where he worked. In addition, you can also admire many original paintings by the master himself.

This museum is one of my personal favorites. It’s small and immersive and you leave here with a much better appreciation and understanding of Rembrandt’s life and work. Since you only need max. 1 hour for a visit and the museum is located close to the other attractions that we recommend visiting later on this day, it’s really simple to add it to your Amsterdam itinerary.

Good to know: The museum is set in the original house and is therefore not very big, so if you want to be sure to visit, book your timed-entry tickets in advance.

Rembrandt House Museum - 4 days in Amsterdam
Rembrandt House Museum.
Titus at His Desk painting by Rembrandt in his house museum in Amsterdam
‘Titus at His Desk’ painting by Rembrandt. Titus was his son.
 

Jewish Cultural Quarter

4 – 5 PM.

Just a short walk from the Rembrandt Museum, you’ll reach a neighborhood where many Jews lived before WWII. There are several landmarks and places of interest in this part of Amsterdam, so you can decide which ones you want to see based on your interests. Here are some recommendations:

  • National Holocaust Names Monument. This unique monument can be found in a small garden near Hermitage Amsterdam. It contains the names of 102,000 holocaust victims who never got a grave. It’s free to enter and you can visit in just a few minutes.
  • Hortus Botanicus. If you are looking for a green space to escape the busy city, you can visit Amsterdam’s Botanical Garden. It’s really tranquil and rather small, but also very picturesque. Count 20-30 minutes for a visit.
  • Jewish Museum + Portuguese Synagogue. This museum has two main parts that you can visit, located just across the street from each other (and included in the same ticket). The main museum also has a fun section for children. You’ll need at least an hour for the museum and the Synagogue, so if you decide to visit here, skip some other places and adjust the itinerary accordingly.
National Holocaust Names Monument in Amsterdam, Netherlands
National Holocaust Names Monument.
Hortus Botanicus Amsterdam botanical garden
Hortus Botanicus Amsterdam.
Jewish Museum at the Jewish Cultural Quarter in Amsterdam
Jewish Museum.
 

The Life of Anne Frank Walking Tour

5 – 7 PM.

You could end the last day in Amsterdam with this amazing walking tour dedicated to the Life of Anne Frank and the history of the Jews of Amsterdam. We did quite a lot of tours in Amsterdam and I have to say that this one was absolutely brilliant.

The tour starts at the Jewish Museum, visits various landmarks (but not the National Holocaust Names Monument mentioned earlier), and ends at the Anne Frank House. It doesn’t include a visit inside any of the museums, however.

The starting and the ending locations are the main reason why we recommend doing this tour in this part of the itinerary. It’s the most logical way to do it. However, you could easily plan it for another day. It’s also perfectly possible to combine this tour with a visit to Anne Frank House (see day 1 of this itinerary for more information about the museum visit). Just make sure that the timing works out when booking tickets/tours!

Nooit Meer Auschwitz (Never Again Auschwitz) monument in Amsterdam
‘Nooit Meer Auschwitz’ (Never Again Auschwitz) monument in Amsterdam.
Jewish names on Stolpersteine stumbling stones in Amsterdam
Stolpersteine – stumbling stones with the names of Jewish people who were taken away from their homes by the Nazi regime. You will see these stones all over Amsterdam, they were placed in front of the houses where these people lived.
Anne Frank Huis sign (Anne Frank House) in Amsterdam
This small sign marks the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam.
 

Dinner

7.30 PM.

If you do the Life of Anne Frank walking tour mentioned above, it will end at the Anne Frank monument next to West Church. This is the same area where you ended your first day of this itinerary.

Once again, cross the canal westwards and head to the Jordaan neighborhood for dinner. There are so many nice restaurants here.

We had dinner at Cannibale Royale. Alternatively, check out Salmuera, just nearby. For more traditional Dutch food, you may want to try Café Restaurant De Reiger.

We indicated all these restaurants on our map. Whatever you choose, it’s best to reserve a table in advance!

Hamburger at Cannibale Royale Rozengracht restaurant in Amsterdam
Dinner at Cannibale Royale restaurant on Rozengracht.
 

Where to Stay for 4 Days in Amsterdam

There are so many amazing hotels in central Amsterdam that the choice can be overwhelming! Plus, the prices can be really high especially if you are booking just a few months before your trip.

For this itinerary, you could stay anywhere in the historic center or just a bit outside of it close to the Central Station. When choosing a location consider a few things. If you are taking at least a couple of tours outside the city and also one of the bike tours in the morning, then you may want to stay really close to the station – that way, you can just quickly walk everywhere you need to be. It’s also easy for arrival and departure.

Whereas if you are not doing that many day trips (or don’t mind taking a 10-minute tram ride once in a while), then you can also stay in the more ‘chic’ part of town, closer to the Museum Square or in the heart of the nicest part of the Canal Belt (around the 9 Streets). This area is not necessarily more expensive – it really depends on the availability when you book.

The most expensive is the area right in the middle between the two – around Dam Square and the 9 Streets. It’s also the most convenient area for anything you want to do in Amsterdam.

Our experience: On this 4-day Amsterdam trip, we stayed at Park Centraal Amsterdam, just next to all the museums. I couldn’t fault the hotel – we absolutely loved it! The location was great for all the sightseeing in the city too.

On another occasion, we stayed at Hotel Mai, in Chinatown, just 5 minutes walk from the station. We had a superior canal-view room and it was amazing. The location was excellent for all the day trips and tours.

Hotel Estheréa is right in the center between these two locations and is the perfect choice if you can’t decide on the area. It’s as central for everything as it gets.

On a lower budget, ClinkNOORD Hostel is one of the absolute top choices price/quality-wise. It’s located in Amsterdam North across the IJ River, but can easily be reached from the Central Station by the free passenger ferry in just a couple of minutes.

READ ALSO: Best Areas to Stay in Amsterdam for First Visit

Park Centraal Hotel lobby in Amsterdam
The lobby of Park Centraal Hotel where we stayed on this trip.
 

So, this sums up our recommended itinerary for 4 days in Amsterdam.

I hope that this very detailed guide will give you a better idea of what can be done in Amsterdam in about four days. Of course, you can also skip the places that don’t interest you that much and take it easier leaving more time to relax and explore deeper.

So use this itinerary as it is or adjust it to your interests and plan your own perfect trip!

TIP: Be sure to also take a look at our first-timer’s guide to visiting Amsterdam. It contains lots of useful information and tips for your trip. Check it out!

More travel inspiration for Amsterdam & beyond:

If you found this post useful, don’t forget to bookmark it and share it with your friends. Are you on Pinterest? Pin these images!

Amsterdam four days itinerary, perfect for first visit
Four days in Amsterdam itinerary
 

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Barbara White

Thursday 24th of August 2023

About how much would you suggest this all would cost (recognizing everyone is different in terms of how much to spend on food!). Writing from Canada where the current conversion is about 1.5 with our dollar. Trying to organize short trips from my 'bucket' list given a recent terminal diagnosis. Walk with a cane so likely just looking to see the city, some museums and offbeat things (the book and art marts sound lovely) - I have an off week so to speak from treatments and started to create a list and see what's possible :)

And, thanks for this lovely information!

Barbara White

Friday 25th of August 2023

@Jurga, thank you! your estimate on daily cost was in my ballpark! Thank you so very much.

Jurga

Friday 25th of August 2023

Hi Barbara, it's really impossible for us to give you any estimate of a trip cost. It depends on so many factors, such as when you travel, how long in advance you book, what deals you can get for the flights, which hotels you choose, etc. The biggest cost of a trip to Amsterdam (apart from getting there) is accommodation. Check Booking.com for your travel dates to get a better idea of how much you'd need. The prices of all experiences/tickets can also be found online. As a minimum, you'll likely need about 200-250 euro per day in Amsterdam (hotel, food, activities), if staying in a rather simple accommodation (and not sharing the room cost with anyone), visiting a few museums, and dining/lunching at decent but not too fancy restaurants. If you opt for a nicer hotel, you'll likely need that much for the hotel alone. If you opt for the cheapest hostel or stay outside the city center and eat in very simple places, you could do it for much less. You can make any trip as expensive or as cheap as you like, so it all depends on your choices. Hope this helps.

KIRAN OZA

Monday 26th of June 2023

Excellent information. Thank you

Jurga

Monday 26th of June 2023

Glad to help, Kiran. Happy travels!

Dennis Romano

Sunday 25th of June 2023

Jurga, Another excellent guide. We spent two days there after a Viking Rhine cruise last July and loved the city. We had been there before, but it was in 1973; we would like to go back. Viking had us stay in the beautiful Hotel Okura, not in the city center, but reasonably close, especially with the trams. We had one of the best Chinese dinners we've ever had nearby at Oceania.

We got back 3 days ago from a month-long road trip around the Italian lakes and Tuscany and are ready to go back to Italy. We used some of your resources on our trip. Thanks!

Jurga

Monday 26th of June 2023

Thanks for sharing your experience and for your kind feedback regarding our travel guides, Dennis. It's always great to hear from our loyal readers!

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