The Ultimate 3-Day Amsterdam Itinerary

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A Perfect 3-Day Amsterdam Itinerary for First-Time Visitors

If you’re looking to make the most of your three-day trip to Amsterdam, you’re in luck! I recently visited the city and have created the ultimate itinerary to ensure you see all the best sights. From cruising along the picturesque canals to exploring world-renowned museums and indulging in delicious local cuisine, this itinerary will provide you with an unforgettable adventure in one of Europe’s most charming cities, Amsterdam. Join me as we embark on this exciting journey!

Canal tour in Amsterdam

Canal tour in Amsterdam

Day 1: Exploring the City Center and Canals

On your first day in Amsterdam, start by exploring the city center. The best way to do this is by foot or, if you are adventurous, by renting a bike.  While exploring and traveling by bike is popular in Amsterdam it is not for the faint of heart!  The city does however have good bike paths and infrastructure. First start by visiting Dam Square, which is the heart of the city and home to the Royal Palace, the National Monument, and the Nieuwe Kerk.  From here, you can take a stroll along the pedestrian-only shopping street, Kalverstraat, where you’ll find a mix of international brands and local shops selling everything from souvenirs to gelato to clothing.

Next up, take a cruise through the canals.  It is a great way to see the city from a different perspective and to learn about its history and architecture. There are many different companies that offer canal cruises, so choose one that suits your preferences. Some cruises include food and drinks, while others provide audio commentary in different languages.  My preference is to take one of the smaller boats available as you are able to navigate into smaller areas.  A popular location for starting your canal tour is right in front of the Ann Frank house.

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Day 2: Museum Hopping

Start your morning with the Rijksmuseum, which is the largest museum in the Netherlands and home to over one million objects of art and history. The museum’s most famous painting is Rembrandt’s Night Watch, but there are many other masterpieces to discover.  You can purchase your tickets online ahead of time for a specific entry time.  Or let us book a private tour for you!


Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam

After visiting the museum you can take a break in the Rijksmuseum gardens which is behind the museum building.  Here there are flowers and fountains to enjoy and they have cold and hot drinks as well as snacks available.  It’s a delight to watch the children running in and out of the fountain.

Library at Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam

Library at Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam

Once you are rested up, head to the Van Gogh Museum, which is dedicated to the life and work of Vincent van Gogh. The museum has the largest collection of Van Gogh’s paintings and drawings in the world, as well as works by his contemporaries.

If you still have some energy left, while you are in the area you can check out the Heineken Experience. They offer tours of the historic building where Heineken started brewing their beer.  Self guided audio tours are available with cold tastes of beer afterwards.  They have several add ons to the tour including canal tours and VIP tours with a guide and additional beer tastings.

Day 3: Parks and Local Neighborhoods

On your final day in Amsterdam, spend some time in the city’s parks and local neighborhoods. Start by visiting Vondelpark, which is Amsterdam’s largest park and a popular spot for locals and tourists alike. The park has many paths for walking and cycling, as well as ponds, gardens, and cafes.

Next, you can head to the Jordaan neighborhood,  known for its picturesque streets, boutique shops, and art galleries. This area is a great place to wander around and get lost in the charm of Amsterdam’s architecture and culture.

Afterwards, head to the Anne Frank House, which is a must-see sight for anyone visiting Amsterdam. This museum is dedicated to the life of Anne Frank, a Jewish girl who hid with her family during the Nazi occupation of Amsterdam. The museum is located in the house in which Anne and her family hid.  It provides a moving insight into their lives during this difficult time.  Note that this museum sells out far in advance  can only be visited with a ticket bought online for a specific time slot.

Must-See Sights in Amsterdam

While this Amsterdam 3 day itinerary covers many must-see sights, if you have more time and energy, these are worth visiting. Some notable options include:

  • Stedelijk Museum: a museum dedicated to modern and contemporary art and design
  • Tulip Museum: located near the Ann Frank House, flower lovers can learn about the history of the tulip bulb in Amsterdam as well as its cultivation.  The shop there has lovely floral gifts, and bulbs.
  • Rembrandt House: Visit the home in Amsterdam where Rembrandt lived and worked.  Audio tours available walk you through is living quarters, art room and his studio where he taught students and created his masterpieces.
  • Jewish Museum: The Jewish Historical Museum is the only museum in the Netherlands to focus on Jewish history, religion and culture. The museum is located in a group of four historical Ashkenazi synagogues at the heart of the former Jewish quarter in the centre of Amsterdam. It has permanent exhibits  about the religion, its history and the persecution during the second World War as well as temporary specialty exhibits that may feature Jewish artists or authors.
  • Hortis Botanicus: One of the oldest botanical gardens in the world.  It features over 4000 plant specimens as well as a butterfly garden.  A must visit for garden lovers.
Tulip Museum

Tulip Museum in Amsterdam

Regional Culinary Delights

While traveling about on your Amsterdam 3 day itinerary be sure to taste many of the regions culinary treats:

  • Bitterballen

  • Raw Herring

  • Stroopwafel 

  • Croquettes 

  • Dutch Cheese

  • Ontibijtkoek

  • Stamp Pot

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