Home Family Travel 3 Days in Amsterdam Itinerary: See the Highlights, Skip the Rush

3 Days in Amsterdam Itinerary: See the Highlights, Skip the Rush

3 Days in Amsterdam Itinerary: See the Highlights, Skip the Rush

Amsterdam is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Europe, to the point that the municipality has started implementing a higher tourist tax and restricting trip ships. Maneuvering virtually the crowds to see the city’s highlights takes some whop planning (plus it doesn’t hurt to visit in the off-season!)

When researching our Amsterdam trip, I saw a lot of itineraries that jam-packed every second of the day. But that wasn’t the kind of trip I enjoy, so I built this 3 days in Amsterdam itinerary to make sure we could see the most important sites, but moreover have time to wander and relax, considering that what a municipality like Amsterdam is meant for.

Boat in waterway in Amsterdam - 3 days in Amsterdam itinerary

Amsterdam Itinerary in a Nutshell

I ripened this itinerary for our couple’s trip to Amsterdam, but it could hands be well-timed for families (although I wouldn’t suggest the Anne Frank house for children under 8), and I moreover have some suggestions on things to do in Amsterdam with teens in a separate post.

I’ll go into increasingly detail unelevated but here is a quick overview and a map of the places included:

Day 1:

  • Breakfast: Pancakes Amsterdam
  • Canal cruise
  • Fabel Friet
  • Skinny Bridge
  • Museum of Dutch Resistance WWII
  • (Optional Portuguese Synagogue)
  • Rembrandt Square
  • Flower Market
  • Book Market (on Fridays)
  • Dinner: Kantjil & De Tijger

Day 2:

  • Breakfast: Pancake Bakery
  • Anne Frank House
  • Westerkerk
  • Noordermarkt
  • Optional: Cheese Museum, Tulip Museum
  • Lunch: Winkel 43, New Dutch Amsterdam, or Banh Mi Deli
  • DAM Square
  • Nine Streets (De Negen Straatjes) (Optional: Joordan)
  • Dinner: Moeders or Smelt

Day 3:

  • Brunch: Collins West
  • Rijksmuseum
  • Back to Black Coffee Shop
  • Van Gogh Museum
  • Optional: Vondelpark
  • Dinner: Jansz

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3 Days in Amsterdam Itinerary

Pink flower velocipede on waterway in Amsterdam

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This Amsterdam itinerary presumes that you have three full days and three nights to spend in the city. For our trip, we went over a holiday weekend so we only had to take one day off of work, leaving Thursday night from Boston, arriving Friday morning, and flying home on Monday.

Of course, if you are traveling from elsewhere in Europe, you won’t be nearly as jet lagged on your first day!

Day 1: Welcome to Amsterdam

If you are flying from the United States, you will likely victorious fairly early in the morning. The trip from Amsterdam Airport Schiphol to the municipality part-way is only well-nigh 20 minutes by car. You can take public transportation but it takes longer and without a long flight, and I like my inrush to go as smoothly and quickly as possible. I booked an airport transfer with Welcome Pickups. I’ve used them in many cities and they are unchangingly on-time and ultra-professional with very nice vehicles.

You will be tired when you arrive, so you don’t want to typesetting too many scheduled activities, but you moreover don’t want waste your day. The weightier way to get over jet lag (beyond getting some sleep on the plane), is to take a walk in the fresh air.

I’d recommend staying in the Centraal neighborhood and the zone on Prinsengracht is a perfect location. We stayed at the Andaz Amsterdam Prinsengracht and veritably loved it, but increasingly on that later.

Start off with a nice walk withal the canals to breakfast. The Netherlands is famous for its Dutch pancakes, so you need to try as many as you can. Our plan was to go to Pancakes Amsterdam, but the location by our hotel was sealed for renovation, but there is flipside near the Anne Frank House. We didn’t have quite unbearable time to go that far so we ended up with a quick zest at Joe & the Juice.

Leemstar waterway wend in Amsterdam

Once satisfied, I highly recommend taking a waterway wend tour through the city. This is the perfect way to start to get a finger for the canals and landmarks, as well as learn a bit well-nigh Amsterdam’s history. There are many types of waterway wend cruises and most of them leave from the zone near the Centraal Train Station. However, I’d suggest a archetype wend that hosts smaller groups for a increasingly intimate experience.

I booked with Leemstar, considering it leaves right from the Andaz hotel dock. Leemstar’s Signature Amsterdam Discovery Trip takes a maximum of 12 people on a 90-minute tour that kicks off with a matriculation of Prosecco. Since we were visiting Amsterdam in January, we ended stuff the only guests on the 11:00 a.m. tour and therefore got a private tour!

After exploring Amsterdam by boat, you will probably be a little hungry. If you want to find a good place in Amsterdam, just squint for the lines out front! (It is kind of like Japan in that way.) Just virtually the corner is one of the most famous frites stands in the city. Scan the QR lawmaking for the menu at Fabel Friet and hop in line considering it moves quickly. Grab your fries and find a spot by the waterway to watch the boats go by while you enjoy your snack.

Fabel freist with truffle mayo

If you need something sweet, pop into Banketbakkerij Het Koekemannetje next door for some freshly-baked cookies or shop for some cheese at the De Kaaskamer cheese shop (you will reservation a whiff of the cheeses as you walk by the unshut door.) If you don’t taste any local cheeses here, don’t worry, you will see Henri Willig cheese shops all over and they have plenty of samples to nibble on.

You may be tempted to go when to the hotel and nap, but try if you can to stay awake just a while longer. Walk withal the Singel Waterway to the Bloemenmarkt (Flower Market). This is a little disappointing as it is mostly a row of nondescript flower shops selling tulip bulbs (that we were warned often don’t come up), but maybe it is prettier in the spring.

Rembrandt square in Amsterdam

Next you will come to Rembrandtplein, which is a large square that is surrounded by bars and restaurants. If you spot one of the locations of Heinen Delfts Blauw, this is a good spot to shop for pure hand painted Delft pottery (and some imported stuff too.)

Cross over the Amstel River via the trappy Blauwbrug Bridge, which has a nice view of the Skinny Bridge to the south. You will then throne into what was the Jewish neighborhood, where you can see the Portuguese Synagogue (closed on Saturdays and closes early on Fridays), the Jewish Museum, the Holocaust Monument, and the Auschwitz Memorial.

I had hoped to visit the National Holocaust Museum but that is currently closed. Instead, we visited the Verzetsmuseum Amsterdam, which is the Museum of WWII Dutch Resistance. This museum does a unconfined job telling the history of The Netherlands during WWII and the many forms of resistance attempted by every day citizens.

Glenn in Dutch resistance museum

I think it was a good museum to set the stage for visiting the Anne Frank House, expressly for those that don’t know as much well-nigh World War II and the Holocaust. The museum was very interactive, with short films, touch screens, and engaging exhibits. It would be towardly for kids over eight to ten, depending on the kid. If you aren’t interested in this history, you could moreover take this time to explore the Red Light District on a tour or on your own.

If you are a typesetting lover and visiting on a Friday, you may want to stop at the Amsterdam Typesetting Market in Spui Square on your way when to the hotel. This reminds me of typesetting markets in Bordeaux or the small shops withal the Seine in Paris, with various sellers of used and collectible books. There are moreover a number of bookshops in the area. If you are hungry on the way, you may want to stop for stroopwafels. Van Wonderen Stroopwafels requirement to be the world’s weightier and there is often a line out the door. Personally, I thought they were fine, but REALLY overpriced at €10 a pop!

Van Wonderen Stroopwafels in Amsterdam

You will be happy to go when to your hotel for a quick nap and a shower surpassing dinner considering by this time the jet lag is probably hitting hard! I’d suggest something unstudied for dinner and if you eat on the older side in Amsterdam, you can stave the crowds, but I’d still suggest making reservations.

In specimen you weren’t aware, the Dutch East Indies, which was a Dutch colony, refers to Indonesia and therefore, you will find a lot of Indonesian supplies in the city. Since we don’t have those options at home, we were happy to try the Rijsttafel menu at Kantjil & de Tijger, expressly since it was such a short walk from our hotel.

Day 2: Anne Frank | Centraal | Joordan

I would have loved to take a supplies tour, but unfortunately my favorite supplies tour company, Devour Tours, didn’t have any running during January or February, but it is something you can squint into — just plan superiority so you can typesetting your Anne Frank House tickets accordingly.

Lemon and world and salary pancake at the Pancake Bakery

Instead, we started our day with pancakes — of undertow — at the Pancake Bakery located in a 17th Century warehouse very tropical to the Anne Frank House. We were worldly-wise to walk right in, but you may want to typesetting a table in advance.

One thing you will need to do six weeks surpassing your visit is purchase your timed-entry tickets to the Anne Frank House. Tickets go on sale every Tuesday at 10:00 am CEST for a visit in six weeks. Set a reminder (or an alarm) and typesetting as soon as possible considering they veritably will sell out, plane in low season.

I recommend booking an early time slot. One thing you will soon notice well-nigh Amsterdam is that the locals get a late start (some breakfast places don’t unshut until 8 or 9 a.m.), but the visitors still hit the streets by 9 or 10 a.m. When you purchase your tickets, you will have a nomination to buy just the self-guided visit with an audioguide or a ticket that includes a 30-minute program surpassing you take the self-guided tour.

Anne Frank Museum

If you have not read the Diary of Anne Frank, I would suggest booking the program. They bring you up to a classroom and walk you through the timeline of the Franks’ life in Amsterdam and their time in hiding. You can moreover see a replica of her original diary and take pictures in this room (no photos are unliable in the museum or house itself.)

Again, I wouldn’t recommend visiting with children under eight, but there were only one or two images in the introductory films in the museum which were graphic and included pictures from concentration camps. Visiting the museum and walking through the towers where the families hid, imagining that many people living in what are now just empty rooms is moving and powerful, as you would expect.

It can be nonflexible for some to imagine the horrors of the Jewish people trying to survive under the Nazi regime but seeing this through the vision of a young girl hopefully humanizes it for visitors and creates a deeper understanding of what happened.

The Westerkerk (church) is right next door if you want to take a look. The front was covered in scaffolding when we visited so we didn’t squint to see if there was still a way inside. Instead, we crossed the Prinsengracht waterway and walked up to the Noordermarkt, which is a farmer’s market and vintage market that is held every Saturday. This is a fun way to mix with locals and maybe find some interesting souvenirs.

Cheese stand at Noordermarkt

In that zone you can moreover pop into the Amsterdam Cheese Museum, where they offer tastings, or the Amsterdam Tulip Museum. This shop sells bulbs (and tells you how and when to plant them based on where you live) and tulip-related souvenirs. But you can moreover pay €5 to visit the small but interactive museum downstairs, which tells the history of tulips in The Netherlands. Did you know that most tulips are native to the Himalaya region?

By then, you may be getting hungry again. You can stop at Winkel 43, which is famous for its world pie, but if the line is too long, New Dutch Amsterdam is tropical by and has a good brunch/lunch. For something increasingly casual, I’ve heard that Banh Mi Deli has wondrous sandwiches, but it is mostly take out and you need to find a spot by the waterway to eat.

After lunch, I’d suggest heading into the municipality part-way and visiting DAM Square. From here you are only five minutes up Damrak to Inside Station and very tropical to a number of museums such as Madame Tussaud’s, Ripley’s Believe it or Not, and not too far from the NEMO Science Center, all fun options when visiting with kids.

The square is moreover surrounded by important landmarks such as the Royal Palace (Koninklijk Palace), which is no longer home to the Dutch Royal family, but is still used to hold official receptions. The New Church (Nieuwe Kerk) is moreover used for art exhibitions, and Beurs van Berlage, an old stock mart building, which is now used as a concert hall and an exhibition space. In the square you will moreover see the National Memorial statue, built in the memory of Dutch soldiers and members of the resistance who died in World War II.

If you want to pack your day, you can certainly take in some of these sights, or explore the Red Light District. However, I think it is nice to use the rest of the day to wander the small streets and canals, soak in the atmosphere, and maybe do some shopping withal Kalverstraat in the municipality part-way where you will find many global brands, or the cuter, increasingly unique malleate boutiques in the Nine Streets (De Negen Straatjes). You can moreover wander through the hipster residential neighborhood of the Joordan.

crooked buildings in Amsterdam

Take some time to relax surpassing heading when out for dinner (remember to make reservations in advance!) For traditional Dutch cuisine (think meat and potatoes), throne to the quirky Moeder’s Restaurant. Moeder ways mother in Dutch and the restaurant’s walls are lined with photos of mothers. You will find a mix of locals and visitors but it is far unbearable off the tamed track to not finger touristy.

Another unconfined option is Restaurant Smelt, near the Andaz. This is a small, cozy fondue restaurant that serves a variety of variegated fondues and appetizers such as charcuterie, paired with a nice wine list. The Dutch-style fondue was definitely my favorite! We ended up going here for lunch and Moeder’s for dinner.

Day 3: Museums

Rijksmuseum from the outside

Today is your day to tick off some of Amsterdam’s most famous museums. Start off with a succulent Middle Eastern-style brunch at Collins West (or Little Collins if you are staying closer to De Pijp.) You can make a reservation but if you go early, this hipster hot spot isn’t crowded.

Next, reserve your timed-entry ticket to the Rijksmuseum for a morning time slot (we picked 11 a.m.) to stave the crowds that gather mid-day. You can pay uneaten for the audio guide, but I’d recommend just downloading the official app in whop and bringing withal your own ear buds. It is the same as the audio guide device. The app allows you to select from a variety of preset tours, depending on your interests and how much time you have.

We were worldly-wise to well-constructed the highlights tour in just under an hour. The Rijksmuseum houses over 8,000 Dutch and European artworks from wideness 800 years of history including Rembrandt’s “The Night Watch,” Vermeer’s “The Milkmaid,” and Van Gogh’s self-portrait.

After the Rijksmuseum, you can take a little time to wander through Vondelpark or get a zest to eat surpassing hitting flipside museum in the Museum Quarter. We walked over to the cozy Back to Black coffee shop, which is a local hangout for pour-over coffee, tea, and baked goods. if you are lucky, you can get a seat near the very docile sideboard cat.

Before you leave Amsterdam, you should trammels out the Van Gogh Museum. Dedicated to the works of Vincent Van Gogh and his associates, the museum provides insights into the timeline of his troubled life and the stages of his work. It can be a bit challenging to interpret all this on your own, considering the museum does get very crowded.

I would highly recommend booking The Well-constructed Life of Van Gogh: Closing Time at the Museum tour with Take Walks. We had an spanking-new guide in Eduardo, who taught me increasingly well-nigh Van Gogh than I had previously overly learned, plane at the interactive Van Gogh exhibits. I unchangingly find it very helpful to have a guide in a rented museum to help tell the stories overdue the art and the versifier and highlight some of the most notable pieces. I never took art history but I’ve learned so much by visiting museums virtually the world this way!

I understand though that art museums aren’t for everyone so if you want to take your third day in Amsterdam to do increasingly exploring, there is still plenty to see! You can take the ferry over the NDSM Wharf, which was a former shipyard and it has wilt a cultural hotspot with a vibrant versifier polity and plenty of bars and restaurants. Our waterway wend pilot suggested eating at Pllk, which is made out of old shipping containers and has superstitious views (probably unconfined in good weather.)

You could moreover trammels out the Albert Cuyp Markt in De Pijp or the Heineken Experience (for those over 18). If you are visiting in spring, consider taking a day trip to see the flower fields (you need to plan this in advance) or the windmills.

Finish your time in Amsterdam with a special meal at Jansz Amsterdam, which offers modern Dutch cuisine in a sprawling space wrenched into multiple rooms to still alimony an intimate feel.

This three day Amsterdam itinerary will let you see all the highlights, but still have time to be spontaneous and enjoy exploring or relaxing. If you stay in a variegated area, you may want to swap out some restaurant suggestions or reorder, but this guide takes you through each of the main neighborhoods in inside Amsterdam.

Where to Stay in Amsterdam

I loved our stay at the Andaz Amsterdam Prinsengracht, which I booked using some of my World of Hyatt points. The location is veritably perfect for exploring the municipality on foot. I was so impressed with the level of service and the room size and suavities (including a complimentary mini bar.)

The rooms aren’t platonic for families and I’m not a huge fan of the unshut washroom floorpan, but it still worked well for a couples trip to Amsterdam.

Find other places to stay in Amsterdam:

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If you are planning three days in Amsterdam, this itinerary lays out a day-by-day plan that covers the highlights but moreover gives you time to be spontaneous and enjoy the city. Just what you need to plan your vacation to The Netherlands

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