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Top things to do in Amsterdam in 3 days

Amsterdam, known by some as sin city, is one of the most visited cities in Europe and welcomes many tourists every year. If you’ve landed on this page, you’re most likely interested in knowing the top things to do in Amsterdam in 3 days.

The capital of the Netherlands is characterized by having a very pleasant and youthful atmosphere. I always say that Amsterdam has a unique atmosphere. You will realize this as soon as you spend some time in the city. You can get to know the city from a boat or pedaling through its streets on a bicycle. I also recommend sitting near the canal to relax or visiting one of its many coffee shops. Amsterdam offers so many great activities!

Table of contents

Top things to do in Amsterdam in 3 days

Below, I’ll recommend some of the top places to visit in Amsterdam organized by days. Let’s begin!

Day 1: Amsterdam in 3 days

It is time to get to know Amsterdam’s city center!

Take a free city tour

amsterdam in 3 days
Dam Square

What better way to start your first day in Amsterdam than by taking a free tour? You will be able to learn more about the history and culture of the city. The tour begins near the famous Amsterdam train station and takes you through some of Amsterdam’s most emblematic places such as Dam Square, the Royal Palace, the New Church, Zeedijk Street, Oudekerk Church, Chinatown, the Jewish Quarter, the market of flowers, etc. The tour takes about 3 hours. There is not set price. You can pay a donation. You can book the free tour in advance.

Amsterdam City Center

places to visit in amsterdam
Amsterdam City Center

If city tours are not for you, you can also get to know Amsterdam’s city center by walking around its streets. You can start your visit at Amsterdam Central Station and go up to Dam Square via Damrak Street. Don’t miss the little houses on the other side of the jetty. Once you arrive at Dam Square, take a look at the National Monument, a monument dedicated to the Dutch soldiers killed in World War II, and the Royal Palace.

Other places you can visit during your trip to Amsterdam in 3 days in the center of Amsterdam are the Kalverstraat (shopping street), the flower market, the Waag (Amsterdam’s oldest non-religious building) and the Red Light District, which I will talk about later.

Eat at Magna Plaza Amsterdam

amsterdam in 3 days
Amsterdam in 3 days

I recommend eating at Magna Plaza Amsterdam. I discovered this place on my last visit to Amsterdam and couldn’t help but come back the next day. If you go up to the top floor, you can eat at one of the many international food stalls. Our choice was Sushito (poke bowls and sushi burritos).

Explore the Red Light District

red light
Red Light District

The Red Light District is the oldest district and most popular neighborhood in Amsterdam. Thus, all tourist who arrive in Amsterdam visits this part of the city. You’ve probably heard of the Red Light District in the past. There are many coffee shops, brothels, sex shops, and all kinds of museums. Keep in mind that photographing employees isn’t allowed.

The Red Light District has a fairly calm and friendly atmosphere during the day! By the way, don’t miss Oude Kerk, the oldest church in Amsterdam, and Warmostraat, the city’s first street. Strolling both day and night through the Red Light District is a must that you cannot miss on your visit to Amsterdam in 3 days.

If you want to know all the details about this neighborhood, I recommend taking a guided tour of the Red Light District. You will have the chance to learn about the history and legislation of prostitution and drugs in Amsterdam.

Take a boat tour in one of Amsterdam’s many canals

Amsterdam in 3 days
Amsterdam, The Netherlands

A great activity to do on your trip to Amsterdam in 3 days is taking a boat trip through its canals. The canals of Amsterdam play a major role in the history and culture of the city. Therefore, I cannot think of a better way to visit Amsterdam than through its canals. Don’t leave the city without doing it!

Most boat rides begin on the Damrak Street pier. You can buy the boat ticket on the pier or you can reserve it in advance. I recommend the 1 hour boat ride. You will visit places like Herengracht (the most luxurious neighborhood in Amsterdam), Keizersgracht or Prinsengracht.

You will also see Anne Frank House, the Floating House Museum, the Duif Church and the Palace of Justice.

Day 2 in Amsterdam

Let’s start with the second day in Amsterdam!

A walk through Jordaan Neighborhood and visiting Anne Frank House

Amsterdam in 3 days

You have to visit Jordaan Neighborhood on your trip to Amsterdam in 3 days. This neighborhood is known for its pleasant streets, restaurants and unique shops. It is also where Anne Frank’s house is located.

This neighborhood dates back to the beginning of the seventeenth century. For a long time it was home to many immigrants who came to the city. The living conditions were not good at the time. After several projects to renovate the neighborhood in the late 20th century, Jordaan caught the attention of artists, students, and other young professionals.

The old residents of the neighborhood had to move to other neighborhoods in the city. Today it is one of the most expensive neighborhoods in Amsterdam.

Places to visit in Jordaan Neighborhood are the following:

Westerkerk Church. Although the main church in Jordaan is Noorderkerk, the most well-known church in the neighborhood is Westerkerk. Its biggest attraction is the 85-meter tower with a great panoramic view of Amsterdam.

The 9 Streets. It is a great place to go shopping in Amsterdam. You can find fashion stores, restaurants, cafes, bookstores, decoration stores, etc. It is a place also visited by locals.

Anne Frank House. As you stroll through the Jordaan neighborhood, you will be able to visit Anne Frank House, one of the most visited places by tourists due to its historical importance. If you want to enter, I recommend buying the ticket well in advance, as they tend to sell out. You can buy it on the official website.

Anne Frank House
Anne Frank House

If you’re interested in knowing more about Jordaan Neighborhood, I recommend taking a guided tour through Jordaan and Vondelpark.

Museum Square, one of the best places to visit in Amsterdam in 3 days

Amsterdam's Museum Square
Amsterdam’s Museum Square

Whether you like visiting museums or not, you must visit Museum Square during your trip to Amsterdam in 3 days. The 3 most important museums in the city are located in this square: the Stedelijk Museum of Modern Art, the Rijks Museum and the Van Gogh Museum. I have only visited the Van Gogh Museum. I really liked it! If you are interested, you can book a guided tour of the Van Gogh Museum.

Until recently, the famous letters “I Amsterdam” were located in this square, which attracted many tourists. It is a much peaceful square and a more pleasant place to walk or rest since the sign was removed. If you are in Amsterdam and the weather is favorable, I recommend going to the central fountain and sitting on the edge. While we were there, we saw many people with their feet dipped in the water and we decided to do the same. It was so refreshing!

You can also book an 8-hour tour which includes a visit to Van Gogh Museum, Rijks Museum and a boat trip (includes food and guided tours).

Visit the Brouwerij ‘t IJ brewery

I’m not a big beer drinker. However, during my visit to Utrecht, I tried Brouwerij ‘t IJ beer and loved it. Once I left Amsterdam, I found out that the brewery was located in Amsterdam and that it is in the De Gooyer mill, the highest wood mill in the Netherlands. Well, it’s actually in the little building next to the mill, which used to be a public bathhouse. You can go to the factory for a beer. They even offer beer tasting and guided tours. Doesn’t that sound like a great plan?

Bike tour through Amsterdam

amsterdam in 3 days
Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Before I told you that there is no better way to visit Amsterdam than by boat through its canals. Actually, I can think of another way. By bike! The Netherlands is the country of bikes. In fact, there are more bikes than people. Can you believe it? If you want to feel like a local, you need to get on one of the city’s bikes and pedal through its streets. Rent a bike or take a bike tour around the city.

By the way, if you are a pedestrian, be very careful with people riding bicycles! The bicycle run over is the leading cause of death in the country… Just kidding! But really, be very careful because bikes rule the streets of Amsterdam.

↠ In your second day in Amsterdam, I recommend eating at Lombardo’s burgers. So good!

Day 3 of this Amsterdam in 3 days itinerary

On your third day in Amsterdam, I recommend taking a trip to one of the towns on the outskirts of Amsterdam or to a nearby city.

Take a day trip from Amsterdam

The best day trips from Amsterdam are the following:

Trip to Volendam, Marken, Edam and Zaanse Schans. Get to know the more rural Holland through 15th century houses, cheese factories and windmills thanks to this 8-hour tour. Book your trip here.

Trip to Rotterdam and The Hague. Another option is to visit the cities of Rotterdam and The Hague. I was in Rotterdam a few years ago and I loved it. The city isn’t beautiful but it is very interesting to visit it due to its modernist buildings and uniqueness. The Hague is a more elegant city and it plays an important role in the history of the country. Book your trip here.

Trip to the Zaanse Schans mills. Would you like to visit the famous Zaanse Schans mills? This guided tour takes you to the north of Holland to visit this popular site. You can also enjoy cheese tasting and learn about the making of the famous Dutch clogs. Book your trip here.

Trip to Giethoorn. This town is located in the north of Holland. It is known for its historic center that can only be accessed through its canals. You can enjoy a boat ride while you learn its history. Book your trip here.

Trip to Keukenhof. Do you like flowers? Then you need to go to Keukenhof. Here you can find a total of 7 million tulips, hyacinths and daffodils. Book your trip here.

Where to stay in Amsterdam if you are visiting for 3 days

amsterdam in 3 days
Hotels in Amsterdam

Search for hotels in Amsterdam.

If you are looking for accommodation for your trip to Amsterdam in 3 days, I recommend some of the best neighborhoods and hotels to stay in Amsterdam:

Stay in Jordaan

As I mentioned before, Jordaan is one of the trendy neighborhoods in Amsterdam thanks to its restaurants, cafes, charming shops and quiet streets. What was once a working-class and immigrant neighborhood has become one of the coolest neighborhoods in the city. It is located in the heart of the city, so you can get anywhere on foot.

– Average budget: Since1634.
– High budget: Hotel Mercier, Linden Hotel.

Take a look at all the hotels in Jordaan.

Stay in Oud-Zid

If your budget is low, I recommend staying at Oud-Zuid. It’s a touristic area with many things to do, such as visiting the most important museums in the city or strolling through Vondel park, but hotel prices are somewhat lower.

– Low budget: The Flying Pig Uptown.
– Average budget: XO Hotel Inner.
– High budget: Hotel TWENTY EIGHT.

Take a look at all the hotels in Oud-Zuid.

Stay in Dam or the Red Light District

If you want to be in the heart of Amsterdam, I recommend staying around Dam Square or in the Red Light District (not recommended if you are traveling with children). You will be in the center of Amsterdam. Of course, the accommodations can be somewhat more expensive.

– Average budget: Hotel Internationaal.
– High budget: Misc Eatdrinksleep.

Take a look at all the hotels in Dam and the Red Light District.

I hope this post about what to see in Amsterdam in 3 days has been informative and has helped you organize your visit to Amsterdam. If you have any questions, I encourage you to leave a comment or write me an email. Until next time, travelers!

↠ Book free tours and guided visits on Civitatis or GetYourGuide. I always use these platforms to check what organized activities there are at my destination.

↠ To pay with card in foreign currency or withdraw money from ATMs, I always use this card (there are free and paid plans). It works the best!

↠ Traveling with travel insurance to a destination where you don’t have healthcare coverage is a must. Get your insurance 5% cheaper with this link.

↠ If you want to have cellphone data at your destination from the moment you land and don’t want to waste time, there is nothing like this eSIM. Use the code “comeamaviaja” for a 5% discount.

↠ Check out Booking’s offers, a platform I always use, as I always find very good options thanks to its search engine with filters.

↠ For destinations where I need to rent a car, I always check Discover Cars and Auto Europe search engines. I recommend them!

↠ If you still need to buy flights for your trip, there is no better search engine than Skyscanner (although I always recommend booking the flight on the company’s website).

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