Are you trying to figure out how many days you should spend in Amsterdam during your next trip?
You need two to three days in Amsterdam to see all the city highlights. In two days, you can easily visit the famous museums, traditional areas Jordaan en De Pijp, and go around the city via the renowned canal belt. When you want to explore Amsterdam’s countryside, visit the beach or Keukenhof, it is recommended to add a third day to your itinerary.
Amsterdam is one of our favorite cities in our home country. In the next article, we will explain how to fill in your days in Amsterdam. Of course, we added the famous city highlights, but also some unique local tips. Let’s find out!
Three Days in Amsterdam
Amsterdam has a lot to offer. The capital of The Netherlands is even more famous than the country itself. Both the city of Amsterdam and the country are great to visit. Later in this article, we will also tell you how to extend your stay in The Netherlands, in case you want to explore more of the country. But first, let’s dive in this three-day itinerary for Amsterdam!
Day one in Amsterdam
When you first arrive in Amsterdam, our best advice is to explore the city. Take your time to get to know the historical center and traditional neighborhoods. And the best way to do this? Via a canal tour, renting a bicycle, and a guided tour through the areas Jordaan and de Pijp.
Canal Tour Amsterdam
The city of Amsterdam is, for a large part, built on watery lands. During the heydays in the 17th century, when the city expanded rapidly, the government dug out the now-famous canal belt. The most important reasons to dig out the canals was to protect the city of flooding and to efficiently transport products and employees to the nearby ports.
The canal belt, in dutch Grachtengordel, is a Unesco World Heritage site since 2010. The area consists of the main canals Keizersgracht, Herengracht, and Prinsengracht. And many smaller canals that are all connected with the main canals. Alongside the canals, you’ll find many unique canal houses. These were mainly large, luxury homes for wealthy families or warehouses for different companies.
A canal tour exploring the city can take up to two hours. It is recommended to book your tour in advance, which is more convenient when you don’t have much time.
Jordaan & De Pijp
The most famous and traditional neighborhoods in Amsterdam are Jordaan en De Pijp. In both areas, you can still visit the authentic Amsterdam culture.
Jordaan is de the oldest neighborhood. Jordaan is built in the 17th century, during the time that Amsterdam was rapidly growing. It was necessary to create this area to provide housing for new citizens. Jordaan area is a real folk-neighborhood with small streets and many local cafes. The houses in the area were small, and people lived outside. They came together in the streets and in cafes talking and singing about everyday life. It is in this area where the famous Amsterdam folk music is born.
The other authentic neighborhood in the historical center of Amsterdam is De Pijp. This area is much younger though, built in the 19th century. Again to accommodate a rapidly growing population. Over time, Amsterdam had developed itself as a liberal city, accepting people from all kinds of nationalities and backgrounds. When you look at the architecture in De Pijp, you’ll also notice that the area was quickly built with smaller houses to accommodate as many people as possible.
Amsterdam’s folk-music genre became more and more popular after De Pijp was finished. The most famous folksinger ever lived, André Hazes, came from this area and even has its own statue there.
Some of the most essential city highlights are to find in the areas Jordaan en de Pijp. In Jordaan, you’ll find Anne Frank’s House. Whereas Albert Cuyp Market and Heineken Experience both located in the De Pijp area.
It is great fun and interesting to explore this area via a guided tour with a local guide. This way, you learn the highlights and history of both areas fast, and you’ll visit some unique local tips you otherwise might miss.
Exploring Amsterdam by Bicycle
In The Netherlands, we are known to travel around with our bicycles. The country is not small, so it is easy to get around and most of the time even faster than traveling by car! So visiting Amsterdam, it is a must to explore the city in the Dutch way and rent a bicycle!
Cycling around the city is straight forward. Just make sure to follow the designated paths, and only cross the streets when the traffic lights are green. There are many shops in the city where you can rent a bicycle. We recommend MacBike close to the Vondelpark and Museumplein. They have over 30 years of experience and also offer guided cycling tours through the city.
A great tour around the city is to start at Vondelpark and go clockwise around the city. Visiting Jordaan, Red Light District, DamSquare, Leidseplein, De Pijp, and Museum square. You’ll end your cycle tour in Vondelpark again.
Time schedule day 1
Most areas in Amsterdam are more fun in the afternoon and evening. So we recommend this time schedule to get the most out of your day.
- Morning – Bicycle tour
Take the morning to go around the city on your rental bicycle. Make sure to stop for a coffee at Albert Cuyp Market. You can also buy some freshly made sandwiches here for later. Leidseplein and Red Light District are great to cycle around, but both areas that are more fun visiting late afternoon and the start of the evening. Finish your cycle tour in Vondelpark and find a spot in the park to enjoy your lunch, which you bought on the market. A morning spent like a local! 😉
- Afternoon – Guided Tours
Hop on a canal boat for a round tour through the Amsterdam Canal Belt. And explore the city from the water. Make sure to hop off at the Jordaan area, where you can start your guided tour. Plan a guided tour through Jordaan and the De Pijp and learn more about the traditional neighborhoods of the city. Ask if the guided tour can end at Cafe Nol, the most famous cafe in Jordaan, where you can stop for some drinks and traditional folk music.
- Evening – Leidseplein
After having some drinks at the Jordaan area or at the De Pijp, we recommend you visit Leidseplein and have some dinner at one of the many places you find in the surroundings. Walk around Red Light District and go for drinks to Leidseplein.
Day 2 Museums of Amsterdam
Amsterdam is home to many world-famous museums. Exploring the most important museums will take at least one day. It is recommended to buy some tickets in advance so you can skip the line. Also, for some museums, it is only possible to buy your tickets online.
The museums you should definitely consider for a visit are;
The collection of Rijksmuseum is dedicated to the Dutch masters of the 17th century and later. The museum has also some other exhibitions on display. However, it is famous for its extensive collection of Dutch art.
When you’re interested in Dutch history, a visit to Rijksmuseum is a must. You can learn more about how the country developed by looking at the art collection. Many paintings tell the stories of important events over time.
The most famous painting on display is Night Watch made by Rembrandt.
Anne Frank’s House
A museum that is not only Dutch but also considered world heritage. I think almost everyone knows the story of Anne Frank. The Dutch/Jewish girl that need to hide with her family for the Germans during the Second World War. Anne Frank wrote a diary during that time, which was found later after the war. To the end of the war, she was captured from her hiding place and put in a concentration camp. Where she died in an unfortunate way.
Anne Frank’s House is a museum in her former hiding place. Dedicated to the life of Anne Frank and to learn people of the horrible way pay lived during this period.
Visiting the Anne Frank House, you must buy tickets online. Check their official website for the latest information.
Van Gogh Museum
One of the greatest painters ever lived is Vincent van Gogh. Van Gogh spent his years between The Netherlands and France and lived an unfortunate life. He was not recognized for its unique works, and also suffered from different depressions. Which ended in his suicide at the age of 37. In the few years he lived, van Gogh produced over 2100 paintings. He is known as one of the influencers of modern-day art.
The van Gogh museum at Museum Square is dedicated to the works and life of Vincent van Gogh.
These are just a few interesting museums which you can visit while in Amsterdam. Visiting these three museums will take up almost your whole day, though. You might be interested in other museums in Amsterdam or more details about the city. Make sure to read our article What is Amsterdam Best Known For? Where we explain all the city highlights.
Day 3 – Visit Amsterdam Surroundings
Interested in exploring more than the big Dutch city? Amsterdam is ideally located to explore the Dutch countryside, the beaches, and some unique villages. Depending on the time of the year you’re visiting The Netherlands, we can recommend different day trips for your third day in Amsterdam.
Keukenhof & Flower Fields
Best time to visit: between April and May
Keukenhof is the most extensive flower garden in the world. It started many years ago as a live catalog where the Dutch flower farmers could showcase their best products to the world. Since then it developed in one of the largest tourist attractions of The Netherlands. A must visit while in the country!
Every year over 7 million flower bulbs are planted in different patterns in the garden. The flowers flourish between April and May. Beautiful to visit the sea of flowers.
The flower fields close to Keukenhof, where the farmers grow their flowers, are flourishing in the same period. Talking about a sea of flowers, these huge fields with tulips and other flowers in different colors are unique. Visiting these fields is walking around in a color explosion. Something you only find in The Netherlands.
When your interested in visiting Keukenhof and the flower fields, make sure to read our articles;
Beaches Zandvoort & Bloemendaal
Best Time To Visit: May & September
The coastline of The Netherlands is huge. Spending the whole western part of the country. Amsterdam is not located on the coast, some famous beaches are very close. You can reach them with public transport in less than an hour.
Both Zandvoort and Bloemendaal are small coastal villages. They are known for the many trendy beach clubs where you can spend your time on some great parties, but also a unique relaxing day on the beach.
Many people know The Netherlands for the cold weather. However, during the summer months, temperatures can be hot 77 Fahrenheit (25 degrees Celsius) or higher and with a lot of sun hours. Because of the daylight saving time principle, the sunset in summer months is between 21:00 and 22:00.
The Dutch are known for their prominent role in maritime trade worldwide. During the 17th century, The Dutch Eastern Company was the largest Maritime trade company in the world. Not only on an international level, but the Dutch also explored the seas. Nationally fishing at the closeby north sea is an essential source of income for centuries. One of the most traditional fishing villages in The Netherlands is Volendam.
Volendam is excellent for exploring for a day, eat some freshly caught seafood, and dress up in some traditional clothing to make that perfect holiday postcard! 😉
Best Time to Visit: Year-round
Giethoorn is around 2 hours away from Amsterdam. This little village is known as Venice of the North. A city with no roads, no cars. Only boats and canals. Unique to go around and explore the village and its nearby located nature park.
Be aware though, it can be jam-packed during the summer months at Giethoorn. So if you want to visit the village, make sure to book your roundtrip in advance, securing your spot on one of the small boats.
Spending some time in Amsterdam and its surroundings is perfect! Depending on your interest you can find many more things to do in the city. Also, feel free to switch the activities around per day. If you feel like a museum tour on day 1, just do it! It is your trip! 😉 We just try to help you the best we can with the best recommendations we know.
Where to Stay in Amsterdam?
When you’re looking for a place to stay in Amsterdam, you might be overwhelmed by the possibilities. Only on Booking.com, you’ll find over almost 2000 different listings. It can be hard to decide what is the best place to stay. Instead of recommending different hotels, we rather explain how we always search for places to stay when traveling around. Most of the time, we’re sleeping in our rooftop tent, though, but when we want to stay in an apartment or hotel, Booking.com is our favorite search engine.
It’s relatively simple, we just look for the places in our budget with the best recent recommendations. We always go for an accommodation with a 9.0 customer rating or higher. Try it yourself by using this link to Booking.com or the below search field:
What to Pack for Amsterdam?
The weather in The Netherlands can be variable. One day it can be warm and sunny, and the other day it can rain the whole day. So make sure to pack the right things before traveling to Amsterdam. Check out our recommendations for travel gear and accessories to complete your packing list.
Also, don’t forget your travel insurance when traveling to another country. We recommend World Nomads, secure, and reliable travel insurance with excellent coverage.
How to Spend More Days in The Netherlands?
When you want to spend more days in The Netherlands, we can recommend several things to do. Going around The Netherlands and see the most highlights, we recommend spending at least four days in the country. In the first two days, you can explore Amsterdam and the other days you can use for exploring some other cities and highlights.
For a full tour throughout the country, a ten-day stay is recommended.
We wrote the article How Many Days Do You Need in The Netherlands? Where we explain the best way to go around in the country in several days.
When you’re spending more time in The Netherlands, you should at least spent some time in cities like The Hague, Delft, Rotterdam, or Utrecht. And try to visit the province Noord Brabant, where you can visit cities like Breda and Den Bosch. The province Noord Brabant is known for its gastronomy and Burgundian lifestyle.
Make sure to read our article about 26 Best Cities in The Netherlands
The Hague and Delft are probably the most interesting cities to visit when you want to learn more about Dutch heritage and culture. The Dutch Royal Family has their beginnings in Delft, and today they live in The Hague. And the Dutch Parliament resides in The Hague, the city known as the city of Peace and Justice.
We wrote several guides about these cities which you might be interested in: