How to Spend 3 Days in Amsterdam

Exploring a new city is always an exciting experience, especially when you’re in a different country. Although you wish you could spend forever there, many times you’re limited to just a few days. I recently got the chance to spend 3 days in Amsterdam, and I wanted to see as much as I possibly could while I was there. If you get a similar chance, here are all the must do’s of the city!

How to spend 3 days in Amsterdam: A guide to a quick vacation in the capital of the Netherlands

Day 1 – Museums & Tours

The best thing to do when you first get to Amsterdam is to head to the museum district. Note that you’re going to want to get all your tickets in advance because they’re pretty strict on how many people can get in at one time.

Van Gogh Museum

I loved the Van Gogh museum! It was so cool to see how much his work changed throughout his life. It was also interesting to see how different events in his lifetime influenced his painting style (what colors he used, subjects, style, etc.).

Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam

Rijksmuseum

We didn’t get a chance to go in because we were short on time the first day since our plane landed late and we had other things that we wanted to do. However, if you do have the time to go to the Rijks, I’ve heard only fabulous things about it! Make sure you allot a few hours for it, though, because it’s very big.

Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam

Anne Frank House

Only go to this museum if you’re booking your trip very far in advance. If you don’t have a booking, you have to go and wait in line for hours, and you only have a chance of getting in after 3:30. We thought about trying, but then we decided it wasn’t worth spending a whole day waiting.

Canal tour

This is a must do. You see so much more of the city when you’re on a canal than you do from the street, and it’s a very relaxing way to get acquainted with Amsterdam. Plus, it’s the perfect opportunity to take photos! What more could you want?

Looking over the canal in Amsterdam Amsterdam from a canal tour Amsterdam from a canal tour

Red light district

This is kind of one of those things that you should do when you’re in Amsterdam. Even if you’re not interested in the things that go on there, take one lap around one of the streets and head back to town center. That’s what we did!

Day 2 – Castle & Heineken Experience

Castle Muiderslot

This castle is right outside of Amsterdam. I highly recommend going on a ferry because of the beautiful views. It takes about 45 minutes by boat, but it’s so worth it! Once you get to the castle, there’s a guided tour that takes you to a few different places on the inside, and then you have free reign when it comes to exploring the rest. This trip is definitely worth 4 hours of your time!

Castle Muiderslot in Amsterdam, Netherlands

Heineken Experience

Amsterdam is known for their Heineken beer! It’s so well known, in fact, that they created a tour that takes you through the history and the process of actually brewing the beer. There’s a bunch of interactive features to the experience, plus you get to sample the beer at the end! Definitely get tickets beforehand though so you can skip the line!

Heineken Experience, Amsterdam, Netherlands Heineken Brouwery, Amsterdam, Netherlands

I Amsterdam sign

This is one of the most touristy things ever, but it’s a great photo op! Make sure you don’t go on a Saturday or in the middle of the day because it’s harder to get a good picture with all the rest of the tourists around.

IMG_2255

Day 3 – Windmills at Zaanse Schans

Zaanse Schans

This little village is about a 40 minute bus ride outside of Amsterdam, but it’s the cutest thing in the world! It’s exactly what you think of when you think about Holland – cheese making, windmills, flowers, and wooden clogs. We spent about two hours there in total, but you could probably spend the whole day there if you wanted to!

IMG_2213IMG_2218IMG_2249Cheese making in Netherlands

Windmill village windmills - Netherlands

Extra Tips about Amsterdam

Buy a travel pass

It feels like nothing in Amsterdam is close by to each other besides a few of the museums, so you’re definitely going to want to get a travel pass. It can get you on the busses and the trams, and it’s much less expensive than getting taxis or Ubers everywhere.

Use a route planner

When you know where you’re going next, use the route planner on the Amsterdam transportation website so you know exactly which tram or bus to take and which stop to get off at. Since everything is in Dutch, some spoken directions get lost in translation (speaking from experience here), so you’re definitely going to want that route planner.

Watch your belongings like a hawk

Sadly, Amsterdam has more pickpockets than your average city, so be very aware of where your stuff is at all times. We didn’t have any problems with this, but I’ve heard stories of people getting their wallets stolen from right under their noses. If you have a bag with zippers, definitely use it!

Finally…

Enjoy your trip! Amsterdam is a beautiful city and is definitely worth going to! If you’re worried about a language barrier, don’t be. I never came across anyone I couldn’t speak to in English. If you’re going to Amsterdam soon, have fun and take lots of pictures!

Birds-eye view of Amsterdam

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39 Replies to “How to Spend 3 Days in Amsterdam”

  1. I must visit this magical place! I would love to spend 3 days like this!

    xoxo, Candice
    http://www.candicenikeia.com

    1. It’s definitely an experience!

  2. Looks like such a fun trip! Amsterdam is definitely on my bucket list. Thanks for this guide!

    Greta | http://www.gretahollar.com

    1. It’s definitely worth a visit! Thanks for reading, Greta!

  3. I spent two days in Amsterdam last month and it wasn’t enough time. Great list, 3 days sounds perfect!

    1. Three days was the perfect amount! It was enough to do everything I wanted, but I was excited to go back to London!

  4. Looks like you had so much fun!

    1. It was a lot of fun!

  5. Officially on my to-visit list!!

    1. You should definitely visit if you get the chance!

  6. Great ideas! I would love to visit Amsterdam!

    1. Thanks Laura! You should if you get the chance!

  7. I would love to go to Amsterdam! The Anne Frank house is something that I’ve always wanted to see and the canals and scenery look beautiful.

    -Meagan | Love by Meagan

  8. OMG going to the Anne Frank Museum would be soooo cool! I’m glad you wrote about that because I’ll definitely keep making a booking in mind if I ever end up in Amsterdam 🙂
    Danika || whatdanikadoes.com

  9. I love Amsterdam and would definitely go back, I am so glad you got to experience it!

    My Vogue Style | http://www.myvoguestyle.com

  10. michelle mink says: Reply

    I have only been in the Amsterdam airport on a layover. I really want to go and explore the city. I would love to see the Anne Frank house and the canals.

    1. You should definitely go into the city! It’s so great!

  11. I’ve never been to Amsterdam but my friends who have been constantly rave about it! This is a great list!

  12. I love to visit Amsterdam one day! I have been loving your travel photos and hearing about your trip!
    xoxo
    Amy | Pastel N Pink

  13. I’ve only have layovers there but now you’re making me want to visit!! Love the photos – looks like you had a blast!

  14. I have never been but would so love to go, especially after reading your post and seeing these pics– it looks so fun! Thanks for sharing 🙂

    1. It’s definitely a great place to go!

  15. I love Amsterdam! This is a great guide!
    Shaguna | gold&hearts

  16. I so want to travel now. I really want to do the canal tour!

    1. The canal tour was so amazing! I loved it!

  17. When I visited Europe, I never got the chance to explore Amsterdam. I’d really love to go, and I’ll definitely be using this post as a guide. So many adventures to be had.

    1. Amsterdam is definitely a unique city and experience! I really liked it!

  18. Zaanse Schans looks like the cutest town in the world. I seriously am craving to go to Amsterdam now. I have heard nothing but wonderful things about this country and your pictures are perfect.

    xo CourtneyDrew

    1. Thanks Courtney! Amsterdam is a really cool place!

  19. Amsterdam has been one of my favorite places I’ve visited. The locals are SO nice and helpful. Great suggestions! Xoxo Mindy

    1. I agree! Thanks girl! 🙂

  20. Great post! I enjoyed going to Amsterdam when I went. For museums I would add The Resistance Museum. Such an amazing and moving experience to go and see the people that resisted against the Nazi’s during WWII. Highly suggest anyone going there.

    1. Ooh I didn’t hear about that! It’s just an excuse to go back another time!

  21. I really want to go to Amsterdam!

    1. You should totally go if you get the chance!

  22. Great itinerary! I absolutely loved Amsterdam when I visited about 10 years ago – can’t wait to get back there!!
    XO Amanda | http://www.glitterandspice.com

    1. Thanks Amanda! It’s a really cool city!

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