What to Do in Amsterdam for 3 Days

When planning a trip to Amsterdam, it can be hard to determine how long you should stay. The city is brimming with canals, culture and captivating history which makes for a perfect city break. Whether you’re a first-time visitor or a seasoned explorer, you will find that spending 3 days in Amsterdam is the perfect amount of time to experience the city. 

In this article, we will give you a fantastic itinerary for 3 days in Amsterdam. We cover the best times to visit, where to stay and give you a breakdown of how you can spend 3 perfect days in the capital of the Netherlands. 

The Best Times to Visit Amsterdam

Amsterdam is a timeless city that can be visited any time of the year. The shoulder season for tourism occurs in April and May which is a great time to visit if you want to avoid the peak crowds. You will find that December to March is the cheapest time to visit Amsterdam, but the weather tends to be very cold which could inhibit your options for tours and activities. 

The Best Month to Visit Amsterdam

The best month to visit Amsterdam is May, when Spring paints the city in vibrant shades after a dull grey winter. This is a great time to enjoy the top sights of Amsterdam as well since the bustling crowds of summer are yet to arrive.

The Weather in Amsterdam in May

May temperatures in Amsterdam are mild, ranging from 10°C to 20°C. The days will mostly be bright and sunny, but with up to 60mm of precipitation across the month it’s a good idea to pack with some rainy days in mind. Fortunately, Amsterdam experiences longer daylight hours in May, allowing you to make the most of your visit.

Events in Amsterdam in May

May sees quite a few significant events in Amsterdam. As the city prepares for a bustling summer there are some special festivities you can enjoy. 

Liberation Day

On the 5th of May, you can experience Amsterdam’s Liberation Day, which celebrates the end of the German occupation of the Netherlands during WW2. In commemoration of the country’s freedom, festivities and events pop up all over the city like live music, street parties and parades. 

A real highlight is the Liberation Concert held on the Amstel River. It’s free to attend and features some of the best local and international artists. 

Keukenhof Gardens

Green thumbs and nature lovers will get a real treat when visiting Amsterdam in May. Just outside the city, the Keukenhof Gardens will be in full bloom, showcasing millions of their famous colourful tulips, daffodils and other flowers. The gardens close in the middle of May, so it’s your last chance to see the beautifully manicured flower beds. 

Getting to Amsterdam

Schiphol (AMS) is the main international airport serving Amsterdam and is one of Europe’s busiest travel hubs, offering connecting flights to countless countries. It will take around 20 minutes to get from the airport to the city centre, you can arrange a private transfer to your accommodation if you don’t want to worry about taking public transport.

Amsterdam can also be reached via train. Amsterdam Centraal is the city’s main train station and is well-connected to major European cities like Paris, Brussels, London and Berlin, making it a great place to embark on a European interrailing adventure.

You may wish to purchase an Amsterdam City Card for your trip. This is Amsterdam’s attraction pass that will give you free entry to dozens of museums and experiences in Amsterdam, as well as cover your public transport fees. What’s more, it even includes a free canal cruise!

Where to Stay in Amsterdam

There is no shortage of places to stay in Amsterdam. The city receives nearly 20 million visitors every year from all walks of life, so the choices of accommodation have a significant range. Below, we list some of our top picks for where to stay in Amsterdam for different types of trips. 

Budget: The Bee Hostel is a great place to stay for travellers on a budget. This accommodation is very central, just 1.6km from Dam Square. It’s a great place to stay in Amsterdam for young travellers. 

Mid-range: YOTEL Amsterdam is a great middle-of-the-road option. With stylish interiors, a daily continental breakfast and bike hire facilities, it has everything you need for a perfect stay in Amsterdam. 

Luxury: For a lavish stay in Amsterdam, there is no better choice than Pestana Amsterdam Riverside. This 5-star hotel is located in the former Town Hall and features a fitness centre, day spa and massage services which will make you feel very pampered. With friendly staff and an onsite restaurant, all you need will be taken care of.  

Day 1- Explore the Historic Centre

To kick off your first day in Amsterdam you should explore the top attractions of the city centre. There are so many marvellous experiences to be had and things to see. 

Before you jump into this itinerary, be sure to check the opening hours and availability of attractions and restaurants in advance, as they may vary depending on when you visit. 

Anne Frank House

The first place you should visit is the iconic Anne Frank House. This museum is dedicated to preserving the memory of Anne Frank and is the actual hiding place where Anne, her family, and four other people lived in concealed rooms behind a bookcase during the Holocaust. 

Visitors to the Anne Frank House can explore the secret annexe, where Anne and her family spent over two years in hiding. The preserved rooms contain original artefacts, photographs, and personal belongings of those who lived which brings to life this harrowing period of history. This is a very popular museum, so it is best to book your tickets in advance to avoid long queues.

Wander the Canals

After a profound and moving experience at the museum, we suggest an idyllic walk along the picturesque Prinsengracht canal. This is one of the best places to soak in the charming atmosphere of Amsterdam’s historic centre. Along the way, you can spot iconic buildings like the narrowest house in Amsterdam. 

After walking alongside the canal boats you will likely have worked up an appetite. Fortunately, there are many cosy canal-side cafes and restaurants where you can enjoy a traditional Dutch lunch. We suggest you tuck into local specialities like bitterballen or pannenkoeken (pancakes).


After lunch, you should take some time to explore the Rijksmuseum. Often referred to as the Dutch National Museum, it is one of the most renowned and significant art museums in the world. The institution is home to an extensive collection of Dutch Golden Age paintings, including works by Rembrandt and Vermeer.

The museum’s collection is vast and diverse, spanning over 800 years of Dutch history, art, and culture. It includes paintings, sculptures, decorative arts, historical artefacts, and more. For a truly immersive experience, consider taking a guided tour of the Rijksmuseum, where you can skip the lines and receive detailed context of the exhibits from your knowledgeable guide.

Evenings in Amsterdam

After a full day of activities, we suggest taking a stroll through the beautiful Vondelpark for some relaxation and people-watching. As Amsterdam’s largest park, there are plenty of winding paths and lush lawns that are excellent for an early evening walk. 

After you’ve explored the verdant park, head to the lively Leidseplein area for dinner. There are many restaurants and bars to choose from with a variety of cuisines and stylish cocktails. 

To finish up your first day, jump on a nighttime canal cruise to see Amsterdam’s illuminated streets and historic buildings. The waterways reflect the dazzling city lights, creating an idyllic evening atmosphere. Your cruise will also include a cheeseboard and refreshments for your enjoyment. 

Day 2- Experience Amsterdam’s Museums

For your second day in Amsterdam, we recommend exploring more of the incredible museums across the city where you can see some of the greatest works of art. We’ve broken up the day with a bike tour which is perfect for the warm spring weather and will let you see a myriad of different attractions in Amsterdam.

Van Gogh Museum

The first stop of the day is the illustrious Van Gogh Museum, dedicated to the life and works of the iconic artist. It is one of the best things to do in Amsterdam, but it is extremely popular no matter when you visit. Book your tickets in advance or consider taking a guided tour of the museum that will give you priority access to the exhibits.

The museum boasts the world’s largest collection of Vincent van Gogh’s paintings, drawings, and letters. Visitors can view over 200 of his paintings, including some of his most famous works like ‘The Starry Night’ and ‘Sunflowers’. 

Stedelijk Museum

A short walk will take you to the next museum of the day. The nearby Stedelijk Museum is revered for its collections of modern and contemporary art. The collection spans the late 19th century to the present day and includes paintings, sculptures, photographs and multimedia installations. 

If you’ve purchased a City Card, you won’t need to book a time slot for your entry to the Museum. Alternatively, you can purchase your ticket in advance for a leisurely experience that will see you wandering between works from Pollock to Warhol. 

Once you’ve enjoyed the museums, take some time to explore the rest of Museumplein. The green, open space houses many of Amsterdam’s incredible museums and is a place where locals and tourists alike gather to relax or have picnics. There are numerous cafes, restaurants, and food stalls where you can enjoy Dutch and international cuisine and is a great place to pick up lunch for the day.

Bike Tour of the City

Since you’ll have explored the city by boat on your first day, we recommend a change of perspective with a bike tour of Amsterdam’s highlights. You will get so much more use out of your time by traversing Amsterdam on a bike as you can effortlessly hop between the top attractions like Oude Kerk

This small group tour provides a more intimate experience of the city and your guide will take you to some of the most incredible hidden gems.  

Jordaan Area

Upon finishing your bike tour, you will likely be famished and eager to find a place to eat. We suggest you head to the Jordaan, a picturesque neighbourhood in Amsterdam known for its vibrant cultural scene.

The Jordaan is filled with cosy cafes, restaurants, and traditional Dutch pubs. It’s a great place to enjoy Dutch cuisine and beverages. The neighbourhood has a lively nightlife scene, with many bars staying open late.

Day 3 – See the Highlights of Amsterdam

To finish up a perfect 3 days in Amsterdam, we’re taking you to some of the top sights which showcase the city’s rich culture and history. From the Royal Palace to the Red Light District, your last day in Amsterdam will be jam-packed with amazing experiences. 

Royal Palace

Start your last day with a visit to the Royal Palace on Dam Square. This is one of the most historically significant buildings in the city and a must-visit landmark for tourists. The Palace is a remarkable example of Dutch Classicism, characterised by its symmetrical design, grand façade, and impressive proportions.

Originally used as a Town Hall, the building was repurposed as a royal residence in the 19th century when King Louis Napoleon briefly ruled the Kingdom of Holland. It is open to the public, allowing visitors to explore its historic rooms and admire its stunning architecture and art collection.

The Flower Market

The Amsterdam Flower Market, known as ‘Bloemenmarkt’ in Dutch, is one of the most colourful attractions in Amsterdam. Situated along the Singel Canal in the city centre of Amsterdam, it is easily accessible by foot from many popular tourist areas, such as Dam Square.

What sets the Amsterdam Flower Market apart is that many of its stalls are actually floating on the canal. These floating stalls are housed in traditional Dutch houseboats which adds to the market’s charm. 

The Flower Market is renowned for its wide variety of fresh-cut flowers, floral arrangements, potted plants and flower bulbs. Tulips, in particular, are a popular item, as they are closely associated with Dutch culture. The fragrant stalls are perfect for travellers of any age and offer a delightfully unique experience. 

Rembrandt House Museum

Once you’ve explored the market, we suggest visiting one more museum. The Rembrandt House Museum showcases the works of this incredible artist in his place of residence during the height of his career. 

The museum houses a diverse collection of artworks, artefacts, and objects related to Rembrandt’s life. Visitors can explore Rembrandt’s studio, where he created many of his famous paintings and see a recreation of his living quarters. 

We suggest getting your tickets to this immersive experience prior to your arrival. That way you can avoid queuing and get the most out of your time at the museum.

Red Light District

To finish up your 3 days in Amsterdam, we recommend you spend the evening in Amsterdam’s Red Light District. It is situated in one of the oldest parts of Amsterdam’s centre and gets its name from the red lights that create a unique ambience in the evenings. 

The neighbourhood is known for its distinctive atmosphere and vibrant nightlife. You’ll find numerous bars and restaurants where you can enjoy drinks, live music, and a variety of cuisines. The district caters to various tastes, so you can find everything from traditional Dutch pubs to trendy nightclubs.

If you are eager to explore the nightlife, you should consider getting a 2 day nightclub admission ticket. This handy ticket will get you entry into the top bars and clubs across the city and even includes a welcome drink at every venue. 


This 3-day itinerary will allow you to explore Amsterdam’s art scene, picturesque canals and vibrant neighbourhoods. From the poignant lessons of the Anne Frank House to the vibrant nightlife of the Red Light District, Amsterdam’s diverse attractions promise a spectacular city break experience.

If you’re looking for more European itineraries, check out our posts on Seville and Vienna.

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About the Author

Tom Adams

Copywriter at SEO Travel. Contributor to Backpacker Boy, Travel Aisle with a background in Archaeology and Sports Writing.