Are you looking for Amsterdam 3 day itinerary? The Dutch capital is a great place to visit, with many exciting things to do. From its fascinating history to some of the best museums in Europe and sites you shouldn’t miss in Amsterdam, you’ll find everything you need for planning your perfect three days in Amsterdam.

Amsterdam 3 Day Itinerary

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Amsterdam was founded in the 12th century by a group of herring fishermen who settled on the banks of the Amstel River. The town grew and came to its peak in the 17th century when its sailors and merchants travelled the world and brought back home exotic spices, Oriental roughs and Chinese porcelain. That was when the famous canal belt was built with its world-famous canal houses (sometimes referred to as Amsterdam gingerbread houses). During that time, philosophers like Baruch Spinoza and painters such as Rembrandt van Rijn lived in the city.

The Royal Palace was built back in the 17th century. It was made and served as a Town Hall because the Netherlands was a republic then. Many churches were created during that time, too. However, the late 19th century brought masterpieces made by one of the most famous Dutch architects, Pierre Cuypers. Rijksmuseum and the Amsterdam Central Train Station were built during that time.

With so many fantastic things to see in Amsterdam, it could be hard to plan your 3 days trip to Amsterdam. However, this Amsterdam 3 day itinerary created by a former Amsterdam resident will make planning your trip easier.

Day one in Amsterdam

Explore Amsterdam canals

Amsterdam is home to over 100 kilometres (62 miles) of canals crossed by some 1,500 bridges. That’s more than in Venice! They are depicted on every single postcard from Amsterdam, making them a true symbol of Amsterdam.

Start your visit to Amsterdam by wandering around its beautiful canals and exploring the canal belt area. You can start your day at Dam Square. The main square in Amsterdam is where you can see the Royal Palace and The Nieuwe Kerk. Walk towards Herengracht and stroll along the canal in the west direction. You’ll pass next to some of the most beautiful canal houses on your way.

Read more: Things to do in Amsterdam like a local

Visit Spui & Begijnhof

Head to the Spui then, a charming small square in the old city centre. It’s an area where you’ll find many bookshops and some University buildings. Each Friday, a book market is organised in the square.

The American Book Centre is the largest shop with books in English, so be sure to peek inside if you’d like to buy some nice books during your trip to Amsterdam. They have some lovely books about Dutch culture and Amsterdam that could make a nice souvenir from Amsterdam.

Just a few steps from that bookshop, you’ll see a large door which will get you to one of the most unique places in Amsterdam – the Begijnhof. It was a beguinage, a private courtyard where unmarried Catholic women lived (and people still live). Founded in the Middle Ages, its situated one metre below the rest of the city. Built in 1528, the wooden house in it is one of the oldest and only two wooden houses in Amsterdam. Begijnhof is also home to one of the typical hidden churches in Amsterdam.

Have some cookies at Van Stapele & visit Pindakaaswinkel

Dutch may not be the best-known chefs in the world, but their sweets are something else. After exploring Begijnhof, head to another side of Spui Square and visit one of the best cookie shops in Amsterdam, Van Stapele. They sell only one kind of cookie, and once it’s sold out, the shop closes for the day. These are some of the best chocolate cookies I ever tried, filled with white cream.

If you want to bring home another edible souvenir from Amsterdam, visit Pindakaaswinkel. It’s a shop specialising in making delicious peanut butter. You’ll find different flavours like white chocolate, caramel, and sea salt to some more unusual combinations, like chilli. They have a few shops in Amsterdam, one of which is very close to the Spui area.

Lunch at Museumplein

Head to the Museumplein area next. That’s where you’ll find some of the best museums in Amsterdam, like the Rijksmuseum, Van Gogh Museum, Stedelijk and Moco Museum. Before visiting the Rijksmuseum, have lunch at some of the small restaurants in the area. My recommendation definitely goes to Blushing Amsterdam.

Read more: Museum Quarter in Amsterdam

Afternoon at the Rijksmuseum

After a healthy lunch, visit one of the most fascinating museums in Amsterdam, the Rijksmuseum. Home to the masterpieces such as Rembrandt’s The Night Watch or Vermeer’s Milkmaid, it’s a place where you’ll see one of the best collections of Dutch Golden Age paintings.

Since the museum is vast, my tip is to only focus on exploring the Rijksmuseum highlights. Head to the second floor and explore the Gallery of Honour, where you’ll see paintings made by Rembrandt, Vermeer, Frans Hals, Jan Steen and many more Dutch artists. Be sure to explore some gorgeous still-life paintings at the Rijksmuseum, too.

Rijksmuseum also has an excellent museum shop and a museum cafe above it. So, at the end of your visit, explore some of their lovely products. And finish your visit with a typical Dutch apple pie at the Rijksmuseum cafe.

TIP: Rijksmuseum highlights are the best explored during a guided tour. As a former Rijksmuseum guide, I can’t recommend you more joining a tour during your visit to that beautiful museum. Here is the Rijksmuseum tour I recommend. I used to work as a guide for this company in Amsterdam, and am definitely recommending it (it’s the same company I’ll give you a link to later in this article for the Van Gogh Museum and the Rembrandt House Museum).

Day two in Amsterdam

Follow in the footsteps of Rembrandt & explore the De Wallen area

Rembrandt van Rijn is one of the world’s most famous artists who spent most of his life in Amsterdam. After seeing some of his famous paintings at the Rijksmuseum the day before, continue your visit to the Dutch capital by exploring Amsterdam in Rembrandt’s footsteps.

He mostly lived and worked in the De Wallen area, the oldest part of the city known for the Red Light District today. You’ll find places where he made some of his artworks and houses where he and his clients lived. Through the stories from his life, you’ll get to learn the history of the city.

The best way to explore these locations is by downloading this self-guided Rembrandt in Amsterdam tour I created. If you want to explore these places in an even more unique way, you can colour these Rembrandt in Amsterdam postcards while visiting these places. Afterwards, you can keep them or send them as souvenirs from Amsterdam to your friends and family.

Read more: Rembrandt in Amsterdam

Have lunch at Droog

After wandering through the oldest part of Amsterdam during the morning, relax at Cafe Droog and have a nice lunch there. The house in which it’s located is also linked to Rembrandt. This is where he painted his famous Syndics of the Drapers’ Guild.

Today, it’s home to a lovely restaurant where you can have a delicious lunch, nice cake and healthy drinks. The rose lemonade is especially popular in Amsterdam, so be sure to try it during your visit.

Visit the Rembrandt House Museum

Another beautiful museum in Amsterdam you should include in your Amsterdam 3 day itinerary is the Rembrandt House Museum. It’s located in the house where the famous painter lived, worked and created paintings between 1639 and 1658. Visiting that beautiful place is the closest you can get to the renowned painter.

Rembrandt House Museum isn’t only where you can learn more about that painter. It’s also where you can see one of the typical 17th-century canal house’s interiors. Its lovely kitchen, traditional box beds and cabinet of curiosities will give you a fantastic glimpse into life in Amsterdam in the past.

TIP: To learn even more about this place, join this guided tour around the Rembrandt House Museum.

Canal cruise

Wandering around the streets of Amsterdam is lovely. Still, you’ll get a completely different view of the city from its canals Finish the second day of your trip by enjoying Amsterdam during one of the canal cruises. There are many boat cruises, so check out some of the best canal cruises in Amsterdam on this link to pick up the most suitable for you.

Read more: Best canal cruises in Amsterdam

Day three in Amsterdam

Van Gogh Museum

Amsterdam is home to the most extensive collection of Vincent van Gogh‘s paintings in the world which you can see at the Van Gogh Museum. Start your day by visiting that fascinating museum and learning about the famous painter’s life, artworks and heritage. It’s a museum I also recommend visiting with a guide, so check out this Van Gogh Museum tour to make your visit even more enjoyable.

Lunch at the museum

The museum is home to a nice restaurant named after a place Van Gogh visited frequently in Paris – Le Tambourin. Have lunch there and enjoy the view of Museumplein.

Explore hofjes at Jordaan

After that, go to the Jordaan neighbourhood, which many consider the most beautiful area in Amsterdam. It’s also home to hofjes, beautiful courtyards hidden behind canal houses. They were mostly built as parts of almshouses for elderly people, made in Amsterdam from the Middle Ages onwards.

Some of the most interesting ones are the Zon’s Hofje (address: Prinsengracht 159 – 171) and Hofje van Brienen (address: Prinsengracht 89 – 133).

Visit Anne Frank House or go shopping for souvenirs

Depending on how you feel at the end of your 3 day trip in Amsterdam, you can stay in the same area and visit the Anne Frank House. It’s a house where Frank’s family hid for two years during the Second World War. It’s a place witnessing recent Amsterdam history in a very emotional way.

If you want to wander more around the city before the end of your visit to Amsterdam, the last afternoon of your trip could be perfect for some souvenir shopping. Visit some places I mentioned before, like the cookie shop or the Pindakaaswinkel. You can buy some lovely books about Amsterdam at American Book Centre. Or even visit some museum shops to look for art-inspired Amsterdam souvenirs there.

You can also order our Culture Tourist colouring postcards Dutch symbols if you want a nice souvenir inspired by one of my favourite cities.

Tips for your perfect three days in Amsterdam

I Amsterdam City Card – Amsterdam Card is convenient because it will provide you with free public transport, free entrance to most of the museums in Amsterdam (Van Gogh Museum and Anne Frank House are not included), and free canal cruise and bike rental. You can check everything included here and buy your I Amsterdam City Card on this link.

TIP: You’ll need to reserve the visiting time for the Rijksmuseum even if you have an I Amsterdam City Card. It won’t cost you anything, and you can simply do that on their website. Here is the link on which you can do that.

Buy museum tickets in advance – This is very important because you can only get in many of the most popular museums if you have bought your ticket in advance. There is no option of purchasing entrance tickets in some museums, or you’ll need to queue for a long time. Here are the links to the online Rijksmuseum ticket, online Van Gogh Museum ticket, online Rembrandt House Museum ticket and online Anne Frank House tickets.

Paying in Amsterdam – Official currency in the Netherlands is Euro. However, you can only pay with your credit or debit card in many places. You’ll mostly pay with a card in Amsterdam, so you don’t need to have too much cash.

Eating in Amsterdam – Many restaurants and cafes serve great breakfasts in Amsterdam. One of my favourite places is De Bakkerswinkel. Lunch usually consists of a sandwich, salad or a smaller meal. Dinner is served in many restaurants after 6 pm, and it’s the largest meal of the day. I advise always booking a restaurant for dinner so you’ll be sure to get a table.

Exploring Amsterdam on a guided tour: I love joining city tours while travelling because it’s a great way to understand its history and lifestyle even more. Here is a great Amsterdam City Tour you can join during your trip to that city. If you’d like to join more tours during your trip, here are some of the best Amsterdam tours I know about.

With this Amsterdam 3 day itinerary, you’ll see different neighbourhoods in the city, visit the most important museums and get a glimpse into everyday life in Amsterdam. And get to enjoy one of the best cities in the world.

Would you like to learn more about Van Gogh’s artworks and places linked to his life and art in the Netherlands, Belgium and France? Check out Culture Tourist Art Webinar: Meet Vincent van Gogh! Click on the picture below to read more and book.

Van Gogh Art Webinar