Amsterdam | Netherlands

Things To Do in Amsterdam in 3 Days (2024)

With its historic charm, iconic canals, and cultural richness, Amsterdam invites you to immerse yourself in a delightful blend of history, art, and leisure. Our curated guide ensures you maximize your three days in this Dutch masterpiece, from iconic landmarks to hidden gems and culinary delights to scenic cruises. Get ready to discover the best things to do in Amsterdam in 3 days.

The picturesque canals of this charming city enamored me. Amsterdam exuded an energy that was both lively and vibrant, seemingly never to rest – a quality that deeply resonated with me. Despite the fatigue from a lengthy flight from Australia to Europe, I found myself irresistibly drawn to the city’s allure. Amsterdam’s dynamic atmosphere compelled me to forgo any thoughts of staying back at the hostel. Instead, I eagerly embraced the opportunity to wander through its streets, discovering the enchanting nooks and crannies that make this city unique.

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Things to do in Amsterdam in 3 days
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About Amsterdam

Amsterdam, the capital of the Netherlands, is the country’s most populous urban center. Affectionately referred to as the Venice of the North, this city goes by various names, all of which attest to its unique charm. The origin of the name Amsterdam can be traced back to Amstelredamme, suggesting that the city emerged around a dam constructed in the River Amstel.

Note: English is widely spoken in Amsterdam, ensuring virtually no language barriers for visitors.

How to Get to Amsterdam?

By Air

You will likely land at Amsterdam Airport Schiphol (AMS), the city’s primary international airport to reach Amsterdam by air. Schiphol Airport is one of the busiest airports in Europe and offers excellent connectivity to various destinations worldwide.

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The train station is located directly below the airport. A quick and convenient option is to take a train to Amsterdam Central Station. If you prefer driving, car rental services are available at the airport.

By Road

If you travel from nearby cities or European countries, you can reach Amsterdam by car. Major highways connect Amsterdam to neighbouring countries, and the road network in the Netherlands is well-maintained.

By Public Transport


Amsterdam is well-connected by high-speed international train services. Major international train routes connect Amsterdam with cities like Paris, Brussels, London, Berlin, and more. Reaching Amsterdam by train provides a comfortable and scenic way to travel, allowing you to enjoy the landscapes of Europe along the way.

  • The Eurostar train service connects Amsterdam with London. The journey takes approximately four hours, and trains run multiple times per day.
  • Thalys is a high-speed train service connecting Amsterdam with cities like Paris and Brussels. The travel time from Paris to Amsterdam is around three hours.
  • Intercity Direct is a high-speed train connecting Amsterdam with cities in the Netherlands, such as Rotterdam and Breda.

Trains usually arrive at Amsterdam Centraal Station in the city’s heart. The station is well-connected to public transportation, including buses, trams, and taxis.


Several international bus companies operate services to and from Amsterdam, often connecting major European cities. Companies like Eurolines and FlixBus are popular choices for international bus travel. They offer extensive networks connecting Amsterdam with various European destinations. Buses typically arrive at designated Amsterdam terminals like Amsterdam Sloterdijk or Amsterdam Zuid.

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Transportation in Amsterdam

Amsterdam boasts excellent train connectivity within the city and from the airport. Public transportation in Amsterdam relies on the convenient OV-Chipkaart smart card. Priced at 28 Euros, the 3-day pass grants access to trains, buses, ferries, and trams. Procure this pass effortlessly at the entrance of any public transport station for seamless travel across Amsterdam.

Note: Before accessing or leaving the platforms, checking in and out with your tickets is essential.

Incidentally, one of the most enchanting and scenic train holidays in Europe takes you through Amsterdam, Paris, and Rome.

3 days in Amsterdam
View from the train

Budgeted Stay in Amsterdam

During my visit to Amsterdam, I lodged at Shelter City, a hostel situated in the Red Light District. The accommodation was satisfactory, and the staff exhibited remarkable friendliness. It’s worth noting that the hostel, nestled within an old building, lacks an elevator. My assigned room happened to be on the third floor, necessitating the manual transport of my luggage. For a comprehensive overview of my experiences at various hostels across Europe, you can find detailed reviews in the linked post here.

Luxurious and Boutique Hotels in Amsterdam

Amsterdam also has fantastic boutique hotels, offering a perfect blend of comfort and luxury for a delightful stay. You can consider staying at these places:


Must Eat in Amsterdam

Amsterdam is renowned for its delectable European cuisine. Beyond its association with cannabis, the city is celebrated for its mouthwatering waffles. These freshly made treats are a delightful addition to breakfast and brunch places in Amsterdam.

I highly recommend indulging in the following:

  • Waffles
  • Pancakes
  • Stroop waffle
  • Hot chocolate
  • Mannekenpis fries – While not to my liking, they are a must-try in Amsterdam and are widely acclaimed. These fries have animal fat, so vegetarians should be cautious.
  • Cheese.

Exploring the diverse culinary scene in Amsterdam promises a flavorful and satisfying experience.

3 days in Amsterdam
Hot chocolate

For a detailed guide on where to go for dining while travelling alone, refer to Solo Dining in Amsterdam.

Things To Do in Amsterdam in 3 Days

Amsterdam offers abundant activities to engage in, and true to its reputation, the city remains vibrant day and night. Whether you explore during the day or immerse yourself in the nocturnal charm, there’s always something to discover. The following list highlights some of the activities I experienced during my three-day stay in the city.

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Typically, exploring the city of Amsterdam requires 3 to 4 days. However, if you have a week to spare, this comprehensive one-week itinerary in Amsterdam is perfect for an in-depth experience. On the other hand, for those with just a single day to spare, here is a condensed one-day itinerary in Amsterdam to make the most of your brief visit.

Tip: To circumvent lengthy queues, secure your museum tickets well in advance by booking them ahead of time.

For comprehensive details on the beautiful places surrounding Amsterdam and the city’s best day trips, please refer to the guide on Best day trips from Amsterdam.

Go On a Canal Boat Ride

Amsterdam, renowned for its picturesque canals, boasts more than 160 waterways and an impressive 1700 bridges. A quintessential experience is embarking on a boat ride through these canals, providing a unique perspective of the city’s charm. Opting for a canal tour, I chose Flagship Amsterdam for my journey, securing a discounted rate of Euros 11 through the Social Deal website, an excellent platform for activity discounts.

Commencing in front of the Anne Frank House, the one-hour boat ride, guided by the knowledgeable skipper, Christoph, and the friendly hostess, Aga, unfolded with captivating insights into the city’s past and present. Delving into the history of the houses and canals, the duo made the experience informative and enjoyable. I highly recommend Flagship Amsterdam for an enriching and delightful canal boat ride adventure.

Visit the Museums

Amsterdam boasts many museums, with approximately 75 diverse institutions catering to various interests. The city’s museum scene offers something for everyone, from unique attractions like the Museum of Torture to the intriguing Museum of Bags. For a more detailed exploration, I’ve dedicated a separate post highlighting the top five distinctive museums that are must-visits during your time in Amsterdam.

Amsterdam | Netherlands

Take a Guided Tour at Westerkerk Church

My fascination with ancient churches stems from their rich history and the air of mystery they exude. These architectural wonders often serve as storytellers, encapsulating the essence of a city or town. The grandeur of some churches extends to their towering heights, offering breathtaking views from their summits. In the case of Amsterdam, the Westerkerk church stands as a prime example, providing unparalleled vistas that showcase the city’s beauty from a unique perspective.

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About Westerkerk Church

Situated in central Amsterdam, the Westerkerk church is a reformed church constructed between 1620 and 1631. As the largest church in Amsterdam, it commands attention with its towering presence. The church’s impressive tower stands at 85 meters, making it a prominent landmark visible from various vantage points across the city.

Guided Tours

Guided tours to the tower’s viewpoint are available, where a knowledgeable guide leads you up a spiral staircase (please note that these stairs may be intimidating for those afraid of heights). Throughout the ascent, the guide shares insights into the church’s history and the array of bells housed in the tower. Purchase the guided tours at the entrance, which will last approximately 30 minutes and cost 9 Euros. For more comprehensive details, refer to the official website of the Westerkerk church.

Day Tour to Zaanse Schans, Edam, Volendam and Marken

Embark on a delightful day tour to explore the charming windmills, countryside villages, and towns surrounding Amsterdam. The Netherlands boasts picturesque locales, and four lovely ones worth visiting are Zaanse Schans, Edam, Volendam, and Marken. During a day tour, I experienced the allure of these towns and villages, and they genuinely offer a captivating glimpse into the scenic beauty of the Dutch countryside.

Zaanse Schans

Swing at Over the Edge Swing

Whenever I plan a trip to a new country, I look for adventurous activities to enhance my travel experience. While researching Amsterdam, I stumbled upon the ‘Over the Edge Swing’ adventure, which piqued my curiosity. Upon visiting the A’DAM website, I discovered that this thrill involves swinging from the top of the tallest tower in Amsterdam. The sheer novelty and excitement of the idea appealed to me, prompting me to book this exhilarating experience.

Amsterdam | Netherlands

Booking Process

Booking online is straightforward. Purchase the regular ticket for €12.5, and then add the Swing experience for an additional €5. During the booking, you can choose the date and time for this thrilling activity.

My Experience

The swing experience lasts approximately 20 minutes and provides just the correct dose of adrenaline. In addition to the exhilaration, it offers a fantastic vantage point for a panoramic view of the entire city of Amsterdam.

During a bus tour, I met two fellow adventurers, Shakeela from Kuwait and Mariana from Brazil. Excited about the ‘Over the Edge Swing,’ we tackled this adventure together. Although I initially booked the experience for the next day, rescheduling was hassle-free. Since there were three of us, we opted to take the swing twice in two pairs. Repeating the experience was undoubtedly worth it, and I thoroughly enjoyed the super awesome adventure!

Amsterdam | Netherlands

Walk Around Red Light District

Engaging in this activity in Amsterdam is truly fascinating. Staying in a hostel in the Red Light District proved advantageous, allowing me to be nearby and take strolls at night.

Note: Photography and videography of individuals in the Red Light District are strictly prohibited.

Get a Photo Shoot

I strongly recommend indulging in a photoshoot while in Amsterdam. As a solo traveller, I prioritize capturing beautiful memories in the cities I visit. Opting for a photoshoot provides the perfect opportunity to obtain stunning pictures at various landmarks across the city. Fortunately, many talented and affordable photographers in Amsterdam can make your experience enjoyable and memorable.

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Shop for Souvenirs

Amsterdam offers a delightful array of charming things you can buy, including souvenirs, just waiting to be discovered. Indulge in the delectable world of Dutch cheese or embrace the whimsical allure of iconic windmills. Whether you are a genuine shopper or simply seeking tiny treasures, Amsterdam invites you to indulge in a delightful shopping spree and bring home a piece of its charm.

Amsterdam | Netherlands

Tulip Fields in the Netherlands

The Netherlands, often called the “Tulip Capital of the World,” boasts a vibrant history with tulips. The love affair between the Dutch and tulips began in the 17th century during the Tulip Mania when tulip bulbs were considered more valuable than gold. Today, the Netherlands is synonymous with its stunning tulip fields that burst into a landscape of colours each spring.

Keukenhof Gardens, located near Lisse, is a world-renowned destination, attracting millions of visitors annually with its breathtaking displays of tulips in various hues. The Dutch tulip season typically runs from late March to early May, offering a spectacular and unforgettable experience for flower enthusiasts and tourists alike. Beyond their aesthetic appeal, tulips are unique in Dutch culture, symbolizing beauty, prosperity, and the enduring connection between the people and their iconic floral heritage.

3 Days Amsterdam Itinerary

As previously mentioned, my stay in Amsterdam was limited to just three days. Given the brief duration, I aimed to maximize my time by carefully planning my itinerary to explore as many attractions as possible.

Amsterdam also boasts numerous English bookstores catering to book enthusiasts. These establishments offer diverse books and a serene atmosphere conducive to immersive reading experiences.

Here is the detailed itinerary I followed:

Day 1 – Canal Boat Ride, Museums, and Westerkerk church

You will begin your day with a Canal boat ride. Following that, you will head straight to the Cannabis Museum.

After lunch, you will take a guided tour at Westerkerk church, and finally, you will end the day at the Anne Frank Museum.

Amsterdam | Netherlands

Day 2 – One-day tour, A’DAM Swing, Museum

You will embark on a one-day tour to Zaanse Schans, Edam, Volendam, and Marken. After the tour, you will head straight to A’DAM to experience the Over the Edge swing. In the evening, you will stroll around the Red Light District and visit the Museum of Prostitution.

Amsterdam | Netherlands

Day 3 – Museum

You will find it easy to visit only the Rijksmuseum. Remember that this museum is vast, and you will need more than half a day to explore all the artifacts.

Amsterdam | Netherlands

Total Expenses for Things To Do in Amsterdam in 3 Days


  • Flight tickets = (AUD 712.71) 437.53 Euros
  • Train Tickets 3 days pass = 28 Euros
  • Train ticket 1-hour pass = 3.95 Euros
  • Taxi = 22.5 Euros


  • Hostel = 97.30 Euros
  • Advance for hostel = (AUD 26) 15.95 Euros

Things to do in 3 Days

  • Anne Frank museum = 15.5 Euros
  • Canal boat ride = 11 Euros
  • Guided tour for the church = 9 Euros
  • Cannabis museum = 9 Euros
  • Museum of Prostitution = 12.5 Euros
  • A’DAM Swing with the regular ticket = 17.5 Euros
  • Bus tour = (AUD 48.16) 29.57 Euros
  • Magic Show = 22 Euros (I did not end up going, unfortunately)
  • Red light district walking tour = (AUD 5.81) 3.57 Euros


  • Chocolate cake = 6.70 Euros
  • Dinner and breakfast at an Indian restaurant (Ganesha Indian) = 21.50 Euros
  • Coffee = 3 Euros
  • Lunch = 12.5 Euros
  • Waffle * 2 = 8 Euros
  • Hot chocolate = 2 Euros
  • Pasta = 23 Euros
  • Dinner at 29 Spices Indian restaurant = 25 Euros
  • Fries = 2.5 Euros
  • Waffle and cake = 11.5 Euros


  • Tips = 2 Euros
  • Souvenirs = 20 Euros
  • Lock = 4 Euros
  • SIM card = 60 Euros

Total Expenses = 936.57 Euros (AUD 1525.61)

Is Amsterdam Safe for Solo Female Travelers?

Without a doubt, Amsterdam is highly safe for solo female travelers. I traveled alone and encountered no issues during my stay. However, as with any destination, it’s wise to trust your instincts and exercise caution, particularly during nighttime.

Moreover, Amsterdam isn’t just a great destination for solo female travelers; it’s also an excellent choice for families, especially those with kids. There are many things to do in Amsterdam with kids.

Closing Notes

Amsterdam is undeniably an incredible city to explore. I had a fantastic time, and I’m confident that everyone else will have a wonderful experience, too, given the many things to do and see. So, enjoy your time in this captivating city!

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    PIN for later reference | Things to do in Amsterdam in 3 days

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