Amsterdam, with its historic charm, iconic canals, and cultural richness, invites you to immerse yourself in a delightful blend of history, art, and leisure. From iconic landmarks to hidden gems, culinary delights to scenic cruises, our curated guide ensures you make the most of your three days in this Dutch masterpiece. Get ready to discover the best things to do in Amsterdam in 3 days.
I was enamored by the picturesque canals of this charming city. 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 spanning 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 truly special.
PIN for later reference | Things to do in Amsterdam in 3 days
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Amsterdam, the capital city of the Netherlands, holds the distinction of being the most populous urban center in the country. 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?
To reach Amsterdam by air, you will likely land at Amsterdam Airport Schiphol (AMS), which is the primary international airport serving the city. Schiphol Airport is one of the busiest airports in Europe and offers excellent connectivity to various destinations worldwide.Save on Travel with Trip.com(ENG)
The train station is located directly below the airport. You can take a train to Amsterdam Central Station, which is a quick and convenient option. If you prefer driving, car rental services are available at the airport.
If you are traveling from nearby cities or countries in Europe, 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 that connects Amsterdam with cities within the Netherlands, such as Rotterdam and Breda.
Trains usually arrive at Amsterdam Centraal Station, located in the heart of the city. The station is well-connected to public transportation, including buses, trams, and taxis.
Several international bus companies operate services to and from Amsterdam. These services often connect 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 bus terminals in Amsterdam, such as Amsterdam Sloterdijk or Amsterdam Zuid.
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, it is essential to check in and out with your tickets.
Incidentally, one of the most enchanting and scenic train holidays in Europe takes you through Amsterdam, Paris, and Rome.
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, though, 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 amazing boutique hotels, offering a perfect blend of comfort and luxury for a delightful stay. You can consider staying at these places:
- Eden Hotel Amsterdam
- Radisson Blu Hotel
- Hyatt Regency Amsterdam
- Park Plaza Victoria Amsterdam
- Holiday Inn Express Amsterdam – City Hall, an IHG Hotel
Must Eat in Amsterdam
Amsterdam is renowned for its delectable European cuisine, and 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:
- Hot chocolate
- Mannekenpis fries – While personally not to my liking, it is a must-try in Amsterdam and is widely acclaimed. Please note: these fries are prepared in animal fat, so vegetarians, be cautious.
Exploring the diverse culinary scene in Amsterdam promises a flavorful and satisfying experience.
For a detailed guide on where to go for dining while traveling alone, refer Solo dining in Amsterdam.
Things To Do in Amsterdam in 3 Days
Amsterdam offers an abundance of activities to engage in, and true to its reputation, the city remains vibrant day and night. Whether you choose to 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 personally experienced during my three-day stay in the city.Contiki – Western Europe Quest Tour – BOOK NOW!
Typically, exploring the city of Amsterdam requires 3 to 4 days. However, if you find yourself with 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 in Amsterdam, here is a condensed one day itinerary in Amsterdam to make the most of your brief visit.
Tip: To circumvent lengthy queues, make sure to secure your museum tickets well in advance by booking them ahead of time.
For comprehensive details on the beautiful places surrounding Amsterdam and the best day trips from the city, please refer 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, which is 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 both informative and enjoyable. I highly recommend Flagship Amsterdam for an enriching and delightful canal boat ride adventure.
Visit the Museums
Amsterdam boasts a wealth of museums, with approximately 75 diverse institutions catering to a wide range of interests. From unique attractions like the Museum of Torture to the intriguing Museum of Bags, the city’s museum scene offers something for everyone. For a more detailed exploration, I’ve dedicated a separate post highlighting the top five distinctive museums that are a must-visit during your time in Amsterdam.
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.Contiki – Amsterdam To Barcelona Tour – BOOK NOW!
About Westerkerk Church
Situated in central Amsterdam, the Westerkerk church is a reformed church that was 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 a height of 85 meters, making it a prominent landmark visible from various vantage points across the city.
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, with a duration of approximately 30 minutes and a cost of 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 particularly beautiful ones worth visiting are Zaanse Schans, Edam, Volendam and Marken. I personally experienced the allure of these towns and villages during a day tour, and they truly offer a captivating glimpse into the scenic beauty of the Dutch countryside.
Swing at Over the Edge Swing
Whenever I plan a trip to a new country, my search always includes seeking out adventurous activities to enhance my travel experience. While researching Amsterdam, I stumbled upon the ‘Over the Edge Swing’ adventure, piquing 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.
Booking online is a straightforward process. Begin by purchasing the regular ticket for €12.5, and then you can add the Swing experience for an additional €5. During the booking, you have the flexibility to choose the date and time for this thrilling activity.
The swing experience lasts approximately 20 minutes, providing just the right dose of adrenaline. Besides 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 decided to tackle 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. Without a doubt, repeating the experience was worth it, and I thoroughly enjoyed the super awesome adventure!
Walk Around Red Light District
Engaging in this activity in Amsterdam is truly fascinating. Staying in a hostel located in the Red Light District proved to be advantageous, allowing me to be in close proximity and take leisurely 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 traveler, capturing beautiful memories in the cities I visit is a priority for me. Opting for a photoshoot provides the perfect opportunity to obtain stunning pictures at various landmarks across the city. Fortunately, there are many talented and affordable photographers in Amsterdam who can make your experience enjoyable and memorable.
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 fervent shopper or simply seeking small treasures, Amsterdam invites you to indulge in a delightful shopping spree and bring home a piece of its charm.
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. 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.
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 take a leisurely stroll around the Red Light District and visit the Museum of Prostitution.
Day 3 – Museum
You will take it easy and visit only the Rijksmuseum. Keep in mind that this museum is vast, and you will need more than half a day to explore all the artifacts.
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. The city offers a plethora of things that you can do in Amsterdam with kids.
Amsterdam is undeniably an incredible city to explore. I had an absolutely fantastic time, and I’m confident that everyone else will have a wonderful experience too, given the multitude of things to do and see. So, enjoy your time in this captivating city!
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