10 Cool Things To Do In Amsterdam
Are you about to explore Amsterdam, the beautiful city, full of bridges, romantic streets, cozy atmosphere, and open-minded people? Continue reading to find out more about what to do in Amsterdam in 3 days.
What are the first two things you recall when you hear Amsterdam? Sex tourism and legal weed consumption? This European city has much more to offer than just that.
Most travelers plan to stay three days in Amsterdam, this is enough time to give you a brief impression of the city vibes and the Dutch culture.
Without further ado, let me take you to the journey around Amsterdam and tell you about 10 cool things to do in Amsterdam in three days.
The perfect itinerary for 3 days in Amsterdam
Day 1 in Amsterdam
Spend the first day of your Amsterdam trip in the city, rent a bike and explore the main sights to get a first impression of Amsterdam. If you plan to spend just one day in Amsterdam, you have to add a boat trip on your list.
1. Rent a bike and explore Amsterdam like a local
The Germans and Dutch love to ride bikes. Amsterdam is the perfect city, where renting a bike makes sense. You will bump into bike rental shops on every corner. You can rent a bike from 3 hours up to a week. The prices per day vary usually between € 8 and € 10 per day. If you plan to stay longer in Amsterdam, buying a used bike is recommended.
Exploring Amsterdam by bike is a fun and unique experience. I visited Amsterdam the last time in November and for me, it was the best way to explore the city like a local.
It’s way more exciting than taking the tram. You can get fast everywhere as there are always bike lanes that you can use. Just be aware of the traffic, particularly in the city center you need to be a bit more cautious when riding your bike.
2. Visit Rijksmuseum and take a photo with the “I am Amsterdam” sign
While riding your bike, make a stop at the Museumplein and walk to the back of the Rijksmuseum. It’s a lovely place with a small pond and a big field where you can take some photos of the « I am Amsterdam » sign which is a popular tourist attraction.
You can bookmark the exact location of the I am Amsterdam sign here. If you plan to shoot a picture with the famous letters I would recommend visiting it early in the morning as it’s very popular and often overcrowded by hundreds of tourist during the day.
As this tourist spot turned into a mass tourism attraction, the city decided to remove the letters for an unknown period. The I am Amsterdam sign should randomly pop up at different locations in the future.
3. Do the Vondelpark bike tour
One of my favorite places in Amsterdam is Vondelpark. It’s right next to the Rijksmuseum so it won’t take you more than a few minutes bike ride to get there. Check the exact location here.
It’s such a peaceful place. Ideally, you buy a hotdog at one of the small stands and relax next to the lake. The Vondelpark is also the largest park in Amsterdam, so you should not hesitate to put it on your list of things to do in Amsterdam in three days.
4. Visit Heineken Experience
If you love beer you should visit the Heineken brewery. You will learn about the whole process of beer production in a fun and entertaining way. At the end of the tour, you will have the chance to taste their beer right from the tap.
You can buy the tickets for the tour online for € 18 or at one of the tourist offices, where you will pay € 21. The tour takes around 1.5 hours and includes two glasses of beer. You can also buy the tickets at the Heineken Experience building, however, you might wait in the queue.
5. Walk through Red Light district and visit the Museum of Prostitution
At this point, you will probably need a break. If you still have the energy I suggest to explore Amsterdam in the evening. During your visit to Amsterdam, you should not skip the Red Light district.
It’s a place for open-minded and curious travelers. If you want to learn more about the history of prostitution as well as some background stories, I suggest visiting the Museum of Prostitution. It’s called the Red Light Secrets and you will find it here. The tickets are only € 10 per person and it’s worth the money in my opinion.
Be aware that taking photos of ladies that are waving at you from the windows in the Red Light district is prohibited. You might also be approached by drug dealers, so be cautious when walking through the Red Light district.
Day 2 in Amsterdam
Spend your second day close to the historic city center, learn more about the stories of the city and explore walk on some of the 1500 bridges in Amsterdam.
6. Visit Anne Frank House
Fans of history and literature should visit the Anne Frank House, which is a popular point of interest for many travelers visiting Amsterdam. It’s open daily from 9 AM to 7 PM (up to 10 PM in the summer season). The entrance is only € 10 and you will learn about the story of a Jewish girl that was hiding in Amsterdam from the Nazis during World War II.
Be aware that this place is very popular, I suggest to go there early in the morning and buy the tickets in advance to avoid waiting in the queue.
Bookmark the Anne Frank House in your Google Maps.
Spend the rest of the day walking through the city center, exploring local stores and walking on many of the bridges connecting the cozy streets of Amsterdam.
7. Take a Boat trip at sunset
Taking a boat trip should be on top of your list of things to do in Amsterdam in 3 days. There are many options when it comes to exploring the city by boat. Most of the tourist take a boat trip from the pier next to the central train station.
If you want a more local experience and avoid a tour with another 50 people, I suggest taking a boat trip with Friendship Cruise. Their boats are docking at the Red Light district and you can find them here.
The tour takes one hour and costs € 15 per person. I did the tour at sunset twice and would do it again when visiting Amsterdam the next time. You will be witnessing how the city lightens up in the evening while enjoying the sunset. It’s a perfect activity for friends or couples.
In my opinion this is one of the cool things to do in Amsterdam and you should not leave the city without doing a boat tour.
8. Enjoy Amsterdam nightlife
Amsterdam’s nightlife is amazing. There are many pubs, bars and clubs where you can socialize with locals and other travelers. An interesting bar is located at the Warmoesstraat and it’s called Cafe Hill Street Blues. On the same street, you will also find a cool Irish Bar.
If you look for clubs, check out the Rembrandplain or Leidseplain.
Day 3 in Amsterdam
If you are spending more than two days in Amsterdam I would recommend to take the train and explore some of the places close to Amsterdam.
9. Visit windmills in Zaanse Schans
The Netherlends is known for their old windmills, the best way to see them is taking the train to Zaandijk. It’s an 18-minute train ride out from Amsterdam.
At the train station in Zaandijk follow the signs that will lead you to the windmills of Zaanse Schans. It’s a beautiful small village with a pleasant atmosphere.
Here you can buy some souvenirs and local products. In the summertime, you can also take a ferry across the river Zaan.
10. Swim in the Nordsee in Zandvoort
In case you are traveling to Amsterdam in summer and want to refresh yourself. Pack your swimsuit, towel, sun protection and take the train to the North Sea. It’s the same train that goes to Zaandijk. You just remain ten more minutes on the train to get to Zandvoort beach.
It’s a great place to relax and play some games. Be ready however that the water in Nordsee is much colder as you might be expected even in the summer months.
An interesting fact, you will notice, is the water level during tides. In a few minutes the water moves several meters towards the coast, so be sure to keep your belongings in a distance.
Where to stay in Amsterdam for three days?
Choosing the right location in Amsterdam is important. You will want to be close to the city center. You will probably arrive in Amsterdam by train or plane.
When I visited Amsterdam I stayed at the Bulldog Hostel and Stayokay Hostel Zeeburg. If you don’t mind be right in the Red Light district, I would go to the Bulldog Hostel.
The Stayokay Hostel in Zeeburg is a bit cheaper however it’s a twenty-minute tram ride to the historic city center.
Book your room in Amsterdam now:
Hostels from € 32 / night: The Bulldog / Stayokay Hostel Zeeburg / ClinkNOORD
Mid-Range from € 125 / night: XO Hotels Blue Tower / Pension Homeland / Holiday Inn Amsterdam – Arena Towers
Luxury from € 459 / night: Pulitzer Amsterdam / Hotel Jakarta Amsterdam / Sir Adam Hotel
If you rather preffer to book your stay in Amsterdam via Airbnb, here is my coupon that you can use to save € 30 on your first booking. In case you already have an account, you can create a new one with a different email to redeem to discount code.
My suggestions on 10 cool things to do in Amsterdam should keep you busy. However, the best thing about traveling is to make spontaneous decisions. Take my list of things to do in Amsterdam in 3 days as a reference on what you could do. Don’t be afraid to explore other activities on your own.
Looking for cheap flights to Amsterdam? Compare rates at skyscanner.com!
Amstredam is certainly not the cheapest city to visit in Europe. If you are on the budget you should maybe consider visiting Prague and Bratislava first. For more info about those two cities and what places to see, read the following articles:
- Is Bratislava worth visiting? – One Day in Bratislava
- What to do in Prague in 2 days – A local’s itinerary