Are you about to explore Amsterdam, the beautiful city, full of bridges, romantic streets, a cozy atmosphere, and open-minded people? Continue reading to learn 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 on a journey around Amsterdam and tell you about 10 cool things to do in Amsterdam in three days.

Make sure to get an eSIM for the Netherlands to navigate Amsterdam and explore points of interest in your area.

The perfect itinerary for 3 days in Amsterdam

Day 1 in Amsterdam

Spend the first day of your Amsterdam trip, 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 to 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 for 3 hours up to a week. The prices per day vary, usually between € 8 and € 10 per day. Buying a used bike is recommended if you plan to stay longer in Amsterdam.

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 photos of the « I am Amsterdam » sign, 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.

If you have spotted the letters at a different location, feel free to share it in the comments below to allow other readers to bookmark the spot and take a selfie with the famous sign as well.

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 beer production process in a fun and entertaining way. At the end of the tour, you can 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. I suggest exploring Amsterdam in the evening if you still have the energy. You should not skip the Red Light district during your visit to Amsterdam.

It’s a place for open-minded and curious travelers. If you want to learn more about the history of prostitution and 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 I think it’s worth the money.

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, 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 hiding in Amsterdam from the Nazis during World War II.

Be aware that this place is very popular; I suggest going there early in the morning and buying 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


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 tourists 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 witness how the city lightens up in the evening while enjoying the sunset. It’s a perfect activity for friends or couples.

I think this is one of the cool things to do in Amsterdam, and you should not leave the city without a boat tour.

8. Enjoy Amsterdam nightlife

Amsterdam’s nightlife is amazing. There are many pubs, bars, and clubs to socialize with locals and other travelers. An interesting bar is located at the Warmoesstraat called Cafe Hill Street Blues. On the same street, you will also find a cool Irish Bar.

If you are looking 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 taking the train and exploring some of the places close to Amsterdam.

9. Visit windmills in Zaanse Schans


The Netherlands is known for its old windmills; the best way to see them is by 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. You can also take a ferry across the Zaan in the summertime.

10. Swim in the Nordsee in Zandvoort

Amsterdam to Zandvoort

Suppose you are traveling to Amsterdam in summer and want to refresh yourself. Pack your swimsuit, towel, and sun protection, and take the train to the North Sea. It’s the same train that goes to Zaandijk. You 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 than you might be expected, even in the summer months.

An interesting fact, you will notice, is the water level during tides. The water moves several meters toward the coast in a few minutes, so 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 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 prefer to book your stay in Amsterdam via Airbnb, here is my coupon that you can use to save € 30 on your first booking. If you already have an account, you can create a new one with a different email to redeem the 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!

Amsterdam 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:

Share your experience

What’s the place in Amsterdam did you like the most? Share your experiences in the comments below to help other travelers to have a good time in Amsterdam.