Planning a trip to Amsterdam? Get some inspiration on what to do while you’re there with our idea of a perfect three-day itinerary. History, culture, entertainment, restaurants… Pack it all in at a comfortable pace and don’t miss a thing!
Begin your weekend in Amsterdam by sampling some of the city’s world-famous culture. The Van Gogh museum is the obvious place to start, with 500 drawings, 220 paintings and 800 letters giving you an insight into the life and work of one of the world’s most famous 19th century Dutch artists. Of course, this genius’ works of art attract a large number of visitors, so head to the museum as early as possible in the morning in order to admire Sunflowers and his other masterpieces.
Similarly, visit the Rijksmuseum in order to appreciate the paintings of the masters from the 17th century, the Dutch Golden Age. The superb collection includes in-depth studies on light by Vermeer and Rembrandt, the painter of The Night Watch.
During your stay in Amsterdam, make sure you explore the city’s vibrant gastronomic scene, which is teeming with a wide variety of superb establishments, both in the city centre and on the outskirts. Testament to the city’s proud multiculturalism, the mixing of different cuisines provides nearly limitless options for dining out.
For example, Dignita Vondelpark is a great all-day brunch spot that uses a range of fresh produce to create delicious on-trend dishes. Suitably fuelled, make your way to Vondelpark, the city’s largest park, a 45-hectare area that welcomes visitors and locals alike throughout the year and hosts free open-air theatre performances during the summer. Settle down for a picnic before wandering through this delightful green space that is sometimes used as a venue for open-air concerts. Walking between the trees, exploring Vondelpark is a great chance to experience Amsterdam at the same pace of life as the locals.
For the first evening of your Amsterdam weekend, head to Leidseplein, a district renowned for its vibrant nightlife. Here, the Melkweg cultural centre offers a varied programme ranging from film screenings to multiple exhibitions, while The Paradisio, a former church turned concert hall, is a party hotspot that perfectly encapsulates the energy and modernity of Amsterdam’s arts scene.
The following day, a trip to Anne Frank’s house is sure to captivate anyone even vaguely familiar with the story of this remarkable young Jewish girl and her family, who were forced to hide in an annexe for two years in order to evade the Nazis. The museum is a vital place of Holocaust remembrance and offers a truly emotional experience. The archives and documents held at the house and museum allow you to learn more about the persecution of the Jews during World War II.
After that, stroll along Amsterdam’s infamous canals and make the most of your trip by trying some of the city’s delicious local specialities: croquettes and bitterballen (fried meatballs), which are sure to satisfy your taste buds. Finish off with some traditional Stroopwafels (layered waffles filled with caramel syrup).
In the afternoon, take to the water. Sitting comfortably on one of the city’s boats, you can explore over 100 kilometres of canals over the course of your weekend trip to Amsterdam. It’s the perfect way to admire the city’s impressive bridges and the way in which its imposing buildings are built on stilts. For a real treat, choose a guided boat tour to discover the secrets and stories of this historic city. Finally, finish the day by visiting Amsterdam’s world-famous flower market, a captivating place full of vibrant colours and exotic fragrances and, of course, tulip bouquets and bulbs as far as the eye can see.
As evening falls, head to the outskirts of the city to dine at REM Eiland, a former pirate TV station-turned-restaurant that towers above the port on a 22-metre high pontoon. This exceptional location gives you a unique viewpoint for observing the port, whilst taking stock of everything you have experienced during the first two days of your weekend break in Amsterdam.
Start your final morning in Amsterdam by hiring a bike. Exploring the charming streets on two wheels will really make you feel like a local during your weekend stay in Amsterdam. Amsterdam is a superb biking city, with 400 kilometres of cycle paths, giving you the freedom to move around and stop off wherever you wish - whether to marvel at the beauty of one of the city’s bridges or take a break in the relaxing yet vibrant neighbourhood of Westerpark. By taking slight detours to Haarlemmerdijk and Leidsestraat, you will discover some of Amsterdam’s best-kept secrets, from the small trendy interior design shop Store Without a Home, to pretty gardens hidden behind private houses.
After that exertion, stop along the water’s edge to have some lunch and observe the quiet, peaceful comings and goings of passers-by. Then, head to the Heineken Experience to learn more about this legendary Dutch brewery, and to sample some of its world-famous wares.
Afterwards, spend the afternoon wandering the city streets and be sure to visit the historic De Bijenkorf department store for some retail therapy. Alternatively, head to Haarlemmerstraat for a truly picturesque shopping experience that showcases the city’s finest independent boutiques.
Spend your final evening at Happyhappyjoyjoy, a vibrant Asian restaurant in Bilderdijkstraat, on the western side of the city. Here, you’ll find Asian street food at its best, including delicious varieties of noodle soup and steamed dumplings. Its buzzing ambiance will transport you far from the peaceful city canals. However, this establishment’s comfortable and elaborate style are unmistakably Dutch, so you’ll never forget you are well and truly in Amsterdam!
Amsterdam is a city which can be easily explored in 3 days. However, you will quickly discover during your weekend in Amsterdam that the general pace of life here is as relaxed as the peaceful rolling of your bike wheels. So, by all means visit some of Amsterdam’s world-famous sights, but make sure to take your time and meander along the canals and through the narrow alleys like a local for a true taste of the real Amsterdam.