Having spent four months living and studying in Amsterdam back in 2014, I'm often asked the best way to spend a few days in the city. Below is exactly how I would spend three days showing someone around. It's a tried and tested route that everyone enjoys.
Note: Just so I'm not sending you to places that closed four years ago, this list was updated in 2018 to make sure recommended restaurants and nightlife are still around. Are they still poppin'? That is to be determined by you.
Day 1: City Center
- Start with a free walking tour
- Check out Dam Square
- The Royal Palace is here, along with other famous monuments
- Shop the Negen Straatjes (9 Streets)
- Visit Waterlooplein Open Air Market & haggle for some souvenirs
- Visit the Red Light District at night
- What to eat around the city center:
Day 2: Museumplein
- Either rent bikes or walk here, depending on where you are starting
- Get a photo with the iAmAmsterdam sign
- Visit the Van Gogh Museum even if you arent an art fan
- Maybe visit the Stedelijk Museum if you like modern art
- Maybe visit the Rijksmuseum if you like history and classical art
- Party through the Heineken Experience and drink free beer at the end
- Bike or walk through Vondelpark (it's huge!)
- What to eat near Museumplein:
- Albert Cuyp Market: Get ten poffrijes for 2 euro, a stroopwafel chocolate truffle, free cheese samples, and a fresh waffle from Wally!
Day 3: Jordaan Area
- Note: I would try to get a hotel in this area!
- Explore the Anne Frank Museum (reserve tickets way ahead of time)
- Eat endless samples at the Cheese Museum
- Look across from the Cheese Museum, that's my old dorm building!
- Take a peaceful canal boat tour
- Shop and dine on the trendy Haarlemmerstraat
- What to eat in the Jordaan:
- Paradiso: Renovated Catholic church with a clubby atmosphere and fun dancing
- Lux: Upscale cocktail lounge to start your night
- Café de Gieter: Where locals hang out and start their night. Go for the good looking Dutch people.
- Bubbles: A pretty Americanized bar, but Dutch locals go here too.
Outside The City
- Amsterdam Noord: Take the ferry across the IJ to visit the restaurants, markets, and EYE Film Institute - this is a must!
- Keukenhof: World-famous Tulip gardens (open March – May)
- Marken & Volendam: Old-fashioned fishing villages worth a visit
- Westerpark: If you’re feeling adventurous and wanna do legal truffles, this is the spot to do them. Just try to stay away from the families.