Amsterdam is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Europe. This capital city of the Netherlands is vibrant, fun and full of amazing things to do and see for a fulfilling holiday.
From some of the world’s best museums to the legendary Red Light District, cruises in the canals and unforgettable events, there is so much to do when spending 3 days in Amsterdam!
While this isn’t a lot of time, you’ll have enough time to create an Amsterdam itinerary that lets you feel the city’s atmosphere.
Here are some can’t-miss destinations to add to your to-do list!
See also: A Weekend in Amsterdam: Places to See
What to include on your 3 days in Amsterdam itinerary
Here are some things you really can’t miss if you only have 3 days in Amsterdam:
The Rijksmuseum is one of the most famous art museums in the world, so it’s a must-see for any art lover’s Amsterdam itinerary! This fantastic museum pays homage to art and history in Amsterdam, including an illustrated history of Holland shown through its numerous collections, which include over 8000 objects and paintings.
If you are interested in uncovering arts and culture, you need to see this. It’s located in the Grachtengordel area of Amsterdam and is open from 9 AM – 5 PM daily. Tickets cost €20.00 for adults and are free for anyone under 18, and a guided tour costs an extra €5.
Note that tickets are only available online, as you must choose a start time for your selected date.
If you want to visit the whole museum you need at least 4 to 5 hours, so make sure to arrive early so that you still have time to squeeze in another activity in the afternoon.
Suppose you’re more of a drinker than an art lover. In that case, you might like going on a Heineken Experience during your 3 days in Amsterdam. This is the first brewery that Heineken has ever built. Visitors can get two free beers and a tour of the brewery’s history.
It’s open from 10:30 AM – 19:30 PM from Sunday – Thursday and 10:30 AM – 21:00 PM on Friday and Saturday. Tickets cost between €21 – €55 depending on if you want to add any extras, such as a VIP tour, extra live music or a simple guided tour. Note that you should book online.
Amsterdam GoCity Pass holders don’t pay upon arrival.
100 Highlights Cruise
Short on time, but want to see as much as possible? Get ready to take photos on a 100 Highlights Cruise. You’ll pass many pivotal monuments crucial for any Amsterdam itinerary, such as the Westerkerk, canal houses, and much more.
Some might argue that this is the most beautiful canal cruise in the whole city of Amsterdam. The 100 Highlights Cruise lasts one hour and is available all year-round. It departs from Central Station, Rijksmuseum and Damrak. Costs range from €15-€19.50 and can be bought online for convenience. Amsterdam GoCity Pass holders can gain free access.
Audio guides are available for this tour in over 19 languages: Arabic, Cantonese, Dutch, English, French, German, Hebrew, Hindi, Indonesian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Mandarin, Portuguese, Polish, Russian, Spanish, Turkish and Thai.
Lovers Canal Cruise from Central Station
Another Amsterdam cruise option is the Lover Canal Cruise. Jump aboard Amsterdam’s top-rated cruise departing from the heart of the city and soak in the city’s enchanting beauty as it glimmers on the water.
Your Amsterdam canal cruise ticket includes iconic stops like the Anne Frank House and the Westerkerk, with an informative audio guide to enrich your experience. You’ll also sail under the enchanting Skinny Bridge and soak up the unique blend of relaxation and sophistication that defines this city.
Experience Dutch practicality at its best – Amsterdam, renowned for its avid cyclists, won’t pose any photo-taking hazards when you have these canal cruise tickets in hand.
Insider tip: The best time to go on the cruise is during sunset as you get to watch the city light up from the water! Make sure to check the sunset times as they differ greatly throughout the year! And don’t worry, the boat is covered so even if it’s raining, it’s still worth it!
- Duration: 1 hour
- Audio guide: Arabic, Chinese, Dutch, English, French, German, Hebrew, Hindi, Indonesian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, Thai, Turkish
Tour de BonTon
This tour is for people aged 18+ only, as it involves a trip to the Red Light District, one of the most famous places to add to your Amsterdam itinerary.
The BonTon is one of the most historic sex workhouses in Amsterdam and is located in the heart of the district.
This unique Amsterdam attraction can teach you about the history of the building, sex work in the city and its development throughout history. This guided tour will take you around the different rooms at the house. Ticket prices start at €21 and can be bought online or on location.
If Keukenhof isn’t on your Amsterdam itinerary, you’re doing it wrong – or maybe you visited in the stormy season!
Keukenhof, located close to Amsterdam in the town of Lisse, is a spectacular flower exhibition that welcomes around 1 million visitors annually. You definitely don’t want to miss this, from tulips and hyacinths to daffodils. It typically runs from March to May every year.
Tickets can be bought online each year from October for the following year. Lisse, the South Holland host city of Keukenhof, is just 30 minutes from Amsterdam and Schiphol Airport. It has since become the world’s most extensive flower garden, with spectacular guided tours that cover paths of over 15km across 32 hectares of flower gardens.
Suppose you are a nature lover and want to relax amidst the serenity of fresh flowers. In that case, you should try to visit in Spring to attend Keukenhof. Adult tickets start at €17 if bought online, or €18 if purchased on arrival at the park.
Related read: Reasons to Visit Netherlands in the Spring
Amsterdam Castle Muiderslot
Perhaps you are a history buff. In this case, you need to see Amsterdam Castle Muiderslot if you’re only spending 3 days in Amsterdam!
Go back in time to explore this incredible 13th-century castle and surroundings. Castle Muiderslot is a UNESCO World Heritage site from the Mediaeval era. It forms part of the Defence Line of Amsterdam.
You can find many rooms, including an armoury, moat, historical collections, and much more. Audio tours are also available if you’re interested. Tickets can be bought online and cost €16.50 for adults. However, you’ll pay nothing if you have a GoCity pass.
Why do you need a GoCity pass for 3 Days in Amsterdam?
If you’re considering cramming the most into your 3 days in Amsterdam, you should consider getting a GoCity pass for Amsterdam.
This all-inclusive pass is valid for 1-5 days, depending on your choice. It costs €79 for a 3-day pass, which gives you free access to various attractions and museums in Amsterdam. You’ll gain free access to all the places mentioned in this article and many others!
Using a GoCity pass is a cost-effective method of visiting sites during a short trip and saves you from waiting in any queue. You can access attractions with a total ticket value of €530 despite only paying €79 for your ticket, so it really is a wise choice!
Simply download the GoCity Pass app to your phone and present it when needed. You can also print it if you want a paper copy. Using the app or website, you can make reservations for places that require bookings, like the Rijksmuseum, Heineken Experience and others. GoCity passes make travelling a breeze!
PS – the pass also includes bike rental to tick off the major bucket list item of cycling in Amsterdam.
See below an example of how much you can save on sample three day itinerary:
Getting the most of your 3 days in Amsterdam is possible with a bit of pre-planning
Amsterdam has tons of unique attractions to make everyone happy regardless of what you enjoy, so enjoy your next adventure in the city of canals! While three days is short, you can definitely tick off a few great activities with some pre-planning and advance booking.
Make sure to leave some time for aimlessly wandering along the canals and just taking in the city without having to rush to each attraction.