How Many Days Do You Need in Amsterdam + Itinerary 2023

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How many days do you really need in Amsterdam?

If you are wondering what is the perfect number of days to spend in Amsterdam, you have come to the right place!

Taylor from Culture Craving Couple is dishing out all of the details on how many days you need in Amsterdam. Plus she included an awesome itinerary with many travel tips such as where to stay and much more.

Amsterdam is a picture-perfect city with gorgeous canals, great food, a vibrant nightlife scene, and many historic landmarks and museums. It’s a city that somehow feels old but modern at the same time!

As you wander the cobblestone streets and admire the adorable row houses (trying to dodge the millions of bikers on the roads) the scent of Stroopwafels and fresh-cut-flowers wafts through the air.  Boats float down the canals and the old-world, postcard-like charm draws you right in!

Whether you prefer to spend your day in quaint cafes and museums, want to immerse yourself in delicious food, or stay up into the night at incredible bars, Amsterdam has something for travelers of all kinds!

This guide will help you determine how many days to spend in Amsterdam and give you an itinerary to make your trip one to remember!

So, grab a slice of Dutch Apple Pie (more on that later!), and let’s dive in to learn how to visit Amsterdam in 3 days!

How Many Days Do You Need in Amsterdam

As you’re planning and seeing all the incredible things to do in this culture-packed city you might feel a little overwhelmed about getting it all done! The good news is that the city is so walkable, and has excellent transportation, you can fit many things in just a few days!

If you want to see ALL the sights, spend time in the museums and spend a little bit of time outside of Amsterdam then you will want to give yourself 3 days. 

how many days do you need in Amsterdam to explore the cobblestone streets and browse the local shops

This allows you to break up your days a little bit so that you can have some downtime each day, while still seeing the main attractions without having to feel rushed.

It also gives you time to do a day trip from Amsterdam to one of the quaint towns around the area. These towns are a great way to experience the Dutch culture, away from the hustle-and-bustle that Amsterdam brings.

While the craziness that Amsterdam is known for is captivating, the quieter pace of these outside towns makes for a welcome break for those wanting a day with a little more peace.

If you don’t care about getting out of the city and just want to see the main highlights then you can see the top places to visit in Amsterdam in 2 days.

If you have even less time, like a day layover, and don’t care about spending time in Museums, you could see all the main attractions around the city in just one day. It would be a jam-packed day but it’s a great option for those who have very little time but still want to make the most of an Amsterdam Itinerary. 

3 Day Amsterdam Itinerary

Day 1 Amsterdam Itinerary

Food Tour

Day one of your Amsterdam trip itinerary starts as all good days should: with FOOD. The best way to get immersed in the local culture and learn about the city is to do a food tour either around Dam Square or in the popular Jordaan district.  These tours are typically about 3-4 hours with multiple food stops, so skip breakfast and come hungry if you can!

You’ll wander the streets and find the local, hidden-gems restaurants, sampling some of the traditional Dutch food that the locals love at restaurants you likely would have never gone to.  The guide will also share the history of Amsterdam so you can fill your brain with knowledge while you fill your belly.  It’s bound to be one of the highlights of your 3-day trip to Amsterdam.

Best Food Tour in Amsterdam
Amsterdam’s Jordaan Cozy Food Tour

⭐ RATING: 5 out of 5 Stars | ⏳ TOUR LENGTH: 3.5 hours | ✅ BOOK NOW

What Makes This Tour Unique:

  • 10 samples of food & drinks at 6 different tasting locations
  • Visit local spots in the famous Jordaan district
  • Enjoy Dutch classic dishes and bites like mouthwatering apple pie, bitterballen, delicious cheeses, and more.
  • Over 900 5-star ⭐ reviews – so you can’t go wrong!
  • A small group tour of 12 people

Excellent tour – definitely go hungry – so much food all very good! Jacopo was wonderful – very informative about Amsterdam food culture. We enjoyed it very much. – Claudia (read more reviews)

✅ Check rates & availability for the Amsterdam’s Jordaan Cozy Food Tour here

Explore 9 Streets

When the tour ends in the afternoon, wander over to the 9 Streets. This is one of the trendiest areas to live in Amsterdam and it’s a very hip shopping area.  It has tons of adorable cafes to grab a coffee and watch the people go buy or get some shopping done.  Just keep in mind that it is not cheap!

De 9 Straatjes (the Amsterdam way to say “9 Streets”) is over 400 years old and is located just behind Dam Street. You’ll likely be in this area many times over your trip, so it’s worth a walk around even if you don’t plan to shop.

beautiful tulips along the floating flower market in Amsterdam

From here, spend the rest of the afternoon getting lost in the small streets, checking out the floating flower marketing, exploring the busy squares, or holing up in cafes for coffee or an afternoon glass of wine or a cocktail. Whatever you prefer to do, you are bound to find something if you stick around this area.

Food Hallen

Later in the evening, you may find yourself starting to get a little bit hungry! Now it’s time to head over to De Foodhallen

De Hallen is a huge food market in a used-to-be tram depot that now has over 20 stalls that sell Dutch food, snacks, and international cuisine.

It’s a great dinner stop because you have loads of options to choose from based on how hungry you are after the food tour.  You can even check out the indie art stalls and cinema inside if you have time.

Canal Cruise

Once the lights go down, it’s time for you to embark on an evening canal cruise!

the iconic canals in Amsterdam

A canal cruise is a must-do in Amsterdam and they are much more magical if you can book one in the evening.

This will give you a great lay of the land and familiarize yourself with the city so you can get around easier when you have more “on your own” time tomorrow.

This has got to be one of my favourite things i did on my trip to amsterdam the views were absolutely phenomenal and the stories behind so much stuff was so interesting and well explained by the crew. They were also so friendly and sweet.- Emma K. (read more reviews)

PRO TIP: Pay extra attention when you pass through the Prince’s and Gentleman’s canals because the houses here are extra gorgeous.

Check rates & availability for an Evening Canal Cruise here

Day 2 Amsterdam Itinerary

Breakfast in Amsterdam

This morning might be your favorite of this entire try because it starts with the best Dutch Apple Pie you will ever have in your life.

the famous dutch apple pie from Winkel 43 in Amsterdam

Wander over to Winkel 43 for their famous pie and you will think you have died and gone to cinnamony-buttery-sugary heaven! The slices are very large and enough for 2 to share…or not. 

The restaurant also serves more savory options like omelets, if that is more your “thing” in the morning.

Anne Frank House

Once you’ve got your sugar fix, it’s time to visit the Anne Frank House. This is one of the most well-known landmarks in Amsterdam and it’s a must-see, even if you’re not much of a history buff.

a picture of the Anne Frank house, one of the top attractions in Amsterdam
The Anne Frank House

The Anne Frank House is where Anne and her Jewish family hid for years during World War II. Her diary was found and is now incredibly famous.

Tips for Purchasing Tickets to the Anne Frank House

Because of the fame of the house, it’s also very popular. It’s highly recommended to buy your tickets in advance.

Tickets for the Anne Frank House can not be purchased at the door, only on the official website. Every first Tuesday of the month, all tickets for the following month become available. Once they sell out, there is no waiting list for tickets.

PRO TIP: The Anne Frank House is open almost every day but check in advance that you are not planning your visit during a Jewish Holiday as it might be closed.

You can also add on an additional guided tour of the Anne Frank House. Your tour guide will walk you through the Jewish Quarter and the historical city center of Amsterdam while sharing Amsterdam’s WWII history and stories of Anne Frank.

“Wonderful walk and informative Tour. Totally recommend.” – GetYourGuide Traveler (read more reviews)

Check rates & availability for the Life of Anne Frank and World War II walking tour here

The Museum District

Now it’s time to head to Museumplain. This is the Museum District of Amsterdam and consists of a large public square that is home to some of the most well-known museums in the entire world. Here you will find the Van Gogh Museum, Rijksmuseum, and the Stedelijk Museum.

Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam

The Van Gogh Museum is dedicated to the life and work of its namesake. The Rijksmuseum is one of the largest art museums in the world and the Stedelijk Museum is home to contemporary art. Pick your fancy and spend a few hours getting cultured!

PRO TIP: Buy the Amsterdam City Card if you plan on going to a few museums. This will save you money on admission and includes a free canal cruise and public transportation!

Albert Cuyp Market

Once you’ve had enough art, it’s time to switch gears a little bit and get back to eating. Head down to the Albert Cuyp Market for a late lunch.

This is Amsterdam’s biggest outdoor street market, and the biggest market in all of Europe, with 260 stalls that showcase food, flowers, souvenirs and so much more. Some “must-try” foods here are:

  • Dutch Cheese
  • Kibbeling – battered fish chunks
  • Stroopwafels – freshly made, thinly sliced, small waffles with a caramel-like thick sauce in the middle
  • Poffertjes – very small, puffy pancakes that are incredible with powdered sugar

PRO TIP: The market is closed on Sundays, so plan your visit accordingly.

Heineken Brewery

For your evening, you can check out the Red Light District and hole up in a brown bar; a casual bar that serves local cuisine and beer.

a group of people cheerings with beer glasses

If the Red Light District doesn’t sound like your “thing,” head to the world-famous Heineken Brewery. You’ll get a tour and tasting at the end so if you’re a beer lover, this is a must-do.

Day 3 Amsterdam Itinerary

Eat the Famous Dutch Pancakes

Start your day with a traditional breakfast at Pancakes Amsterdam to try the famous Dutch Pancakes.

Dutch pancakes are much larger and thinner than you would normally get if you were going for brunch on a weekend getaway in Charlotte, or some other large American city.  The toppings are baked right into the top and they have a large variety of flavors!

Afterward, you’re going to want to get a coffee for the road to keep you caffeinated for your day trip. There are many adorable cafes in the area, so stop into one that catches your attention.

PRO TIP: Unlike the coffee shops in Raleigh, or in other big American cities, where they serve coffee, many of the “coffee shops” in Amsterdam are actually marijuana shops.  So, do a little “smell test” before you walk in!

Plan a Day Trip From Amsterdam

The rest of your day is a choose your adventure as you get to plan your day trip.  Some of the top day trips from Amsterdam are:

Windmills in Zaanse Schans outside of Amsterdam
Windmills in Zaanse Schans

Edam – a picturesque and quiet old town where you can immerse yourself in real Dutch life.

Volendam – An adorable village on the harbor that is great for exploring. You can combine this with Edam in one day if you don’t mind being on the move. 

Zaanse Schans – This is the most popular day trip from Amsterdam and it has some of the best windmills near the city. It gets VERY crowded so go early if you can!

All of these options are only 30-45 minutes by public transport so grab your road trip questions to kill some time and explore a little outside of the city!

Where to Stay in Amsterdam

When booking your hotel in Amsterdam you will want to try to stay near Dam Square or Central Station.

Dam square in Amsterdam

These are the busiest areas of Amsterdam with the best food, shopping, and lots of transit around. Some great options to stay at are:

  • The Ambassade Hotel ($$$) – A centrally-located hotel with an incredible library bar with cozy rooms that have views of the canals.
  • citizenM Amstel Amsterdam ($$) – A funky and modern, centrally located hostel that has private rooms, private bathrooms, and free breakfast. The lounge room is shared but this makes a great place to stay to be close to downtown, with privacy and without breaking the bank.

How Many Days Do You Need in Amsterdam FAQs

Is 2 Days Enough for Amsterdam? 

Yes! 2 days is absolutely enough for Amsterdam. This gives you enough time to see all the highlights of the city and even spend some time in one of the many museums.

how many days do you need in Amsterdam to discover the beautiful canals

Is 3 Days in Amsterdam Too Long?

3 days is absolutely not too long for Amsterdam. While you can see a lot in 3 days, you are just scratching the surface of the Netherlands and you will find that a 3 day itinerary keeps you on the move and not getting bored!

Conclusion: How Many Days Do You Need in Amsterdam

So, how many days do you really need to spend in Amsterdam? Amsterdam is an incredible city with culture, food, nightlife and so much more!

There are endless streets to wander, canals to cruise around, and day trips to take that you could spend many days or weeks exploring this city but 3 days is the perfect amount of time.

No matter how long you decide to visit, you will leave dreaming of Dutch Apple Pie and already dreaming of your next visit.