A 3 Day Amsterdam Itinerary To A Legal Vacation

Amsterdam has always been a popular tourist destination with Indians as well as people from around the world. It has now become even more popular in India because of a Bollywood movie ‘Queen’. Even though it was not my first visit to Amsterdam, I wanted to spend few days in Amsterdam this time around. I was in Amsterdam for three days this time and here I write a detailed 3 day Amsterdam itinerary to a legal vacation. Even though most of the stuff  which is illegal in other countries are legal in Amsterdam, I still managed to steer clear of all these distractions. Hope you find this useful and do get back to me the in case of any suggestions.

3 day Amsterdam itinerary_cover

3 day Amsterdam itinerary

I Amsterdam City card

I was given a free 3 day I Amsterdam City Card, courtesy Amsterdam marketing. Many people ask me questions about whether it is worth it to buy the I Amsterdam city card. It varies from person to person but in my case, I found it to be really useful. If you are someone who loves to visit many attractions in a single day, then I would definitely advise you to buy the I Amsterdam city card. Many museums are free of charge if you have an I Amsterdam city card. Additionally, attractions and restaurants offer a discounted price if you are carrying an I Amsterdam card. All GVB public transportation is also free with the card.

How to buy I Amsterdam City cards?

You have an option to buy them online or you can buy them once you land in Amsterdam. There are 4 options to buy from: a 24 hours’ card, a 48 hours’ card, a 72 hours’ card and a 96 hours’ card. If you are buying it online, then you can get it delivered to your house. Additionally, you can also buy them from Amsterdam Schiphol Airport visitor centre or Amsterdam Central train station or other locations. I picked mine from the train station and the store is located right at the entrance of the station. You definitely cannot miss it.

I Amsterdam Card Price

I Amsterdam card prices vary from 55 Euros to 90 Euros per person based on the number of days you buy them for.

I Amsterdam card museums list

You can find the list of museums where you can get a free entry with an I Amsterdam card here.

What is not included in the I Amsterdam City card:

NS Trains are not included/ How to get around in Amsterdam

As someone who didn’t read the fine print, I realized I did something illegal only after the 1st day. The day I got the card, I rode on the train to my hotel thinking that the card was valid for trains as well. Unfortunately, it is not. You can use all GVB public transportation free if you have an I Amsterdam card. GVB transportation is usually white and blue and it includes buses, trams and very few trains. Trains in Amsterdam are run by the NS and if you are using them, then you need a separate ticket. Also, don’t forget to validate your ticket when you are using any mode of transportation in Amsterdam. They do routine checks on most of the trains.

Trams are one of the best means of getting around in the city. Buses are equally convenient. Since I was staying in the Sloterdijk area, I used to take a train to Amsterdam central station. As mentioned before, separate tickets are required and you can buy the tickets at the stations. If you plan to use the train a lot during your stay, then it is convenient to buy a 3-day ticket. You can use this site to find out how to buy train tickets in Amsterdam.

Tickets to Anne Frank house

These are also not included in the I Amsterdam city card and you need to get separate tickets if you plan to visit the Anne Frank house. Some of the museums are also not included.

3 day Amsterdam itinerary_Canals

Where to stay in Amsterdam

There are many places to stay in Amsterdam. But when I was choosing a place to stay in Amsterdam, I chose one of the worst options. It was a horrible choice and I wish no one would ever choose MEININGER Hotel Amsterdam City West. There is no doubt that Amsterdam is an expensive city and you may end up booking a horrible place like me if you are not careful.

I wouldn’t recommend staying in the City West area since it is so far away from everything. I agree that you can get there easily by train but I still wouldn’t recommend the isolated place after my experience.I did some research after coming back and I found that these were some of the best areas to stay in Amsterdam:

  • Around Amsterdam Centraal:

It is a busy area but it is the centre of the town. The area is noisy but since it is the hub of the town, you can check out some of the hotels around this area. You can check latest prices here.

Booking | TripAdvisor | HotelsCombined

  • Museum Quarter:

    Another popular area and I loved how close all the museums were.

Booking | TripAdvisor | HotelsCombined

  • Jordaan:

    This is an art locality and you will find lots of residential places around. It is a very pretty part of Amsterdam.

Booking | TripAdvisor | HotelsCombined

3 day Amsterdam itinerary_fishing

What to do in Amsterdam in 3 days

Depending on the kind of traveller you are, there are many things to see in Amsterdam in 3 days. I will first take you through what to do in Amsterdam in 2 days. You can use this as a basis for preparing your ‘3 Days in Amsterdam itinerary’.

Keukenhof Gardens and Tulip fields:

This is something that is on my wish list as well. I missed this on both my trips to Amsterdam since I went after the season. The Keukenhof Gardens are open during the Tulip season which usually runs every year from Mid-April to Mid-May. Hopefully, it will be third time lucky for me and  I will get to witness the flower parade when I am there.

Zaanse Schans Windmill Village

Visiting a windmill tour in Amsterdam is another famous activity. It is a well-preserved neighbourhood with plenty of windmills and it takes around 30 minutes by train from Amsterdam Central station. Amsterdam Central to Zaanse Schans is a popular route and you have trains throughout the day. Zaandam village is only 5 minutes walking distance from the train station.

You can climb to the top of few windmills here and most places charge you around 3 euros for entry. It is really a picturesque village and you will definitely fall in love with it. My tip would be to start early so that you can explore the place without too many tourists.

3 Day Amsterdam Itinerary

Volendam Fishing Village:

Most people combine the Zaanse Schans Windmill tour in Amsterdam with the Volendam fishing village. Again, this place is easily accessible by train. Visiting a clog factory and a cheese factory at Marken should also be included in this itinerary. You will also see few people walking around in traditional attire. Visiting Zaanse Schans, Marken and Volendam fishing village on a single day is one of the most popular day trips from Amsterdam.

How to take a canal cruise in Amsterdam

I went on an Amsterdam river cruise on my second day in Amsterdam. Amsterdam is a city of canals and it is interesting to see the city from that perspective. It was included in my I Amsterdam city card and it was so nice to hear the history behind the canals in Amsterdam. It is surprising how they are still so well maintained after so many years. Most river cruises in Amsterdam last for an hour. There are three main canals; Herengracht, Prinsengracht and Keizergracht and all of them are now designated as UNESCO world heritage sites. You can also find the world’s only floating flower market, Bloemenmarkt in Amsterdam.

3 day Amsterdam itinerary_Canal_Cruise

Anne Frank House

Once I was done with the canal cruise and my lunch, I went over to the Anne Frank house. Ever since I read ‘Diary of a young girl’, I wanted to see the Anne Frank house. Since these tickets are not included in the I Amsterdam City card, I went over to try my luck.

Anne Frank House is open every day from 9 AM to 7 PM in winter and from 9 AM to 10 PM during summer. In this time frame, the time slot from 9 AM to 3:30 PM is exclusively kept for people who have a valid online ticket. You can buy your Anne Frank house online tickets here. But please note that these tickets are in high demand and are usually sold out months in advance.

Since I didn’t have an online ticket, I went and joined the queue around 3 PM. I was quite lucky that day and I had to wait only for 45 minutes. But there are people who have stood in line for more than 2 hours too. Please note that they close the queue line hours before closing time. So in my opinion, it is better that you go around 2:45 PM if you don’t have the online tickets to minimize the wait time. Also get a book if you are travelling solo like me. I actually ended up talking with an American couple in front of me.

You can take a tram from Amsterdam Centraal to Anne Frank house.

Anne Frank is an experience and I am glad that I did not miss it during my visit this time. I was in tears by the time I got out of the place. Unless you see the place, you can’t even imagine how so many people hid in an attic for more than 2 years. The house is now converted into a museum and you need a good 1.5-2 hours to visit the place including the waiting time.

Red Light District in Amsterdam:

The red-light district in Amsterdam is located at a walking distance from the Amsterdam Centraal station. In case you are going with kids, then it is better to avoid accidentally straying to one of the many mini lanes.

I did walk around the district during the day. Since it was still daytime (the sun only sets post 9:30 PM during Summer), there were only a few women sitting behind the windows. You are not allowed to take photos and I have heard stories of how bouncers have taken cameras from tourists and smashed them. I have no idea if that is true but I did not want to take a chance nor did I find it that interesting to take pictures. Since drugs are legal, you can find many coffee shops in Amsterdam that sell marijuana. Again, I was not interested and I went back to my hotel after walking around the red-light district for some time. Dam square was close by and I spent a couple of hours just walking around the various lanes and the canals.

3 day Amsterdam itinerary_red_lights_district

Museumplein / VondelPark

Till now, I hope you have got a general idea on what to do in Amsterdam in 2 days. My last day in Amsterdam was mostly reserved for the area around all the museums in Amsterdam. This neighbourhood is also called the Museum quarter / Vondelpark.

I spent most of my day inside the Rijksmuseum and Van Gogh museum. It was not my first time here but I still loved walking around the exhibits. I couldn’t visit the Rembrandt House museum since it was in another part of town.

Once I was done with the museums, I walked over and spent the evening reading a book at Vondelpark. It is a beautiful place to relax and I wish I was staying somewhere close to this place. Again, you can take a tram from Amsterdam Centraal to Museumplein.

There are many restaurants around the place and it was really difficult choosing only one place.

3 day Amsterdam itinerary_Rijksmuseum

Traveling I Amsterdam Letters:

Everyone wants to take a photo in front of the travelling I Amsterdam letters. You can find them in at least 3 areas around Amsterdam. The most obvious ones are the Rijksmuseum and the Schiphol airport. Go really early if you want to get a good photo without the crowds.

Conclusion

Hope you liked this 3-day itinerary of Amsterdam. I loved how I was able to do most of the things listed here.

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18 Comments

  1. Amsterdam is a great city to visit on a short trip. Having been a few times I’d say there is even more to do there than people thing. One of my favorite things to do is just walk through the canals and soak up the charm.

  2. Amsterdam is usually synonymous with the Tulips, however there is so much more more to see and experience. This is indeed a very comprehensive itinerary for Amsterdam. I would love to visit the Anne Frank museum, which is fascinating for me after reading the book.

  3. I didn’t realize that Anne Franks House was not included on the I Amsterdam card – good to know. However this is top of my own list for when I visit – this and even just taking a walk through the infamous red light district to see it with my own eyes ;/

  4. You have beautifully covered almost everything that one would like to touch upon in a short trip to Amsterdam. The I Amsterdam passes are really very effective. We recently went there for two days and felt two days are a little too short for a trip to Amsterdam, 3 look better

  5. This sounds like a great itinerary, I’ve been wanting to go to Amsterdam for a few years now and I can’t wait to go to some of these places you have listed!

  6. This is a very detailed Amsterdam itinerary. I visited Amsterdam a few years back but did not have such a good itinerary, so I ended up wasting lots of time running around. All those planning to visit Amsterdam should definitely read this!

  7. I had heard about the Red Light district in Amsterdam and given a chance , I would liuke to go there as my first pit stop. Not because I am enamoured of the sex workers but to see how the Hollanders cope up with this profession. You being born in Africa, Sowmya, I would like to also read up your Africa posts.

  8. Good itinerary! I used the Amsterdam city card and I found it very helpful. most of the ones I met in the hostel didnt get one and they ended up spending more. Also Zaanse Schans is a good call.

  9. The Keukenhof Gardens and Tulip fields are what I’ve missed on my Amsterdam visits too. It was raining the whole time I visited and the wrong season! A canal cruise sounds good, there are some useful tips here on how to take one!

  10. Great tips about Amsterdam. I really want to go to the Anne Frank museum, I have been to Amsterdam before, but the line for the museum was so long! I will book online for my next trip.

  11. Hello my friend! I want to say that this post is awesome, nice written and include almost all vital infos. I’d like to see more posts like this.

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