Amsterdam in 3 Days

Sunday, June 17, 2018

After I graduated, I spent some time traveling with friends and family. One of my first stops was Amsterdam and that was actually the first time I’ve ever been to Europe. Amsterdam was such a beautiful place that I can’t wait to return, but I also can’t wait to eventually see the rest of Europe.

I bought the I Amsterdam City Card. It’s definitely worth it because you can get unlimited use of the GVB public transport system for the duration of your card, but I would definitely suggest planning out your days so that you have enough hours to take advantage of the card. The card includes all GVB buses, trams and metros in the city, but doesn’t include the bus that gets you from the airport into the city. You can use this map to see what the card gives you.

Pro-tip #1: Make sure to check what time museums and other sights close to schedule your trip most efficiently.

Pro-tip #2: Book your Anne Frank House tickets right now!

Here’s a sample itinerary that my friends and I made: 

Day 1:
11:00 AM

Check into hotel. We stayed at XO Inner, which was conveniently located near a bunch of museums. You can check or Airbnb for other listings, just make sure it’s near a bus stop or walking distance from the things you want to do.

12:00 PM

Attend a “Free” Walking Tour. TripAdvisor has a list of the Top 10 Walking Tours in Amsterdam. I did the FreeDAM Tour and it was really great! The tours last about 2-3 hours and are a great introduction to the city. While it is free, be sure to tip your guide at the end of the tour.

4:00 PM

Buy some groceries like water and other snacks. It’s nice to have water or juice with you when you’re travelling. I love trying different snacks whenever I go somewhere new.

5:30 PM

Grab dinner at De Foodhallen. This is a great place if you’re in a group of people who might all be at different hunger levels or want to eat different things. While it is open until 11:30 PM, if you come too late a lot of the stalls run out of food or may be closed already.

7:30 PM

Explore the city. The first night is perfect for walking around and checking out the Red Light District and other sights. I loved taking the bus/tram around and just looking at all the different neighborhoods in Amsterdam.

Day 2:
10:00 AM

Eat at the Pancake Bakery. Sadly, they only take reservations for 6 or more people but if you come early enough or on a weekday, you can definitely get seated right away. There is a 25% discount on an international pancake (excl. drinks) with the I Amsterdam Card. (Do note that you need to show your Card before ordering.)

11:30 PM

Check out Jordaan area. This area is close to the Pancake Bakery and close to the next couple items on the itinerary. This is a great place to grab a cappuccino or a latte before you continue with your day. This area was formerly a working-class neighbourhood that has now been transformed with adorable boutiques and cafés.

12:15 PM

Check out the Cheese “Museum”. The Cheese Museum is free, but it’s not really a museum. It’s more like a large two story shop with a mini museum in the lower level. There’s amazing cheese samples here, so if you love cheese be sure to stop by!

12:45 PM

Visit the Tulip Museum. This museum is super close to the Cheese Museum. It’s free with the I Amsterdam City Card (and €5 without the card). I would say it’s worth going to if you have the Card or love tulips, but otherwise it’s pretty small and you can just visit the gift shop.

1:30 PM

After spending time at the Tulip Museum, travel a bit further to get to the Jewish Cultural Quarter. The €15 ticket includes: Jewish Historical Museum, Portuguese Synagogue, and National Holocaust Memorial and Museum. With the City Card, it is free!

3:00 PM

Visit the Hortus Botanicus, which is a Botanical Garden very close to the Jewish Cultural Center. There’s are multiple indoor greenhouses, including one with butterflies, and an outdoor garden. It is free with the pass, otherwise €8.50. There are some great photo ops here, although not very big. I would pass if I had to pay for it, but with the City Card it's definitely worth making a quick stop.

3:30 PM

Next up is the Amsterdam Diamond Museum. This is free with the pass, but €10 without it. It is on the smaller side, but still enough for a quick peek.

4:00 PM

Visit the Foam Fotografiemuseum Amsterdam. I actually ran out of time to visit this Museum as it is ~20 minutes from the Anne Frank House and I had tickets to go there and I absolutely couldn’t miss that.

5:00 PM

Reserve tickets and head to the Anne Frank House. The Anne Frank House is a biographical museum dedicated to Anne Frank. This museum gave me chills the entire time I was there, because you’re actually walking through the house where Anne Frank hid for more than two years. While many areas in the house have obviously been refurbished, many original parts and items remain. You’re able to see photographs, important historical documents, and handwritten notes and letters, including the diaries Anne wrote. This visit probably lasts anywhere from 60 - 90 minutes.

7:00 PM

Go to Kartika to eat some authentic Indonesian food. It’s strange because I’m from the Bay Area which is a melting pot of diverse food and people, but it’s rare even there to get Indonesian food. Surprisingly, there are actually many spots to get Indonesian food in Amsterdam. Kartika is small, so call ahead to make reservations. They have some really great tasting dishes and a lot of vegetarian options.

9:00 PM

Go out and have fun!

BONUS: For Amsterdam fast food after a night out, visit FEBO.

Day 3:
10:00 AM

Check out Albert Cuyp Market, which is a street market in Amsterdam. Try poffertjes (Dutch mini pancakes), bitterballen (Dutch fried meat-based snack), and stroopwafels (two Dutch crunchy waffles with caramel syrup inside, they taste like delicious cookies!).

11:30 PM

Check out the Van Gogh museum. This museum is dedicated to Vincent van Gogh and is a very spacey and modern museum. It’s free with the I Amsterdam City Card (and €17 without the card). You can spend anywhere from 60 to 90 minutes here.

1:30 PM

Eat lunch somewhere! Try broodje haring (raw herring sandwich) or get kibbeling (deep fried fish) from street vendors/food trucks. If you love sweets, try oliebollen (deep fried sweet dumplings).

12:45 PM

Visit the Stedelijk Museum! This was probably my favorite museum!! It’s a museum for modern art, contemporary art, and design and has super cool photo ops. The exhibits are all incredibly fun and well-done. This museum is free with the Amsterdam City pass (otherwise €15.00). I would say it’s very similar to SF MOMA/NYC MOMA/Chicago's Art Institue.

2:00 PM

Next check out the Moco Museum, which is a smaller art museum featuring fun works by Dalí and Banksy. I ran out of time to see this, but have heard it’s really fun! €11.25 Fast Lane with QR code or the Amsterdam City Card gives you 10% off, otherwise it’s €12.50 for adults.

3:00 PM

Take pictures at the I AM Amsterdam Sign.

3:30 PM

Go on the Canal Tour! It’s free with the Amsteree with pass (otherwise €17). If you visit during certain times of the year you can see the Festival of Light which is just a few Euros more. The tour is around 75 minutes long and the last departure is at 6 PM.

5:00 PM

Eat dinner somewhere. Use Yelp or Tripadvisor to find a yummy place to eat.

7:00 PM

Go shopping! I didn’t leave enough space in my suitcase, so wasn’t really able to buy anything from all the cute boutiques and other stores in Amsterdam. The two main shopping streets in Amsterdam's city centre are the Kalverstraat and the Leidsestraat.
I really enjoyed Amsterdam! It’s amazing to be in a city with such rich culture and architecture. Be sure to really take in your surroundings. My first day I actually just rode the bus/tram for a while to check out Amsterdam. If you have any questions, feel free to comment on this post or email us!

Life was meant for good friends and great adventures,


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