Whilst geographically quite condensed, Amsterdam is a big city with plenty to see and do. Before I even begin with my ‘must-see’ recommendations you will invariably already have an idea in mind of a few things you wish to see and do in Amsterdam – and yes, they are all worth your time.
Unlike many other cities in Europe, nearly everything on all the ‘things to see and do’ lists should indeed be visited and experienced. So without further adieu (you will need every minute of these 72 hours) – let’s look at how you should spend your 3 days in Amsterdam…
Van Gogh Museum & Rijksmuseum
While both of these museums are two of the most popular attractions in the city, the wait is certainly worth your while. Both museums are located directly next to one another so the best idea is to visit one after the other.
The Van Gogh museum is the largest collection of Van Gogh’s works and also provides visitors with an exceptional biography and chronological timeline of the artists’ life and life’s work. There are also paintings by artists who inspired Van Gogh’s work and those that followed with inspiration from Van Gogh.
The Rikjsmuseum (next door) features a wide range of contemporary and historical art works, with also a particularly good collection of classic Dutch painters. The building itself is spectacular and also an attraction in itself. Outside this museum you will also find the ‘I Amsterdam’ letters and oodles of tourists sprawling themselves all over them.
You Decide: House of Bols or The Heineken Experience
If you’re a lover of cocktails and quirky creations, head next door to the Van Gogh Museum to visit the House of Bols and sample some incredible cocktails (open from noon).
If you prefer your beer, head on over to the Heineken museum. The price of admission will include 3 beers but beware – beer-devotees claim this has nothing on the Guinness Museum in Dublin.
Anne Frank House & Jordaan
Be sure to arrive early or prepare yourself to wait up to 2-3 hours in line to get inside. This is a point of interest for many visitors to Amsterdam, and it needs no explanation as to why. I have visited Auschwitz and Birkenau concentration camps some years ago in Krakow, Poland, so it was really interesting to actually step foot inside the Anne Frank house and see what this period of history was like from a different perspective. The house is now a museum of sorts, as it displays the story of Anne Frank and a few interesting facts about the war, especially from the perspective of Jewish people. I would strongly recommend you have this on your list of things to do whilst in Amsterdam.
Red Light District
Switching it up a bit, later in the evening be sure to head over to the Red Light District to see what it’s all about. Even if you just pass through once and take an alternative route home, it is certainly an eye-opener.
Hire a Bike & Explore
Keep it relaxed on your last day in Amsterdam and try to enjoy the city from a local’s perspective. Bikes are everywhere (you’ll know what I mean when you get here) and are widely used by locals and tourists alike. Be sure to head off the beaten path away from the tourist areas, as it will not only open your eyes to more of Amsterdam but also make riding your bike a whole lot safer with less traffic around.
Jump on a canal tour to see the city from where it is famous for – it’s canals. There are a range of tour operators all offering a fairly similar service, so you can’t really go too wrong.
Also: Coffee Shops
I’ve left this as an optional add-in because let’s be honest, not everyone (though many do) comes to Amsterdam to get high. Stay away from overly commercialised ‘coffee shops’ and head to a local’s favourite – Barney’s.
World of Wanderlust was a guest to Amsterdam with the IAmsterdam Tourism Board.