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72 hours in Amsterdam: Day 1
On your first day, take in a few of Amsterdam’s highlights and get an introduction to all things Dutch.
Cruise the canals
A canal cruise is a great way to get acquainted with the city. During your trip, you can also jot down a few places that you might want to visit later. A few of the most notable canal cruise operators include Lovers, Canal and Holland International.
Stop and smell the flowers
Take a stroll through one of Amsterdam’s gardens or parks. If you’re visiting in autumn or winter, the tropical greenhouses at Hortus Botanicus offer a warm retreat. And the floating flower market provides great photo ops any time of year.
Grab a quick bite and try something typically Dutch, like:
- Pancakes: Sweet or savoury and not just for kids
- Croquettes: Amsterdammers swear by Van Dobben for these fried snacks
- Herring: Try it plain or with pickles and onions
- Friet: You can’t go wrong with a portion of piping-hot, Belgian-style chips
Museums & attractions
Spend your afternoon at one of Amsterdam’s best-loved museums like the Rijksmuseum, Van Gogh Museum, Stedelijk Museum or Anne Frank House. If you’re travelling with kids, then Science Center NEMO or Royal Artis Zoo should be at the top of your list.
Go get lost
Pull out your map and pick an Amsterdam neighbourhood to explore:
- Canal Ring: Majestic canal houses and Golden Age glory
- De Pijp: Vibrant neighbourhood with a mix of students and families, plus the Albert Cuypmarkt
- De Plantage: Lush green neighbourhood with broad avenues near the zoo
- Jordaan: Former working-class neighbourhood transformed by charming boutiques and cafés
Dinner & drinks Wind down from your busy day of sightseeing with a creative drink at a cocktail bar or a refreshing Dutch beer. When your stomach starts grumbling, you’ll find more than enough restaurants to choose from.
72 hours in Amsterdam: Day 2
On your second day in Amsterdam, dive deeper into the local experience with a combination of shopping, architecture and culture.
Long, lazy breakfast
Wake up late and treat yourself to a delicious meal at one of Amsterdam’s best breakfast spots.
Amsterdam’s architecture goes far beyond windmills. Take a walk and explore different facets of Dutch design, such as:
- Amsterdamse School: The city’s own Art Nouveau-influenced movement
- Marvellous bridges: Beautiful, functional and innovative ways to cross so much water
- Repurposed buildings: Discover the former functions of Amsterdam’s most impressive buildings
If it’s a warm day, grab lunch at one of Amsterdam’s best terraces. Otherwise stop at a cosy neighbourhood café and order a soup or sandwich.
Whether you’re looking for a gift or something special for yourself, Dutch design shops are filled with whimsical items. Here are a few more shopping tips:
- De Bijenkorf: Amsterdam’s leading department store is filled with luxury finds
- Negen Straatjes (9 Streets): Stylish boutiques from mainstream and lesser-known brands
- Haarlemmerstraat/Haarlemmerdijk: Quaint boutiques mixed with gourmet specialty shops
- Utrechtsestraat: Everything from designer housewares and clothes to Amsterdam’s biggest music shop
Dutch or international dinner
If you’re craving comfort food, try one of the Amsterdam’s best Dutch restaurants. But if you’d like a break from meat and potatoes, you’ll find sushi, tapas and everything in between at the city’s huge selection of restaurants.
A little night music
Close the night with a bang! Dance the night away at a club, catch a gig at the Melkweg or Paradiso, or see something a bit more refined at world-class venues like the Stadsschouwburg or Royal Concertgebouw. If you'd like to be spontaneous, stop by the Last Minute Ticketshop on the Leidseplein (open daily 10:00 – 17:00) and score tickets for 50% off.
72 hours in Amsterdam: Day 3
Amsterdam’s sights could keep you busy for weeks, but perhaps it’s time to get out of town and see what the rest of the country has to offer.
Take a day trip
There’s an amazing variety of things to do and see within an hour from Amsterdam by train or car. Here are a few suggestions depending on the time of year:
- Keukenhof: Take a trip to a seriously impressive outdoor flower exhibition, open in 2015 from 20 March to 17 May
- Cheese markets: Head to Edam (July - Sept) or Alkmaar (March - Sept) to see a traditional cheese market
- North Sea beaches: Visit Bloemendaal, Zandvoort or Wijk aan Zee for laid-back fun in the sun
- Haarlem or Leiden: These historical, picturesque towns make a delightful day trip any time of year
- Zuid Kennemerland National Park: Go hiking through the beautiful sand dune-covered landscape
- Zaanse Schans: Travel back in time to this open-air museum packed with windmills
- Marken & Volendam: Old-fashioned fishing villages where many locals still dress in the traditional style