Things to do in Amsterdam | Where to Stay | Where to Eat | 3 Day Itinerary!
Updated: Jun 11, 2019
My favourite city in all of Europe! A must visit for everyone, Amsterdam is full of beautiful canals, winding streets, fantastic restaurants and wonderful people!
To say I love this city would be an understatement, I mean you really can't go wrong, there is something here for everyone, regardless whatever it is you are into!
Amsterdam is notoriously famous for its red light district and its hundreds of coffee shops spread across the city, but more than that, it's such an amazing place with one of the best atmospheres yet to be seen anywhere else in Europe!
Arriving at the City Centre
Europe has tons of budget airlines, and you can fly to Amsterdam from another European country for as little as 10 euros if you are lucky! The city centre is very easily accessible from the airport, there are a few different methods of transportation available to you, so let's get into it!
By far the easiest and most convenient option for you to avail of, the train actually runs beneath the airport, so if you are only getting off a flight you don't even need to step outside the doors! This is the preferred method of tourists/visitors as it proves to be no hassle.
Cost = 5.50 Euro
Duration = 15-20 Minutes
When it comes to picking the bus, there are two different options for you to choose from, the most common bus among locals being the public bus 19.
Prebook or pay in cash to the driver, you can expect buses depart from the airport every 10 to 15 minutes.
Cost = 4 Euro
Duration = 25 -30 Minutes
Schiphol Hotel Shuttles:
A lot cheaper than taking a taxi, this service can be prebooked and will take you directly to your hotel, the only inconvenience being if your hotel is the last stop.
Cost = 13 Euro
Duration = 25 - 60 Minutes
Taxis can be quite costly in Europe, and with you just coming out of an airport you will be prime picking for some cab drivers just hoping to rip off unsuspecting tourists, stay away unless absolutely necessary!
Cost = 45 - 50 Euro
Duration = 20 - 25 Minutes
Where to Stay
There is nothing that you can't find in this city! After visiting multiple times, I can definitely recommend some of the best places for you to stay during your visit.
Every time I go back I find myself looking on Airbnb, there are so many crazy and unique places, I remember I once tried to book a room with a 50 shades of grey kind of vibe going on, but that room was booked for months! It's worth looking at, you never know what kind of kinky places you might find!
For this article, I will only be recommending hotels and hostels, so no need to worry about the kinky stuff previously mentioned.
VolksHotel is an absolute must stay for your visit! This hotel was incredible, it really made the trip, it is one of the most unique hotels that I have ever stayed in my entire life. You can choose between special rooms and regular rooms, but it's the special rooms that really make it stand out, they usually go for about 200 euros per night and it's worth every penny!
ClinkNOORD Hostel is ideally located only 10 minutes from Amsterdam station, the dorms and rooms are nothing special, but if you are to compare this hostel with other accommodation options at this price point, it would undoubtedly prove difficult to find something better!
Dutch Design Hotel Artemis, so me staying in this hotel has a little bit of a story behind it, I know it sounds really cliche! but I was one of those people who chose to take part in some of Amsterdam's favourite past times and unfortunately for me, I had not nearly enough experience in doing such things, It was that spur of the moment when in Rome feeling, and due to this, I had missed my flight home! Needless to say, it's quite the challenge to find last minute accommodation, I luckily managed to find this hotel, which proved to be an excellent choice just outside the city without the massive price hike.
How to Get Around
When you arrive at Amsterdam central you will begin to see a lot of ticket machines just outside of the train station, these machines are for the public metro system which is the preferred choice of locals and tourists alike to get around this beautiful city.
There are multiple passes and tickets available for you to choose from, depending on whether you are staying for one day or a week, you need to select the option that will save you the most cash.
Although the metro may seem the most appealing choice to get around there are other ways you can explore this city, you can take the bus, taxi or boat! However, you will not get to experience the real Amsterdam if you choose to take any of these.
It wasn't until I had missed my flight that I chose to ride a bike, what a mistake this was! This was by far the best way to experience the real Amsterdam, maybe I had the good fortune to see more as I was not situated in the city centre and I had to cycle into it, but because of this, I got to see some of the more rural areas, which were less touristy, this turned out to be a fantastic experience!
Even when arriving in the city centre I soon realized that this was the best way to get around by far, It was like I woke up and suddenly realized that this is how everyone gets around, there more bikes in Amsterdam than there are people.
There are tons of shops in the centre that offer a bike rental service because there is so much competition, you can expect to rent a bike for a relatively cheap cost in Amsterdam.
Where to Eat
Foodhallen, make sure to take a trip this vast food court, you can find different kinds of ethnic foods that are served up from all over the world, you can find whichever food you would like to eat, there is Italian, Indian, Chinese, Mexican and so much more. The atmosphere is excellent, Foodhallen always seems to buzzing, the only difficulty you might have is trying to find a seat.
Febo is a coin-operated fast food service, located in multiple locations across the city, it has vending machines filled with everything from hamburgers, fries to local food such as hutspot, a must visit if you want instant food on the go!
Omlegg is the perfect spot for some breakfast or midday lunch, they say they best omelettes in town, and in truth, they probably are just that. Delicious food and exceptional service for a cheap cost, right at your doorstep, it's worth a stopping by.
PIQNIQ, a small cosy cafe with food that would make you think you were eating at a five star joint! The menu is somewhat different to what you would normally expect, you can choose different items from the menu and make various combos of food to your liking, as they charge by 2, 3 and 4 items per person. It will be one of the best brunch/lunch experiences you'll ever have, guaranteed!
Cafe Schiller is an authentic Dutch bar that is hidden between all the hip / trendy tourist establishments, it's incredible to find such and gem that is not plagued by tourists that also keeps true to its origins and is located in the very heart of the city. It is a great place to chill out and enjoy some drinks with an atmosphere that is not only lively but at the same time warm and rustic. The food can be expensive, but make sure to look out for the affordable daily meal deals.
Vuurtoreneiland, an exceptional experience just waiting to be had! There really is not anything else like it in Amsterdam, what was supposed to be a regular date night turned out to be one of the most romantic/intimate evenings I have ever had, the experience as a whole (the cosy boat journey too and from the island, the quick island history, the romantic candlelit meal) was amazing! Something I will cherish for years to come.
Things to Do
There are endless things to do in Amsterdam, if I had to describe this city in one sentence I would have to go with a Disneyland for adults!
It has everything you could want in a city, unique architecture, world-famous art museums, historical monuments, cosy cafes, vibrant nightlife, trendy bars and legal drugs (if your into that sort of thing), on top of the plethora of activities you can do in Amsterdam, you can also stroll through some of the timeless cobblestoned streets and admire the beautifully lit up canals!
Hang Around Dam Square
This is a great place to start exploring, you should look around and try to find some hidden gems, there are so many exciting and unique establishments around Dam Square. It would be difficult to mention all of the crazy, unique and interesting places that I have found while wandering these timeless streets.
If you're looking to find one of those famous coffee or smart shops, this place is great to start, the area is full of them.
Visit a Coffee Shop
Take part in one of Amsterdam's favourite past times, and stop by a coffee shop or two! If you think the coffee shops here are just regular coffee shops, you need to think again!
Barneys Coffee Shop is a great place to start, with some fantastic staff that are happy to help if you have any questions, I highly recommend Barneys for first-time visitors to Amsterdam that are interested in doing such things.
Prix d'Ami is Amsterdams largest coffee shop with three stories for you to find your spot, they have a considerable selection weed available on offer, on top of the vast selection the atmosphere is very relaxed and chill in this location.
Rent a Bike
Everyone cycles in Amsterdam, literally everyone! There are more bikes than there are people in this city.
As I previously mentioned briefly, one of the best ways to get around this city is by bike, but other than just a means of transportation, it's quite a fun thing to do while you are here.
If you are looking to rent a bike, usually the easiest option is doing so with whichever hotel or hostel you are staying in, most hotel and hostels throughout the city provide this service.
Go to the Anne Frank Haus
Go visit the famous hiding place of Anne Frank during World War 2, this small museum has some sad/terrible and fascinating histories behind it, it's a must visit if you plan on staying for a few days in Amsterdam.
Be sure to rise early and beat the crowds to the Anne Frank House, this opens for 9 am so arrive 30 minutes early as the queues for this museum are some of the worst I have seen in all of Amsterdam. You will be hours in line if you arrive in the afternoon, and it's just not the best way to spend your time.
Another excellent museum worth your time and only a 20-minute walk from the Anne Frank Haus. The building itself was opened in 1885 and has huge historical significance, the museum had to undergo extensive restoration, which lasted 10 years, Rijksmuseum has since been re-opened and is now known as one of the most modern 'old' museums in the world.
Rijksmuseum is home to some of the oldest and most valuable Dutch artefacts and paintings, some of which date back to over 800 years ago.
Relax in a Park
Vondelpark is a great place to explore and relax for a little while, you should cycle here and tour the park on your bike, while your roaming this park be on the lookout as there are some beautiful places for you to sit down and have lunch or just rest for an hour or two.
Westerpark is another good alternative option if you want something a little bit less touristy than Vondelpark, Westerpark is known to host various festivals throughout the year, and if you want to do a little bit of shopping, there are some great traditional markets nearby.
Walk along the Red Light District
A trip to Amsterdam wouldn't be complete without walking along the famous Red Light District, I know some of you might think that it's seedy, or just not for you, but the truth is, it's not what everyone imagines.
When you're walking the Red Light District, you'll find hundreds of other tourists just like yourself, interested more so in seeing what this place is all about. On the Red Light, you'll find tons of sex museums, peep shows, strip clubs, coffee shops and bars, you are guaranteed to find something unique and/or exciting.
Experience the Dutch Clubbing scene / Nightlife
Very near the Red Light District is a Jazz club by the name of Bourbon Street, I highly recommend visiting if you are into jazz or blues, they play some fantastic live music which tends to get the customers up and dancing to the music.
If you're looking to experience the Dutch nightclub scene, dance and stay out until the early hours of the morning, the Sugar Factory is the place to be. So I have heard good things and bad, but from what I experienced I really enjoyed it, I visited on a Sunday night, where there was a nice mix between house and jazz, it wasn't too crowded and not overly expensive either, worth considering if you're looking to party all night.
Track Down I AMsterdam
If you are looking for something fun to do, explore the beautiful streets of Amsterdam and try to track down the I AMsterdam sign, this can prove difficult without the use of your phone as it never stays in the same place, but this is a great way to ask around, interact with locals and tourists alike.
Take a Tour of the Canals
A great way to spend a couple hours is to tour the canals, this is an excellent opportunity to relax for a while, have a few beers and take in some beautiful views of the city.
Flagship Amsterdam is a cheap tour, only costing around 16 euros per person and they provide you with some stunning scenic views while giving you the chance to mingle with other tourists and drink some locally brewed Heineken.
If you liked this Itinerary be sure to check out some of my other posts as I have Itineraries for some of Europe's most popular cities.