Amsterdam Itinerary for 3 Days!
I'm so excited to share our Amsterdam itinerary with you. I'll give you all the details on everything we did with the 3 full days we had there, including places we ate and specific tours we booked. Enjoy!
Book a Canal Tour:
If you follow me on Instagram (hello!), you'll know that our flight from London to Amsterdam was cancelled, and so we arrived with just 6 minutes to spare to our first excursion--a canal tour of Amsterdam! We booked with Viator; exact link here. I cannot recommend a canal tour enough--especially for your first thing to do early on in your trip. Some tips we received in our research were to book a tour that was in an open-boat and which could carry no more than 20 people. Walking around Amsterdam, you'll see huge canal cruises full of people all closed in. We were so glad we listened, because this tour was intimate and perfect!
You get to learn a bit about Amsterdam's history and architecture (which I won't spoil here but is so interesting). You also get to snap beautiful, Instagrammable pics and videos riding through the canals, and the hosts will even help you get a shot together if you're with your friends or partner. They provide a fleece blanket, because it can get quite windy while you're riding around. Snacks and drinks are not included, but they are available for purchase (it was really early, and we weren't very hungry though). You can leave tip as well, so have some euros on you for the end of your trip. It was about an hour long-- a perfect start to your day!
Eat the street food:
By this time, you're probably getting hungry. Despite the cyclists running that town, Amsterdam is an extremely walkable city. My husband and I totaled at least 20,000 steps a day here! All the restaurants and shops--even other neighborhoods to explore--were within walking distance from our hotel.
|These are the Parmesan Truffle Mayo Fries from Fabel Friet. Sooo yummy!
I recommend the famous Fabel Friet. You'll see signs for friets everywhere in Amsterdam, and from my experience, most of them are pretty good, but standing in line for these fries were so worth it! They are very delicious! The shop itself makes only about four things--their specialty being their fries and sauces. Depending on the time you visit, the line can continue to next block over. There are QR codes to scan at posts while you're waiting in line, so you're prepared to order quickly. I'll share their menu with you here now, so you're ahead of the game! The shop is extremely organized and had two security people to keep everything in order. We didn't wait long for our fries and were very pleased with everything we ordered.
|Our complete order: Parmesan Truffle Mayo Fries, a Frikandel on a bun, and two croquettes (one cheese and one with beef).
Go to a museum:
There are so many great museums in Amsterdam: Rijksmuseum, MOCO Museum, Van Gogh Museum, Anne Frank House, etc! Listen carefully, if you want to visit any museum, you MUST book in advance. I know everyone says this, and you probably don't just show up to a museum without booking in advance anyway, but when I say book in advance, I mean, months in advance!
|Studio Irma's diamond installation at MOCO
When I knew we were visiting Amsterdam, I was dead-set on seeing the Anne Frank House. I knew I had to sit and book everything before flying, but when I did it with a week before our flight, nothing was available! I was so upset about it. I searched for the next museum on my list then (Van Gogh)--nothing again! OMG! I enjoy modern art, so I went with MOCO tickets, because I'd heard good things about their interactive installations. It's a small museum with big contemporary artist names such as Warhol, Basquiat, Haring, Kusama, and Banksy, but it's Studio Irma's installations that are not only visually beautiful but so fun and transcendent! If you're a fan of contemporary art, give it a visit. If not, there are so many other amazing museums to visit, just remember to book in advance--like, advance, advance.
Okay, so not every viral recommendation is legit... We tried the very popular Van Wonderen Stroopwafels, stood on the long line and everything, and it was just "meh." Stroopwafels are another food you can find everywhere in Amsterdam. Essentially, it's a cookie made of fresh dough with caramel filling inside. At this specific location, you can get toppings on it (and they go overboard with this, which may make it more aesthetically pleasing, but doesn't elevate the taste in my opinion). It was overall a 6.5/7 out of 10 for me. If you want to do anything in this area, it's shop. There are endless stores to spend hours in here. Just don't get these stroopwafels, okay?
|Hans Egstorf (Croissanterie Egstorf--go here for your stroopwafel fix!
Instead, go to Hans Egstorf (Croissanterie Egstorf) for your stroopwafel. It's got none of the cutesy toppings but has all the warm, gooey, yumminess you'd expect from a fresh stroopwafel. You can even see them making your order in front of you! They also sell different kinds of croissants and bread, so in the morning you may see a line, but each time we went for stroopwafels specifically, it was free or had just a few people. They're open until late which is rare for pastry shops (10pm), and we always stopped by around 7 or 8. They sell coffee too, so feel free to have a sit on their bench and enjoy the caramel goodness while you people watch!
|Look at that caramel gooey-ness. You get a wipe with your purchase, just in case you're as messy an eater as I am. =]
Go to the Red Light District:
Even if you're just walking through, it's an interesting experience! Obviously, go at night, because that's when the gals are there. Don't be rude and stare too long unless, you know, you're shopping...Be respectful. It's packed in this area! There are bars, sex shops, the Red Light Secrets Museum, strip clubs, live sex shows, video porn shows, and of course, the girls.
|You're not allowed to photograph women up close in the Red Lights District. A canal shot is your best bet at capturing the red lights in this De Wallen neighborhood.
Fun fact: Windows with red lights indicate CIS women, but you may sometimes find a blue/ purple light for transgender women too.
When I say this was an experience, I mean it. It was so interesting to see all body types and ethnicities in the windows. And they don't just have a window, they have a door, which they open to either entice you inside or negotiate with prospective clients. These girls are GORGEOUS. Like, they could be models. It's obvious they take care of their appearances because this is a job for them, not just something they do out of desperation but possibly, enjoyment. I left the area with a lot of thoughts regarding prostitution, so we decided we'd come back to the area on our free day to visit the Red Lights Secret Museum.
Have a beer in one of the bar/ restaurants:
Amsterdam has good beer. I mean, Heineken is a great Dutch beer and can be found everywhere you eat in Amsterdam, but you can get that back at home anyway. Try draft beers at the pubs or restaurants (ask for recs if you need it--everyone is happy to help).
|At Cannibale Royale, you can order this garlic bread with cheese, and its so buttery and warm. Don't forget to try their beers and burgers!
We ate at Cannibale Royale in the Red Lights District since we were already in the area (although they have other locations). This spot has great burgers and beer good enough to f*ck you up after one or two drinks. I'm not a big drinker, so that admission makes me sound like a lightweight, but just trust me, and try the beer.
Have breakfast in De Pijp:
We always have a free day when we travel. It's a day dedicated to just going with the flow and exploring, going wherever our feet take us. But we're also planners by nature, so we did have an idea of where we wanted to do said exploring and that was the neighborhood of De Pijp! It's a lovely and diverse area, and yes, we walked there. I hope you packed your sneakers.
|Our order: shakshuka and borek. Too good! My husband said it was the best shakshuka he'd ever had.
We ate at an all day breakfast and lunch spot called Factory Girl. This place has powerful Mediterranean flavors that are to die for! I'm not being hyperbolic when I say it was the best food we had on our trip. They have vegan and gluten free options too just in case you have any dietary restrictions (which they ask you about before taking your order by the way). GO HERE!
|The lemon-lime coco anjela. Watch this Youtube video of the chef making this amazing vegan dessert.
PS: There are good vintage shops in this area too!
Walk through Albert Cuyp Market:
In the same neighborhood, you'll probably experience Albert Cuyp Market while wandering about. It goes down many, many streets, so you can't miss it. There will be food, jewelry, clothing, and souvenir stands. Explore to your hearts content!
Rest in Sarphatipark:
Need a break from all the walking or just glad to be far away from the throngs of other tourists? Take a break at Sarphatipark. Find a bench and enjoy the sights and sounds of nature or have a serene photoshoot by the pond and bridge. My favorite part of walking through this park was hearing the different languages of the diverse population in this area, and when I left it, I found a sharing library stand on one of the streets (sorry that I can't remember which street it was). I took the only English book from it, and it felt like a treasure.
Stop by Bloemenmarkt:
Not only do you to get to see rows and rows of flower stands, you can buy souvenirs from here too! I purchased some wooden tulips for my home since I couldn't take any real ones with me. :(
There are rules about bringing real tulip bulbs back to the States (like how you need a valid-dated phytosanitary certificate stamp to pass through customs), but you'll want to purchase these from an actual flower depot, not a souvenir shop. The ones sold at souvenir shops are old, rotten, or just won't bloom. They know you can't really complain about the few euro you lost from thousands of miles away, so do your research if bringing tulips back home is something you want to do.
|The prettiest souvenirs--these large wooden tulips came in a variety of colors.
Do: Snap pictures here. A flower shot is always iconic.
Visit Love Lock Bridge--or don't!:
To be fair, I don't have an exact location on where this bridge is. Heading back towards Amsterdam's center, we visited one I suspect is the old Love Lock Bridge. If you search photos of Love Lock Bridge, you'll see hundreds of locks--petite promises of eternity--attached to each other and going up a long chain. I saw no such thing when I went. A few measly locks here and there was what I found. Underwhelming is an understatement. I think we went to the wrong one, but check out this blog post about the correct one to visit if that's your thing!
|These were the most locks I saw at Love Lock Bridge--I think I went to the wrong place. =/
Eat at The Lebanese Sajeria:
It's not hyped for nothing. It's gewd! That is all.
|There's a sit down area in this small shop, but you can take your wraps to go!
|My order: aubergine with labneh, carmelized onions, and lentils. My husband order a chicken and hummus one. Both were excellent!
Learning about the history of prostitution in Amsterdam was fascinating. Most questions you may have about this profession and the district in general can be answered here. It's interactive too! You can take quizzes about what you learned, listen to audio interviews of a Russian prostitute detailing life as a sex-worker, stand in front of a red-lit window while the public outside watches you to experience what it feels like, write a confession for display on their Confessions Wall, and much more. This was one museum we didn't have to purchase tickets for in advance. We just walked in and bought them for about 15 euros.
|The rooms were set up as simulation spaces where prostitutes might have entertained a client. A lot of the rooms had clothes, nail polish, sinks for washing, BDSM paraphernalia, etc.
|A simulation "confessional" where you could write down a secret which could appear on their Confessions wall near the exit.
|A sneak peek at some of the confessions. You may have to enlarge this photo and zoom in to read some of these.
Visit Keukenhof Gardens:
We booked here, because we didn't want to figure out how to get to and from the gardens on our own. It was just a more convenient choice for us to be dropped off and then picked up again in the same location. We had plenty of time to explore and got to nap on the bus before and after our trip (which after walking 20,000+ steps everyday was a godsend).
You'll want to visit these famous gardens to see so many varieties of tulips everywhere! There are many other flowers (daffodils, hyacinths, orchids...) too, but you come here for the tulips. :)
|Check my Instagram Amsterdam highlight for more pictures of flowers!
From all of the photos I've seen online, I was under the impression that there would be tulip fields we could enter and take pictures in. We certainly saw tulip fields riding the bus on our way in, but there were no fields in the garden we could enter. If this is something you're interested in, as I was, you'll want to do a bit more research on just where you can go to enter tulip fields. From this blog post, I now see that there are different locations for such a thing.
Are the gardens still worthy of a visit? Absolutely! Especially if you love flowers, and did I mention there are animals too? Sheep, chickens, goats--oh my!
Get a sandwich from Zero Zero:
There's food at the gardens, but after all that walking, you're probably famished upon your return to Amsterdam's central. Eat at Zero Zero; menu here. The BEST sandwiches are here, and the surrounding shops of local Dutch artisans are worth of visit too!
|My order: The Italiano (arugula, tomato, pesto, and mozzarella--so fresh! My husband got the capocollo, and he loved it!
Have a treat and coffee/tea at Chocolaterie Pompadour:
Everything here is delicious. I forgot to take a picture of my decadent but light and fluffy chocolate cake, because I ate it all too quickly! Oops. Just trust me, it's good. This neighborhood is called Negen Straatjes, and there are goooorgeous boutiques here too! Shop around in the daytime. They don't stay open late.
|Our tea came with a complimentary sweet that was so buttery and delicious!
And that's it!
We took lots of breaks in between all of these things. There were times when we walked back to our hotel and just napped for an hour because we were doing and seeing a lot. We are so pleased with our visit. We feel we did and saw so much in such a short time, but there were lots of places still on our list that we wanted to explore or places we wanted to eat at. If you have more time here, feel free to check them out and let me know how they were for you.
Vondelpark-- park past museum area
Mood Coffee Corner--wonderful breakfast
NDSM neighborhood--arty area with beautiful Anne Frank mural
Noodermarkt--only open on Mondays, it's a huge vintage market
Jazz Cafe Alto--self-explanatory
Broodje Bert-- sandwiches and salad spot
Caldi e freddi--Italian cannolis (in general, I've heard Italian food is good in Amsterdam)
Bhatti Pasal--Authentic Nepalese Food
Cafe Hill Street Blues--grungy lounge with drinks
Salon de The-- smallest home in Amsterdam
FEBO--these are everywhere (an equivalent to 7-eleven kind of), and I heard their croquettes are really good, haha
Poffertjes Albert Cuyp--good mini, Dutch pancakes
MOAK Pancakes City Center--viral pancake spot
Happy exploring everyone, and thank you for all your interactions on my Instagram page! Be sure to check out the highlights section for extra pictures and videos of our Amsterdam trip as well as past trips to different countries. Leave a comment with any questions or add-ons!
Until next time...