It’s hard not to fall in love with Amsterdam: built on a net of over 100 canals, with its typical tall and colorful narrow houses and the little bridges that connect the alleys crossed by thousands of bicycles. Three days to explore and fall in love with this beautiful city with our itinerary.
Where to sleep | We have chosen the INNSIDE by Melia hotel, perfectly located only 7 minutes far from the airport by train, close to the Amsterdam Zuid station where you can take the metro and reach the heart of the city in 3 stops only. New, modern, clean and with the daily minibar refill included in the room price.
TIP | choose a more modern and cheaper hotel slightly away from the city center (but perfectly connected to it) instead of an old and expensive one in the heart of the city!
IAMSTERDAM CITY CARD | the best way to explore the city is to buy a card that will allow you to visit the main attractions, more than 70 museums, use all public transport, rent a bicycle and enjoy a canal cruise. You can choose the card validity according to the days you will spend in the city and have all in one card!
Our itinerary starts with probably one of the most important and visited museums of the city: the Van Gogh Museum of Amsterdam has the biggest collection of this artist, including the Sunflowers and the famous self-portraits, of course.
Closest metro station: VIJZELGRACHT
It is located in the wide Museumplein square, surrounded by little cafès where you can have breakfast, green meadows and fountains - a lovely starting point. We had a delicious slice of Dutch apple pie here at the yellow tables of the Kiosk Rembrandt Van Gogh, warmed by the sun and listening to a busker with his saxophone.
You can reach the city center by tram or by metro and have a walk in the most crowded streets: Dam Square, Damrak street, The Old Church (Oude Kerk) and then you’re ready for lunch break. In a side street of Damrak, there’s the highly recommended Rob Wigboldus Fishshop: tiny and cozy, you’ll have the best herring sandwich of all Amsterdam here! This is a typical Dutch street food: raw herrings, pickles and onions in a soft bun. The quality of the fish at Rob’s is really impressive, we also tried the smoked salmon and it was delicious.
And if you’re still hungry, have a French fries cone! You’ll find plenty of shops in Damrak street but we recommend the one with the longest queue outside: Mannekenpis, voted n.1 in Holland! Small, medium or large cones?
Keep walking for about 10 minutes and reach the historic Begijnhof courtyard: it was originally inhabited by nuns, dating back to the 14th century and hosting 47 houses. A peaceful oasis where you can also find the oldest wooden house in Amsterdam, dating back to 1500.
If you want to get there by metro, the nearest station is Rokin: Begijnhof courtyard is close to Kalverstraat shopping street and the popular floating flower market - our next stop!
Bloemenmarkt is Amsterdam flower market, the only floating one in Europe located along the Singel canal. Its colors, perfumes and beautiful tulips are quite amazing. We bought tulips bulbs there to plant at home! Fingers crossed!
At 7, Singel street you’ll find the narrowest house of Amsterdam! But why are the houses so narrow, slanted and skewed here?
That’s because in the past taxes were charged according to the width of the frontage in the Netherlands; so the citizens started to build tall houses instead of wide ones! And the reason why the so-called “dancing houses” seem dancing with their curves is because Amsterdam is built on water, on foundations that need light and flexible buildings to last in time.
Another fact about Amsterdam houses: look up, look at their roofs; what were those hooks for? Try to move house and bring heavy objects to the upper floors through a steep narrow staircase! Hooks functioned as external lifts!
We ended our first day in Amsterdam walking around the De Pijp neighborhood (correct pronunciation “de paip”): the ‘latin neighborhood’ is quite appealing at night, with little lights and thousands of bicycles parked everywhere. We had dinner at De Duvel, in a young and lovely atmosphere.
Let’s start the day with a delicious breakfast at Cafè il Momento: Italian name but international concept, this cafè is run by two Dutch guys, in a nice little square on a canal. Carrot cake & chocolate chip cookie for us - & we’re ready to go!
We decided to visit a special museum, less popular than the other ones but surprisingly interesting: the Houseboat Museum tells the story of the over 2.500 floating houseboats currently moored in Amsterdam canals! Did you know? Thousands of people have decided to spend their life in a houseboat, equipped with all the utilities, wi-fi service, some of them particularly luxurious, other ones more austere.
Let’s get back to Museumplein square now to visit the Stedelijk Museum, the modern and contemporary art museum that includes artworks of Picasso, Mondrian, Cézanne and Monet. Colorful and strange installations offer interesting food for thought: how does a square sound? How about the color yellow? Creative experiments try to find an answer.
Outside the museum, we find out that on Sundays there is a local street food market in Museumplein square: we can’t resist a Pork Belly Sandwich!
We keep walking and reach the biggest park of the city: Vondelpark is a green lung of 47 hectares where you can just relax in front of a lovely little lake on a bench, have a walk or just cycle around.
We choose the Foodhallen for our lunch break: the covered food market offers dozens of street food stalls where you can eat any kind of international food, from Indian to American classic burger, Vietnamese rolls or pizza. We went for The Butcher burger, not bad!
In the afternoon, we visited one of the most popular museums of the city: the Rijksmuseum, which is the National Museum of the Netherlands, is located is a majestic building with a mix of Gothic and Renaissance style (with Hogwarts vibes) and offers the biggest Flemish art collection.
If you’re tired of walking, do like us: book a time slot for a canal cruise with the IAMSTERDAM card; we chose the one provided by the Blue Boat company and it was an interesting cruise with the Italian audio guide to observe the city from another point of view.
Are you ready to taste the most popular Dutch cookie? It’s called "stroopwafel", made with two thin crispy waffles, filled and glued together with a special caramel syrup. You can choose the topping and customize it at the historical Van Wonderen Stroopwafels shop in Kalverstraat street.
Before dinner, we had a walk around the famous Red Light District of Amsterdam, full of sexy shops and ‘windows’ where the ladies do the world’s oldest profession. But to be honest, we did not find the district too vulgar nor dangerous.
We ended the day with the most delicious dinner of our trip at The Pantry: a Dutch restaurant with super kind staff where you can have fixed menus at great prices to taste original Dutch recipes. Reserve a table in advance, they’re always fully booked!
We chose a special place to have our last breakfast in Amsterdam: De Koffieschenkerij, is a Cafè inside the oldest church of the city, with coffered ceiling, fresh tulips on the tables and delicious traditional pastries.
Ready to visit one of the most singular museums of Amsterdam? The Moco Museum is modern and provocative, with unconventional artworks of international artists from Banksy to Warhol. You get lost among colorful psychedelic rooms with hypnotic video and audio effects.
Let’s come back to the De Pijp neighborhood at the Albert Cuypmarket, where we recommend to buy your souvenirs (cheaper than the city center) and the amazing Rudi’s stroopwafels - freshly baked, sold in nice tin boxes and at a good price.
We moved to the Jordaan neighborhood for lunch, originally a poor working-class neighborhood: we chose the Café ‘t Smalle where we had delicious sandwiches and hot dishes.
The Jordaan hosts a special building: it was the Anna Frank's refuge for over two years, now become a museum that tells the story of this girl and her family. The visit, explained by the audio guide in different languages, is really touching including some oral and written records through videos and audios that create an emotional journey.
There is a Cafè in the Jordaan that has become quite popular in the last years: at Winkel 43 you can have the most delicious traditional Dutch apple pie, the 10 cm high ‘Appeltaart’, with whipped cream and a good coffee. We can confirm this is the best one in town, it was worth the queue under the rain!
Our last day has come to an end and we decide to close our trip with another typical Dutch dinner: at De Blauwe Hollander we had a traditional menu with authentic flavors and we say goodbye to one of the most beautiful European cities we’ve visited so far with a big smile and the hope to come back soon.