How to spend 3 days in Amsterdam

Amsterdam is the city where the sound of bike bells ringing replaces the sound of noisy traffic horns. It’s the city where the impossible seems possible.

I just came back from a beautiful trip in Amsterdam and I can safely say that I have deeply fallen in love with it. There’s something about this city that gets me. Maybe it’s the unique fairy-tale architecture or the charming lights reflecting on the canals in the evening. I can’t truly explain why but I was blown away by this city.

The first thing that struck me about Amsterdam is the difference between the “touristy” center and the area of the canal belts. It’s a totally different atmosphere. I think the real Amsterdam resides in those local streets overlooking the canals, those streets filled with authentic eateries and adorable shops of all kinds.

If you’d like to get a glimpse of the Dutch capital, let me tell you how to spend three days in Amsterdam!

DAY 1:


Arrive to Amsterdam Centraal and head to your apartment/hotel. After you’ve checked in and left your luggage, dive into the city!

My boyfriend and I seriously dived into the city, in one day we walked 15km! Sure, we could’ve taken public transportation, but walking seemed like such a better thing to do. Especially since we got lucky enough to get 3/3 days of sun.

Where to go? Dam Square and the Royal Palace are must go-tos. If you’re into churches, head to the 800-year-old Oude Church which just so happens to be the oldest building in Amsterdam.

If you’re into flowers, head to the floating Flower Market and buy some tulip seeds to take home!

If you’re into learning more about beer, head to the Heineken Experience!

After a long stroll getting a general idea of Amsterdam’s city center, it’s time to relax. A coffee at a local caffe is a very good idea before heading to your apartment to change for the evening.

Dinner: Cannibale Royale

Head to dinner in the center, close to the Spui, to eat some delicious meat in a ranch-like bar/restaurant: Cannibale Royale. This has got to be one of my favourite places in Amsterdam, and there is more than one location. We ended up in the one next to Spui. We went without a reservation but were lucky to find two seats at the bar. The bartenders were amazing, such nice guys that really know how to create the perfect mood. I asked the bartender for some tips on the beers and he gave me one called Ijwik, produced right outside Amsterdam. It has now become my favourite beer of all time. He was also explaining about the pairing with beers and food and made me try a few beers before choosing mine. Great guy. For the food, OMG it was outstanding. We had a burger and a steak (I don’t know why, I was very much in a steak mood in Amsterdam) and they were phenomenal. The steak was outstanding as was the burger with the homemade fries. Really yummy dinner and a fun atmosphere.

Drinks: Cafe de Jaren

After dinner, take a stroll and head to Cafe de Jaren for a drink overlooking the canals. The setting is magical and the cocktails good. There may be a bit of a line, but if you’re a bit patient you’ll get your table in no time! The boats navigating the canals, the lights reflecting on the water and people strolling is just beautiful.

DAY 2:

Breakfast: Pancakes

If you’re in Amsterdam, it’s inevitable to wake up with a pancake craving. Where to go to fulfil that craving? At Pancakes. Pancakes is a delicious pancake shop with two locations in Jordaan. There is a small one that is super adorable, and a larger one with picnic tables right outside.

What to order? The poffertjes! They’re the typical Dutch mini pancakes that will leave you craving for more and more! When I ordered, the waiter asked me if I wanted 10 pieces or 20 pieces. I went for the 10 pieces not understanding how one person could eat 20. Well, after devouring 10 poffertjes, I understood why they had 20-piece portions! The traditional ones are with powdered sugar and butter (and they’re my favourite) but the ones topped with strawberry jam are excellent as well.

Morning: Vondelpark

After a yummy breakfast, it’s time to head to Vondelpark and rent a bike!

Vondelpark is a beautiful green park full of locals. How do I know they’re locals? They all had their own bikes (mine had the bike rental’s logo)! This park is filled with bike riders and families, couples and groups of friends relaxing on the grass, having a pic-nic or just enjoying themselves. There are also some cute bistros around, haven’t tried any of them but if the pic-nic’s not your thing, you should definitely try one of those.

For the bike rental we went to A-Ok. They are super nice and efficient, and you have different bikes to choose from and can decide the amount of hours. Really liked this place and their friendly staff. It’s right outside Vondelpark so really good if you’re planning on renting the bike to ride in the park.

Afternoon: Van Gogh Museum

Visit the Van Gogh museum. If there’s something you can’t miss out on when in Amsterdam it’s the Van Gogh Museum. I mean, come on, he’s like one of the coolest artists of all time. And don’t you want to see his Sunflowers painting up close? It’s a beautiful museum. Definitely order tickets online in advance as there is a major line at the ticket office.

Lunch: Wagamama

For lunch, either the pic-nic, a bistro in the park or Wagamama is great. I’m personally obsessed with Wagamama, if you don’t know it, it’s the Asian-inspired franchise that makes delicious noodles, ramen and much more! I always order the yaki soba with prawns and chicken, the yaki udon or the steamed chicken gyoza. To die for! And the staff is wonderful. Lucky for me, there is a Wagamama very close to Vondelplark, perfect if you’re on your way to the Van Gogh Museum.

After the Van Gogh Museum, just take a stroll around Museum Quarter before you head to relax at home. After some relaxation it’s definitely time for dinner.

Dinner: Black & Blue

If you’re up for steak, lobster or burgers, there is a beautiful chic restaurant called Black and Blue in Jordaan which should definitely not be missed. Order the fillet burger (my boyfriend described it as one of the best burgers of his life) or the rib eye 250g. Such a great crust and so juicy. A bottle of red wine is a must, as well as a yummy chocolate soufflé with vanilla ice-cream and raspberries!

Drinks: Cafe Hoppe

After dinner, take a stroll on the Spui and head to the super famous brown bar, Caffe Hoppe, where you’re in for a fun night out drinking some good-old beer!

If you want to see one of the most famous districts of Amsterdam, you can’t miss out on the Red Light District.

DAY 3:

Breakfast: The Happy Pig

I’m not much of a breakfast person, but the idea of having Dutch pancakes with banana and maple syrup definitely makes my taste buds tingle.

If that’s your case, don’t forget to have breakfast at The Happy Pig, my favourite breakfast place in Amsterdam. It’s a super cute small pancake shop where everything is done in an environmentally-friendly way. From the recycled forks and knives, to the organic freshly squeezed orange juice, everything is Earth-friendly! Not to mention their pancakes! They prepare Dutch pancakes with buckwheat, normal wheat or vegan. I had the vegan ones with banana and maple syrup and wow they were outstanding! I dream about them at night. No joke! The espresso is also good here, and the freshly squeezed orange juice yummy. The pancakes with strawberry and maple syrup are outstanding as well, but you can make your own with any topping you like! Another cool thing about The Happy Pig? They roll up your pancakes and already cut them for you!

Morning/Afternoon: Rijksmuseum

After a hearty breakfast at The Happy Pig, it’s time to dive back into culture! And the Rijksmuseum is definitely not to be missed. Apart from the beautiful building, what is truly stunning is what’s inside the museum. This place is pretty crowded and very big, so depending on your schedule, visit the galleries that interest you the most at first.


While everyone seems to be getting their accommodation near Dam Square, I urge you to get it in the canal belts! We were situated in the Jordaan area, which is the more local hip area of town. It’s situated on the fourth canal belt to the west. It’s bustling during the day and quiet at night. But you’ll find some delicious restaurants nearby and some cool bars and shops!


I'm the daughter of an Italian family of diplomats, the second of three children, and a global citizen. I've lived in 7 cities around the world, I have a gigantic crush on Italy and my name has been mispronounced more times than I can remember.


  1. Loved this insightful article. Saved it for when, very soon, I’ll visit Amsterdam for the 1st time. Gonna follow your tips!

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