Traveling to Amsterdam and not sure how long you should stay in the city? You’re certainly in the right place then because I’ll tell you exactly how many days you should spend in Amsterdam!
The ideal amount of time you should spend in Amsterdam depends on what you want to do in the city. That’s why I’ve included all the top things to see and do in Amsterdam and hopefully, that should help you decide how much time you need to experience the city. Read to see how many days you need in Amsterdam and which sights you definitely shouldn’t miss!
Ideally, you should stay in Amsterdam for three-five days. One day is just not enough to see all the top sights and you will be left wanting more. Two days is a nice amount of time to catch the highlights, but you’ll be in a rush and you won’t be able to spend more than an hour or two at each place. Three days is the perfect amount of time to see the highlights and take them in, but you’ll want to stay longer if you’re not traveling to Amsterdam just for the cultural highlights.
If you plan on taking advantage of the liberal recreational drug use laws in Amsterdam, you’ll want to set apart an entire day or two for strain-tastings. You can go on 420 tours and smoke boats, and as you can imagine, you won’t be in the mood to do much else other than eat for a few hours after that.
In case you want to see all the highlights, do the ganja tours, and discover Amsterdam’s best hidden gems, plan to spend about a week in the city. A week will also give you enough time to visit popular attractions outside Amsterdam and you might even have enough time to travel to Rotterdam or The Hague.
Three days is just the right amount of time for Amsterdam because you do it on a reasonable budget. Accommodation is pricey in Holland’s capital, but you can find nice AirBnBs and hotels with reasonable prices if you look a little outside the city center. Amsterdam is not that big of a city and getting around it is fairly easy, so it won’t be a big hassle to travel to the city center every day.
Get the Amsterdam City card if you’re staying in the city for at least three days. It’s definitely worth the money because it includes free entrance to most museums and tourist attractions listed in this guide, free public transport, and free bike rentals.
Cycling around the city is very popular in Amsterdam and you’ll blend right in if you just ride your bike everywhere. The city card also includes free boat tours of the city, which are another great way of discovering Amsterdam.
If you only have a day in Amsterdam, the best thing to do is just go on a tour of the city. You can go on a bike tour, a guided walking tour, or just a cannabis tour, depending on what interests you the most. I would recommend a guided walking tour – the best ones last all day and they take you to see all the top sights in this charming city.
On day two, it’s time to explore the museums. See Anne Frank House, visit the Van Gogh Museum, and stop by the Rijksmuseum to really learn more about the history and culture of Amsterdam.
Day three is perfect for exploring the outskirts of the city, or just going on a smoke boat and cruising down the river with a blunt in your hands. If you’re one of the few people who aren’t traveling to Amsterdam for the liberal drug laws, opt for a regular cruise around the city canals instead.
Days four and five are great for discovering the lesser-known tourist attractions in and around Amsterdam. Head to the botanical gardens, go see the windmills, and explore the museums that aren’t that popular but are included in your Amsterdam City Card. You could also travel to The Hague, Rotterdam, and even Zandvoort – all the big cities in Holland are connected with public transport, so getting around the country is fairly easy.
There’s certainly no lack of fun things to do in Amsterdam, whether you’d rather spend your time walking around museums, exploring stunning nature, or in the coffee shops. Read on to see the top things to do in and around Amsterdam and create the perfect itinerary for you!
If you only have a day in Amsterdam, don’t waste it on museums and coffee shops. Grab a bike or book a guided walking tour, and really get to know the city. It’s best to tour Amsterdam with experienced local guides that can tell you the story behind the city’s most famous landmarks and tourist attractions, so you’re learning as much as possible in that one day.
In case you have enough time to visit just one museum, the best option by far is the Anne Frank House. Rijksmuseum and the Van Gogh museum are also worth considering, depending on what interests you the most.
Anne Frank house is easily the most famous attraction/museum in all of Amsterdam. It’s the exact house that the famous writer lived in during WWII, and which she wrote about in her diary.
Tour the rooms to see where Anne Frank hid, walk through the secret passageways, and learn more about life in Amsterdam during WWII. It’s an interesting attraction for sure, and a great way to learn more about the history of the city.
Red Light District is the controversial, but extremely famous neighborhood in Amsterdam. It’s situated in the heart of Amsterdam, so it’s one of those places that’s very hard to miss while you’re walking around town. The amount of sex-oriented businesses is incredulous, but it’s not just about brothels – there are also adult theaters, sex shops, and strip clubs, which offer a slightly tamer insight into Amsterdam’s culture of sex work.
There’s even a Red Light District museum that details the history of the neighborhood and the culture of prostitution in Amsterdam – a great way to learn more about the practices without actually engaging in any of them.
The Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam has the largest collection of artworks by the famous artist, and it’s an absolute must for all lovers of art, Van Gogh enthusiasts, and just people interested in museums. It’s a fascinating museum with four floors of paintings, sculptures, and other works by the famous artist, and it takes between 3-5 hours to really see everything interesting in the museum.
The Rijksmuseum is the most popular museum in Amsterdam. It’s the Dutch national museum with exhibits on the country’s culture and arts, and it’s the largest art museum in the entire country.
There are some 8,000 objects related to history and art on display, and that’s just a tiny fraction of the museum’s collection. Rijksmuseum has a collection of more than 1 million objects, including masterpieces by Vermeer, Frans Hals, and Rembrandt.
Amsterdam’s best museum is also home to the Rijksmuseum Research Library, which happens to be the largest art history research library in the entire country. There’s also a restaurant inside the museum, but it’s a Michelin-starred locale so it’s certainly not a good option for travelers on a tighter budget.
Vondelpark is a vast public park in Amsterdam featuring ponds, a playground, awesome sculptures, and an open-air theater. The 19th-century park is great for riding your bike, jogging, walking, or just enjoying the serene atmosphere. It boasts beautiful rose gardens, sculptures designed by some of the most famous artists in the world, and just beautiful views all around.
One thing to note about Amsterdam’s best public park is that it attracts a lot of weed-smoking tourists, even though it’s technically not legal for tourists to do so. If you’d rather not be around the stench, it’s best to visit the park early in the morning.
The NEMO Science Museum is one of the best museums in the city for kids. It boasts a lot of interactive science exhibits that are bound to keep your little one occupied for hours at a time. All the exhibits are educational, so you kids can actually learn a lot and have fun at the same time!
The only issue with the NEMO Science Museum is that it lacks interactive exhibits for adults. But it does have a really nice restaurant on the roof – while the kids are learning and exploring, adults can relax at the rooftop restaurant and enjoy the scenic waterfront views.
Amsterdam’s Diamant Museum is an interesting place, but it’s not one of the top sights in the city. Stop by this museum only if you’re in town for longer than three days, otherwise don’t waste your precious time because there are lots of better things to do and see in Amsterdam.
The Diamant Museum boasts an exhibit on the geology of diamonds and replicas of crowns and other famous jewels. The exhibit also features lots of everyday objects adorned with sparkly diamonds, featuring everything from a tennis ball to a human skull.
The Eye Film Museum is an absolute must for all cinephiles. It features an extensive collection of various equipment used in the film-making industry, including some of the first-ever cameras to be manufactured. The museum also boasts countless movie posters, featuring loads of Dutch and foreign films.
It’s worth noting that the museum building alone is a masterpiece of modern architecture, and it’s worth a visit even if you’re not that into film. Check out the magnificent building and grab something to eat at the Eye Bar Restaurant inside the museum. It might not be the best culinary experience in all of Amsterdam, but the spectacular waterfront views will certainly make everything taste better.
A’Dam Lookout is an observation deck at the top of a very large building in Amsterdam. It’s best known for the exciting swing that goes over the edge of the building, which is as thrilling and terrifying as it sounds.
The observation deck is on the 20th floor, so it’s certainly not a great place for people who are afraid of heights. This place offers one of the best panoramic views in Amsterdam and it’s a must if you’re on the hunt for epic city views.
Muiderslot is a 13th-century castle about an hour outside Amsterdam by public transport. It’s also possible to travel from Amsterdam to the castle by boat, but this service usually operates just from April to October.
The medieval castle features moats, ramparts, formal gardens, and a museum that details the history of the charming castle. The entire place is very beautiful and scenic, and certainly worth a quick trip from Amsterdam.
If you purchase entrance tickets for the museum you can get a guided tour of the place, which is perfect if you’re actually interested in learning more about the spectacular castle. Don’t forget to explore the beautiful gardens as well and take in the scenic views of mesmerizing Dutch nature.
Amsterdamse Bos is a huge public park on the southern edge of the city. It’s the perfect place to go if you want to spend some time in nature and take in the charming landscape of Holland. The vast public park features a Goat Farm, canoe rides, a rowing club, an adventure park, and countless other fun things to do.
You could easily spend an entire day at this park and you still wouldn’t explore it in its entirety. If you enjoy being in nature, definitely set some time apart to visit Amsterdamse Bos while you’re staying in the city.
It’s no secret that Amsterdam’s coffee shops are hugely popular with tourists. They’re also the only place in Amsterdam where you’re legally allowed to smoke pot, but the authorities tend to turn a blind eye to tourists who are smoking outdoors for their personal enjoyment.
Walk around the streets of De Wallen and you’ll be spoiled for choice when it comes to both coffee shops and the number of different strains inside them. Prix d’Ami is the highest-rated coffee shop in the city, mostly because of the relaxed vibe inside. The locale features actual beds, pool tables, and perhaps the best selection of cannabis and hashish in the city.
If you really want to experience a good ganja tour of Amsterdam, go on a smoke boat. It’s an awesome experience – you’re cruising down the river and admiring the views of the city’s charming buildings, all the while smoking the best weed that Amsterdam has to offer. You can bring your own food and drink if you want, and it’s possible to purchase drinks on the boat.
The captain loves to entertain the guests, so expect lots of laughs. Also, it’s a great idea to book this experience a few hours before dinner because you’re bound to get the munchies!
Windmills at Kinderdijk is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the places outside Amsterdam that you should definitely visit if you have plenty of time in the city. The place consists of 19 windmills that were built in the 18th century. They’re of huge importance for the area, but that’s true with nearly all the windmills in Holland – they help keep the water out of polders, and they were once the pinnacle of flood-prevention technology.
Keukenhof Gardens are a huge botanical park from the 19th-century. The place is only open from March to May, so be sure to visit it if you travel to Amsterdam in the spring. It’s about an hour outside Amsterdam by public transport, and it’s definitely worth a quick trip from the city.
The botanical gardens boast too many flower varieties to count, but the star of the show are definitely the Dutch Tulips in all the colors you can imagine.
If you travel to Amsterdam during summer, there’s nothing stopping you from enjoying the vast sandy beaches that are just some 30 minutes outside the city. The beaches in Holland are incredibly beautiful, and it’s possible to swim in the sea during the warmer months.
The Zandvoort Beach in particular is very popular with locals and not just for swimming. Kitesurfing is very popular at this beach, so it’s the perfect opportunity to try out the sport and see if you’re any good at it.
Motorsport lovers will know that there’s another reason to visit Zandvoort – the iconic race track that’s pretty much right on the beach. Visitors can rent cars to drive around the track when it’s not hosting any events, and it’s even possible to race in your own car. It’s simply a must for lovers of cars and racing, mostly because it’s one of the few remaining tracks to feature the iconic banking.
Anna is the co-owner of expert world travel and can't wait to share her travel experience with the world. With over 54 countries under her belt she has a lot to write about! Including those insane encounters with black bears in Canada.