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How Many Days Do You Need in Amsterdam?

How Many Days Do You Need in Amsterdam?

How many days do you need in Amsterdam to enjoy the city offers? While this might be a tricky question, as it depends on what an individual wants, here is an all-inclusive guide on an average stay in Amsterdam.

How long is the average trip to Amsterdam? Typically, 3 to 4 days are enough to enjoy the beauty of the “city of canals.”

You’ll even get extra time to take a half-day tour to see the beautiful tulips at the Keukenhof Gardens. Although some might say that that’s too many days as the city is relatively small, what Amsterdam can offer is immeasurable.

As the capital city of the Netherlands, Amsterdam is famous not only for the numerous canals trailing the entire city but also for its rich culture and warm-hearted locals.

When you’re here, you won’t even realize when your vacation days are over – it’s a home away from home.

Let me break down that exact question in detail below – how many days do you need in Amsterdam, as well as explore the most amazing things you can do while there. So, why is 3-4 days in Amsterdam enough time? Why not one or ten days? Because this:

Two days in Amsterdam is a brief yet enriching experience, allowing visitors to explore critical highlights like the Anne Frank House, Van Gogh Museum, and a memorable canal cruise.

While this duration offers a glimpse into the city’s historic charm and culinary delights, a more extended visit would enable a deeper dive into its cultural tapestry and hidden gems.

Why You Need Up to 4 Days in Amsterdam

Amsterdam canal houses with gabled facades and flower boxes
Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers

By understanding what Amsterdam offers, we can quickly gauge how many days in Amsterdam are enough. But how do you plan your day to ensure you visit all the city’s attractions and enjoy each visit? Here is a breakdown of your days in Amsterdam that will help maximize your stay.

First Day: Get to Know the City

Before anything else, you should first get acquainted with the city. This way, you can learn some history, explore the streets and the winding canals, as well as know exactly where some of the most well-known sites are. And the best way to do this is through a walking tour, a bicycle ride, or even better, a canal tour.

Take a Walking Tour

Tourists on a Amsterdam Historical Highlights Walking Tour
360 Amsterdam / GetYourGuide

A walking tour is an excellent way to get a historical overview of almost every landmark in the city, as well as the city itself. You can choose to use Free Walking Tours or even paid private tours. Most of these tours take between 2 and 3 hours, which means you can do several other things afterward.

An excellent example of such a tour is the “2-Hour Best of Amsterdam Walking Tour” by GetYourGuide. This 2-hour tour usually starts around 3:00 p.m., which is ideal for the arrival day.

Walking at the edge of the picturesque canals, you will get a guided tour of the best historical sites in Amsterdam, including the famous Red Light District, the historic Dam Square, and historical buildings. You should definitely take note of these sites in case you need to visit them later.

See Related: Amsterdam vs. Brussels

Jump on a Canal Tour

Amsterdam canal cruise with historic cityscape views
Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers

Amsterdam canals are among the most incredible features of the city. The extensive canal network that traverses the entire city makes Amsterdam what it is.

The city grew around these canals, which makes the two inseparable. A canal tour allows you to experience the city’s beauty in a new dimension. And you don’t have to take expensive boat tours – numerous pocket-friendly options guarantee the best experience.

For just €13.65, you can enjoy a 75-minute Canal Day Cruise as you see various historic landmarks like the Amsterdam ship, Skinny Bridge, and the Golden Bend.

Sail through the city’s canals in style and discover the magnificence of one of Europe’s most famous cities. Check out this Amsterdam canal cruise that we took during our visit.

See Related: Best Amsterdam Food to Try

Take an Amsterdam Bicycle Tour or Rent a Bike

A row of black bicycles lined up outside 'De Stadsfiets' bike shop in Amsterdam, reflecting the city's iconic cycling culture against a picturesque urban backdrop.
Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers

Besides being known for its numerous canals, Amsterdam is also a city of cyclists. The Netherlands, as a whole, is famous for its riding culture.

So, what better way to see the city’s landmarks than on a bike? You can easily rent a bike for a few bucks in various shops within the city.

And if you don’t want to ride alone, you can opt for a group ride around the city. An excellent option for this is the “Small-Group Bike Tour of Central Amsterdam,” a 3-hour tour with a local tour guide.

Ride a bike and socialize with a group of around 15 cyclists as you see various old warehouses, charming drawbridges, as well as the city’s most iconic buildings.

See Related: Best European Cities for Partying

Second Day: Visit the Famous Museums

With 50 museums, history, culture, and art lovers, we have so much to enjoy. While you might not be able to visit them all, you can pick a few and still get a taste of Amsterdam’s history.

Van Gogh Museum

Front of Van Gogh Museum

Although the crowds here are enormous any day, this shouldn’t deter you from visiting this incredible museum. Van Gogh Museum is perhaps the most famous museum in Amsterdam, as well as the most visited site.

The best artwork of Vincent Van Gogh, one of the most influential post-impressionist painters in Western art, is all found here. This means that if you are an art enthusiast, you shouldn’t miss a tour of this museum.

The museum maintains many of Van Gogh’s works, such as The Sunflower, Irises, The Bedroom, and The Almond Blossom. All these are arranged chronologically, from his earliest to the latest artwork. You can reserve the 90-minute tour with GetYourGuide for just €21 per person and avoid the long queues.

See Related: Irish Pubs in Amsterdam

Visit the Rijksmuseum

Rijksmuseum Gardens
Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers

Its proximity to the Van Gogh Museum makes Rijksmuseum the next best museum stop after enjoying Vincent Van Gogh’s work. The museum contains artwork from exemplary Dutch painters like Rembrandt van Rijn, Johannes Vermeer, and Frans Hals.

Some of the famous paintings in this museum include “The Night Watch,” “The Milk Maid,” and “The Marriage Portrait.” There’s so much to see in this museum, with over a million artworks, historical items, and craftworks, which are perfectly preserved.

See Related: Most Beautiful Villages in the Netherlands

See Modern Art at Moco Museum

Girl with a Balloon by Banksy at Moco Museum
Credit: Kyle Kroeger

If you are more of a contemporary art person, the Modern Contemporary Museum Amsterdam (MOCO) is an excellent place to end your museum tour. This museum, which sits at the heart of the Netherlands capital, is dedicated to exhibiting both modern and contemporary artwork.

Here, you can interact with the work of some of the best contemporary artists, such as Banksy, a street artist whose real name remains a mystery. A 1.5-hour tour here is sufficient to satisfy your love of contemporary art.

See Related: Best Museums in Amsterdam

Third-Day: Visit the City Beaches

Aerial view of the Zandvoort Beach Coastline

Although it might surprise some people, the city of Amsterdam does enjoy the presence of some great city beaches. While many people are used to visiting beaches near the city, like Zandvoort and Scheveningen, the city offers incredible alternatives.

You can swim or sand-walk on one of the following beaches for your third day.

See Related: Ways to Book the Cheapest First-Class Flights

Strand Zuid Beach

Strand Zuid Beach in Amsterdam
Strand Zuid / Facebook

The beach, which sits between the Beatrixpark and Amsterdam RAI, boasts not less than 6,600 square feet of artificial beach property, all for your amusement. If you visit Amsterdam and wish to experience beach fun, you don’t need to search far from the city.

Although seen as a luxury beach, Strand Zuid offers various fun activities for you and your family. Whether you want to sip some cocktails under the summer sun, swim, or relax on the lounge chairs and hammocks, this place is great.

See Related: Beers in Amsterdam

Pllek

Pllek Amsterdam Restaurant Interior
Pllek / Facebook

This is another city beach found in the northern part of Amsterdam city. It’s situated along the IJ River, next to the NDSM-Werf. Although swimming might be impossible, you will enjoy walking on the sandy beach and basking in the sun. You will also enjoy the incredible view of the IJ River.

It’s also home to the PLLEK restaurant, where you’ll love the live music performances, art exhibitions, and several other cultural events as you can taste the Netherlands’ best cuisines.

See Related: Best Backpacks for Travel

Ijmuiden

Aerial View of Ijmuiden Beach in Summer

Ijmuiden is an incredible beach to spend your afternoon at. Sited at the mouth of River IJ, the beach is quite famous for the various water sports that take place here.

Visit Ijmuiden if you enjoy a calm, relaxing time on the beach reading a favorite book. You can also try kitesurfing, blokarting, or paddleboarding. There’s so much to do here to occupy your entire afternoon.

See Related: Best Food Tours in Amsterdam

Fourth Day: Explore Beyond Amsterdam

Canal in Keukenhof Gardens, Holland

There are dozens of things to do and sites to see near Amsterdam. And you can dedicate that fourth day to just that. Here is what you can’t afford to miss: A tour of the Netherlands isn’t complete without seeing the beautiful tulips.

Keukenhof is one of the world’s largest flower fields in Europe. Being that, it’s nicknamed the Garden of Europe. These fields occupy 32 hectares of land, with over seven million flowers planted each year, and it’s a sight you can’t forego.

Located around 40 km from Amsterdam, you’ll need approximately 40 minutes to reach the fields. You can take a private short road trip from Amsterdam or book a half-day tour of the tulip gardens.

A Guided Half-Day Keukenhof Tour and 1 Attraction by GetYourGuide is a perfect tour to conclude your stay in Amsterdam.

See Related: How Much Does an Amsterdam Trip Cost?

So, How Many Days Do You Need in Amsterdam?

Even with a month’s stay in Amsterdam, you can never run short of things to do or see. Whether within the city or beyond its borders, the number of days to spend in Amsterdam will always be debatable – it’s all about how much time you have. An average of 3 to 4 days is sufficient to give you a taste of the city’s best offerings. But that’s only with proper planning.

FAQs

Is 2 days enough for Amsterdam?

Two days in Amsterdam is enough to see key attractions, such as the Anne Frank House and Van Gogh Museum, and enjoy a canal cruise. Due to Amsterdam’s wide variety of experiences, from its historic architecture to its diverse food scene, two days will only provide a snapshot of the city. A longer stay would be beneficial for a more leisurely pace and deeper exploration.

Is 3 days in Amsterdam too much?

Three days in Amsterdam is not too much. It provides a balanced duration for exploring the city’s main sights, including the Rijksmuseum, Jordaan district, and De Pijp, while leaving room for unexpected discoveries. This timeline allows for the right balance between structured sightseeing and spontaneous exploration, ensuring a fuller Amsterdam experience.

How many days is enough to see Amsterdam?

While the ‘perfect’ duration varies depending on personal interests, four to five days are generally sufficient to experience Amsterdam’s highlights and discover its unique districts. This timeframe provides flexibility to visit museums, enjoy the local cuisine, explore Amsterdam’s neighborhoods, and maybe take a day trip to nearby areas such as Zaanse Schans or Keukenhof (if in season). Every extra day offers a chance to delve deeper into this enchanting city.

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