Amsterdam Travel Guide: How To Spend 72 Hours In The City

Amsterdam is known for its bicycles and canals but what else is there to discover in this incredible city? This city has a little bit of everything and 72 hours is plenty of time to explore.
Amsterdam is one of the perfect places for a long weekend. Photo: Azhar J | Unsplash

Amsterdam is known for its bicycles and canals but what else is there to discover in this incredible city?

There are coffee shops, wooden shoes, windmills, and museums galore. Keep reading to find out how to spend 72 hours in Amsterdam without missing a single thing.

An Amsterdam canal with a typical dutch bike. Photo: Layla Jones | Earth Curious

But first, how do you get around?

Walking – Luckily, Amsterdam is a very walkable city so you can pretty much walk to most of the major landmarks and museums. That being said, when crossing the street, make sure to look out for bikers as well as cars.

Public Transportation -Amsterdam has a great public transportation system. The trams and buses run frequently and are almost always on time. In order to use the city’s public transportation, you will need to buy a tourist OV- Chipcard. You can find these at a public transport service desk or ticket vending machines.

Bicycle – If you are an experienced bike rider, then rent yourself a bike for the day! That’s how the locals get around! Just be aware that Amsterdam’s bike trails are more like busy highways. People are zooming around and they got places to be!

Day 1

Museumplein Museum

On your first day in Amsterdam, I suggest a walk to Museumplein or “Museum Square”. This is the largest square in Amsterdam, and just like the name suggests, it is surrounded by the city’s best museums.

Once you get to Museumplein Square, take your time and just soak it all in. After taking a photo or two or 45 in front of the reflection pool and Rijksmuseum, stop at one of the outdoor coffee shops and sip on a coffee while admiring the views of tulips, statues, and beautiful architecture.

Amsterdam, Photo: Context Travel I Flickr

Now that you’ve got your caffeine fix it’s time to make your way to the entrance of the Rijksmuseum of National Art and History. At the Rijksmuseum you can see masterpieces of Rembrandt, Vangogh, and Vermeer. Pro Tip: Book your tickets ahead of time on the website for just €20 ($19).

Coffeeshop

After a morning filled with marveling the historic art pieces, it’s time for lunch. May I suggest one of Amsterdam’s famous coffeeshops?

Bear in mind that these cafes sell legalized marijuana along with delicious waffles topped with Nutella. Customers can enjoy a sweet treat and smoke inside the cafe.

Even if marijuana isn’t your thing, it’s still an experience you can only have in Amsterdam.

Waffle at Bulldog Coffeeshop, Photo: Layla Jones | Earth Curious

Below are three of the best coffeeshops to visit:

  • Bulldog Coffeeshop – it was the very first coffeeshop in Amsterdam and it started the popular trend back in 1974
  • Dampkring Coffeeshop- this coffeeshop is known for its cameo in the Oceans 11 film
  • Ibiza Coffeeshop – this one is a little less touristic and offers a unique Mediterranean vibe with Morrocan and Indian cuisines

Canal Cruise

One of the best ways to see Amsterdam by night is by cruising around the UNESCO canal site and spotting landmarks like the Anne Frank House.

A guide will provide you with interesting facts and stories about Amsterdam while you sip on a glass of wine. This is the perfect way to wind down after a long day of sightseeing.

Amsterdam Canals, Photo: BriYYZ I Flickr

Day 2

Keukenhof’s Tulips and Windmills

On day two, it’s time to depart for the beautiful dutch countryside. This is an all-day excursion that takes you to see the tulips of Keukenhof and the windmills of Zaanse Schans.

Go on your own or opt for a guided group tour. Either way, you will have an unforgettable experience.

The tours usually include transportation and lunch, and you get the chance to visit a wooden shoe workshop, admire historic windmills, and walk through the town that recreates the Dutch villages of the 17th and 18th centuries.

Windmills, Photo: Layla Jones | Earth Curious

After the windmills, you get to visit the world’s largest flower gardens. At the Keukenhof Gardens, you will see thousands of different types of flowers.

The main attraction is the tulip fields that stretch for miles and while you can’t walk through the fields, it’s possible to rent bikes and ride along next to the colorful flower farms.

Tulip Fields, Photo: Layla Jones | Earth Curious

This tour tends to take all day, so once you get back to Amsterdam take it easy and get rested for day three.

Day 3

Anne Franks House

It’s your last day, but I have saved the best for last -The Anne Frank House. It is located in the Jewish quarter of Amsterdam and it is hands down the most popular tourist attraction in Amsterdam which means that tickets are really hard to come by.

Tickets for the month go on sale on the first Tuesday of each month and they are first come first serve. If you are lucky enough to snag a ticket – then don’t miss out on the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to visit the house where Anne Frank once lived.

If you aren’t able to get a ticket, don’t get too disappointed. It is still possible to see the house from the outside and go on a guided tour.

Anne Frank House, Photo: Layla Jones | Earth Curious

Van Gogh Museum

On day three, it’s finally time for the world-famous Vincent Van Gogh Museum. This museum is filled with Van Gogh’s beautiful works of art and self-portraits. Need I say more?

Van Gogh Museum, Photo: Layla Jones | Earth Curious

Red Light District

Amsterdam prides itself on being a liberal and tolerant city that embraces all things taboo. Instead of criminalizing things like this, the Dutch embrace it.

I’m sure you have heard about the Red Light District and to be frank, all the rumors are true. There are brothels, live sex shows, and hundreds of prostitutes waiting for their next customers.

Technically prostitution is illegal in the streets, so to get around that the sex workers stand behind windows. The name “Red Light District” comes from the red lights above said windows. The red lights signal that they are occupied.

Apart from the x-rated activities going on behind closed doors or windows, there are lots of cool places to check out while in this neck of the woods:

Body Worlds Amsterdam Photo: Layla Jones | Earth Curious
  • Madam Tussauds Wax Figure Museum
  • Body Worlds
  • Rembrandt House
  • Amsterdam Museum
  • Torture Museum
  • Marijuana Museum

To Sum Up

No trip to Amsterdam is long enough, but 72 hours is still plenty of time to see the best that this city has to offer. If you’re looking for an interesting and unique city experience, Amsterdam should be at the top of your list.

Have you got any other suggestions for Amsterdam? Please let us know in the comments!

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