One of the classic tourist destinations in Europe is the vibrant and entertaining city of Amsterdam. The capital of the Netherlands appeals to visitors no matter their interests, which is why people keep flocking there in record numbers. It's an interesting place where you can find cannabis-selling coffee shops and the Red Light District as well as pretty canal scenery and waffles.
For a first visit, 3 days in Amsterdam is a great starting point as it allows enough time for you to experience the basics of the city. But to ensure you don't overlook any of the best places to visit in Amsterdam, here is our detailed Amsterdam itinerary to show you around.
Damrak. Begin your visit to Amsterdam by walking down Damrak Avenue, which runs through the center of the city. Walking from Centraal Station, you'll soon reach the Damrak Waterfront, home to a row of gorgeous houses that almost look like gingerbread houses. This is just a taste of the wonderful scenery you'll find all over the city, but it's sure to get you in the mood for sightseeing. While the rest of the street is mostly restaurants and international chains, make sure not to miss the pretty little arcade passage off to the side called the Beurspassage.
Dam Square. Follow the Damrak for a while and you'll soon reach the wide-open Dam Square. Essentially the city's main square, Dam Square features several notable landmarks and it frequently plays host to events. The most notable landmark is the Royal Palace of Amsterdam, a massive residence of the Dutch Royal Family. Facing the palace from across the square is the National Monument which commemorates those who died during World War II. Then there's the Nieuwe Kerk, a 15th century Gothic church that sits across a small side street from the palace.
Oude Kerk. Having seen the Nieuwe Kerk or New Church, it's time to find its counterpart, the Oude Kerk or Old Church. Found in the city's Red Light District, this church is actually the oldest building in Amsterdam and dates back to the 13th century. Although it's undergone renovations over the years, it still has loads of character, including a completely wooden ceiling which makes it stand out. You can also climb up the church tower for some great views of the city, which can help you get your bearings early on when sightseeing.
Red Light District. Perhaps the most famous place in Amsterdam is the Red Light District, also known as De Wallen. Here you’ll come across sex shops, brothels, peep shows, and similarly focused museums. While it may not be for everyone, it’s worth taking a look to at least see what all the fuss is about. If you visit early in the day it’s likely not too busy. Have a walk around, and if you want to see it in full action, come back around nightfall.
Amsterdam Canals. At this point you’ll probably have noticed that Amstedam has more than a few canals. It’s now time to go explore them and find yourself some typical Amsterdam scenery. It’s not just about the canals themselves though, it’s also the little bridges that cross them, and the iconic architecture of the buildings along the canals, that make Amsterdam such a delight to explore.
You also have options for how you want to see the canals of Amsterdam. The most special has to be seeing the city while you’re actually on the canals, whether you’re on a boat cruise or darting around in a pedal boat. Another option is to rent a bicycle so that you can stop off at pretty spots as you like. Or there’s the good ole fashioned approach of walking, which is sure to help you get your steps in for the day.