With only three days to enjoy the Dutch capital, you may well feel overwhelmed when deciphering the best attractions to add to your itinerary. However, even if you’ve only 72 hours to spare in Holland, you need not fear. Here is the perfect route planner for 3 superb days in Amsterdam.
You may have read that Amsterdam provides a little bit of everything. But what does that really mean to the first-time visitor with little time to spare?
Well the city offers a blend of fascinating history and modern culture. It boasts some of the best museums and historical architecture that Europe has to offer. Yet its tourist attractions and buzzing nightlife scene is set to entertain all walks of life.
Fast food with difference
If you´re anything like us, you´ll want to drop your bags at the hostel or hotel and head straight out to explore the city. Feeling peckish? Waste no time at all in grabbing yummy cheesy fries from Fat Phills which is located next to the famous flower market. Even if you manage to get a little homesick on your short vacation, you’ll find all the comfort food you need at Fat Phills. From their real American Philly cheesesteak or the incredible quadruple cheeseburger, you´ll soon get your ´foodie fix´.
The Febo chains of fast food stores are an experience in themselves. They have hot food vending machines that promise not to leave you disappointed! Bitterballen is one gastronomic delight that comes highly recommended. Bitterballen are classic but oh-so-tasty Dutch meatballs. They are actually one of Holland’s popular snacks that consist of bite-size beef and gravy croquettes. These just have to be tried with a pint of Zatte beer. A delightful golden coloured fruity, malty beer that carries a little kick.
Swinging views over the city
After replenishing your energy levels then why not head up to the ´room with a view´, If you’re not too scared of heights that is. Yes, one of the defining landmarks of Amsterdam Noord is the A’DAM hotel which opened up a great 360 degree viewing platform, right up on the 20th floor. The attraction was designed with the goal in mind of rivalling the London Eye, Berlin Fernsehturm and the Eiffel Tower.
You can enjoy the views like many do without the adventurous element to it, or thrill seekers can swing over the edge on Europe’s highest swing. Getting up to the swing is an innovative trip in itself with the futuristic lift and it’s colourful LED´s setting the ambience. But braving the moving swing on the platform to enjoy the views on the Ij river, is a whole new and terrifying ordeal for some, and yet a memorable experience for others. Well one thing is sure, the views of the bay from up there truly are spectacular. The building itself is now a creative hub with restaurants, nightclubs, and art galleries on various floors.
Museums are definitely one of the main tourist attractions in Amsterdam. You may well have heard of the Van Gogh Museum, Rijksmuseum, and Stedelijk Museum, but there are so many more to be discovered. In fact Amsterdam has more than seventy museums, collectively attracting millions of tourists each year. While there are the traditional museums featuring history, photography, paintings there’s the more unusual attractions such as the ‘Museum of Bags and Purses’. But let’s not forget the museum that includes only work that features cats (‘Kattenkabinet’) Yes you´ll find plenty to cater to any interests.
With only 72 hours available and so many great museums to choose from, you may prefer to locate one of the Amsterdam tourist guide centres to get further information and current discount vouchers. There are two official tourist offices. The first one you´ll come across is in the Amsterdam Schiphol Airport Terminal. You may wish to grab a useful city map on the way past upon arriving at the airport.
Observe the city highlights by bicycle
Anyone who has ever tried to make their way through the centre of Amsterdam by hire car wished that they had rented a bicycle. In fact, here you’ll find many more cyclists than motorists. Fortunately the city is equipped with a large network of cycle-paths. They are so well structured that even youngsters and older folk cycle in these paths. It appears to be one of the safest ways of getting about. The Netherlands in general, having very few hills and a relatively mild climate, means that you’ll find cycling is a very popular mode of transport in most towns and cities. And what better way of taking in the sights, sounds and smells of the many cafes, restaurants, charming bridges and pretty canals. There are many opportunities to hire a bike in the centre and one such bike company also offers guided tours. King Bikes Amsterdam provides guided tours where you get to explore some of the most fascinating places but while listening to detailed facts. Various famous spots that you will stop at include; Anne Frank House, Dam Square, Vondelpark and Chinatown. Hiring a bike here is cheap and there’s even special discounts for families and groups. But even for the lone traveler you can get a classic bike for just 12 euros for the whole day!
A suntrap behind the ‘secret’ door
Beyond a solid wooden door, leading out of the busy Spui square, exists another world – a tranquil courtyard and garden enveloped with gabled houses. In the early 15th century, the Begijnhof, one of Amsterdam’s best known hofjes (almshouses), was home to the Beguines, a form of lay nun. These medieval timbered buildings overlook sections of protected greenery all engulfed in the very essence of peace. It’s hard to believe you were roving the bustling streets of Amsterdam just a few moments ago. Besides the historic intrigue, these courtyards are worth locating simply to experience the contrasting tranquility.
Stroll through the city’s finest park
One of the greatest highlights of any Amsterdam trip should be Vondelpark. The park is so large that even half a day would only just be enough time to relish parts of it. Now if you were to mix a park visit with the various things to do just outside the grounds, (such as the Van Gogh Museum or Rijksmuseum) you´ll enjoy a full fantastic day in the heart of the city. In the park centre there’s some wooden forts and cool paths that even bigger kids can enjoy. There’s also a paddling pond which goes down well on those warmer days.
Amsterdam’s ‘green heart´ is a pleasant fusion of scenic ponds and lakes, forested patches, gardens, copious shrubberies, and open lawns to enjoy a leisurely picnic. Children will enjoy the
playgrounds, and open-air theatre. The Vondelpark is a central, and pleasant place for early morning jog, or an afternoon tea at the nostalgic Blue Teahouse.
We´ve only had time to touch the surface of some of the popular attractions in this intriguing city. You may well decide to add 1 or two of the things-to-do from our list to your own itinerary. With a little research and planning, you’ll soon identify the many things you can’t afford to miss, all adding to your own superb trip to Amsterdam.
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