The Perfect 4 to 5 Days in Amsterdam Itinerary


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Planning out the perfect 4 to 5 days in Amsterdam itinerary is a highlight of mapping out a trip to Western or Northern Europe. Amsterdam is one of the most visited cities in Europe worldwide, and it’s no surprise why, from its picturesque canals to a culture filled with some of the world’s best museums, restaurants, a vibrant history, and a laid-back, open-minded attitude.

Amsterdam is truly a city where classic and modern combine to make such an atmospheric city and where wandering the streets and passing the many bicycles of the city while catching scents of stroopwafel is a joy.

With 4 to 5 days in Amsterdam, you’re fated to fall in love with one of Europe’s most exciting cities. Read on to begin planning the perfect Amsterdam itinerary.

How Many Days in Amsterdam?

So, how many days in Amsterdam are ideal to make the most out of the popular European capital city? Ultimately, the answer to this question will be unique to you and what you hope to get out of your visit to Amsterdam.

While many people just visit Amsterdam for a weekend getaway, I think that it’s a disservice to the city as there’s an abundance of things to explore and places to visit beyond a 2-day trip.

Even just extending your trip to 3 days in Amsterdam, you’ll have the opportunity to go a bit beyond the typical tourist path and route, giving a more holistic experience of this spirited Dutch city. There are plenty of things to do in Amsterdam in 3 days so you certainly won’t be wanting for activities.

Beyond 3 days, 4 days in Amsterdam is even more ideal as you’ll have more time to do the city justice, exploring further into Dutch and local Amsterdam culture and getting to know the city off the beaten path.

Finally, if you have the opportunity and time to spend 5 days in Amsterdam, you’re in for a treat. While 4 days in Amsterdam is sufficient to explore the city to the best extent, Amsterdam is still very much a tourist city with a different pace of life compared to the rest of the country.

With 5 days in Amsterdam, you’ll have the time to visit a neighboring city such as Utrecht or Rotterdam by just a short train journey, giving a full taste of the Netherlands.

And if you’re wondering the best time to visit Amsterdam, keep in mind that it is a thriving city that attracts visitors year-round. For the best weather (and the most crowds) the summer months can be ideal. However, if you want to see the city decked out for the holidays, visiting in the winter can be a great choice, as well.

Amsterdam Canals
Amsterdam Canals

Getting To & Around Amsterdam

Fortunately, Amsterdam is one of the most accessible countries in Europe if you’re traveling by plane or by train.

As one of the largest airports globally, Amsterdam Schiphol Airport receives flights from both European and international destinations, serving as the point of arrival for air travel to Amsterdam.

From the airport to Amsterdam city center, Schiphol Airport is just 17 km away from Amsterdam Centraal Train Station and can be easily reached by direct train transport in just around 15 minutes with frequent train services. There are also shuttle buses from the airport.

If you’re planning on visiting other destinations in the Netherlands, Amsterdam Centraal Train Station has frequent connections to the rest of the country as well as train services to other European destinations, with high-speed rail such as Eurostar. You can find trains to Amsterdam from cities like Paris, London, Brussels and more. You can view schedules here.

Another option if you’re looking to save money and pass on train transportation, is to take a bus, as there are convenient and affordable bus transportation options throughout the Netherlands along with bus transport to other nearby countries.

Flixbus is the best option, as prices are low and buses are comfortable and on time, journeys can be booked here.

As for getting around the city, the center of Amsterdam is quite walkable and a pleasure to explore by foot, getting lost in the nooks and crannies of the city’s famous canals.

For a local mode of transport, Amsterdam is the bike capital of the world, and wandering the city by bike is the perfect way to experience the city like a local, albeit with a touch of courage!

If you prefer public transportation or are keen to explore outside of the city center, Amsterdam has comprehensive and efficient public transportation consisting of buses, trams, metro, and ferries.

Single tickets for Amsterdam’s public transportation can be purchased from ticket vending machines in the city, but to save money, I suggest getting an OV-chipkaart card, which is a rechargeable card that can be used on all modes of public transportation in Amsterdam.

You can also purchase an Amsterdam City Card that gives includes entry to many attractions and public transport if you plan on visiting a number of sights in the city and can keep your costs down in Amsterdam.

Traditional houses in Amsterdam
Traditional houses in Amsterdam

4 to 5 Days in Amsterdam Itinerary

This Amsterdam itinerary will bring you through the main sights of the city center, through the idyllic canals of Amsterdam, and into the city’s art, culture, and delicious Dutch food scene.

Filled with arts and culture, the city of Amsterdam is much more than its infamous Red Light District and this itinerary will highlight that.

If your time in Amsterdam spans 5 days, on the 5th day of the itinerary you’ll spend time in a nearby Dutch city to further immerse into life in the Netherlands.

Day 1 – Amsterdam Main Sightseeing

The first day of this itinerary focuses on some of the main attractions in central Amsterdam. You can take a walking tour to learn more about the history of the city with a tour guide.

Dam Square

There’s no better place to start your day and Amsterdam itinerary than in Dam Square. Dam Square is quite literally in the center of the city, positioning you in the ideal spot to begin exploring the city.

Dam Square is a historical and cultural landmark of Amsterdam that has been an important gathering place for locals and visitors for centuries, with important monuments encircling the square such as the Royal Palace, the National Monument, and the Nieuwe Kerk (New Church).

Royal Palace (​​Koninklijk Paleis Amsterdam)

Of all the monuments surrounding Dam Square, the monument most worth visiting is the Royal Palace of Amsterdam.

The palace was built in the 17th century as a city hall, later becoming a royal palace in the early 19th century, and now serves as a venue for state visits, official receptions, and is open for visitors to witness this impressive example of Dutch classical architecture and its rich history and culture.

The Royal Palace of Amsterdam regularly hosts exhibitions, showcasing a variety of Dutch art, history, and culture. These exhibitions provide a unique perspective on different aspects of Dutch history and society, making it a great starting point for your time in Amsterdam.

The Royal Palace Amsterdam is open to visitors almost every day of the year, except for some holidays and official events. The opening hours can vary depending on the season, so it’s important to check the opening hours beforehand. You can book tickets here.

Koninklijk Paleis
Koninklijk Paleis

Wander Amsterdam Canals

Wandering the canals of Amsterdam is an essential part of any travel itinerary in this beautiful city. The picturesque waterways, lined with charming buildings and quaint bridges offer a unique perspective on the city’s history and culture and why it’s such a popular and timeless destination.

A great spot to begin is The Singel Canal, which is one of the oldest canals that make up the network of canals in Amsterdam. Afterwards, make your way to The Brouwersgracht (Brewers’ Canal) to enjoy one of Amsterdam’s most scenic and picturesque canals.

This is also the perfect time of day to sit at one of the quaint cafes lining the canalled streets to watch local life go by and enjoy a coffee or a local Dutch beer.

De Negen Straatjes (The Nine Streets District) & Stroopwafel

The Nine Streets District of Amsterdam is a charming neighborhood located in the heart of the city’s historic canal belt.

The district is named after the nine narrow streets that run through it, which are lined with a diverse range of shops, cafes, and restaurants, as well as historic buildings and picturesque canals.

The Nine Streets District is an ideal part of the city to take in local life, enjoy stunning surroundings, and enjoy the classic Dutch treat, stroopwafel, at the oldest bakery in the city, Hans Egstorf.

Day 2 – Canal Boat, Amsterdam Museums and Culture

Canal Boat Tour

Day 2 of this 4 to 5 days in Amsterdam itinerary will begin with a different perspective of the city than day 1, by gliding through the city on the canals on a canal boat tour.

By taking a canal boat tour of the city, you’ll be treated to a unique perspective on the city’s history and architecture, as well as the chance to see some of the city’s most famous landmarks from a different angle.

During a canal tour, you can expect to see some of Amsterdam’s most iconic sights as well as the charming canal houses that line the waterways and enjoy some unique views of the city.

You’ll also pass under historic bridges and through picturesque neighborhoods, providing a unique glimpse into the city’s culture and daily life. Some options include this 1-hour cruise or this luxury option.

Canal Boat in Amsterdam
Canal Boat in Amsterdam

Albert Cuypmarkt Market

After seeing the city by boat, make your way to the vibrant De Pijp neighborhood to one of the most popular open-air street markets in Amsterdam, Albert Cuypmarkt.

Since the 19th century, Albert Cuypmarkt has been the go-to spot for locals and tourists searching for a wide variety of goods for sale, including fresh produce, flowers, clothing, and souvenirs.

The Albert Cuypmarkt is the perfect spot to enjoy the lively local atmosphere of the city, taste some classic Dutch food, and pick up a souvenir from your time in Amsterdam.

Rijksmuseum

Amsterdam is a city steeped in history, art, and culture and the best way to learn more about this part of Amsterdam and Dutch history/art is to spend time at one of the most popular museums in the city.

Because of the density of both of these museums, I suggest dedicating a large portion of your day to time at the museum(s) of your choice.

The most visited museum in the Netherlands, The Rijksmuseum, is the largest museum of art and history in the Netherlands.

Its extensive collection includes over one million objects, spanning over 800 years of Dutch art and history, and is known for its famous works of art from the Dutch Golden Age, including Rembrandt’s Night Watch and Vermeer’s Milkmaid. You can book tickets in advance here or organise a guided tour here.

Rijksmuseum
Rijksmuseum

Van Gogh Museum

The Van Gogh Museum is another wonderful option for a museum visit in Amsterdam. The Van Gogh Museum is a museum dedicated to the life and works of the Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh.

The museum features the largest collection of his paintings and drawings in the world, as well as a deeper look into the life of Vincent Van Gogh. You can book tickets in advance here or organise a guided tour here.

Day 3 – Dutch Food, Bike Tour & Green Amsterdam

Vondelpark & Dutch Pancakes

On day 3 of your Amsterdam itinerary, a great way to begin your day is by enjoying a breakfast made up of poffertjes, which are small and delicious traditional pancakes served with various tasty toppings. A great location is The Pancake Club, a local restaurant near Vondelpark, the next stop on your itinerary.

Vondelpark is a beautiful public park located in the heart of Amsterdam, named after the famous Dutch poet Joost van den Vondel. The park covers over 47 hectares and is easily one of the most popular outdoor spots in all of Amsterdam.

Known for its beautiful gardens, ponds, and winding paths, Vondelpark is also a popular spot for picnics, concerts, and outdoor festivals during the summer months.

Whether you’re looking to get away from the crowds in Amsterdam, spend time biking, or take an opportunity to enjoy a serene time in nature, Vondelpark is a brilliant addition to any Amsterdam itinerary.

Vondelpark
Vondelpark

Bike Tour or Food Tour

The next stop on this Amsterdam itinerary will either be exploring the city by bicycle tour, or diving deeper into the taste of Amsterdam and Dutch cuisine with a food tour.

Bike tours are a popular way to explore Amsterdam and experience the city like a local. The city is renowned for its bike-friendly infrastructure, with over 800,000 bicycles in the city, and numerous dedicated bike lanes and paths.

There are many different bike tour operators in Amsterdam, offering a range of tours to suit your interests.

Some tours focus on the city’s famous landmarks and attractions, while others explore lesser-known neighborhoods and hidden gems. Tours often also include stops at local markets, cafes, and other points of interest. Some of the best options include this 3-hour bike tour or this half-day tour.

Food tours in Amsterdam are a great way to explore the city’s culinary scene and sample its diverse range of cuisines. The city is home to a vibrant food culture, with a mix of traditional Dutch dishes and international flavors creating a unique cuisine of Amsterdam.

You’ll find different food tour operators in Amsterdam, offering a variety of experiences to suit your interests. Some tours focus on street food, while others visit local markets and food halls.

Tours often also include stops at speciality shops and restaurants giving an insight into Dutch history, and somewhere visitors can sample traditional Dutch dishes, such as stroopwafels, herring, and bitterballen. Some of the best-rated options include this food walking tour and this 3-hour tour.

Anne Frank House

In the Jordaan neighborhood of Amsterdam, you’ll find one of the most popular attractions in Amsterdam and the Netherlands, the Anne Frank House, a museum dedicated to the life and legacy of Anne Frank, the famous young Jewish girl who hid from the Nazis during World War II.

During your visit, you’ll have the opportunity to visit the museum with exhibits on Anne’s life and legacy, as well as an immersive experience through the secret annex where Anne and her family lived for over two years, which offers a comprehensive look into the harrowing experiences of the Frank family and other victims of the Holocaust.

The Anne Frank House Museum is open every day of the year, except for Yom Kippur and King’s Day, with opening hours varying depending on the season. You can also take a Jewish-history walking tour before visiting the Anne Frank House.

Anne Frank House
Anne Frank House

Day 4 – Day Trip to Keukenhof Park or Zaanse Schans

If you’re seeing Amsterdam in 4 days, day 4 of your itinerary is the ideal point to head out of the city to an area near Amsterdam to explore further into the country and Dutch culture.

Keukenhof Park

Few things are more synonymous with the Netherlands than the humble yet colorful tulip flower, and there’s no better place to witness the tulips of the Netherlands than at Keukenhof Park.

Also known as the Garden of Europe, Keukenhof Park is a world-famous flower garden located in Lisse, Netherlands, about 40 minutes outside of Amsterdam. The park is home to over 7 million tulips, daffodils, and other flowers, making it one of the largest flower gardens in the world.

During a visit, you can wander through the colorful gardens, admire the floral displays, and learn about the history and cultivation of Dutch tulips, the Netherlands’ number one export.

The most convenient way to reach Keukenhof Park from Amsterdam is by direct shuttle transport from various points in the city with different bus companies depending on your location in the city. You can book transfers here.

Ticket costs for Keukenhof Park can vary depending on how you arrive, and it is highly recommended to book tickets in advance here.

Unfortunately, tulip season is quite short in the Netherlands, alas Keukenhof Park is only open for a short period each year, typically from late March to mid-May, when the flowers are in bloom.

Keukenhof Park
Keukenhof Park

Zaanse Schans

If you’re visiting Amsterdam out of tulip season, another spot worth visiting outside of the city is Zaanse Schans. Zaanse Schans is a historic neighborhood located in the town of Zaandam, just outside Amsterdam.

The neighborhood is known for its well-preserved 18th and 19th-century Dutch buildings, including classic wooden houses, windmills, and workshops. During a visit to Zaanse Schans, you will have the opportunity to explore the neighborhood and learn about traditional Dutch crafts such as cheese-making, clog-making, and chocolate-making.

In the area you’ll also find plenty of tulips if you visit in season, making it a great day trip option if you’re keen to see the tulips during your trip but prefer to bypass the high admission cost to Keukenhof Park.

To reach Zaanse Schans from Amsterdam, take a 20-minute train from Amsterdam Centraal Station to Koog-Zaandijk Station. From there, you can walk or take the bus to Zaanse Schans for around another 10 minutes. There are also organised day tours available.

Day 5 – Day Trip to Utrecht

The Netherlands is more than just Amsterdam, and if you’re seeing Amsterdam in 5 days, I suggest spending the 5th and final day of your itinerary in the nearby town of Utrecht.

Utrecht

Once upon a time, the most important city in the Netherlands, Utrecht, is an important historic city in the central Netherlands, located approximately 30 minutes south of Amsterdam, known for its beautiful canals, charming tree-lined streets, and rich cultural heritage.

Like Amsterdam, Utrecht is full of canals but without the hordes of tourists stuffing in to catch a picture. This makes Utrecht the perfect day trip from Amsterdam, offering the chance to experience such an idyllic, medieval Dutch university city that gives the feeling that you’ve fallen back in time into a fairytale.

Full of green parks, friendly locals, and delicious food and drink finds, Utrecht will only make you wish that you had more time to spend in this welcoming and warm alternative to Amsterdam.

While in Utrecht, make sure to visit the Dom Tower, the tallest church tower in the Netherlands, the Rietveld Schröder House (a UNESCO World Heritage site), and wander around the enchanting medieval city center while indulging in the most deliciously fresh Dutch fries from Frietwinkel, a local Utrecht staple.

Reaching Utrecht from Amsterdam is extremely quick and convenient. Trains run from Amsterdam Centraal to Utrecht Centraal (The Netherlands’ largest train station) just about every 10 minutes, with a journey time of 20-30 minutes depending on the train. You can book trains here.

Canals of Utrecht
Canals of Utrecht

Where to Stay in Amsterdam

‘t Hotel – This 3-star hotel is situated in a traditional canal house is a perfect place to stay for mid-range visitors to Amsterdam. They have a number of lovely rooms to choose from and an excellent location for exploring all the city has to offer. Click here to check availability

Hotel Estheréa – If you’re looking for a luxury stay in Amsterdam, then this hotel is a great option. They have a range of beautiful and plush rooms on offer, a location only 300 meters from Dam Square and plenty of excellent amenities for guests to enjoy. Click here to check availability

Amsterdam Jewel Canal Apartments – For those who’d like their own apartment while visiting the Dutch capital, these fully furnished flats are an excellent choice. There are a number of different apartments available and they have a wonderful location for exploring all the city has to offer. Click here to check availability

Stayokay Amsterdam Vondelpark – Budget visitors to Amsterdam will love this highly-rated hostel located in the center of the city. They offer both traditional dorms and private rooms, have great common areas for meeting other travelers and there is also breakfast available in the morning. Click here to check availability

Not quite what you’re looking for? Click here to browse more Amsterdam hotels!

Amsterdam is one of the most beloved cities in Europe, and whether you’ve found yourself stuck into stroopwafel or enchanted by the tulips at Keukenhof Park, there’s no denying that the city offers a unique blend of history, culture, and charm that continues to draw visitors from all over the world.

Are you planning a trip to Amsterdam? Have any questions about this itinerary? Let us know in the comments!

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Olivia is a writer for The World Was Here First. Originally from Michigan, USA, she is currently living in Athens, Greece exploring Europe and filmmaking. When she’s not travelling or writing, Olivia can be found cooking delicious new recipes from around the world, reading, and spending time outdoors.

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