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My next solo travel guide takes us to Amsterdam. Keep reading to discover why I believe Amsterdam is the perfect city for solo female travellers, plus all the top things to do with three days in Amsterdam.
When I first visited Amsterdam as an 18 year-old, I thought it was a totally eccentric place. I remember the constant smell of pot in the air and locals dressed haphazardly in bright colours. I basically wasn’t in a hurry to return. But 10 years later I did just that and man, what a difference a decade makes. I’m now a total Amsterdam convert and recommend it to everyone, particularly fellow solo travellers. The city is full of friendly locals, beautiful architecture and a very impressive food scene. So here’s what I recommend you do with three days in Amsterdam.
THINGS TO DO IN AMSTERDAM
Like many European cities, Amsterdam is a shopping hotspot. For souvenirs, I recommend checking out Dam Square Souvenirs. I also randomly walked past By Popular Demand one day and it was stocked full of so many interesting postcards and gift ideas. For the usual shopping suspects, check out Kalverstraat and Leidsestraat Streets. The Primark here stocks Amsterdam-inspired products as well. Finally, head inside Magna Plaza Shopping Centre and visit the very cool The Cool Collective. During the holidays there’s a HUGE Christmas Tree here too.
VISIT THE ANNE FRANK HOUSE
I visited the Anne Frank House during my first visit to Amsterdam. I’d read Anne Frank’s Diary in high school and it was incredible to see where it all took place. If you haven’t read the book, I recommend learning more about her story before visiting.
GET READY TO WANDER
I took an embarrassing number of architecture photos in Amsterdam, but it’s just such a photogenic city! I even found the crooked buildings charming. So fair warning: be prepared to spend a lot of your three days in Amsterdam wandering. I recommend strolling through The 9 Streets, the Canal District, Jordaan and De Pijp. You should also check out Magere Brug, which lights up at night.
HOP ON A BIKE
We all know about Amsterdam’s bike culture. There are bikes everywhere in the city and specific bike lanes too. If you want to be like a local during your three days in Amsterdam, check out MacBike or Discount Bike Rental for (you guessed it) bike rentals.
FREE WALKING TOUR
Guys, I have a confession to make – I did not do a free walking tour in Amsterdam. I know, who am I? I was thinking about it, but decided to just wander myself instead. Nonetheless, you know I always recommend doing a free walking tour. I did a SANDEMANs NEW Europe tour in Brussels and the same company operates in Amsterdam. They also have paid walking tour options as well. Otherwise, Freedam Tours is the top-rated free walking tour company in Amsterdam.
GO ON A DAY TRIP
I obviously spent too long wandering during my three days in Amsterdam, because I ran out of time to do a day trip. But I had written down quite a few things to do in nearby Haarlem. This includes dining at Stadsstrand de Oerkap (perfect for summer visitors), visiting the Grote Kerk and checking out Dessertbar. Another easy Amsterdam day trip option is Volendam. But if you don’t mind a long day, you could even visit Brussels.
CHECK OUT A MUSEUM
This city has so many museums, you’d definitely need more than three days in Amsterdam to experience them all. Museumplein is where you will find quite a few options, like the Rijksmuseum, Van Gogh Museum, Stedelijk Museum and Moco Museum. I visited the area while the famous iamsterdam sign was in existence, which has now unfortunately been removed. But I had the weirdest toilet experience at the Cobra Cafe in Museumplein. The doors were translucent, but became less translucent when you turned the handle to engaged. I say less translucent because when I walked out I could see someone else next door to me and it was extremely awkward. Carrying on…
Other museum options include the Rembrandt House Museum, NEMO Science Museum and the Hermitage. The most unique museum in Amsterdam must be Electric Ladyland – Museum of Fluorescent Art. It’s the first and only museum of its kind in the world.
SEE THE SUNSET FROM PLLEK
I’ve heard Pllek is worth a visit, particular at sunset. It’s home to a live stage, yoga classes and a menu that’s 75% vegetarian.
RELAX ON A CANAL CRUISE
This was another thing I did during my first trip to Amsterdam. We did an evening canal cruise and I loved seeing the city not only lit up at night, but from a different perspective. However, I know a daytime canal cruise would be just as good. I mean, it’s Amsterdam.
GET THE FERRY TO AMSTERDAM-NOORD
There are free ferries from Amsterdam Centraal Station to Amsterdam-Noord. The quick route from Centraal to Buiksloterweg is perfect for people who want to visit the A-DAM Lookout and the Eye Film Museum. I feel like this is another great sunset option as well.
SPOT THE FLAMINGOS AT ARTIS
I love including random suggestions in my guides. But one morning I was walking into Amsterdam with my dorm mates when we happened to walk past the ARTIS Royal Zoo and saw this flamingo enclosure. It was so random but so cool.
HAVE A PICNIC IN THE PARK
I stayed at Generator Amsterdam, which was located in Oosterpark. I enjoyed sitting outside and people watching while eating an early dinner. Amsterdam’s most famous park is Vondelpark, but another option is Westergasfabriek.
Begijnhof is an enclosed courtyard in the middle of Amsterdam. It’s filled with historic buildings that date back to the 14th century. It was originally built as a sanctuary for the Begijntje, who were a Catholic sisterhood that lived like nuns. Today, single women still live in the houses in Begijnhof. Inside the courtyard is also where you’ll find Amsterdam’s oldest house.
CHECK OUT ONE OF THESE AMSTERDAM ATTRACTIONS
If all of those Amsterdam museums weren’t enough, the city is also home to a host of other attractions. Amsterdam has its own Madame Tussauds and Ripley’s Believe It or Not!. The Netherlands is also the birthplace of Heineken, so beer drinkers may want to make a beeline for the Heineken Experience. With three days in Amsterdam, you could easily see an Amsterdam attraction or two.
WHERE TO EAT IN AMSTERDAM
I wrote a post on the best things I ate in Amsterdam, so I’ll just give you the summary here. For breakfast, check out Bakers and Roasters, The Breakfast Club, Coffee & Coconuts or The Pancake Bakery. For a quick bite, visit Albert Heijn, a supermarket that stocks premade and delicious salads. If you want something sweet, grab a stroopwafel from Albert Cuyp Market, an ice cream from Banketbakkerij Van Der Linde or a pastry from Ice Bakery.
Other options I didn’t visit but had recommended to me include Foodhallen, Vleminckx for fries and Drovers Dog, an Australian restaurant.
WHERE TO STAY IN AMSTERDAM
Word to the wise: book your accommodation early in Amsterdam, as I struggled to book a hostel a few weeks in advance. In the end, I found a bed in a four-bed female dorm at Generator Amsterdam. The very modern hostel is located outside of the city in Oosterpark like I mentioned. It was about a 30-minute walk into the city, which I totally did every day because I obviously loved any excuse to wander around Amsterdam. But there were metro stations and the tram within walking distance as well.
Good things about Generator were the fast WiFi and the communal spaces. Slight negatives include the expensive extras, the fact there’s no kitchen (there’s an onsite cafe instead) and the small rooms.
I hope this guide helps you plan your own three days in Amsterdam. I now see what all the hype is about and can’t wait to return to take even more photos of the pretty buildings 😂