Looking to spend up to 4 days in Amsterdam exploring all that this city has to offer?

The capital of The Netherlands is perhaps one of the best European cities to explore. It has this old world charm with thousands of buildings dating back to the 17th and 18th century with modern touches of shiny new shops, hotels and shopping centres. 

Surely, Amsterdam is know for its eccentric experiences that few other countries have to offer, such as the wide spread marijuana scene and its legal prostitution at their Red Light District. All Amsterdam attractions are full of richness in history and culture attested by the dozen of museums and sights that are a peek to the past.

Since there is so much to see and do in Amsterdam, I have tried to bring you the best experiences to check out in this 4-day Amsterdam itinerary as I have just visited the capital of the Netherlands for a weekend getaway and stalked all the ins and outs of this place. Enjoy!

amsterdam itinerary 4 days

Best Time To Visit Amsterdam

Amsterdam is always a delight to visit whatever time of the year it is.

However, the peak season is between July and August when the weather is nice and warm with the sun shining tireless which is especially perfect for cycling and all the other amazing things to do in Amsterdam. If you want to catch the tulip season, time your visit between March and May.

Key dates to remember are Koningsdag on April 27, Open Garden Days on the third weekend of June, Hartiesdagen or Hearts Days festival on the third weekend of August, Open Monument Day on the second weekend of September, and Museum Night on the first week of November.

The city is just 7 feet above sea level so high humidity during the summer rain or snow during the winter are to be expected. Pack accordingly and bring with you a big umbrella.

Where To Stay In Amsterdam

If you want to stay in the heart of the action, the city center is a great option with plenty of hotel options.

However, if you prefer staying on the water, the inner-city neighborhood of De Jordaan is perfect. You can even stay on a house boat in Amsterdam along the UNESCO heritage-listed canal ring!

De Pijp is a trendy and vibrant neighborhood in Amsterdam, known for its lively street markets, diverse culinary scene, and charming cafes. It's a great place to stay if you're looking for a more local and bohemian atmosphere.

Luxury $$$ – Ambassade Hotel

Located right in the city center on one of Amsterdams most beautiful canals, Ambassade Hotel offer superior facilities with beautiful decorations, 24hr service, free wifi and even grocery deliveries.

Everything is pretty much in walking distance. You can visit museum, walk the city center and historic landmarks. Absolutely don't miss staying here if you can splurge a little on your 3 nights in Amsterdam!

Mid-Range $$ – Lloyd Hotel

Lloyd Hotel is the very first design hotel in the world offering rooms from 1-to-5 stars!

Set in an old historic building, the hotel has wonderfully artistic interiors, the choice is yours if you want to stay in a budget twin room with shared bathroom or sleep in a 5-star unconventionally designed deluxe double room.

Budget $ – Flying Pigs Downtown Hostel

Flying Pig Downtown is the flagship hostel in the red light district, next to the party square of Leidseplein.

At the hostel you'll find a relaxed atmosphere in real Amsterdam style which is right on the doorstep of everything that the capital of the Netherlands has to offer!

There are dorms as well as private rooms, some of them with shared  bathrooms and some come with their own ensuite bathroom and toilet.

Find More Hotels To Stay At In Amsterdam

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Where To Stay In Amsterdam: Hotel Alternatives

Alternatively, if you don't fancy a hostel or hotel, check out the many Airbnb options in town – from beautiful attics to houseboats to lovely canal houses, there are a lot of cool places to be found.

If you have been following me for a while, you probably know that I love housesitting and am a huge fan of it! And I actually did exactly that when I was in Amsterdam.

I had two funky cats to look after and a nice apartment just a little south of the multicultural neighbourhood of De Pijp and an easy tram ride into the city center. Absolutely perfect for four days in Amsterdam!

I set this up on short notice, too but I know not everyone can spontaneously just get in the car and go, so I think it's worth it to be signed up for the daily newsletter from Trusted Housesitters, the best housesitting platform worldwide, in my eyes.

Sign up to their site below and get started with small weekend trips or longer housesitting assignments.

what to see in amsterdam in 4 days

5 Top Travel Tips For Visiting Amsterdam

#1 Best Way To Get Around Amsterdam

By Foot

Most sights are just a walk away so exploring the city by foot is great. I did so much walking in the city, from one end to the other, it's absolutely great. It's also the perfect opportunity to let all the Amsterdam vibe sink in. You'll see lots of locals going to and from on their bicycles.

By Bicycle

You too can cycle around. There are numerous bike rental shops and bicycle tours offered. In fact, there are more than 800,000 bicycles in Amsterdam. But if you are walking, be careful of the bikes. Don't walk across if there is a bike coming your way. Wait for it to pass instead. Look both ways before crossing a bike lane especially on corners.

By Tram

Another mode of transportation is through the public trams. You can either purchase a chip card at a ticket vending machine or at a ticket counter. Trams have a little cabin inside with a real human sitting in there too, so you could always buy a ticket on the tram too. The tram, metro and busses are efficient and run frequently on weekdays between 6am and 12.30am.

By Boat

With Amsterdam having hundreds of canals, 90 islands and over 1500 bridges, I hear you say: But what about going by boat? For sure, you can go on a boat ride and see the best places to visit in Amsterdam from the water too. It's actually one of the more popular Amsterdam attractions for travellers in Amsterdam, so definitely don't miss this one, it is very cool! In winter the boats might run more infrequent.

amsterdam in 4 days
amsterdam 4 day itinerary

#2 Brown Cafés vs. Coffee Shops

In most parts of the world, cafés and coffee shops pretty much mean the same thing. But not in Amsterdam. If you want to drink actual coffee, look for shops that say café.

Although, coffee shops do sell coffee and other treats, their main purpose is to sell small amounts of pot for personal consumption. Not more than 5g is sold to a single customer. If you plan to try, do it in Amsterdam and not in small cities and towns since most have enforced a ban for tourists entering these cannabis coffee shops.

The picture below shows a few favourite stops of my tour guide in Amsterdam – who of course is a local! Click to zoom in and read the names.

coffee shop recommendations amsterdam
coffee shops amsterdam

#3 Know That Koningsdag Is On 27th Of April 

Koningsdag or King's Day is every year on the 27th of April and celebrates the birthday of King Willem-Alexander. It is a national holiday in all of Netherlands and the biggest street party where locals and visitors alike paint the town orange.

The party happens in Amsterdam everywhere along the streets, on the canals, parks, and other events venues.

If you are planning a trip to Amsterdam during or around this date, expect huge crowds, gridlock traffic and loud music. You can either hate it or love it. If you don't like masses and big celebrations, don't travel on or around this date.

#4 Fast-Track And Avoid Queues

Amsterdam is home to many world-renowned attractions such as the famous Anne Frank House and the Van Gogh Museum and so, queues in the ticket line and entrance are outrageously long.

Avoid queues of all the must do in Amsterdam through advance booking via online tickets.

You should definitely purchase your tickets to visit the following Amsterdam attractions in advance:

4 days in amsterdam itinerary

#5 Save Money With The “I Amsterdam City Card”

Another clever way to avoid long queues for all the Amsterdam must see's is to purchase an “I Amsterdam City Card”.

Inclusions for this city card are a free canal cruise, free unlimited use of the GGVB public transport, a detailed city map and some discounts and special offers for concerts, theatre, rentals, restaurants, and more.

The best part of the city card is the free entry to over 30 museums and attractions including the Van Gogh Museum, Rembrandt House Museum, Museum of Bags and Purses and much more. You can also get a 72-hour or 96-hour city card.

And now on the many things you have to fit into your 4 day itinerary to explore Amsterdam to the fullest!

4 day itinerary amsterdam
4 day amsterdam itinerary
four days in amsterdam

The Ultimate Itinerary To Explore Amsterdam In 4 Days

Day 1: De Pijp, Walking Tour, Canals & Shopping

De Pijp has a lot of trendy spots to get your morning caffeine boost. Check out Bakers & Roasters. They serve great coffee and yummy pies. It's the place to go for breakfast, brunch and lunch. Try their banana nut-bread, French toast and spicy Bloody Marys if you arrive later in the day.

Another great café to visit is the Scandinavian Embassy. The chic interior features blond wood plus special roasts imported from all over the world plus gourmet Nordic food, have I said enough? Order their cold-brewed coffee and salmon on Danish rye.

Yet another place to get your caffeine fix is at De Wasserette. This place is patronised by many locals. Drop by and try the coffee and scrumptious sandwiches and other creative dishes.

After you get your fill, go on an authentic Amsterdam tour by foot. There are lots of different walking tour that last from 1.5 hours to half a day. You can pick what interests you most, may it be history and culture, markets or exploring the Red Light District at night. 

Here are some walking tours that you can easily book through my partner Get Your Guide.

I myself took an easy 2.5 hour walking tour with a local guide that want past the main attractions situated in the inner city.

On the itinerary were the Anne Frank House, the Red Light District, hidden Catholic churches, the Old Church, the New Market, the Royal Palace, the Jewish Quarter and more.

If a walking tour isn't your taste, you can opt for a canal cruise instead. There are 165 canals to explore, Amsterdam isn's dubbed as the “Venice of the North” for nothing!

In 2010, Amsterdam's canal ring was declared as a UNESCO World Heritage Site so you're assured that it will stay protected in years to come.

Seeing the historical grandeur and urban landscape of Amsterdam by boat adds to the appeal of the place.

There are numerous canal cruises to choose from. Most are one-hour boat tours offered by different operators. If you want to mix the canal cruise with on-foot sightseeing, the hop-on hop-off Canal Cruise offers 24 or 48 hour tickets and is your best match.

amsterdam 4 days

In the afternoon, take a stroll through the 9 Streets for a calmer and leisurely vintage and designer shopping whether for high quality goods or just for curios and interesting bric a brac.

The 9 Streets are lined with boutiques, cafés, art galleries, delis and restaurants. You will love the area, it's absolutely beautiful. Make sure you go into a lot of shop here and maybe also take the time to sit down for a coffee at one of the cool cafés.

End the day with another round of gastronomic delights at Food Hallen. It's a trendy food hall within the De Hallen cultural complex in Oud-West neighbourhood.

The place is actually a revamped old tram depot. It's the place to go when you crave street food served with a touch of class in a relaxed environment. Get a taste of artisanal burgers, wood-fired pizzas, Viet-style summer rolls, Greek meze, and more.

amsterdam 4 days itinerary

Day 2: Museums, Art & Vondelpark

During the weekend, include a visit to a flea market in your Amsterdam itinerary. Scrounging for interesting finds at the Waterlooplein Flea Market is always an adventure especially with bargain prices all around.

There are over 300 stalls selling knock-offs, vintage clothes, records, DVDs, subculture clothing, too many to mention really.

I loved visiting this market in the early morning and there's always a great smell lingering from food vendors selling dutch pancakes, frites, and other snack-able goodies.

4 days amsterdam

Your 4 days in Amsterdam would definitely be incomplete without visiting one of its famous museums. The choice is yours.

First off is the Anne Frank House. It was the hiding place for Jewish diarist, Anne Frank and her family during the heat of the Jewish killings by the Nazis. This is where she wrote her diary.

Now, the warren of rooms are transformed to a writer's house and biographical museum. It's beautiful to follow her story and life as you wander around the house. Be prepared to be taken away to a different time.

The name speaks for itself. The Van Gogh Museum is a shrine for the artistic works of world-renowned artist, Vincent van Gogh. The museum is also home to many works of impressionist and post-impressionist artists including van Gogh's friends and followers.

Rijksmuseum houses millions in its art collection, mostly masterpieces by Dutch masters. Spot Rembrandt's The Night Watch in one of its galleries.

The museum also shares the building with the national library, the art historical library, and a reading room for prints, drawings, and photographs. The Rijksmuseum is a UNESCO-protected site. Its gardens are also worth a stroll.

After your museum stroll, head out for some open-air relaxation at Vondelpark. This lush green is a sweet respite after the steel and concrete of its surroundings. Vondelpark is adorned with English-style gardens complete with lawns, ponds, footbridges, and winding footpaths.

You sure won't be alone when you visit. There are other tourists and locals alike lounging on the grass, lovers with fingers intertwined, cyclists, skaters, picnickers, parents with their babies and children running about, cartwheeling on the grass, and playing football. Vondelpark's vibe is truly innocent fun.

Amsterdam Nightlife

The sun has set and the sky is growing dark. Enough with the innocent fun. It's time to party! Head over to Leidseplein, the party hub of Amsterdam. There is so much activity even before you enter into any club. Take delight on the street performers with their acrobatic break-dancing to freestyle jazz.

During the winter, you can enjoy the outdoor skate rink as food stalls serve hot food to battle the cold.

But the real fun always happens behind closed doors. Here are some nightlife options for you:

  • If you're up for live music, choose Paradiso or Melkweg.
  • If you're out to dance, head over to Jimmy Woo or Chicago Social Club.
  • If you're thinking more on the lines of a classy night out, you can see a performance at the Stadsschouburg.

What a great two days in this 4-day itinerary to Amsterdam! Hang in there. 2 days in Amsterdam down, two more to go!

Day 3: Explore Amsterdam's Markets & Food

I don't know about you but for me, a food tour is one of my favourite ways to explore a new city.

So today, on day 3 in Amsterdam it's about everything that will please your tummy. Just bring a big appetite and you're all set to continue our Amsterdam itinerary.

Amsterdam actually has A LOT of different foodie experiences, from cheese and wine tastings to live cooking dinner cruises on the canals to private food walking tours. You can check all the food tours in Amsterdam out here.

To enjoy the best street and market food and Dutch treats, there's only one company to look for and that's Hungry Birds. I recommend you book your Hungry Birds food experience a few das in advance to not miss out.

what to do in amsterdam in 4 days

The Hungry Birds foodie tour lasts 4-5 hours where you will visit 11 different places and get to try 15 yummy culinary delights. What a way to experience Amsterdam!

The best ist that the tours are run by young passionate people who love sharing about their local culture and telling stories behind the places you visit. I had Esther-Hanna as a guide and she is literally the coolest chick, you will love walking and eating around Amsterdam with her!

Visit Albert Cuyp Market

First stop is the Albert Cuyp Market, the biggest and most famous street market in all of Amsterdam. This market provides hours and hours of browsing and shopping among the 300 or so stalls on the area.

If you want to try out the stroopwafels, you'll find the freshest ones here. The market offers everything from food to clothes to cosmetics to furniture and other knick knack. You can even get a haircut here. The Albert Cuyp Market is open from Monday to Saturday, when the market is most busy.

Heading on, you will get to experience speciality shops, family-owned businesses, cafés and try the famous kroketten, the infamous herring and (my absolute favourite) the most legendary chocolate cookies you can find in all of Amsterdam. Joining a tour with Hungry Birds really means you are skipping the tourist traps and eating where the locals do!

Choose from joining a daytime or evening experience with Hungry Birds, feast on Dutch specialities on a Sunday or if you are feeling especially thirsty, consider their Thirsty Bird Experience which will introduce you to the best local and regional craft beers.

amsterdam in four days
4 day trip to amsterdam

Next stop in this 4-day itinerary to Amsterdam is the Flower Market or Bloemenmarkt in the Dutch tongue.

If the colourful and fragrant blooms are not enough of an interesting experience, add in that it's a floating flower market on the Singel canal. Amsterdam is known for its tulips but that's not the only flowers you can find here.

There are geraniums, narcissus, and many others in full bloom or in bulbs or seeds even. You can bring home flower bulbs, just make sure there's a customs-cleared stamp on the packet.

amsterdam for 4 days
what to do in amsterdam for 4 days

Day 4: Go On A Day Trip From Amsterdam

The wooden windmills are a trademark of Dutch attraction. Today it's time to leave the city.

Book a day trip from Amsterdam to Zaanse Schans where over 600 windmills are standing active and functional dating back from the 18th and 19th century to this day.

A guided tour to Zaanse Schans is the best way to see the picturesque windmills, workshop on wooden clog-making, and a visit to the cheese farm. Time is also allowed for independent strolling about the village.

If you want to witness the iconic tulips of the Netherlands in full bloom and glory, time your visit between the middle of March through mid-May.

Officially, mid-April is the best time to enjoy tulip season. The most famous place to see the tulips in the Netherlands is Keukenhof. You can easily take a half day trip from Amsterdam to see the tulips as Keukenhof is only a 45-minute ride from the city.

If you want to stay closer to the city, you can marvel at thousands of blooms and over 40 kinds of tulips at the Amsterdam Botanical Gardens. Practice your best pose because the thousands of flowers are like a shot out of a movie. 

End your Amsterdam travel with a much-needed rest. Going to the beach may not be the first nor the second thing you imagined when you plan your trip to Amsterdam but there are nearby beaches that are worth checking out.

Take a day trip out to Scheveningen or to Noordwijk and enjoy the sprawling sand beaches.

amsterdam itinerary
4 days itinerary in amsterdam

I can't stress enough the beauty and diversity of the places to visit in 4 days in Amsterdam. It's not just beautiful on the outside with its old world charm of its historical buildings, classical art, and the blooming tulips.

It's also full of other diverse Amsterdam attractions with its coffee shops, naughty peep show moments at the Red Light District, fresh food markets and stroopwaffles eating, windmill chasing, and so much more.

Scan the sky for the next flight ticket to Amsterdam. I'm right behind you!

where to go in amsterdam

Have you been to Amsterdam? What did you like most about this city?

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