Which is not surprising, since Rene Descartes's famous words - 'I think, therefore I am' - have been adapted into the famous sign in Museumstraat - IAMsterdam!
The word 'Amsterdam' evokes images of tulips, the Red Light District, coffee shops, windmills, canals and bicycles. But outside of the obvious fun element, there is PLENTY to explore and discover! There are such little gems hidden all over this country, but sometimes, we end up skipping out on them because, you know, TIME! I'm guilty of doing it too, and I think next time, I'm going to simply add a few more days to my trips, with NO plan, because you never know what you might find!
I spent 5 days in the Netherlands, and I already know I'm headed back there soon enough, because even 5 days was not enough for me to experience and delight in everything the country has to offer. But since I am a compulsive researcher and planner, I've put together SO MUCH, some of which I did manage to cover during my trip, and some which I've saved for next time ???? Read on for crafting your PERFECT trip to the Netherlands, no matter how short or long. There's something for everyone!
3 Days - Amsterdam
4 Days - Amsterdam + Rotterdam
5 Days - Amsterdam + Rotterdam + Giethoorn
6 Days - Amsterdam + Rotterdam + Giethoorn + Den Haag + Madurodam
7 Days - Amsterdam + Rotterdam + Giethoorn + Den Haag + Madurodam + Utrecht
Like I mentioned, there's PLENTY of fun to be had in Amsterdam, as well as plenty of history and culture to catch up on. Here's what I think you absolutely MUST cover, if you only have 3 days in this lovely city!
Free Walking Tour
This is a great way to acquaint yourself with the layout and background of a city. And once you know the general layout, you can always come back too where you really want to go! There are so many tour operators who organise daily walking tours, and the guides are really well acquainted with the history of the city. not just that, they are super friendly and are always ready to help with the best places for local nosh, local tips and suggestions, itinerary planning, you name it. I have been on walking tours with Sandemans more than once, and I find the guides to be really engaging, friendly, and helpful.
The signature waterways running through the city pass by some beautiful bridges and buildings. The audio-guided tour tells you stories of Amsterdam and how it came to be what it is, why the canals were so important to the city, how the city got its name, along with a lot of other interesting tidbits, such as why the houses are built the way they are, the smallest house in the city and some important landmarks as well. My advice: Go during sunset, so you can see shots of orange streaking the sky as the sun sinks into the horizon, and at the same time, the city gets lit up. It's really mesmerising!