Amsterdam, the capital city of the Netherlands is known for its ‘crazy’ side, but the city has so much more to offer than just legalized drugs and prostitution. The amazing architecture, the canals, the museums, and the lovely little markets are just some of the reasons you should visit this fantastic city.
Falling in love with Amsterdam is easy when you know where to go and what to look for. So here is my 2 day Amsterdam itinerary, to help you plan the perfect city getaway in Amsterdam!
2 DAY AMSTERDAM ITINERARY | AMAZING THINGS TO SEE AND DO
Underneath are just a couple of things to see and do in Amsterdam. Further below you will find a handy itinerary.
Very touristy, but still the best way to get to see the city and learn lots of historical facts is to take a canal ride. Sit back, listen to the commentary and enjoy the spectacular views. It is worth noting if you do a Canal Tour and purchase and do a tour before 11 am the cost is 13 € and after 11 am the cost is 16.50 € and tickets can be bought from the terminal or from the Tourist Information Centre outside Amsterdam Centraal railway station.
The Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam is the best place to view world-famous paintings and works from the Dutch Masters. I would highly recommend checking it out. Including works by Rembrandt, Vermeer, Frans Hals, and more! The Rijksmuseum is vast! If you can only spare a few hours, I highly recommend you pay an additional 5 Euros for the guided tour of the highlights
Right across from the Rijksmuseum you can find ‘The Van Gogh Museum‘. This is a multi-story building that hosts the world’s largest collection of Vincent Van Gogh’s artwork. If you have time to go to both, I suggest you buy a “combo ticket” as this will save you some money.
Of course, a must-visit when in Amsterdam is the Anne Frank Huis. In this world-famous house, you can go on an informative and fascinating tour, showcasing you the spaces where the famous Frank family and friends hid during World War II.
This attraction is an absolute must-see! Make sure to book-entry tickets in advance, because you’ll often find a long queue of people lining up for tickets upon arrival.
Vondelpark is the cities largest urban park is a must-see, especially on a sunny day. Filled with people from all walks of life, enjoying a day in the sun. Make sure to visit Cafe Vertigo when you are there.
Hortus Botanicus is one of the oldest botanical gardens in the world, the Hortus Botanicus is home to a variety of greenhouses and a fantastic outdoor garden.
EXPLORING THE CITY ON BIKE
A great way to get to see a lot of the city in a short amount of time is to take a bike tour through the city. A few of the most notable bike tour operators include Mike’s Bike Tours and We Bike Amsterdam. These tours take you to some of the highlights of the city, but also to some of the backstreets, and cycle down Holland’s most scenic bike lanes.
Tours are available from about € 32,50 and in my opinion, are worth it. You get to explore a lot of the cool places in the city in a unique, but very Dutch way.
WHERE TO SHOP IN AMSTERDAM?
The Kalverstraat in Amsterdam’s city center is one of the main shopping streets. Another shopping street is Nieuwedijk-Kalverstraat, about 1 km full of shops. This is a pedestrian area, which means there is no traffic, other than a constant stream of tourists, students, scholars, excursionists, and locals.
On Sundays, you can shop in the city center, Kalverstraat, Damrak, Leidsestraat, and near the Noorderkerk.
Albert Cuyp Market is a typical Dutch market with lots of great offers and varieties of food, flowers, and touristy trinkets. The prices are among the cheapest in Amsterdam and great for a bargain deal. Do keep in mind that the market gets very crowded especially on a sunny day and Saturdays.
WHERE TO EAT + LOCAL DUCTH TREATS YOU SHOULD TRY
If you are in the Netherlands for the first time, then the one thing you HAVE to try is a Stroopwafel (See picture above) A stroopwafel is a waffle made from two thin layers of baked dough with a caramel syrup filling in the middle (YUM). Just a warning: Once you have one, you will always be wanting more! They are that good.
Secondly, Poffertjes are a must-try! Poffertjes are very small Dutch puffy pancakes about 5 cm (2 inches) wide that are mostly flat but are puffed up a little bit. They are made from white wheat flour, butter, milk, eggs, yeast and salt and then typically covered in soft sugar and butter… (my Aussie friends who have tried these say “they are the best”!)
Also incredibly delish are Kroketten. The common English translation of Kroket is croquette. A typical Dutch croquette is made of meat ragout (or salpicon) covered in breadcrumbs and deep-fried until golden and crispy. Amazing when they are just out of the frying pan.
A Pudding Broodje is a sweet roll filled with a vanilla cream pudding and dusted with powdered sugar. Absolutely amazing if you are craving something sweet.
You also can’t leave the Netherlands without having to try some Dutch Cheese. The most famous cheese is probably Gouda Cheese, followed by Edam, Maasdam, Boerenkaas, Leyden and lesser-known cheeses.
2 DAY AMSTERDAM ITINERARY | HOW TO SPEND 48 HOURS IN AMSTERDAM
You’ll be surprised how much of Amsterdam you can see in just 48 hours. So arm yourself with comfortable shoes, a good map, and a good plan. Here is an example of a 2 day Amsterdam Itinerary that you could use if you only have 48 hours in the city.
DAY 1 | 10.00 | JOIN A FREE WALKING TOUR
A great way to orient yourself to the city is with a walking tour. You’ll learn a lot about the history of the city, find out where the major/important sites are, and explore all those winding canals. Amsterdam has two tours that come highly recommended the Free Walking Tours Amsterdam and New Europe
The tour is free, but make sure you leave a tip to your guide for goodwill. In general, the tour takes anywhere between 2 and 3 hours.
DAY 1 | 13.00 | GRAB SOME LUNCH
In ‘De Pijp’, you can find tons of great little lunch spots.
From traditional Dutch food to Indonesian, Indian and much much more.
DAY 1 | 14.00 | SNIF UP SOME CULTURE
After lunch, head to some of the world’s best museums like the Rijksmuseum, Van Gogh Museum and Stedelijk Museum. You’ll want to spend a few hours here, admiring the work of some of the world’s best artists.
The Van Gogh Museum is open until 7 pm, so visit this one last if you can.
DAY 1 | 19.00 | DELICIOUS STREET FOOD
Now that you’ve worked up an appetite, it’s time for dinner. Amsterdam is truly dining-out paradise, with something on the menu for everyone. If you’re struggling to choose, then a restaurant that really does have something on the menu for everyone’s taste buds is Foodhallen.
Various restaurants will serve a selection of small (signature) dishes for locals and tourists to enjoy. With over 20 different stalls, varying from Michelin star concepts to international ‘streetfoods’, the Amsterdam ‘Foodhallen’ is an international foodie-hotspot like no other.
After eating you can decide if you have wandered around enough and go back to your hotel and take a relaxing bath. If you still have some energy left then you can head out into Amsterdam’s famous nightlife. With a global reputation for partying, there’s always something great going on somewhere in the city. If live music’s your thing, then Paradiso, Melkweg or Bitterzoet are great shouts.
DAY 2 | 09.00 | GET SOME FUEL – BREAKFAST TIME
Start the day right with a fresh coffee and a big breakfast – you’re going to need it.
The city is filled with quaint little bakeries where you can order a high fuel breakfast.
I can give you some examples: but depending on where your hotel or B&B is, there will be loads of little bakeries in your area. Just follow the locals, they know where to eat.
DAY 2 | 10.00 | CANAL CRUISE
Hop on one of the many canal cruises available in the city. They are a great way to get a lot of knowledge in, as well as seeing a fair bit of the city as well.
A few of the most notable canal cruise operators include Lovers, Canal and Holland International.
DAY 2 | 11.00 | BE LIKE THE DUTCH – RENT A BIKE
Cycling is the quickest, easiest and is an incredibly fun way to get around Amsterdam, and allows you to cover much more ground than what walking would.
Cycling in the city can be hectic, especially if you’re not used to Amsterdam-style traffic! Here are a few things to keep in mind after you hire a bicycle. (Very useful and very funny)
DAY 2 | 11.15 | BIKE AWAY
Now that you have your bike, it’s time to start exploring. Cycle through the canal ring and enjoy the amazing architecture. Keep going until you reach Amsterdam’s most famous park, Vondelpark. Continue until you reach the vibrant suburb ‘ De Pijp’.
DAY 2 | 13.00 | GRAB SOME LUNCH
See if you can find some of the delicious Dutch treats!
- Pudding broodje
… simply amazing.
Continue to explore the city on your rented bike.
DAY 2 | 14.30 | VISIT THE ANNE FRANK HOUSE
Get to explore Anne’s hiding place and get to learn about her and her family. As a visitor, you experience this story through quotes, photos, videos, and original items. The atmosphere in the museum is authentic and subdued.
You can book tickets online up to two months in advance and you get a certain timeslot. This ticket will allow you to skip the line. If you don’t do this, get there very early in the morning to avoid the long queue that develops over the course of the day!
DAY 2 | 15.30 | CHECK OUT THE JORDAAN
A lovely and old working-class, and arguably Amsterdam’s most famous, neighborhood, the area contains an upscale assortment of art galleries, patio restaurants, cafes, and street musicians. The Anne Frank House is also located in the area, so it is worth wandering around whilst you are in the area anyway.
DAY 2 | 16.00 | THE RED LIGHT DISTRICT (CAN SKIP)
Though much tamer than prior, the Red Light District manages to balance sex and seediness with being a major tourist attraction. During the day, it’s a pretty quiet place. If it wasn’t for the red lights and sex signs everywhere, it would look like any other part of the city. If the roughness of it is not for you, then have a peek during the day! Just wander around slowly and respect the girls that are working.
At night is when the red light district gets a lot more rowdy, attracting drunk tourists looking ‘for a good time’. During the day it tends to be a lot safer. However, I must say that a lot of unsavory characters are attracted to this area, so make sure you keep your belongings close to you!
It’s a place to see and experience for a very brief time and at least you can say you’ve been there haha!
In the evening you can decide on your own what you want to do! go clubbing in the cities crazy nightlife, have an extensive dinner in one of the cities brilliant restaurants, wander the canals at night or just chill at your accommodation.
This is the end of my 2 day Amsterdam itinerary. Of course, there is much more to see and do, but these are in my opinion the things you should check out.
IS 2 DAYS IN AMSTERDAM ENOUGH?
There is lots to see and do in this incredible city. I would say that the minimum time spend in the city is 2 days. 1 day is defiantly not enough to see even the basics. And if you have never been to the Netherlands, then I suggest adding on a couple more days.
Of course, it depends on what you would like to see, but if you are just flying into Amsterdam to check out the city, I would say 2 days is the minimum of days that you require.
BASIC INFORMATION AMSTERDAM | 2 day Amsterdam itinerary
|TIME ZONE||GMT/UTC +1|
|ELECTRICITY||Type C two-prong plug. Electrical power in the Netherlands and in most of Western Europe runs on a cycle of 50hz, and a voltage of 230 Volt, alternating current.|
|TIPPING||Like in most of Europe, tipping isn’t generally expected. However, it’s polite to leave extra change or round up.|
|NICKNAME||ADAM or DAM is short for Amsterdam. The city additionally has quite a few nicknames, for example, “Venice of the North” because of the number of its canals or “Jerusalem of the North” because of its previous high population of Jewish people.|
The Netherlands uses the Euro (€) as it is part of the EU. In pretty much all places will accept credit card. Some stalls at the markets do not though, so I do advise to carry some Euro’s with you just in case. There might also be a couple of smaller stores that do not have an EFTPOS machine.
As stated above, tipping is not expected, though it’s customary to round up your restaurant bill to the nearest euro. At more expensive restaurants, it’s normal to leave a 5-10% tip.
Dutch is the official language of the Netherlands. However, most people are at least conversational in English, especially in Amsterdam. If you are planning to venture out, then keep in mind that none-touristy areas, people’s English might not be fluent.
DUTCH PHRASES & USEFUL TRAVEL PHRASES
Underneath you can find some handy Dutch phrases as well as some handy travel phrases that might come in handy during your time in the country.
|Hello||Hallo / Hoi||Ha-low / Hoy|
|Good morning||Goede morgen||khoo-duh-mor-khen|
|Good afternoon||Goede avond||Khoo-duh-mid-dakh|
|How are you?||Hoe gaat het met je?||hoo khaat het met yuh|
|Good, thanks||Goed, dank je||Khoot, dank yuh|
|Thank you||Dank je||Dank yuh|
|I’m sorry||Het spijt me||Hey spayt meh|
|I do not understand||Ik begrijp het niet||ik be-graphy het neat|
|Do you speak English?||Spreek je Engels?||Sprayk yuh eng-els|
BEST TIME TO VISIT AMSTERDAM
In the Netherlands, you need to keep an eye on the weather report, as Mother Nature can be finicky in Holland. Even in summer, there is a possibility that you might need a jacket.
The best time to visit Amsterdam is in my opinion April to October. You have the best chance of pleasant weather during this time.
THE BEST WAY OF GETTING AROUND IN AMSTERDAM?
Save your cab money! From Schiphol Airport, the fastest and cheapest way to get into the city center is by train. It’ll take you just 20 minutes and cost you a few euros.
Once in the city, Amsterdam is easily accessible by two feet and two wheels. Additionally, since the city is pretty compact, walking between attractions is doable (For the majority) And since Amsterdam is filled with beautiful historic buildings, you will be distracted and entertained the majority of the time, making the walks seem a whole lot shorter.
Here are a few simple tips to help you make your stay in Amsterdam a smashing success:
- Cafe’s and coffee shops
I am sure you are aware then when you are in Amsterdam you can buy legal drugs. These are sold at Coffee shops. If you are feeling peckish you should go to a Cafe.
Be warned of the many cyclists in Amsterdam, it is their main way of getting around the city. You will be swarmed by them at any time. When crossing the streets make sure to check both ways, as they come flying by at any point. They also often have the right of way, so keep your eye’s peeled at all times when walking the stunning streets of the city.
- Red Light District
You are free to wander the famous Red Light District. But make sure you show respect: Do not photograph the workers. Many places have security and you will get into trouble.
Just because you are in a country that allows the use of drugs, that doesn’t mean that you can be an a** during your visit.
BEST PLACES TO EAT IN AMSTERDAM?
Even though the city is not known for its fine dining, there are some amazing restaurants to be found in the city. Underneath are just a couple of great options for you.
Jansz Amsterdam is one of the best restaurants I have ever eaten. It has been a couple of years, but I still remember how amazing it was. Offer classics with a modern twist in this former apothecary’s shop with amazing canal views.
Restaurant de Kas offers a unique dining experience! Their unique selling point is that everything you eat was picked from their garden that morning. Trust me you can definitely taste the difference! Everything is so fresh.
If you would like to try some Dutch cuisines, then check out Moeders (Mothers in English) Moeders is known for its traditional Dutch food, like stamppot.
If you are after some Italian, then I suggest checking out Sotto Pizza. This is a very authentic Italian restaurant. Excellent food and service at reasonable prices.
BEST HOTELS IN AMSTERDAM
Underneath are just a couple of the best hotels in the city.
Hotel Okura Amsterdam is one of the most complete five-star Superior hotels of the Netherlands. located in trendy district De Pijp this hotel houses 4 restaurants, with three Michelin stars held between them. If you are a budget traveler then this one is not for you.
Another (expensive) amazing hotel is the Breitner House. Breitner House is set in a characteristic Amsterdam townhouse overlooking the Oosterpark. This hotel is very different from an ordinary hotel as this one is full of character.
Lastly, The Craftsmen is a new boutique hotel offering 14 individually designed rooms in the heart of the Amsterdam Canal District. Experience something unique when staying here.
COOL SOUVENIRS TO BUY IN AMSTERDAM
Underneath a couple of cool souvenir ideas on what to get in Amsterdam:
- Some Dutch Cheese
- Dutch Sweet
- Custom Clogs
- Small windmill
WHERE TO GO AFTER YOUR 2 DAY TRIP TO AMSTERDAM?
Because of Amsterdam’s great location, there are many other amazing cities that you can check out as well. Underneath are just a couple of cool options for you:
- Rotterdam | As mentioned before in this post, Rotterdam located 1 hour away from Amsterdam. Home to incredible architecture, amazing food and harming neighborhoods, you’ll want at least 1 day in Rotterdam.
- Brussels, Belgium | Although it’s possible to do a day trip from Amsterdam to Brussels, you’ll want at least 48 hours in Brussels to see the highlights. This city is ridiculously stunning and a must-see in my opinion.
- London, UK | Spend 4 days in London exploring this stunning and imposing city.
Additional Netherlands Resources
- First-timers guide to Amsterdam
- The best day trips out of Amsterdam
- Giethoorn | A unique village in the Netherlands
- The ultimate travel guide to the Netherlands
- The Netherlands in Pictures
- Bourtange | A unique little town in the North of the Netherlands
- Ootmarsum | A small farmers town in Twente
If you have any questions about this 2 day Amsterdam itinerary, let me know in the comments below!
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