Looking for some inspiration on what to do and see during your 2 days in Amsterdam? Look no further than this post which is written with first-time visitors in mind. In order to make your Amsterdam experience as complete and exciting as possible, I suggest you follow this itinerary to hit all the best spots within the city in only 2 days. From exploring Dam Square to seeing the Van Gogh Museum to Canal Cruises this itinerary will make the most of your 2 days in Amsterdam!
Amsterdam is an absolutely stunning city. There are so many exciting things to do, see, eat and experience that all the options can get a little bit overwhelming. But one good thing about Amsterdam is that it is quite small, therefore, getting around and seeing all the sights is very achievable. I have made this itinerary so that everything flows and you don’t have to keep running back and forth across the city. After just 2 days in Amsterdam, you will be a city expert.
If this is your first time visiting the magical city of Amsterdam, this guide will give you every experience you need and more. Let’s get into it.
(Disclaimer: Some links in this post may be affiliate links, meaning if you click on the link and make a purchase, I receive a small commission. This is at no extra cost to you and you may even receive a small discount. See disclosure for more information.)
2 Days in Amsterdam
In This Post
From The Airport to Amsterdam City Center
The airport you will land at is Schipol Airport. From here there are various trains and buses that can bring you wherever you need to go.
To get to Amsterdam Centraal Station take one of the trains or buses heading in that direction. To take the train you need a ticket from one of the yellow ticket machines. All you need to do is change the language to your preferred one and type in your location as Centraal station. There signs above each platform which tell you where the train is heading. In addition, there are workers in the area and ticket booths so if you are confused don’t be afraid to ask them. The train ride to central takes about 15 minutes.
To take the bus you can get a ticket at a kiosk or on the bus. However, the bus takes a little bit longer, and I suggest you take the train.
As I had mentioned, Amsterdam is a pretty small city, however, it’s very accessible considering it is a major city. Getting around is quite easy and there are plenty of options. Here are your options:
Tram & Metro
- By Tram: Trams in Amsterdam are a nice way to get around the city while also getting a tour. They run frequently but only go through the main streets of Amsterdam. If your accommodation is outside the tram lines, this may not be an option for you. But it is a great option for moving around the city with ease. To get on the tram you need to purchase either an OV-Chipkaaart – which you can buy for 7 euros at select metro stops – or a single-use ticket from the service worker on the tram.
- By Metro: The metro system in Amsterdam is one of the smoothest, cleanest and easiest in the world. This is a great option for getting around quickly and if you’re located outside the tramlines. The metro is accessible via OV-Chipkaart or single-use tickets. You can buy single-use tickets from the machines in the metro station.
Bike, Bus, Drive
- By Bike: The best way to get around Amsterdam is by bike. This is also the best way to see the city and the most fun. However, it can be dangerous if you don’t respect the rules of the road.
- By Uber: Amsterdam has Uber which is a good option for getting around on a night out. The metros and trams close at 12:30 AM and the only way to get around at night is by car or long bus rides.
- By ViaVan: This is Uber’s biggest competitor in Amsterdam for car services. The pick-up and drop off locations are not door-to-door but pretty close, therefore, it is much cheaper than Uber.
- By Bus: Getting around by bus isn’t a super popular option in Amsterdam except at night. The night bus is one of the few options for getting home in the late hours of the night. You need an OV-Chipkaart to get on.
- Walking: Amsterdam isn’t very big so walking is a great option and one of the best ways to see the city.
However, you can also get one of the Amsterdam Public transport tickets listed below to make travel easier!
When to Visit Amsterdam
Amsterdam is an extremely popular tourist destination and gets very crowded at times, especially during the summer months. Therefore the best time to visit Amsterdam is in March, April, May – Septemeber, October. These months have fewer tourists in the city and the weather is usually mild to warm.
If you prefer even fewer crowds heading to Amsterdam in the winter months is also an option. However, November is Amsterdam’s rainest month – and makes the city a little bit dreary and unenjoyable. Moreover, in December the city is full of Christmas lights and has a very romantic and magical feeling, but the temperature is colder than the spring and fall months.
Amsterdam is beautiful no matter when you visit and there is always something to do! So don’t worry too much.
Where to Stay in Amsterdam
Amsterdam has a tourism problem and as a result, the city has cracked down on Airbnb. Although Airbnb is my favorite choice of accommodation, in Amsterdam choosing an Airbnb may not be the best option. Also, because of the mass amount of tourists prices are quite high for accommodation in Amsterdam. Here are a few hotels that are in good areas and reasonably priced (by Amsterdam standards):
Read More: Best Place to Stay in Amsterdam
If you are looking at certain areas to stay in these ones are all great: De Pijp, Amsterdam Oost, Central, The Jordaan, Amsterdam West.
For more in-depth information about where to stay in Amsterdam click here!
Day One Amsterdam Itinerary
View the Iconic Amsterdam Gingerbread Houses
Amsterdam is famous for its colorful, lopsided houses located all around the city. There are a ton of iconic Amsterdam buildings scattered around the city, but the most famous ones are the ‘gingerbread houses’ located straight down from central station on Damrak. Walking by these houses and snapping some photos early in the morning is a great way to start your day.
This area gets quite busy throughout the day, so try heading there early to capture some stunning photos.
Read More: Most Instagrammable Spots in Amsterdam
Walk Through Dam Square
Dam Square is a large open area just 3 minutes from Central station that holds the Royal Palace, the National Monument, and the Nieuwe Kerk. This open spacious is always full of people checking out the surrounding buildings, watching street performers or shopping. Take some time to explore the square and all its offerings.
Find the Begijnhof
Continuing on your journey down from central and past Dam Square, you will find a busy street lined with stores on both sides. One small turn off this busy street down a little alleyway will bring you to the secret Begijnhof. This is a secluded little courtyard hidden right in the heart of the city. It was constructed during the middle ages as a place for unmarried religious women under chastity vows to live.
Today this courtyard attracts many visitors who want to see the historic square and Begijnhof 34, which is the oldest house in Amsterdam. Please remember to be respectful and quiet in this courtyard, as people live in these houses now.
Stoll through Bloemenmarket
The Bloemenmarket is the worlds only floating flower market and it is located right in the city center. It holds various tulip bulbs, flower seeds, and other souvenirs. This Amsterdam attraction gets quite busy so it is best to make this just a quick walkthrough since you only have 2 days in Amsterdam.
If you want to bring home an Amsterdam souvenir I suggest you take a look at the tulip bulbs in a can. Tulips are a Dutch staple and bringing one home is a great way to remember your travels.
Near the flower market is a new restaurant that is making waves in Amsterdam and surrounding areas. It is called The Vegan Junk Food Bar. I know people have very strong opinions when it comes to vegan food, but this restaurant is something else! The interior is super hip and trendy and the food options are unreal. You can get anything from a burger to sashimi to cheesy fries and all of the options are 100% vegan.
I am a vegetarian, but I have brought countless non-veg friends with me and they have loved it! They have even said some of the options were better than the meat alternative.
Read More: Amsterdam Vegan Guide
Check out Rembrandtplein
Rembrandt square is a big and famous square filled with restaurants, coffee shops, bars, cafes, fast-food restaurants, souvenir shops and more. It is also home to Rembrandt’s famous “The Night Watch”. This square is one of the most popular areas in Amsterdam and is always buzzing with activity and full of people having a good time. This is a great area to find a restaurant and get a nice drink while watching all the activity within the square.
Rembrandtplein is also home to a wide range of bars and clubs and is a very popular place to go to experience Amsterdam nightlife. However, this area is quite touristy and not many locals venture to this square for a night out. If you want to have a drink with the Dutch you will have to venture to less known areas of the city. Nonetheless, with just 2 days in Amsterdam, this is a great spot to check out both during the day and at night.
Read More: Things to do in Amsterdam at Night
Explore the Jordaan Canals
The most beautiful area of Amsterdam is the Jordaan. It is known for its stunning canals, gorgeous houses, unique shops, and cute restaurants. In all honesty, all of Amsterdam is beautiful and no matter where you go you will find stunning views and cute cafes, but the Jordaan is the best area overall.
If you love to shop in unique boutiques and quirky shops you will fall in love with the 9 streets in the Jordaan. On the three main streets – Prinsengracht, Keizersgracht, and Herengracht – you will find vintage items, designer items, and unique home decor items. There are also a ton of cute cafes and treat shops in this area like Pluk, Polaberry and more.
The Jordaan is also a great place to capture some really nice photos with the canals and Amsterdam buildings in the background.
Go on a Canal Cruise
The best way to see the city of Amsterdam, during any season, is by taking a boat ride along the canals. In Amsterdam canal cruises are one of the most popular activities for tourists to embark on. They are the best way to see the whole city in just an hour or two, they are very informative, and they give you a different perspective of Amsterdam. Most tours will bring you to all the major spots in the city and give you some information on what you are seeing.
Moreover, the best time to take a canal cruise is in the evening, during this hour the sun starts to set, the street lights twinkle on, and the windows in the houses emit a soft glow. In the evening hours, Amsterdam becomes even more romantic and the canal cruise is even more magical.
However, no matter the time of day a canal cruise through Amsterdam is something you will never forget.
Eat Everything at Foodhallen
Choosing where to eat in Amsterdam can be difficult, there are so many different options that all sound amazing. With only 2 days in Amsterdam, you want to make sure you go to the very best and try all the new foods that you can. The best place to eat at the make sure you can try as many local dishes and restaurants as possible is Foodhallen!
Foodhallen is a huge hall filled with food trucks of over 20 different restaurants in Amsterdam. This is not only a super cool concept but also great if you are traveling with people who have a hard time deciding on what to eat.
Evening Drinks with a View
Nighttime in Amsterdam is magical. There are a ton of things to do, and one of the best is heading to a bar and getting a drink. Amsterdam is more than just partying, it is also full of culture, beauty and history, however, bars and clubs are in abundance here and a great way to spend your evening. The best kind of bar in Amsterdam is one with a view of the city. There are two bars that offer this.
The first one is the Skylounge. This is located right beside Amsterdam Central and offers a rooftop terrace that has a stunning view out over Amsterdam. Sitting at this bar at night is magical. From above you can see all of Amsterdam lit up by street lamps and buildings, it truly is a magnificent sight. Skylounge is a great place to sit back after a long day of exploring and to enjoy some quality time in Amsterdam. It is a classier bar and some options can be on the pricey side but it is totally worth it. They also have an in house DJ almost every night that sets the mood and makes the atmosphere and vibe really fun.
The second rooftop bar is in the A’DAM Tower. This bar is located across the IJ River and is 20 stories high compared to Skylounges 7 stories high. That is to say, the view from A’DAM Tower is even higher and offers a large panoramic view of the city. The A’DAM Tower is a great option for drinks and snacks while enjoying the panoramic views of the city at night. This spot is interesting because you also get a view of the river and the ferry’s crossing it.
If you are a lover of a tasty drink and breathtaking views you can even go to both of these! You have 2 days in Amsterdam so you can go to one each night.
Day Two Amsterdam Itinerary
Start the Day with Fresh Coffee
After yesterday’s adventures, you will need a nice coffee to jump-start your day. Thankfully, Amsterdam is packed with unique, creative cafes to meet your needs. Just be sure to not confuse coffee shops and cafes in Amsterdam, the meaning here is entirely different.
The top four places in the city to get a morning coffee are Bam Boa, Coffee and Coconuts, Puccini, and Benjis. These locations are all very aesthetically pleasing and serve delicious beverages. I’m not always feeling a coffee and Benji’s has amazing Chai Tea Lattes. Since you only have 2 days in Amsterdam, you may have to go for a coffee break a few times a day to hit up all the hot spots!
Check out the post listed below for a comprehensive list of all the best cafes in Amsterdam, separated by area!
Read More: Best Cafes in Amsterdam
Renting bikes and biking around the city is a must when visiting Amsterdam. It is the most efficient and fun way to explore the city. Also, with only 2 days in Amsterdam, you need to cover some ground quickly, and this is the best way to do so.
There are a ton of bike rental shops throughout Amsterdam that will rent you a bike for around 10 euros a day. Let it be known that biking in Amsterdam can get a little crazy. Follow the rules like keeping to the right, using hand signals to show when you are turning, moving over when you hear a bell, and yielding to bikes when appropriate. Make sure you ask the bike shop worker to review the rules to make sure your biking adventures are safe.
If you are feeling nervous about biking don’t worry, just try to stay off the busier roads and go slow. You’ve got this!
Bike Through Vondelpark
The best place to practice your bike riding skills while enjoying some beautiful scenery is Vondelpark. Vondelpark is the largest and most famous park in Amsterdam. It is located right in the heart of the city and is full of large bike paths, grassy areas to sit and even a few restaurants. Biking through this park is a great way to see it all in its entirety, it really is huge!
If you head there early enough in the morning you can even see the morning workout classes and early morning dog walkers out for a stroll. More so, there are far fewer people in the morning than in the afternoon so biking around and stopping in places that catch your eye is easier.
Go to a Museum
As I have mentioned, Amsterdam is a city full of culture and history. There are a ton of famous and exciting museums in the city just waiting to be explored. If you are a museum lover take some time during your 2 days in Amsterdam to explore one or more of these museums. You will not be disappointed. I have listed a few that are amazing, however, there are far more than those listed below.
Van Gogh Museum
Van Gogh Museum is the most famous and frequented museum in Amsterdam. This museum is dedicated to world-renowned artist Vincent Van Gogh and holds the largest collection of his pieces of art in the world. The Van Gogh Museum offers an art experience like no other. The museum is presented in chronological order, therefore, showcasing his artwork (and life) developments from beginning to a tragic end. This is a great option for a full artistic experience, and to step into the life of Vincent Van Gogh.
The Rijksmuseum is an absolutely huge museum that is full of Dutch history, artifacts, and art. It is the largest museum in Amsterdam which holds millions of pieces dating from the middle ages to the present. This is a great museum to learn about Dutch heritage while viewing some absolutely amazing works of art. Be sure to budget your time here, exploring the whole museum would take hours, and with only 2 days in Amsterdam, you need all the time you can get.
Anne Frank House
The Anne Frank House is the most powerful and moving museum in Amsterdam. It holds a strong significance and it serves as a great reminder of a past that should not be forgotten. I urge you to go to this museum during your 2 days in Amsterdam as a reminder of how deadly discrimination and racial prejudices can be.
MOCO stands for Modern Contemporary Museum Amsterdam and it hosts exhibits featuring contemporary artists. Some of its main features are Banksy, KAWS, Andy Warhol and more! If you are a fan of modern art, or want a museum to get you into art, this one is perfect.
The Heineken Experience
The Heineken Experience is a more exciting and interactive museum in Amsterdam. At this museum, you will learn about the history of beer making within Heineken. You also get to taste the beer more than once! This is a great way to learn about a part of Amsterdam’s history while having fun.
Explore a Street Market
Amsterdam has a bunch of street markets that are fun to walk through and see where the locals go shopping. They have anything you could ask for and more. The street markets are a great place to look at fresh flowers, check out the Dutch food stands and buy some new clothes. If you want a cute Dutch souvenir from your 2 days in Amsterdam a street market is the ideal place to pick it up!
The two best street markets in Amsterdam are Albert Cuyptmarkt and Westerstraat Street Market.
Indulge in a Dutch Dessert
In one of the Amsterdam street markets or elsewhere in the city you have to try a Dutch Stroopwafel. This is an Amsterdam staple that was invented in the city. It is two very thin waffle circles with thick caramel in the middle. This delicious treat can be found in grocery stores and souvenir shops, or you can get a fresh some from a street market stand or van Wonderen. After you taste it you will wish you had more than 2 days in Amsterdam just so you could eat them more often.
Read More: Amsterdam Sweets Guide
Grab a beer from Brouwerij ‘t IJ Windmill
Brouwerij ‘T IJ is a local craft beer brewery and hangout spot that is conveniently located under Amsterdam’s largest windmill. Heading to this pub at Funenkade 7 is hitting two attractions in one go! You get to try local Amsterdam beer and see a Dutch windmill. While here try one of the Dutch snack options such as bitterballen.
Go to the Red Light District
The Red Light District is a little bit of a touchy subject for some visitors to the city. However, if you are interested in checking it out then there is no harm in doing so. The Red Light District is like nothing you have ever seen before. It has an almost carnival-like feel with the bright neon signs and red-lit windows. Walking around this area is a different experience, but it is a big part of Amsterdam.
If you do not feel comfortable going to the Red Light District, don’t go! There are a ton of things to do in Amsterdam at night, and with just 2 days in Amsterdam, you want to make every second something you love to do.
Ultimately, after spending 2 days in Amsterdam you will be an expert on all things Amsterdam and know your way around pretty well. I’m sure after this visit you will be dying to come back!
If you are looking for more things to do in Amsterdam try going on a day trip to a nearby city of checking out the tulip fields if you are visiting in spring.
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