Amsterdam is one of the best cities in the entire world. I loved it so much after visiting a half-dozen times that I actually decided to move here from Minneapolis, Minnesota. Although, I realize not everyone can make such a move. So, instead, I’ll give you a two-day Amsterdam itinerary to make the most of the experiences provided by this beautiful city.
The good news with limited time in Amsterdam is that the city is small and highly functional. Fantastic art, museums, boating, picnics, Heineken beer, underrated food, and awesome local souvenirs to take home await you in Amsterdam.
Moreover, there are plenty of things to do in Amsterdam that can cater to all travel tastes, preferences, and requirements. You can go family-friendly with museums and good food or explore bars and parks with friends.
So, having such a short visit to Amsterdam does not mean you can’t experience the best of what the city provides. With the following Amsterdam itinerary, you’re sure to have the best possible 48 hours in Amsterdam, no matter if it is a weekend or a normal weekday.
What We Cover
- Things to Consider for Your Amsterdam Trip
- Map for Visiting Amsterdam
- Plan Your Trip: 2 Days in Amsterdam Itinerary
- Amsterdam Itinerary Day 1: Museums, Neighborhoods, and Nightlife
- Visit the Anne Frank Museum
- Visit Spui Square & Begijnhof
- Van Gogh Museum
- Moco Museum
- Make Your Way Over to De Pijp
- Amsterdam Itinerary Day 2: Bike, Food, and History
- Rent a Bike to Begin Your Day
- Grab Some Delicious Food at The Hallen
- Bike Through Vondelpark
- Rembrandt House Museum
- Bloemenmarkt or Flower Market
- Explore Amsterdam on a Canal Cruise
- Tour Amsterdam by Night
- Where to Stay in Amsterdam
- 1. Jordaan Neighborhood
- 2. Vondelpark
- 3. De Pijp
- 4. Amsterdam Centrum / Central Amsterdam
- 5. De Wallen (Red Light District)
- Essentials for Your Amsterdam Itinerary
- Final Thoughts: Is an Amsterdam Itinerary for Two Days Enough?
- Is two days enough in Amsterdam?
- How many days in Amsterdam is enough?
- What are the best places to visit in Amsterdam in 2 days?
Things to Consider for Your Amsterdam Trip
Amsterdam is the official capital of The Netherlands. The city is known for its artistic heritage, picturesque canal system, amazing architecture, and canal houses.
It’s also known for being one of the best-preserved cities in Europe. With many traces of the 17th-century Dutch Golden Age, the entire city is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Amsterdam features an eclectic Museum Square that houses the Van Gogh Museum, the Rijksmuseum, the Moco Museum, the STRAAT Museum, and an epic park system.
Cycling is the preferred method of commuting, adding to the city’s character and charm. Amsterdam is famous for many things, like the Anne Frank House and the Royal Palace Amsterdam.
Because Amsterdam is a very livable and functional city, a two-day Amsterdam itinerary will be more than enough to conquer its top attractions. The only problem is that you’ll likely want to be back for more.
See Related: The Awe-Inspiring Experience of the Anne Frank House
Map for Visiting Amsterdam
If you are flying into Amsterdam Schiphol Airport, take a peak out the exit doors to snap a picture with the iconic landmark, the I Amsterdam sign. This sign was formerly in front of the Rijksmuseum and is now a welcome sign for Amsterdam city visitors outside Schiphol Airport.
Below is a map of Amsterdam to give you a flavor of the city and the setup. Think of the city center as the shape of a “U” due to Amsterdam’s canals. In the top middle of the “U” canal ring lies Amsterdam Centraal Station (or Amsterdam Central Station).
It’s an excellent drop-off spot if you arrive in Amsterdam via train. I love getting dropped off here as it’s the best way to get into Amsterdam’s hustle, bustle, and oddities.
From Amsterdam Centraal Station (Amsterdam Central Station), you can walk to most key areas of Amsterdam Centrum (or Amsterdam city center). The canal rings extend in a U-shape and layer around the city. If you like square streets and straightforward street lettering, Amsterdam is not for you.
Each side of the canal streets is a one-way street, so you want to walk/bike on the appropriate one-way side of the road. I hope this custom map sets the stage for your experience visiting Amsterdam.
See Related: The Ultimate Guide for Visiting the Rijksmuseum
Plan Your Trip: 2 Days in Amsterdam Itinerary
You can find a wide variety of ways to reach Amsterdam, Netherlands. Amsterdam Airport Schiphol is 9 km southwest of Amsterdam.
It takes 20 minutes to arrive at the city center from Amsterdam Airport. The train is the quickest transportation mode, costing about 5.40 euros for one journey.
Depending on where you are staying, you can easily access multiple train stations and get to your hotel easily. Some of the most common train stations are Central Station (of course), Sloterdijk, Amsterdam-Zuid, and Amsterdam Amstel Station.
You can also hire airport taxis to reach the city center where we’ll explore most attractions. We strongly recommend staying in the city center for two days in Amsterdam.
For sightseeing, use the I Amsterdam City Card for free entrance to over 70 major museums. It’s also useful for free public transportation and other valuable discounts.
See Related: Brunch & Breakfast Spots in Amsterdam
Amsterdam Itinerary Day 1: Museums, Neighborhoods, and Nightlife
On the first day of your Amsterdam itinerary, visit some of its many famous museums. Usually, you are excited to see the landmarks on the first day in any city. So, take the day to hit all the museums and iconic spots in the city. Then, venture into the neighborhoods for good food and fun in the evening.
Visit the Anne Frank Museum
The first stop for your 48 hours in Amsterdam on this itinerary will be the Anne Frank Museum. It’s a must-see on your Amsterdam itinerary. The Anne Frank Museum is Amsterdam’s third most visited museum beyond the Van Gogh Museum and the Rijksmuseum.
You can be moved and inspired by the story of the young Jewish girl in the attack. Anne Frank’s life is clearly described in her famous diary. But by visiting the museum, you gain a deeper understanding of the tragic and desperate times she lived in.
It’s truly a humbling and inspiring experience all in one. You can visit the Anne Frank House to see the original version of Anne Frank’s diary and notebook, historical papers, photographs, and film clips. The family’s secret hiding place is the most affecting aspect of the house.
You must buy your tickets (weeks in advance is advisable) because Anne Frank House is very compact. They can only fit a few visitors there per day.
There are many Anne Frank tours around Amsterdam if you want to delve deeper into her life story. But many of these will require you to buy your entrance ticket to the Anne Frank House separately.
Visit Spui Square & Begijnhof
From Anne Frank House, venture to the Begijnhof, only 10 minutes’ distance away, featuring iconic shots and old-world charm. On your way here, stop through the Negen Straatjes (or the Nine Streets in English) for incredible boutique shopping. The Nine Streets is conveniently on the way (with nine streets to deal with), so you can’t miss it.
Once you arrive at Begijnhof, you’ll hardly know that you are in the middle of the city center. It’s easy to find a top-tier Dutch cafe in the area to sit outside and people-watch in the square.
After seeing the Begijnhof Chapel, head to Spui for a happy hour beverage to enjoy your time. From there, you can head slightly north, about one block, to find two iconic Dutch restaurants for classic Dutch fare, Haesje Claes Restaurant and d’Vijff Vlieghen (The Five Flies).
Both restaurants are housed in 1600 Dutch houses and feature outstanding traditional Dutch food.
See Related: GetYourGuide vs Viator
Van Gogh Museum
A 30-minute walk, ten-minute bus, or tram ride via public transport from the Begijnhof will take you to the Van Gogh Museum. The Van Gogh Museum is one of Amsterdam’s top attractions and is the most visited museum in Amsterdam.
You’ll find two floors displaying the world’s largest collection of Vincent Van Gogh paintings, drawings, and sketches in the permanent collection. But there are also two temporary exhibition spaces so you’ll always have something new to see.
The museum itself is modern and inviting. It has a great café that serves food during the museum opening hours later into the afternoon (a rarity in Amsterdam), so it’s worth sticking around for lunch.
The 2nd floor of the museum also features occasional concerts by pianists, which serves as an excellent opportunity to enjoy an evening performance in this beautiful space! Check out Vincent van Gogh’s paintings, such as The Potato Eaters or Sunflowers.
These are some of his most famous works, so you can’t miss them in the museum. Like the Anne Frank House, the Van Gogh Museum can get very busy.
It’s a smaller museum and can get extremely busy during the afternoon, so go there right after the Anne Frank House to beat the crowds.
After visiting the Van Gough Museum, the next top spot in this Amsterdam itinerary is the Rijksmuseum. The Rijksmuseum is huge, certainly much larger than the Van Gogh or Anne Frank Museums. So, even when busy, the crowds have plenty of space to disperse, so it still makes for a present visit.
Carve a good chunk of time to visit this museum as it is bursting at the seams for things to do. After all, it is a full-blown national museum, so you can’t expect anything less!
They have exhibitions and rooms to see in addition to classical art. Get tickets in advance so you can skip the line.
Only a couple of minutes on foot from the Rijksmuseum is the Moco Museum. If there’s space in your day after visiting the previous museums noted In this Amsterdam itinerary, the Moco Museum is a wonderfully little extra to make time for.
I went there during the Banksy exhibit, and it was awesome, so I highly recommend checking them out. Moco features some of the most impressive modern art, featuring not only Banksy but the likes of Andy Warhol, Damien Hirst, and Yayoi Kusama.
It’s a small museum you can conquer in less than 1 hour. Moco stands for Modern Contemporary. If you visit Amsterdam with an I Amsterdam City Card, it’s included in the long list of local attractions, so you’ve already got your money’s worth if you pay a visit! Read our full I Amsterdam City Card review to see if it’s worth the price.
Make Your Way Over to De Pijp
Once you’re done with the museum section of this Amsterdam itinerary, head over to De Pijp. At De Pijp, you can find a few great markets and excellent food.
In De Pijp, you can check out the Albert Cuyp Market if it’s still early enough. It’s a busy happening market with a lot to do and see. You might get a souvenir or some good street food along the way.
The photo above shows the Albert Cuyp Market during a peak afternoon. This was right after we hit a few museums. If you want to stay efficient with your time, use one of these top Amsterdam tours to see more for less.
After your Albert Cuyp Market stopover, you can add one more museum to the first day of your Amsterdam itinerary. The Heineken Experience, while technically more of a brand experience, has been noted by many to provide a museum-type experience.
The Heineken Experience tells the story of the brand’s humble beginnings and journey to becoming a worldwide favorite. Once you’ve learned of the history of Heineken and taken the brewery tour to learn how it’s made, you can enjoy a brew or two with friends on the rooftop bar.
Amsterdam Itinerary Day 2: Bike, Food, and History
So, the first day on your Amsterdam itinerary included tourist attractions galore. Your second day in Amsterdam has a little more local flavor. Spend your remaining 48 hours in Amsterdam, more like the locals do, to see a different side of the city.
The second part of this Amsterdam itinerary includes various transportation options, including using a bike to explore the city and taking a canal cruise to see the city from a new perspective.
Rent a Bike to Begin Your Day
Get on your bike to kick off part two of your 2 days in Amsterdam itinerary! Having only two days in Amsterdam calls for acquiring some efficient transportation to get around. And it doesn’t get more efficient than biking in Amsterdam. Start your day by finding a full-day bike rental and grabbing some wheels to make your way around the city.
Once you get your bike, you can zoom around town extremely easily. I’ve crafted an incredible personal bike tour for you.
On the bike route above that I crafted from Google Maps, you should start somewhere around the Royal Palace or Dam Square, just a central spot in the middle of Amsterdam.
From there, the following are your routes to get you a good mix of everything:
Grab Some Delicious Food at The Hallen
Your first spot on day two of your Amsterdam itinerary should be Foodhallen, where you can indulge in many awesome food options. Foodhallen is a food market with various foods, from traditional Dutch cuisine to international.
There is a 2nd area called the Kanarie Club with much more space, and your food will come out much quicker. They have many options, so you can try as many if they don’t meet your taste buds the first time.
I particularly like De Ballen Bar, which has a variety of bitterballen (a Dutch specialty you must try). There are a ton of food stands with great options for everyone after you have some lunch and fuel up.
Bike Through Vondelpark
Cycle away the indulgence of Goodhallen and head through to Vondelpark. Vondelpark is a sprawling park with ponds and stunning architecture. It’s a great way to cruise with your bike and people-watch.
Check out what it’s like biking Vondelpark from the ViaTravelers YouTube channel.
Consider parking your bike and walking around Vondelpark to take in the scenery. It’s worth noting here that fantastic parks are everywhere in Amsterdam.
If you can’t reach Vondelpark, consider jetting to Westerpark or Rembrandtpark for a more local experience. Regardless, at least one of these parks is a must-visit on your 2 days in Amsterdam itinerary.
If you are spending a weekend in Amsterdam and the weather is nice, you must spend a Saturday or Sunday afternoon at Vondelpark. The energy is incredible and relaxing at the same time.
It’s hard to describe. You need to see it for yourself.
Rembrandt House Museum
Next, grab a beer, coffee, or snack at the Rembrandt House Museum and Rembrandtplein, just a 10-minute cycle away. For almost 20 years, Rembrandt worked from this house, and it now hosts most of his famous etchings. It also exhibits other possessions like weaponry and Roman busts and features decor from the 17th Century for a step back in time.
Moreover, on the way to Rembrandt’s old house, you will see many other landmarks, such as Leidseplein (a fun square with dining) and potentially Magere Brug (a historic bridge a little more east).
See Related: Rembrandt House Museum
Bloemenmarkt or Flower Market
Following a step back in time at Rembrandt’s House, make your way to the Bloemenmarkt just a 10-minute walk/5 minute cycle away. The Bloemenmarkt is the only floating flower market on the globe. It is situated on the Singel Canal between Koningsplein and Muntingplein.
Flower stalls have been a feature of the houseboat since 1862. The floating flower market is open Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday from 11:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.
The flower market is free to visit all year. From there, head toward De Gooyer if you want a combination of a classic Dutch windmill and some amazing beer.
That is where Brouwerij ‘t IJ is an excellent local craft brewery. So, another stopover to grab a beer, sit outside, and gaze at the old, classical Dutch windmill. Alternatively, we’d recommend a guided tour of the Amsterdam canals by cruise.
Explore Amsterdam on a Canal Cruise
I have this tradition that I always take a canal cruise on my last day visiting Amsterdam. It’s such a great way to end a trip to Amsterdam. If you only have 48 hours in Amsterdam, one of the most efficient ways to get around Amsterdam is by boat.
On a canal cruise, you can opt for a more romantic experience, a party experience, or even a history and culture experience.
Amsterdam offers all types of canal cruises, so you’ll surely find something that suits you best. There is something about exploring Amsterdam by boat that differs from anything else.
Tour Amsterdam by Night
The church sits in the heart of Amsterdam’s old city, so there are plenty of things to see on your journey there. When you finish your journey, you’ll have plenty of things to explore in the old city, including Dam Square, all nicely lit up.
On the history side of things, you should see some of Centrum. I like going in the evening when the lights are bright, and there’s a ton of action, particularly around the National Monument at Dam Square.
See Related: Things to Do in Amsterdam in December
Where to Stay in Amsterdam
So, now we’ve run through the two-day Amsterdam itinerary, let’s break down the various neighborhoods in the city to help you find out where you should stay.
Another reason why I love Amsterdam so much is because of the wide array of boutique and luxury hotel options. Here are some areas I’d recommend that you stay for an incredible experience:
1. Jordaan Neighborhood
The Jordaan district is a stretch of space in the city center, famous for upbeat cafes, boutique shops, and pretty houses. “Jordaan” comes from the French word Jardin, meaning garden. A 1-hour sightseeing guided tour offers a perfect way to discover much of this neighborhood.
The quaint Jordaan neighborhood offers excellent dining in a great atmosphere and features plenty of hidden gems of Amsterdam. If you like what you are hearing, here are some hotels near and around this area:
- The Hoxton – In an excellent location and with reasonably priced rooms. You can lounge at the trendy restaurant and excellent bar after a full day of exploring. Read our full The Hoxton Amsterdam review to get a glimpse at the experience.
- Pulitzer Hotel – The Pulitzer was an iconic experience I need to experience again. I used my travel hacking skills to stay at the Pulitzer Hotel. It was one of the trips of a lifetime, and I can’t wait to go back.
Book a nicer hotel if you want to make the most of your two days in Amsterdam. Amsterdam is filled with excellent luxury and boutique hotels.
Vondelpark is the largest city park in Amsterdam, only a few blocks from the Van Gogh Museum. This park opened in 1865 to its original name, New Park or Nieuwe Park. There is a free-range theatre and numerous cafes, including the ‘T Blauwe Teehuis.
June through September are popular times to visit Vondelpark for theatre shows and concerts. The city park is named after the 17th-century actor and poet Joost van den Vondel.
It attracts millions of tourists annually and is only 6 minutes from the Vincent Van Gogh Museum and Museumplein (or Museum Quarter). This area provides a quieter, cozy, and relaxing Amsterdam trip. If you like the sounds of all the above, then check out these top picks for hotels in the Vondelpark area:
- The Dylan – The Dylan is a well-known luxury hotel with fantastic dining and a unique, modern atmosphere.
- Hotel Park 6 – I stayed here in August a few years ago. It was a unique experience and definitely worth heading back to. It’s right next to Vondelpark, so if you want to experience Amsterdam in a quiet, relaxing atmosphere.
- Conservatorium Hotel – One of the world’s most legendary luxury hotels. The hotel combines class, comfort, history, and style in one. Read our full Conservatorium Hotel review.
3. De Pijp
The De Pijp neighborhood has been one of the city’s major hotspots for entertainment and nightlife in the past two decades. Built on a formerly poor and highly polluted site, it’s a vibrant multicultural district with many cafes, shops, restaurants, and galleries.
Fabulous markets, close to everything, and you won’t have to deal with swarming tourists. If you like the sounds of all the above, then check out these top picks for hotels in the De Pijp area:
- The CitizenM – Extremely close to many things and has a well-decorated modern atmosphere.
- Pestana Amsterdam Prinsen Hotel & Lounge – The luxury Pestana is a hotel with excellent rooms and incredible service.
4. Amsterdam Centrum / Central Amsterdam
Named for the Dutch word meaning center, Amsterdam Centrum (AKA Central Amsterdam) is one of Amsterdam’s most popular tourist attractions. Home to the head offices of the Netherlands’ largest railway stations, it is easy to reach by public transport.
It has two main shopping streets, Kalverstraat and Nieuwendijk, featuring two large department stores (Kalverstraat) and smaller fashion retail areas (Nieuwendijk).
This is right amid the tourist central area and is generally filled with people. It’s a central area right in the city center, but you will be swarming with people. There are also two churches worth exploring nearby: Oude Kerk and Westerkerk.
- Oude Kerk is Amsterdam’s oldest building, established in 1306. The beautiful exterior of this Gothic church has two dark towers that can be seen for miles around in the center of the Red Light District.
- Westerkerk was designed by Hendrik de Keyser, who designed 10,000 buildings in Amsterdam, including the Dutch parts of the Rijksmuseum. It has two amazing towers that are well worth exploring.
If you think this sounds like a good idea, here are some top picks for hotels near Amsterdam Centrum:
- Sofitel Grand Amsterdam – One of my all-time favorite luxury hotels in Amsterdam, filled with modern art and design and plenty of Dutch culture mixed in. This is one of the top luxury hotels in Amsterdam that also won’t destroy your budget.
- Anantara Grand Hotel Krasnapolsky Amsterdam – This is the epitome of excellence with its modern amenities. And that’s not all – it proudly offers two restaurants that provide sweeping panoramic views of Dam Square. Unquestionably, this establishment is the ultimate choice for discerning travelers searching for unparalleled luxury and comfort.
See Related: Travel Tips for Amsterdam (+ Top Do’s & Dont’s)
5. De Wallen (Red Light District)
De Wallen is the Red Light District of Amsterdam. The area has a 2-block radius and offers plenty of coffee shops, restaurants, art galleries, cozy hotels, boutique shops, etc.
There are also many opportunities to take tours around the Red Light District area. Generally, it’s not for me. But if your Amsterdam itinerary concerns nightlife and partying, you’ll want to stay in De Wallen.
This is one of the most popular areas in Amsterdam for people who love to party. Whether you pick up some designer jewelry at Van Baerle, grab a drink on the canal at Cafe Touissant, or snack on delicious stroopwafels, this is your place!
Here are some options to stay near De Wallen to make the most of your stay.
- Art’otel Amsterdam Centre – This traditional hotel in central Amsterdam has two restaurants, bars, spas, and a rooftop terrace. You’ll also be close to Dam Square and be centrally located.
- Radisson Blu – This hotel has all modern amenities, including two restaurants with panoramic views of Dam Square and the Red Light District. It is definitely a top option for any traveler looking for luxury and comfort!
See Related: Best Markets in Amsterdam to Visit
Essentials for Your Amsterdam Itinerary
|Best Things To Do
|Where to Stay
|Best Time To Visit
|How to Get Around
|How to Get Here
Final Thoughts: Is an Amsterdam Itinerary for Two Days Enough?
Whether a two-day Amsterdam itinerary is enough depends on your travel preferences and expectations. A two-day weekend in Amsterdam is enough to see the main tourist attractions and city center neighborhoods. But if you want to delve deeper into the local culture, try out more local cuisine, and get a more local experience, stay longer.
But whether you spend a fleeting 48 hours in Amsterdam or stick around for a month, any visit to Amsterdam is better than never visiting!
This iconic European capital city is a place I firmly believe everyone needs to visit Amsterdam at least once in their lifetime. My choice to live here is backing enough for such a claim!
Please use this two-day Amsterdam itinerary as a jumping-off point for crafting your dream visit. If you have any questions on where to go and what to see, please get in touch with us directly. I’m here to help!
Is two days enough in Amsterdam?
An Amsterdam itinerary of just two days is enough to see some of the top spots in the city, try out some great cuisine, and cycle the picturesque streets. Getting the I Amsterdam card for such a fleeting visit is a great shout to help add efficiency to attraction bookings and using local transport. Two days in Amsterdam is enough to see the highlights but stay longer for a more enriching experience.
How many days in Amsterdam is enough?
A weekend in Amsterdam, or even a day trip, is enough to catch some popular highlights and grab a local Heineken beer. But an Amsterdam itinerary of longer, even up to two weeks, will provide a more memorable and authentic experience. Staying longer will help unlock local hidden gems and fit in more iconic Dutch landmarks during your stay.
What are the best places to visit in Amsterdam in 2 days?
To ensure you explore the best of Amsterdam, start by exploring a top Amsterdam museum or two. The Rijksmuseum, Anne Frank’s House, Van Gogh Museum, Rembrandthuis, and Stedelijk are popular museums to pick from.
You should also try to squeeze in a visit to the national monument of Dam Square and the Royal Palace (Koninklijk Paleis). Of course, any trip to Amsterdam feels incomplete without cruising Amsterdam’s canals.
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