The Complete Guide to 2 Days in Amsterdam

Travel Itinerary

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Raghav
Itinerary by: Raghav
24 days ago
Travel Writer
Duration: 2 days

Amsterdam is among the most revered cities in the world. It’s culture, history and charm make it an ideal 2 day city break that will leave you feeling enriched. Covering an area of 219.3 square kilometers, the capital of The Netherlands and its suburbs is home to 1.1 million residents. Although Amsterdam is relatively easier to cover on foot, one requires more than two days to appreciate its many marvels. However, even if visiting for a short time, you’ll find that the city is a vibrant amalgamation of different cultures, nationalities, languages, and cuisines. Amsterdam is a welcoming and tourist-friendly city known for its canals, architecture, and museums. Due to its relatively liberal personality, the town is infamous for its Red Light District and coffee shops that sell recreational drugs. Amsterdam’s culinary heritage is one of its most underrated aspects. While strolling through its streets, you’ll find restaurants serving every possible global cuisine, from Argentinean and Indonesian to Indian and Caribbean. However, you shouldn’t miss out on classic Dutch comfort food specialties, available in cafes, bars, and pop-up stalls. These include bitterballen – fried meatballs, stroopwaffle – thin waffles with sticky syrup, raw herring, poffertjes – baby pancakes, and oorlog fries – the Dutch version of the classic French fries that come with peanut sauce. Weather – Although Amsterdam is a year-round destination, the summer months from June to September are ideal for a touristic visit. The minimum temperature around this time is 10ºC, whereas the maximum dabbles in the lower 20s. Travel Around Amsterdam – Amsterdam is a beautiful city to explore on foot. Quaint side streets lined with cafes and shops, bridges in between, and canals all around make it a beloved romantic destination of Europe. You’ll need good walking shoes, but other than that, it’s reasonably easy to saunter around. However, if you want to travel the Dutch way, then rent a bike. You’ll see locals riding bicycles everywhere around the city. Furthermore, separate bike lanes allow for faster and safer access in busy areas. For convenience, though, the extensive tram system of Amsterdam is the ideal option to move around the city. On the other hand, the metro and trains will take you to the suburbs or distant places in the country. Another possibility is to take the Hop On Hop Off bus and boat and see Amsterdam’s main tourist attractions. Tickets for the same are available in denominations of 24 and 48 hours, starting at €24. In addition to transportation, the excursion includes free onboard WiFi, a GPS guide, and commentary in 18 languages. A must-buy in Amsterdam for tourists is the I Amsterdam City Card. Packed with money-saving features, you can get the card for denominations from 24 to 120 hours - prices for the same range from €65 to €130 per adult. The card includes entry into 70 plus museums, free public transport within the city, complimentary bike rental, and one canal cruise. Where To Stay – Amsterdam offers abundant unique accommodations for all possible budgets. Some of my favorites are the SWEETS hotel that consists of bridge control rooms throughout the city converted into studio apartments for two. Alternatively, The Pulitzer is an iconic boutique hotel in The 9 Streets neighborhood known for its classy elegance. On the other hand, the centrally located Flying Pig Backpacker’s Hostel is ideal for budget travelers. Situated in an old brick mansion facing Vondelpark, it stays open 24-hours and offers complimentary breakfast, WiFi, and walking tours. Lastly, IBIS Styles is a contemporary hotel near Amsterdam Centraal (the main train station). It is close to various transports, shops, and restaurants. Even though small in size, the rooms here are colorful, artistic, and have all possible modern amenities like en-suite bathrooms, free WiFi, and flat-screen TVs. Notes: 1. Sadly, pickpocketing is rampant in Amsterdam. While walking in crowded areas or sitting in cafes, keep a watch over your belongings. Another pickpocketing hotbed is the train ride from Schiphol Airport to Amsterdam Centraal. Luggage thieves regularly travel on this route and strike unsuspecting tourists. 2. An excellent option for people arriving with extra luggage is taking a taxi from the airport to your hotel in Amsterdam. Connexxion has 7-seater shuttles that stop at over 170 hotels in the city. You can also pre-book a pick-up for your return journey. 3. It’s easy to navigate Amsterdam on foot, but do be careful and avoid walking in the bike lanes. Photo Credit: Red Morley Hewitt - Unsplash.com

Day 1

Day One in Amsterdam

Day one in Amsterdam is all about taking in the city’s cultural aspects without traveling too much. This lets you ease into the local lifestyle, which can sometimes be a culture shock for first-time visitors. So, we will first concentrate on the area of Amsterdam Zuid. This district is a 30-minute leisurely walk from Amsterdam Centraal. Or you can take a 20-minute tram from the train station to Museumplein. Amsterdam Zuid is particularly known for its world-famous museum square, parks, shopping, and eating establishments. Since there are plenty of indoor attractions here, it’s an excellent area to explore on a rainy day. Among the museums to visit in Amsterdam Zuid are Rijksmuseum, Van Gogh Museum, Diamant Museum, Stedelijk Museum, Moco Museum, and I Love Senatori Art Museum. Each of these museums is a short walking distance from each other. With only two days in hand, it’s best to pick and choose the museum you would like to visit based on their permanent and temporary collections. To avoid the tourist rush, start your day early. Rijksmuseum opens its doors at 9:00, and the earlier you get there, the better. Due to COVID, many Amsterdam museums have time slots that you can book online before your arrival. Besides the museums, your first day in Amsterdam will also include shopping for branded clothes, a walk in the park, an Instagrammable lunch, and a romantic cruise.
09:00 - 11:00
Rijksmuseum
Museumstraat 1, 1071 XX Amsterdam, Netherlands
Home to some of the world’s most incomparable artworks, if there is only one museum you want to visit in Amsterdam, make it the Rijksmuseum. As the largest art museum in The Netherlands, it has a jealousy-inducing collection that includes works of Vermeer, Hals, Steen, Van Gogh, and other notable painters from the Dutch Golden Age. However, the most famous painting at Rijksmuseum is Rembrandt’s Night Watch, which dates back to 1642. If you need more convincing, know that although the Van Gogh Museum is a few steps away, Rijksmuseum also has excellent paintings of the artist, including a self-portrait. Rijksmuseum attracts visitors of all ages, and they have activities for children four years and above. Throughout the year, the museum further hosts temporary exhibitions, workshops, games, and theatre productions. Photo Credit: Václav Pluhař - Unsplash.com
Article By: Raghav
Standard 20.00 EUR
Kids 0.00 EUR Under 18

Travel time
0 hours 20 minutes
11:00 - 12:30
Pieter Cornelisz Hooftstraat
Pieter Cornelisz Hooftstraat, 1071 Amsterdam, Netherlands
For some, art is comforting, while others believe in retail therapy. There’s enough of both in Amsterdam. So, after finishing up with the museums, take a short 5-minute stroll to the nearby Pieter Cornelisz Hoofstraat. While a pretty average, borderline drab, looking street, this is where you’ll find several retail outlets of the top international luxury brands. From Louis Vuitton, Chanel, and Tod’s to Burberry, Montblanc, Gucci, stores line up on both sides of the street, enticing passersby with the latest in fashion. Photo Credit: Marc Kleen - Unsplash.com
Article By: Raghav

Travel time
0 hours 5 minutes
12:30 - 14:00
Vondelpark
Vondelpark, Amsterdam, Netherlands
Even though Amsterdam is a well-planned city, it does lack green spaces. That is why Vondelpark is a lush natural oasis, much loved by locals and returning visitors alike. The park’s formation dates back to 1864, when city planners reshaped a marshland into a place for residents to take a respite amongst flora and fauna. Inspired by English gardens, it was first called New Park. However, the garden was later rechristened to Vondelpark, after the Dutch poet Joost van den Vondel. Covering close to 120 acres, Vondelpark remains busy throughout the week but especially during the weekends. Annually, it receives over 10 million visitors. Walk around the grounds, and you’ll find over 100 species of trees, an open-air theatre, various birds, a rose garden, a pond, running tracks, and many sculptures. A great picnic spot, it also has playgrounds to keep the little ones busy. When the weather permits outdoor activities during the summertime, Vondelpark is abuzz with family-friendly events like music concerts, flea markets, and free theatrical performances. Picture Credit: Hung Tran - Unsplash.com
Article By: Raghav

Travel time
0 hours 11 minutes
14:00 - 15:00
The Avocado Show
Daniël Stalpertstraat 61, 1072 XB Amsterdam, Netherlands
Amsterdam is an all-around photogenic city, but head straight to The Avocado Show if you’re searching for social media content. It’s the one café in town where all Instagram influencers converge. The Avocado Show has risen to great heights ever since opening its first outlet in 2017. They now have three outlets in Amsterdam and more around the world. Although the original café is near Amsterdam Centraal in De Pijp, you’re better off going to the one in Daniël Stalpertstraat, which is only three minutes from your next destination, Heinekin Experience. The café itself is a lively place with lots of interesting backgrounds for insta-worthy photos. But you’re here for the food; their menu is no less impressive. It features a range of healthy avocado recipes like the truffle deluxe poke bowl, the bun burger with avocado buns. My favorite, though, is the peanut butter avo ice cream. Photo Credit: Anna Pelzer - Unsplash.com
Article By: Raghav

Travel time
0 hours 20 minutes
15:00 - 16:30
Heineken Experience
Stadhouderskade 78, 1072 AE Amsterdam, Netherlands
In the world of beers, Heineken is iconic, and it is in Amsterdam where this legend began. The first brewery of Heineken is a large brick building alongside a canal emerging from the Amstel River nearby. It was here, 150 years ago, that Heineken first started brewing beer. While the brewery is not functional anymore, you can learn about the history of the brand and the process of making beer here. Spread over four floors, the interactive experience consists of various displays, old brewery photos, beer commercials, and a walk around giant beer tanks. There is also a 4D show that follows a Heineken beer bottle through its filling and transport process. In the end, you’re taken to the in-house bar, where two glasses of chilled Heineken beer await your arrival. Interestingly, Heineken Experience is open to children of all ages. However, they only get a fizzy drink and not beer at the bar. Photo Credit: Ameer Basheer - Unsplash.com
Article By: Raghav
Standard 21.00 EUR
Kids 14.50 EUR Under 17

Travel time
0 hours 5 minutes
16:30 - 18:30
Canal Cruise
Stadhouderskade 550, 1072 AE Amsterdam, Netherlands
A canal cruise is undoubtedly one of the must-have experiences in Amsterdam. The excursion involves a 45 to 75-minute sail around the city’s canals with live commentary. It’s a wonderful opportunity to learn about Amsterdam’s history, maritime heritage, and architecture while taking in the beauty of the surroundings. With an I Amsterdam City Card, you’re entitled to a free cruise with any participating operator. There are tour operators around the city, but the main ones are near the central train station. It’s possible to take a canal cruise in Amsterdam at any time during the day. But an evening cruise has a charm of its own. That’s when the streets and houses are lit up, and you get to see the city in a whole new light. There are also lunch and dinner canal cruises that last longer and include a meal. Photo Credit: Ethan Hu - Unsplash.com
Article By: Raghav
Standard 15.99 EUR
Kids 8.00 EUR Under 18

Travel time
0 hours 15 minutes

Day 2

Day Two in Amsterdam

Since you are accustomed to the bustle of Amsterdam by now, Day 2 is a little busy and takes you around different neighborhoods. On this day, we’ll start with a visit to Anne Frank’s House, see Amsterdam from a bird’s eye viewpoint, visit one of its most popular comic book stores, and take a stroll through De Wallen, the city’s Red Light District. As with the day before, getting up early is the key. Anne Frank’s House opens at 9:00. You should be there at this time to maximize your time in the city.
09:00 - 11:00
Anne Frank's House
Westermarkt 20, 1016 GV Amsterdam, Netherlands
No trip to Amsterdam is complete without a visit to Anne Frank’s House. Diary of a Young Girl is arguably one of the most read books in the world. An eye-opening account of Anne Frank’s time hiding from Nazis, the book continues to inspire young minds to date. The museum sheds light on both Anne Frank as a person and what it was like to live in Nazi-occupied Holland during World War II. While touring the house, you get to see the Secret Annex, where Anne spent two years, her original diary, and other exhibits such as photographs and personal artifacts of Anne’s family. Photo Credit: Aburak - Pixabay.com
Article By: Raghav
Standard 14.00 EUR
Kids 7.00 EUR Under 17

Travel time
0 hours 15 minutes
11:00 - 13:30
Red Light District
De Wallen, Amsterdam, Netherlands
You get an idea about how liberal Amsterdam is by ambling around the famous De Wallen. The Red Light District is a five-minute walk from the Centraal Station. During the day, it’s like any other neighborhood of the city, with coffee shops and picture-perfect bridges over canals. Although it has a fair number of sex theatres, sex shops, and the cannabis museum. At night, the entire place lights up in neon, red being the primary color. Walk alongside the canal houses, and you’ll see sex workers behind glass windows inviting enthusiastic clients. A lively and buzzing area post sundown, the Red Light District is very safe and has a professional aura. You’ll come across the police patrolling the streets, making sure there is no lewd behavior. They also stop anyone from taking photographs of the sex workers, which is a punishable offense. If traveling with family, the Red Light District is safe to walk around with children during the day. However, avoid nighttime unless you are prepared to answer some possibly inquisitive questions from them. Picture Credit: PublicDomainPictures - Pixabay.com
Article By: Raghav

Travel time
0 hours 15 minutes
13:30 - 14:00
Henk Comics & Manga Store
Zeedijk 101, 1012 AV Amsterdam, Netherlands
If you’re a comic book fan, Amsterdam has something for you too. At the end of the Red Light District, just where it merges into Chinatown, is where you’ll find Henk Comics. A small shop brimming with comics across genres, Henk Comics is fun to browse. They carry everything from Marvel and DC comics to Manga and obscure titles from smaller publishers. However, as I found out, don’t expect any Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles comics. Apparently, the ninja fighting and pizza-loving turtles are banned in the country. Nevertheless, the shop does sell various comic-related paraphernalia like cards, action figures, key chains, and the likes. Photo Credit: Markus Spiske - Unsplash.com
Article By: Raghav

Travel time
0 hours 5 minutes
14:00 - 16:00
A'Dam Lookout
Overhoeksplein 5, 1031 KS Amsterdam, Netherlands
Once done exploring the Red Light District, take the tram back to Amsterdam Centraal. From here, you can catch a short ferry across River IJ to A’Dam Lookout in Amsterdam North. Located on the very top of the 20-floor A’Dam Toren, the lookout is an observation deck that promises stunning 360-degree panoramic views of the city. The entire excursion offers multiple activities. The elevator ride has a light and sound show and a glass ceiling. Once at the top, you have access to a free audio tour, interactive binocular, and a VR rollercoaster. Moreover, the rooftop Panorama Restaurant and Sky Bar are beautiful for brunch or a sundowner. For a romantic date in Amsterdam, check out Moon on the 19th floor of A’Dam Toren. It’s a revolving restaurant with a new menu every week, plating recipes made using Dutch produce. The highlight of the entire A’Dam excursion for me is the chance to enjoy Europe’s highest swing. Dangling over the city at 100 meters off the ground is a heart-pumping experience that will have you screaming with joy. Photo Credit: Casper Aprikatis - Unsplash.com
Article By: Raghav
Standard 14.50 EUR
Kids 8.50 EUR Under 12

Notes

Notes: If you have time, there are two more attractions worth a visit in the vicinity of A’Dam Lookout. 1. This Is Holland is an interactive 5D ride, perfect for all ages, that takes you on a flight over the country. Lasting about an hour, it’s ideal for children who want to learn more about Holland and see its hallmarks in a short period. 2. Eye Film Museum is a cultural center with a massive collection of films, both Dutch and foreign. It also hosts academic, professional, and entertaining events and is a must-visit for all film aficionados.

Travel time
0 hours 18 minutes
16:00 - 19:00
NDSM Wharf
NDSM-Plein 28, 1033 WB Amsterdam, Netherlands
The NDSM Wharf is a new development about 2 Km west of A’Dam Lookout. Once a shipyard, it is now a hip destination with a bohemian vibe. I personally love to walk from A’Dam Tower to NDSM, but renting a bike would be more comfortable and faster. Alternatively, you can take the ferry back to Amsterdam Centraal and then another one to NDSM. At the wharf, you’ll find plenty of street art as well as art installations. The IJ-Hallen flea market takes place for two days every month and is the largest in Europe. My preferred activity here is bungee jumping from the 50-meter-high platform over the Faralda Crane Hotel. NDSM Warf is the idyllic place to spend your last evening in the city. It has several bars, cafes, restaurants, and clubs. Pllek, for example, is a cool hangout space and bar with a beach along the river. They also host open-air film screenings during the summer months. Café de Ceuvel, on the other hand, is a rustic spot that focuses on serving delectable bites made using sustainably grown organic produce. Photo Credit: Ronni Kurtz - Unsplash.com
Article By: Raghav

Travel time
0 hours 30 minutes
Privacy: public
About the author

I am an avid traveler and have been to over 30 countries. Having amassed buckets full of experiences over the past few decades, I started writing about travel and food seven years ago as a freelance content writer. Besides trying new restaurants and exploring places, I love to spend time with my family. I am also a movie buff and a voracious reader.

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