Edited by Matthew Wears
The capital of the Netherlands is one of the largest cities in Europe with one of the most vibrant and eclectic cultures, so making a two-days in Amsterdam itinerary feels like not enough! But I’ll try to squeeze a little bit of everything in, so you can experience all of the different sides to the city, giving you a taste of the history, culture, art and food that make it so special to me.
Most of the sights that are deemed must-see in Amsterdam are actually within the city center, so you can see many of the major highlights in a short space of time. One of my top tips would be to rent a bike so that you can quickly get from place to place, cutting down on travel time as much as possible allowing you more time to enjoy the city!
If you’re asking yourself ‘is two days in Amsterdam enough?’, then I’m here to show you that it absolutely is if you follow this guide. So, if you’re strapped for time, read on to learn exactly where to go and what to see, so that you can discover how to spend two days in Amsterdam.
Start your trip by stopping at one of the central district’s many amazing cafes and grabbing some breakfast. Amsterdam is famous for its patisseries, so now is a good time to try out some of the local delicacies.
Then, first up on your two days in Amsterdam itinerary is a visit to the Ons’ Lieve Heer op Solder, a 17th-century canal house that now operates as a museum. It is the second oldest museum in the entire city, and I love it because it gives you a glimpse inside the type of buildings that are so often just viewed by tourists from the outside. The most impressive part of the building is the Church that is located in the attic, which definitely makes it a must-see in Amsterdam.
Then, it’s time to walk the streets of the infamous red-light district, an area of the city that is very beautiful if you can look past the seedy side of it, which during the day is kept to a minimum anyway.
Next, make your way South to the Williem Van Loon museum, a 17th-century house that was owned by one of the founders of the Dutch East Indies Trading Company.
Exploring the many lavish rooms of the house is one of the most unique experiences in Amsterdam, as it is an extremely important historical attraction for those interested in one of the most important eras in Dutch history. The rose garden especially is a must-see in Amsterdam during the summer as the smell is simply amazing, and make sure you taste an apple pie from here, they’re my favorite in the city!
Now it’s time for lunch at one of the most interesting places around; Restaurant de Plantage. This is in the East of the city and has an outside terrace that closely overlooks the ARTIS Zoo, so much so that pink flamingos and other birds can be seen very close by whilst enjoying your midday meal.
After lunch, head to a local gem known as the nine streets, a vibrant micro-neighborhood that is complete with a huge amount of vintage and specialty shops for you to browse and maybe pick up the perfect souvenir or gift. There are also many great coffee shops in this area and I would recommend getting a table outside because this is one of the most picturesque parts of the city.
There are also many boutique accommodation options here and it’s close proximity to the city center make it great option for those curious as to where to stay for two days in Amsterdam. You are now also very close to the Jordan neighborhood, a part of Amsterdam that is famous for its many great restaurants and bars. Round your day off in the area with a delicious meal. Food from pretty much anywhere around the world can be found here, although local restaurants such as Moeders offer the perfect chance to try some traditional Dutch cuisine.
On the second day of your two days in Amsterdam itinerary, it’s time to discover some more of the city’s amazing museums. The obvious starting point for this would be Museum Square, an area of the city that includes some of Holland’s most important museums and galleries.
In the Rijksmuseum discover Rembrandt's iconic masterpiece, The Night’s Watch, or marvel at the ever-colorful work of one of the most forward-thinking artists of all time in the Van Gogh Museum. Exploring this area is absolutely one of my top ten things to do in Amsterdam, so make time to visit at least one of these amazing attractions.
Just a short walk from here is Vondelpark, the city’s most famous green space which contains lakes and gardens as well as animals. Riding a bike around here is one of the most enjoyable things to do in the city, or why not take some food and sit out on the grass if the weather is warm enough!
After lunch, head back to the center to experience the color and aromas of the Flower Market, an absolute must see for anyone visiting Amsterdam for the first time. It is the only floating flower market of its kind anywhere in the world and is another historically important sight in the city.
Spring and summer is when the market is at its most vibrant, with tulips and geraniums filling the streets with all kinds of colors. This is also one of my top ten things to do in Amsterdam if you’re short on money, because it costs nothing to experience the sights and smells of the market.
From here take a short walk North over the canal, to Begijnhof, a small enclosed courtyard that once housed a Catholic sisterhood who lived like nuns. These are the oldest buildings in the city, dating all the way back to 14th century, so make sure you include this in your two days in Amsterdam itinerary.
With so many options on how to spend your nights during your two days in Amsterdam, what to do in the evenings can be a tough choice! I love classical music, and I think that anyone visiting Amsterdam for the first time should watch a concert here as it is a truly memorable experience. The Concertgebouw is the most popular place in the city and offers a selection of shows all year round within their three concert halls, at a range of prices. It is meant to have the best acoustics of anywhere in the world, so seeing a show here would be one of the most unique experiences in Amsterdam you could have. After this, head to the edge of the Red Light District for some late-night cocktails at "Hiding In Plain Sight", one of my favorite bars in the city. This cocktail bar gem and as its name indicates, is hidden on a quiet corner and can easily be missed. The friendly staff serve classics like sherry cobbler and martini but they also offer delicious signature creations.
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