Will you be spending 2 days in Amsterdam? Are you looking for things to do and places to see? Well, you have certainly come to the right place because I have visited Amsterdam and fell in love with this delightful European capital city instantly. I am here to share my best advice on what to add to your 2 days in Amsterdam itinerary.
When you think of the Netherlands, don’t you visualize canals and windmills? Perhaps even wooden shoes, bicycles and brightly colored tulips? well, Amsterdam is all of those things and even more! Being the capital of the Netherlands, Amsterdam is lovely if not provocative, with its ‘red light’ district.
There is a lot to do, and much to see in Amsterdam, and if you rely on my 2 days in Amsterdam itinerary, you will be well prepared.
Table of Contents
The Ultimate 2 Days in Amsterdam Itinerary
Day 1: Begin Your 2 days In Amsterdam At A Museum
Stop 1: Visit the Anne Frank House.
Visiting the former hiding place where the Frank family lived, and where Ann wrote her diary is usually a top priority of those visiting Amsterdam.
No matter how familiar you are with the Anne Frank story, a visit to the secret annex where the Frank family hid from the Nazis will be unforgettable for you and those traveling with you. Anne Frank’s diary is on display, along with absorbing and thought-provoking exhibits. But it is not until you see the starkness of the hiding attic, that the real tragedy is so profoundly felt.
You must purchase tickets online beforehand. If you do not already have a pre-purchased ticket when you arrive it is likely you will not gain entrance to the attraction.
After you complete your tour, plan a pleasant stroll through the quaint neighborhood of Jordaan and enjoy the ivy-covered buildings.
Tourists lining up to enter the Anne Frank House. You must have prepaid tickets the day you visit.
Stop 2: Rent a Bike to see Amsterdam as the Dutch do
When you think of Amsterdam, you probably think of bicycles, right? For good reason, Amsterdam is consistently rated as one of the most bike-friendly cities in the world. And with good reason. There are more bikes in Amsterdam than there are cars. Four times the number of bicycles than cars, to be exact.
Do as the locals and tourists do, and grab a bike to tour around the city. There are many bike tours to choose from, to match your budget and personal tastes, whether it be an adventure, visiting historic sights or perhaps a food tour.
Fun fact: you can ride your bike through a museum! Yes, you can cycle (or walk, of course) through Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam. When I visited Amsterdam, we walked through the museum. It is a very popular spot for locals and tourists alike, with street performers galore.
You will probably want to wear closed toed shoes when you cycle through Amsterdam. These Skechers breathe easy fashion sneakers are lightweight and would be perfect. I like them because they are inexpensive, come in lots of colors to choose from, and best of all? No laces to tie.
These are the socks I wear when running and walking long distances when on vacation, that will pair perfectly with any walking or athletic shoe you will be bringing to Amsterdam. They are Feetures high-performance compression socks. The compression will aid in the circulation of your feet, which will provide comfort and allow you to walk and bike around Amsterdam and enjoy yourself.
Riding a bike, either independently or with a guide, is a must do to place on your 2 days in Amsterdam itinerary.
There are more bicycles than cars on the streets of Amsterdam.
Stop 3: Stop For Lunch Or Refreshments At A Charming Cafe
After a morning of cycling and museum-ing, you can choose from a myriad of cafes and restaurants in Amsterdam to refuel.
I did a ton of walking during my 2 days in Amsterdam, and by lunchtime, I was very hungry. We chose to have lunch at a quaint restaurant called The Avocado Show. They of course, offer all things avocado. But the plating is magnificent and a visual feast for the eyes. It has a super cool vibe and if you are into sustainability I would highly suggest giving it a try.
While you are visiting Amsterdam, you will want to bring along your own water bottle. My family and I all use a Bobble nondisposable filtered water bottle. I like the 18-ounce size because it is not too heavy when filled and can fit right into my backpack pocket.
Can’t you imagine yourself having refreshments at one of these charming street cafes in Amsterdam?
Stop 4: Soak Up Amsterdam Culture At Museumplein
Museumplein is the unofficial cultural center of Amsterdam. It is where the top museums of Amsterdam meet: the Rijksmuseum, the Van Gogh Museum and the Stedelijk Museum meet.
The Rijksmuseum holds 800 years of Dutch history. The Van Gogh Museum houses the largest collection of Van Gogh paintings, drawings, and letters. The Stedelijk Museum displays contemporary art and designs. These are by far the three most popular museums in Amsterdam.
All three of these museums require admission. And if you plan on visiting one or more of them, you may consider purchasing an I Amsterdam City Card. You get free entry to lots of museums and attractions, including these three, and the use of free public transportation during your 2 days in Amsterdam visit.
Museumplein is the open square space between the buildings that house these three very popular museums. when I visited it was crowded with locals and tourists alike as it is quite popular. There are always activities and in the warmer months like exhibits and markets. So depending on the time of year you visit, will depend on what is occurring at the Museumplein.
Make sure to take a picture in front of the iconic I Amsterdam letters. They are HUGE and you cannot miss them.
Depending on the time of year you visit Museumplein or any Dutch museums in Amsterdam, you may need to bring a sweater to layer to keep warm. This flowy cardigan is so pretty and fashionable and cheap too.
Museumplein with the iconic I Amsterdam letters in front of the Rijksmuseum (National Museum)
Stop 5: Complete Your Day With A Dutch Dinner And Cocktails
Whether you are a vegan like me or have any dietary restrictions, you will want to experience the Dutch culture, and still remain within your eating parameters.
Amsterdam has that European flair with her outdoor cafes and restaurant seating. Like other European capital cities, you can sit out on the patio and enjoy being outdoors while watching people stroll by and bicyclists riding past you.
One downside though is that when seated outdoors, smoking is permitted. This can be annoying at times. So perhaps a table indoors with a lovely view of Amsterdam is a better suggestion for dinner this evening.
Amsterdam city view during dinner.
On this first day of your 2 days in Amsterdam I suggest, the Anne Frank House, exploring the Jordaan neighborhood and heading over to Museumplein where three popular Dutch museums are, and to take a picture in front of the I Amsterdam letters. Taking a lovely stroll back to your hotel or AirBnB is a lovely way to end your day.
Day Two Of Your 2 Days In Amsterdam
Stop 1: Begin Your Day Exploring Amsterdam’s Cafes
Plan a leisurely morning to begin your day, to usher in your second day of 2 Days in Amsterdam. Maybe you want to begin the day more slowly and exploring Amsterdam’s coffee culture is a great way to do it.
To be clear, you are looking for eetcafes, which are cafes serving both food and coffees. You will find marijuana and hashish in Amsterdam’s “coffee shops.” Be careful and aware of the establishment you enter.
Traditional coffee shops, that most of us are familiar with, are more and more popular in Amsterdam and you will not be too far away from a great roasted cup of coffee, and a great Danish to go with it. The coffee shops are eclectic, imaginative and interesting ways to linger and relax, and a start your day.
This would be a lovely spot to rest at any time of the day during your 2 days in Amsterdam.
Stop 2: Take A Canal Cruise To Learn About Amsterdam’s Past Flooding
The Dutch canal system was created in the 1600s to combat the perennial flooding the Netherlands endured. The frequent flooding wreaked havoc with the Dutch, causing loss of life, loss of incomes and creating financial hardships for its citizens. Today, Amsterdam is 10 feet below sea level!!
Fun Fact: Amsterdam’s canals, the epicenter of many of Amsterdam’s activities, have earned the UNESCO World Heritage Site designation, as a location so unique it should be protected for generations to come.
There are many kinds of canal cruises to select from, depending on your budget and how much time you have to devote to it. The most popular ones last one hour. There are hop on hop off selections, and romantic candlelit evening canal cruises. Amsterdam takes on a magical aura in the evening with her twinkling lights everywhere.
Canal cruising is the perfect way to learn about Amsterdam’s water history and see the city and attractions in such an informative and interesting way. I suggest adding a canal cruise to your 2 days in Amsterdam itinerary.
It will probably be a bit chillier sailing on the canal waters, no matter the season you visit Amsterdam. I love this lightweight waterproof rain jacket that you can fold in its pouch! Just toss it in your backpack when not using it.
A canal cruise in Amsterdam
Stop 3: Get Your Shopping On At The 9 Streets
The 9 Small Streets area is the trendy Amsterdam location to be. It is where even the locals go to see and be seen. Three streets cross over two canals, forming the 9 small streets.
You will find everything you desire in this fashionable district. There are lots of swanky shops, coffee shops and cafes, bookstores and of course restaurants and bars. The area is literally overflowing with fashion and food.
I like to bring my own reusable bags along when I travel. Less trash to throw out and really convenient. These lightweight yet heavy-duty reusable shopping sacks are so cool and fold down into themselves to a tiny size to pack away. When traveling, I am all about avoiding bulk. So neatly folding these into a tiny size is a great perk!
This is a great destination to take memorable photographs of your 2 days in Amsterdam to post on Instagram or to show family and friends back home. The colorful shops and bars and the Amsterdam canals make for very colorful backdrops.
Wooden shoes as a souvenir?
Stop 4: Visit The Amsterdam Flower Market
When you think of the Dutch, you think of flowers, especially tulips, right? Me too. The Amsterdam Flower Market, Bloemenmarkt, is where you can find blooming tulips of every single color. And tulip bulbs to bring back home with you to enjoy later. If you do plan to take flower bulbs out of the country, make certain they have a customs-cleared stamp on them, ensuring you will not have any difficulties when leaving the Netherlands.
The flower market is literally housed in about a dozen or so flower stalls on one of Amsterdam’s canals. Yes, it is a floating flower market. Depending on the time of year you visit, will depend on the kinds of flowers available. But there are always blooming flowers for you to see and smell.
While walking along the canal to get to the flower market stalls you may want some sunglasses to protect your eyes from the sun’s harmful rays. These unisex retro-trendy polarized sunglasses would be perfect. They come in tons of colors and are very cheap!
Stop 5: Check Out The Red Light District- If You Dare
Amsterdam’s infamous red-light district is not for the faint of heart. DO NOT BRING YOUR CHILDREN HERE!
I visited the naughty red light district during the day during my 2 days in Amsterdam. I am no prude, but it is a very provocative and erotic district. You MUST be aware of this if your intention is to visit the red light district. This is where Amsterdam’s legal prostitution takes place.
In the evenings, sex workers attempt to lure visitors from behind windows lit with red lights. Although no picture taking is not permitted, visitors are welcome. If you intend to make this part of your 2 days in Amsterdam, know there is a strong police presence to keep the neighborhood safe.
Here I have listed for you an itinerary for your 2 days in Amsterdam. In my opinion, these are the highlights of what every tourist wants to do and wants to see when visiting Amsterdam.
Have you been to Amsterdam? What was your favorite thing to do? What would you add to my list of things to do for 2 days in Amsterdam? Please add your suggestions below.
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