2 days in Amsterdam: an itinerary to experience the best of the city

by Rebecca
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Ready and eager to explore Amsterdam? This 2 days in Amsterdam itinerary will help you discover some of the cities best sights. Known fondly as the Venice of the north, the hundreds of canals meander, helping forge the metropolis’s water-loving identity. Known for many other features including the bike-loving population, raunchy red light district, and the historic Anne Frank House, the Netherlands capital city offers so much for visitors it can be hard pressed to see it all with only a short time frame. This itinerary, however, should help you experience some of the cities highlights and help you discover what makes Amsterdam so great.

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This 2 days in Amsterdam itinerary will help you discover the sights including Van Gogh's art, the red light district, and the Anne Frank House.

Where to stay in Amsterdam

Take a look at the map below to explore accommodation options for 2 days in Amsterdam.


If you are looking for a hostel for your 2 days in Amsterdam, I suggest the following places:

The Flying Pig Downtown

Clink NOORD Hostel

Shelter City

And I recommend these hotels:

Urban Lodge Hotel

Mercure Amsterdam Sloterdijk Station

The Student Hotel Amsterdam City

Awesome places to eat in Amsterdam

Here are a few recommendations of places to eat during your stay in Amsterdam.

The best chips in Amsterdam

Honestly, these chips were incredible. Head to Vlaams Friteshuis Vleminckx for their thrice cooked chips and choose from a crazy selection of sauces.

Traditional street food

Eat at one of the many herring stands scattered throughout the city. This is such a traditional dish, though not to everyone’s taste.

Fast food vending machines

These machines are so cool and you’ll find them all over Amsterdam. Fast food such as burgers and potato croquettes and made then put in these heated vending machines. Just choose what you want, place your money in and open the door to get your tasty treat.

Eat in a greenhouse

De Kas offers freshly prepared dishes served in their restaurant located in a set of greenhouses that date to 1926. They even grow vegetables and herbs in the nursery. Talk about farm to table cooking.

Mothers cooking

Moeders, which means mothers, is a quirky city center restaurant. Adorning the walls are pictures of customers own mums, cute. For a comforting homey meal try Stamppot, which is a combination of mashed potato, cabbage, bacon, and sausage.


The I Amsterdam Card

If you love sightseeing and exploring museums, it is worth considering purchasing an I Amsterdam Card as it can save you a lot of money during your trip. The card offers free entry to over 60 museums, free unlimited public transport, and even a free canal cruise. In the below itinerary I will be mentioning which attractions are included in the card. To find out more visit www.iamsterdam.com.

You can also purchase the I Amsterdam Card here.

Day one in Amsterdam

Amsterdam walking tour

Start your first day in Amsterdam gathering your bearings by taking a walking tour of the city. I find walking tours offer such a great introduction to a new location, giving you a chance to learn about its history, and depending on the tour, get to see somewhere from a locals perspective. Luckily Amsterdam is such a walkable city, with plenty to see.

A great free walking tour is offered by Sandemans, which you can book here. 

For a walking tour about Anne Frank, check out this 2-hour journey through her life.

To explore a different side of Amsterdam, you can take a tour of the Red Light District and Coffee Shops. 


Visit the Anne Frank House

The Anne Frank House is the third most visited museum in The Netherlands, therefore making it a highly recommended addition to any Amsterdam itinerary. With crowds of people lining up outside daily, it is important you book your tickets in advance, trust me! You are only allowed to enter the house if you have booked online for a specific time spot. Luckily you can easily book here  www.annefrank.org. It is important to remember that tickets are only valid for the persons they are issued to, and for the date and time selected. Tickets also cannot be exchanged or refunded.

Adult tickets cost 10 Euros.

Tulip Museum

After the Anne Frank House, walk for less than a minute and you will reach the Tulip Museum. The Netherlands is famous for its brightly colour blooms of Tulips. These flowers don’t just make a pretty sight to look at, however. There is an incredibly interesting history behind them. Did you know that Tulips used to be worth more than gold!

The standard entrance fee to the museum is €5.00. The museum offers free entrance with the I Amsterdam Card.

Artis Royal Zoo

Artis Royal Zoo has an impressive array of animals, which amazingly includes a couple of Komodo Dragons. It is also home to an aquarium, a butterfly pavilion, a planetarium, and best of all, Micropia. Micropia is a museum of microorganisms, giving you a chance to learn all about the world you can see through the lens of a microscope. Each part of the exhibit has a stamper, allowing you to stamp your petri dish piece of card as you go, challenging you to collect every microbe you can which you can see come to life on the giant microbe wall in the lower level of the exhibit.

Entrance costs 22 euros or is free with the I Amsterdam Card.

For skip, the line admission, book here.

Canal cruise

Considering Amsterdam is made up of 165 canals and 1281 bridges, what better way is there to see the city than by boat? There are a couple of different cruises you can choose to go on, there’s even a pizza cruise! We went on one with a company called Lovers Canal Cruises, and no it wasn’t a special romance package. Usually, this hour-long cruise would cost 16 euros but it was included with our I Amsterdam card, which I would recommend getting if you are planning to visit a lot of different attractions. The cruise was very informative, giving a really interesting history of the city as a whole and the different areas within the city. We went at night after a long day of museum hopping and the lights above the bridges glimmering across the water made the whole experience special.

Get a combined canal cruise and Heineken Experience ticket here. 

Amsterdam bridges

Day two in Amsterdam

Van Gogh Museum

Start your morning off feeling inspired by some of the greatest works of art of the 20th century. The Van Gogh Museum is truly a monument to the life and times of the talented and infamous painter. Van Gogh didn’t start painting until he was 26 (this inspired me to buy a watercolour set, big mistake.) The museum not only houses the worlds largest collection of his works of art but also personal letters which give you a great insight into Van Gogh’s mind. Seeing some of Van Gogh’s most famous works, such as Sunflowers, was simply amazing.

Entrance costs 19 euros or is free with an I Amsterdam Card.

You can also purchase your ticket here. 

Stedelijk Museum

The surreal Stedelijk Museum is also a great place to visit. Although it’s located in the museum district opposite the Van Gogh museum, the two are worlds apart. Both may be art related but the focus at the Stedelijk is on modern art, contemporary art, and design. When we visited the big exhibition was by Isa Genzken, one of the most influential artists of the last 40 years, and was comprised of over 200 pieces of her works.

Entrance costs 18.50 euros or is free with an I Amsterdam Card.


The Tropenmuseum is an incredible ethnographic collection of cultures from around the world. When I visited there was a fascinating array of exhibits, ranging from how music transcends borders (where I wound up glued to a documentary about ukuleles), to exhibits about the history of southeast Asia and Africa. There was also an amazing exhibit allowing you to step into the sixties, expressing this remarkable decade through fashion, music, architecture, and photography.  They even had a huge TV screen showing a short documentary about the sixties with iconic scenes such as the goose-bump raising moon landing footage, which gripped visitors as they wandered by to view all the treasures of the past.

Entrance costs 16 euros or is free with the I Amsterdam Card.

Take a trip to the windmills of Zaanse Schans

The Netherlands is famous for its windmills and right outside of Amsterdam you’ll find some great windmills at Zaanse Schans. Not only are there loads of awesome windmills, but plenty more to see including a clog workshop, cheese farm, and bakery museum. In the afternoon of day two, head out of the city centre for a visit to Zaanse Schans.

Getting to Zaanse Schans from central Amsterdam is super easy. The Rnet-bus 391 runs from Amsterdam Central Station every fifteen minutes to the Zaanse Schans, with a trip taking forty minutes. Alternatively, you can take the train to Zaandijk – Zaanse Schans, which only takes 17 minutes. There is then a 15-minute walk to Zaanse Schans. You can also take a ferry from Amsterdam Centraal Station to the Zaanse Schans. It does take 110 minutes but you’ll get some nice views. You can find information on the ferry at www.zaanferry.com

Amsterdam Windmill

Amsterdam Icebar

In the evening, chill out at the Amsterdam Icebar. As you enter the bar you are invited into the story of Dutch Explorer Willem Barentsz and are introduced to the tale of his voyage on ship Mercury in 1596 which got stranded on the island of Nova Zembla. Will you be brave enough to survive this expedition in the extremely cold environment? Challenge accepted. As you enter the ice bar, the temperature drops to a chilly -10 and everything is made of ice. What a fantastic environment to enjoy a few drinks which of course are from glasses made entirely of ice.

You can purchase tickets here.

Thank you for reading my Itinerary for 2 days in Amsterdam. I hope it helps you on your journey to explore the city.

Check out my city break packing guide here to help you prepare for your trip with ease, knowing you haven’t left anything important behind.

Check out my Favourite travel resources:

My recommendations:

For amazing cheap flight deals, I love Jack’s Flight Club.

To get great train passes across Europe, Interrail is the place to go.

Check out this site for awesome last minute travel deals.

To book onto a fabulous group tour, check out Contiki. 

You may want a guide book for your travels if so I love Lonely Planet.

Never leave for a trip without travel insurance! You’ll never know when you may need it.


Don’t forget to connect with me on social media:

Connect with me on facebook to keep up to date with new content.

You can follow my travels on Twitter.

Be inspired by my travel photography over on Instagram.

And get pinning some travel inspiration over on Pinterest.

See you on the road,

Rebecca Rayner

Don’t forget to pin this post for later:

This 2 days in Amsterdam itinerary will help you discover the sights including Van Gogh's art, the red light district, and the Anne Frank House.

This 2 days in Amsterdam itinerary will help you discover the sights including Van Gogh's art, the red light district, and the Anne Frank House.This 2 days in Amsterdam itinerary will help you discover the sights including Van Gogh's art, the red light district, and the Anne Frank House.

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