Amsterdam 2-Day Itinerary (A First Time Guide to Amsterdam)

Planning a trip to Amsterdam and looking for the perfect 2-day itinerary? Then you’ve come to the right place!

Amsterdam is a wonderful European city and is the capital of the Netherlands. The city is well-known for many things like tulips, canals and beautiful architecture.

There are usually always cheap flights to the city too, very handy for anyone looking a quick and cheap weekend getaway.

Amsterdam is very well connected to other cities such as Paris, London or Brussels so if you’re ever in these cities and have some time left over for a trip to Amsterdam you should definitely consider it!

This article will give you lots of pointers for a trip to Amsterdam and the perfect 2-day itinerary, especially if it’s your first time visiting the city!

Is 2 Days Enough in Amsterdam?

The amount of time you should stay in the Netherlands’ capital city will depend on how much you want to do and if you plan on going further afield.

The city can be thoroughly explored in 2 days, with a jam-packed itinerary but there will still be lots left over to do in the city! My itinerary covers all of the highlights and makes sure that you see most of the iconic landmarks and attractions and also have a few unique experiences too!

The city is probably best explored in 3-4 days but 2 is plenty to get a great feel for the culture and history of Amsterdam! With this amount of time you can easily think about taking a day trip to Zaanse Schans, a preserved Dutch town just 30 minutes from Amsterdam.

With a week in Amsterdam you can do so, so much and you’ll probably still not get round everything!

Amsterdam is just full of so many amazing experiences and deciding how long your trip should be can be a tough decision. I’d recommend booking your transport and accommodation and then working out what your itinerary will look like so as you aren’t too overwhelmed by the choice.

When you’re on a tight time schedule you’ll be more focused on scheduling things that you actually want to see and do and aren’t just booking for the sake of it!

What is Amsterdam Like?

Amsterdam has this magical vibe that’s hard to put into words. It’s like a city where the past and the present coexist, all wrapped up in a laid-back, welcoming atmosphere that makes you feel right at home.

Amsterdam’s often called the “Venice of the North,” and it’s not just a clever nickname. The iconic canals winding through the city create a picturesque setting that’s dream-worthy. Strolling along the water’s edge or hopping on a canal boat is the perfect way to soak in Amsterdam’s unique atmosphere.

The architecture in Amsterdam is a reason in itself to visit the city. Imagine row after row of tall, skinny houses with charming facades. Many of these houses have been around since the 17th century, and they give Amsterdam a timeless quality. It’s like taking a step back in time while you’re in the heart of a modern European metropolis.

Traditional houses along the canal in Amsterdam.

While the canals and historic buildings may make you feel like you are in the past, the city is certainly very progressive. Amsterdam is a melting pot of cultures and ideas.

The Jordaan neighborhood, for instance, has a bohemian vibe, with its art galleries, cozy cafes, and boutique shops. On the flip side, you’ve got the famous Red Light District, which, despite its reputation, adds to the city’s unique character.

Amsterdam knows how to celebrate art and history. The Rijksmuseum is a treasure trove of Dutch Golden Age paintings, with Rembrandt and Vermeer pieces placed centre stage.

And the Van Gogh Museum is like stepping into the mind of the famous painter himself, surrounded by some of his most stunning works.

What sets Amsterdam apart is its open-mindedness. This city is a trailblazer for progressive values. It was one of the first places to legalise same-sex marriage, and the annual Pride Parade is visited by celebrants from all over the world, making the event one of the biggest in Europe.

Plus, the Dutch approach to drug policy is also unlike the rest of Europe, which means you can find many “coffee shops” where you can get your favourite drink with a side of cannabis. This is not a reason to visit the city though! You should definitely have other priorities for visiting Amsterdam than just wanting to get high.

Bicycles are everywhere, and the city is made for cyclists. Watch out as they’ll often not stop for pedestrians…they have places to be! Getting around the city by foot is simple but if you prefer public transport for then you’ll have no issue reaching destinations on time.

The trams and metro run like clock work and the central train station connects Amsterdam to other European gems – perfect for a weekend trip!

Amsterdam is packed to the walls with things to do and see and honestly, 2 days might not be enough! The city is full of museums, tours, historic sites and beautiful parks. There is so much to do in Amsterdam and your 2-day itinerary will be packed!

Must-Do Activities in Amsterdam

There are plenty of attractions and activities that draw visitors to Amsterdam every year. Namely, The Anne Frank House, Van Gogh Museum and Vondelpark are all places that other travellers will tell you that you need to be sure not to miss.

All of these experiences are musts in the city of Amsterdam! But, there are plenty more less well-known attractions that you have to visit and tours that you’d be silly not to take.

Anne Frank House

Visiting the Anne Frank House to honour the memory of Anne, her family and her powerful diary is a must-do activity in Amsterdam. The historical site offers insights into the Holocaust and Anne’s life in hiding.

To get into the attraction you will have to buy tickets online, well in advance, especially during peak tourist seasons. There are a limited number of tickets available each day and they are sold on a Tuesday 6 weeks in advance, ensuring a more immersive and respectful experience.

Van Gogh Museum

The Van Gogh Museum is an amazing opportunity to see some of the most famous artwork of all time. The tote bags and other souvenirs sold in the gift shop are very popular and I have seen them on my travels all over Europe – don’t miss out on the chance to show off that you’ve been to the renowned Van Gogh Museum!

🎟️ Get your ticket to see remarkable paintings by world-renowned painter Van Gogh here. 🎟️


While in Amsterdam, you also can’t miss the opportunity to have a stroll through some of the city’s beautiful green spaces. Vondelpark is a wonderful spot for a walk and the best place to relax after exploring the hectic city for a day.

The park is perfect for picnics, cycling, or simply unwinding amidst nature’s beauty in the heart of the city. While there are many parks throughout the city that are great spaces for these activities, Vondelpark is the best on the list!

Amsterdam Tulip Museum

The Amsterdam Tulip Museum is a delightful place for flower enthusiasts. Nestled in the city’s charming Jordaan district, it’s a hidden gem.

Inside, you’ll discover the fascinating history of tulips, from their origins in Central Asia to their iconic status in Dutch culture. The museum showcases colourful tulip varieties and explores the famous “Tulip Mania” period in the 17th century.

Plus, there’s a shop where you can buy tulip bulbs to take a piece of Dutch beauty home with you. A stop at this museum is guaranteed to make you smile and you’ll leave with beautiful, vibrant bulbs that you can plant at home as the perfect souvenir of your Amsterdam trip.

Walking Tour

Taking a walking tour of Amsterdam is a great activity to allow you to find your feet in the city and the guides give you some great tips and pointers about things you might like to do during your trip. Most begin in Dam Square, a central point in the city and an area with a dark historical background.

Amsterdam has a very rich history and culture, and it makes sense to hear about it from a guide that lives in and loves the city. I recommend trying to do a walking tour as your first activity in the city if you can find availability. This means that you’ll be able to brush up on your knowledge and get a good sense of direction before tackling the city alone.

The best walking tour is this Free Tour of Amsterdam *, meeting in Dam Square. The tour covers much of the city and even includes a tasting of a delicious Amsterdam obsession – stroopwafel!

*While the tour is advertised as free this is not the case! This tour operates on a ‘pay what you think it is worth’ policy. Many tours around the city will cost you around €20-25 up front and they often aren’t great tours. So this free tour allows you to pay what you think it was worth when the tour ends. Remember to bring cash with you to pay your lovely guide!

Canal Cruise

Taking a canal cruise in the city of Amsterdam should be a given and something you can absolutely NOT miss off your 2-day itinerary! The city of Amsterdam has been build to be viewed from the water and going on the canals is one of the only ways that you can appreciate the city’s beauty to the fullest.

Canal tours range in price, size, time of day and location. It can be hard to know which tour is best to take when in Amsterdam. There are some tours which are adult only, some that are wheelchair accessible and some that are strictly for couples. Canal tour companies have really thought through how they can monetise off different groups!

I’ve rounded up 5 of the best canal tours in Amsterdam and given some information about each of them so that you can easily choose which option is best for your 2-day itinerary.

Tour Name πŸ›₯️Rating InformationBook Here
Classic Boat Cruise with Cheese & Wine Option4.6/5✨ Highest reviewed large boat cruise in Amsterdam!
✨ 1-hour tour
✨ Passes all top landmarks along the canals
✨ Unlimited delicious Dutch cheese, wine, and other drinks
City Canal Cruise4.3/5✨ 75 minutes
✨ Multi-language audio guide
✨ Snack box available with extra cost
✨ Free cancellation until 1 hour before
✨ Affordable ticket price per person
Evening Canal Cruise with Unlimited Drinks4.4/5✨ Adults only
✨ 1 hour cruise
✨ Unlimited drinks
✨ Highly rated by friend groups
Extraordinary Ordinary Tour4.9/5✨ Drinks and snacks available
✨ Friendly skippers
✨ Max 8 people per tour
✨ Conversational information delivery
Mini Private Romantic Canal Tour Amsterdam for 25/5✨ Romantic boat tour of Amsterdam’s historic canals
✨ Alcoholic drinks and snacks
✨ Just you and your partner
✨ 50 minutes
Our Lord in the Attic Museum

The Our Lord in the Attic Museum, tucked away in the heart of Amsterdam’s Red Light District, is a captivating piece of history.

This unique museum invites you to step back in time to the 17th century when Catholicism was forbidden in the city. Hidden within a canal house, it features a secret church in the attic, where worshippers gathered in secret.

The museum beautifully preserves this wonderful place of worship, showcasing its religious art and artefacts. It’s a unique experience, offering a glimpse into Amsterdam’s rich religious past and the determination of those who defied the odds to practice their faith.


The Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam is a treasure trove of Dutch art and history. Housed in a stunning 19th-century building. The outside and inside of the building are impressive enough as they are, before even taking the museum’s collection into account.

Inside, you’ll find iconic works by Rembrandt, Vermeer, and Van Gogh, among others. The Night Watch is a star attraction, and rightly so. Beyond art, the museum delves into Dutch history, showcasing artefacts from many different eras.

The Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam. A far away shot with plenty of tourists and locals passing by the wonderful building.

It’s not just a museum; it’s a journey through the Netherlands’ cultural heritage. The appearance of the gardens and of the building alone make the Rijksmuseum an absolute must-visit. The collection housed inside allows visitors to form a profound appreciation of Dutch art and history.

🎟️ Book your tickets to step back in time in the Rijksmuseum here. 🎟️

Walk Through De Wallen

Walking through De Wallen in Amsterdam is a unique experience that provides insight into the city’s history and vibrant culture. While it’s famous for its Red Light District, there’s much more to explore. The narrow, winding streets are lined with historic buildings, cosy cafes, and quirky shops.

It’s a place where the old meets the new, where you can admire the centuries-old architecture while enjoying modern street art. It’s also a testament to Amsterdam’s openness and tolerance, making it an essential part of the city’s fabric.

Walking tour guides are no longer allowed to take groups into the Red Light District and so if you’re curious about the area you’ll have to venture by yourself. While many people frown on the practice of prostitution, there is a resounding idea of tolerance in Amsterdam.

The city can’t stop it from occurring and so have vowed to make the women feel as safe as possible in their jobs. Workers are entitled to free checks weekly, childcare in the area and police are always less than 90 seconds away if they press their panic buttons. They are also well within their rights to refuse any customers that they do not want to consult.

Floating Flower Market

Amsterdam’s Floating Flower Market, or Bloemenmarkt, is a floral paradise set on picturesque houseboats along the Singel canal. It’s a fragrant, colourful spectacle where you can find an array of tulip bulbs, fresh blooms, and gardening souvenirs. The market’s history dates back to the 19th century when flowers were transported to the city this way.

Today, it’s a tourist hotspot where you can immerse yourself in Dutch flower culture, even if you can’t take tulips home in your suitcase! It’s a delightful experience that captures Amsterdam’s love for flowers, and a great place to pick up a memorable souvenir.

Albert Cuyp Market

Albert Cuyp Market in Amsterdam is like a lively street party that never ends. It’s been around since 1904, and it’s where locals and tourists come together to enjoy good food, shop for produce and have a chat with friends.

Stroll through rows of stalls selling everything under the sun, from fresh fruit and veg to quirky antiques. The vendors are friendly, and the air is filled with tempting sweet and savoury scents – you can’t help but be drawn in to buying a delicious snack.

Amsterdam 2-Day Itinerary

With all of these activities in mind and a few more thrown into the bulk out your 2 days in Amsterdam, let’s take a look at the perfect Amsterdam 2-day itinerary.

Day 1

Breakfast in Pancakes Amsterdam – Pancakes are a Dutch favourite and the best place to enjoy them is in Pancakes Amsterdam. The cafe allows fluffy Dutch pancakes to steal the show. Located in the heart of the city, it’s a pancake lover’s paradise offering a menu bursting with sweet and savoury options. It’s the perfect place to fuel up before a long day of exploring the city.

Walking Tour – After finishing your delightful breakfast make your way to the Dam Square, around a 10-minute walk from the cafe and wait to meet your tour guide. A morning walking tour is best so that you have the entire day ahead of you after finding your feet in the city. This tour is the best in Amsterdam and has a 10.30 am option in both English and Spanish, lasting 2 hours.

Anne Frank House – Next, head to the Anne Frank House with your pre-booked tickets. You’re going to want to allow around 1.5 – 2 hours for your visit to the hiding place. The museum is so full of history and the audio guides give lots of information. You’ll get the opportunity to see the original hiding place for the Frank family and it is a truly humbling experience. The Anne Frank House should not be missed in Amsterdam.

Anne Frank Museum. The original house has been encased in a modern building.

Grab a Quick Lunch – I recommend just grabbing a quick lunch from the likes of a supermarket or food stall as you really want to maximise your time in the city and you’ll likely still be full from your pancake breakfast!

Visit the Rijksmuseum – After lunch it’s time to step back in time at the Rijksmuseum. The collection in the museum is just incredible and you could easily spend several hours there. The gardens are also lovely to explore and a great place for a period of relaxation. The works by Rembrandt and Vermeer are the highlights of the museum. Remember to book your tickets here.

Albert Cuyp Market – Next it’s time to head to Albert Cuyp Market before it closes. The market is the perfect place to find quirky mementos to take home and also try a stroopwafel. There are some other great street food options from other stalls too. The market stretches the entire street and it seems to go on and on forever!

Dinner at Foodhallen – From one market to another, it’s time to head to Foodhallen for dinner! Either enjoy the walk or take the tram to the wonderful Foodhallen from Albert Cuyp Street.

While Amsterdam is home to some lovely sweet treats like pancakes and stroopwafels, traditional Dutch meals are a bit of a miss! Foodhallen is a massive, indoor food market with cuisines from all across the world. There is something for everyone in Foodhallen and you’ll likely want to try multiple dishes!

Enjoy the Evening in Vondelpark – After indulging in global cuisine, head to Vondelpark for the sunset. The park is full of green spaces and the perfect place to relax after a long day. There are plenty of walkways around the park and it even has an open-air theatre. If you’re lucky you might be able to catch a show! It’s easy to see why the park attracts up to 10 million people every year.

Day 2

The Breakfast Club – Another great spot for breakfast in Amsterdam is the Breakfast Club, with multiple locations around the city. The menu is very flexible to all tastes and the food is just great!

Van Gogh Museum – After breakfast, head to the Van Gogh Museum to admire some of the painters most famous works. There are over 200 paintings in the museum and many other artefacts. The work of Van Gogh has been wonderfully preserved and it is lovely to see.

Amsterdam Tulip Museum – Next stop, Amsterdam Tulip Museum to learn of the flower’s history in the Netherlands. The country has a relationship with tulips that goes back centuries and so many new and unique species have been developed over the years. The museum’s shop is just incredible with endless selections of bulbs to take home, with the correct guidance given by staff on how to plant them.

Head Back to the City Centre and Enjoy Lunch – After your morning adventures, return to Amsterdam’s bustling city centre for a well-deserved lunch. Explore the diverse range of eateries offering everything from traditional Dutch cuisine to international delights. Local cafes usually offer delicious pastries which are perfect for lunches!

Floating Flower Market – Next, amble over to the renowned Floating Flower Market. It’s a feast for the senses with an abundance of colours and fragrances. You can even pick up some tulip bulbs or fresh blooms as keepsakes. Amsterdam’s floral charm at its best!

Head to an Unusual Museum – You can’t leave Amsterdam without visiting an unusual museum. There are so many different museums across the city showcasing the most weird and wonderful topics. Choose from the Cannabis Museum, Sexmuseum or Body Worlds as a way to pass a few hours and learn about something rather bizarre!

Our Lord in the Attic Museum – Another interesting place to visit if you have some spare time is “Our Lord in the Attic Museum“. The museum is a converted place of worship, once used by Catholics when Catholicism was outlawed. It is a very interesting space to visit and has some beautiful decorations.

Canal Tour – As I’ve already mentioned, you’d be silly to visit Amsterdam and not take a canal tour. Taking one in the late afternoon or evening is perfect as the city begins to calm down. There will likely be less people booked onto your tour and so you’ll have a more relaxed experience. See my list above for great canal tour options in the city of Amsterdam. Grabbing a bite to eat before or after your canal tour is completely up to how much time you have and what tour length you have booked!

Souvenir Shop in Dam Square – Before leaving the city, you have to get yourself a souvenir to take home. Some of the city’s best souvenir shops are found around Dam Square. The area is very popular with tourists looking for a memento to take home and I’m sure you’ll be able to find what you’re looking for. From Delft style Christmas ornaments to a pair of wooden clog slippers, souvenirs in Amsterdam are very hard to find.

Evening Walk Through De Wallen – An evening walk through De Wallen offers a chance to experience Amsterdam’s unique atmosphere as it comes alive with vibrant nightlife, historic streets, and an intriguing ambiance that’s truly unforgettable. If you’d like to stroll through the Red Light District then it’s very much available but I think you might be shocked. The streets were not what I expected at all and were actually a bit more reserved than I thought they might have been.

FAQs: Amsterdam 2-Day Itinerary

Is 2 days enough in Amsterdam?

2 days in Amsterdam provides a taste of the city’s highlights, but to fully explore its richness, consider a longer stay, this would allow you to take a day excursion further from the city. following my 2-day itinerary will ensure that you get the most out of Amsterdam in a short time.

How to spend 2 nights in Amsterdam?

The best way to enjoy 2 nights in Amsterdam is to enjoy the city’s most iconic attractions, dine in the best eateries like Foodhallen, and explore the charming streets. Make sure you don’t leave the city without doing a canal tour or the locals may never forgive you!

How many days do you really need in Amsterdam?

To thoroughly explore Amsterdam’s beauty and culture, plan for at least 3-4 days. However, a shorter visit of 2 days can provide a taste of the city’s highlights.

Is 3 days in Amsterdam too long?

3 days is the perfect amount of time to spend in Amsterdam, allowing you to see all the top sites and have extra time to have a day trip like to Zaanse Schans.

Conclusion: Amsterdam 2-Day Itinerary

In conclusion, this 2-day Amsterdam itinerary offers a delightful snapshot of this enchanting city. While you won’t see everything, you’ll savour its art, history, culture, and, of course, delicious pancakes.

Amsterdam’s charm is infectious, and it’s sure to leave you longing for more adventures in this incredible place. Whether you’re exploring the world-class museums, cruising the canals, or strolling through historic streets, every moment in Amsterdam is a memorable one.

So, what are you waiting for? Enjoy your 2-day trip to Amsterdam, the city is ready to welcome you with open arms!

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