Ultimate Amsterdam 2 Day Itinerary

Last Updated on May 18, 2023

For travelers seeking the ultimate European weekend destination, Amsterdam is the place to beat. Though Amsterdam is smaller than other major European cities, it still offers a huge variety of activities, restaurants, shopping, and more. While you could spend a week or more exploring Amsterdam and not see or do the same thing twice, two days is perfect for a quick introduction to the top highlights and to discover some of the city’s hidden gems as well. This Ultimate Amsterdam 2 Day Itinerary is the perfect resource for those planning a quick trip to Amsterdam, whether it will be your first or fifth visit!

Amsterdam Sunset Views

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Is 2 Days Enough in Amsterdam?

One of the benefits of Amsterdam being on the smaller side is that some of the best sights and experiences that the city has to offer are more accessible and everything is located closer together. Two days is the perfect amount of time to see the main sights of Amsterdam and to venture off the beaten path a bit as well.

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What month do tulips bloom in Amsterdam?

Amsterdam, and the Netherlands in general, is well-known for its large flower fields and tulips in particular. April is the best month to plan your visit if you want to see these beautiful flowers in bloom. While most of the tulip fields and farms are located outside of Amsterdam, many are just a short trip away and well worth a visit.

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Is it safe to walk at night in Amsterdam?

Overall, Amsterdam is a relatively safe European city, so as long as you use common sense and stay aware of your surroundings, you shouldn’t have any issues. The main tourist areas of Amsterdam stay relatively crowded almost all hours of the day, and the Red-Light District is quite safe as well, especially if you’re traveling in a group. Of course, there’s always the chance of running into some strange characters if you’re walking around at night, but for the most part, you’ll likely just encounter other tourists.

How to Get from Amsterdam Airport to City Center

Amsterdam has a fantastic infrastructure for traveling between the airport and city center, meaning you can easily and quickly get into and out of the city. This makes Amsterdam a great city to explore if, for instance, you need to kill some time on a long layover! One of the most popular ways to get to the city center from Amsterdam Airport is via train. There are nearly non-stop trains that run between the airport and Amsterdam Centraal, and they are all reasonably-priced (9.50 EUR one way or 17.25 EUR return ($10.25 USD or $18.50 USD) and easy to use.

Another great option is the metro, especially if you’re staying somewhere a bit farther from Amsterdam Centraal.

Amsterdam Centraal Station Tram

How to Get Around Amsterdam

Although Amsterdam is considered the bike capital of the world, traveling on foot is the easiest way to explore the city. Renting a bike can be fun for days where you have less activities planned and more flexibility, but on big sightseeing days, we recommend walking.

The Ultimate Amsterdam 2 Day Itinerary: Day One

Day one of this 2 day itinerary in Amsterdam focuses on some of the most popular and well-known sights in the city. While there are some tourist attractions you could skip if you’re short on time, all the ones we discuss are must-visit spots and well-worth your time. It’s going to be a busy day, so make sure you wear some comfortable walking shoes!

Breakfast in the Negen Straatjes (Nine Streets)

Since breakfast is the most important meal of the day, we’re kicking off this Amsterdam weekend itinerary with a morning visit to Negen Straatjes (which translates to Nine Streets). Negen Straatjes is a very hip and laidback neighborhood of Amsterdam that is home to a bunch of delicious breakfast and brunch cafes. Some of our top recommendations in this area include PLUK, Ree7 (both of which we featured on our guide to the Best Breakfast and Brunch Places in Amsterdam), and Koffiehuis ‘De Hoek’. 

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Location: Negen Straatjes

Hours: Cafes in Amsterdam typically open around 9:00 AM, though this may vary depending on the specific restaurant.

Helpful Tips: Typical breakfast dishes in Amsterdam include eggs benedict, toast with jam, and pancakes or waffles! Whether you prefer sweet or savory, you’re sure to find something delicious!

Westerkerk and the Anne Frank House

The first landmark we recommend visiting during your weekend in Amsterdam is Westerkerk, followed by the nearby Anne Frank House. Westerkerk is a stunning Renaissance-style church that was originally built in the 1600s. The building features dramatic architecture and an almost 300-foot (91 m) bell tower that is the highest church tower in the entire city. We actually featured Westerkerk on our list of the Top 20 Amsterdam Instagram Spots because of how beautiful it is!

After snapping some pictures of the church, make your way across the street to the Anne Frank House. This historic building is where Anne Frank famously hid with her family during Nazi occupation of Amsterdam in the 1940s. Today, the house is a very moving museum dedicated to her story.

View of Westerkerk
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Location: Westerkerk and the Anne Frank House 

Hours: Westerkerk now houses administrative offices, so you can only photograph the exterior. The Anne Frank House is open daily from 9:00 AM to 10:00 PM.

Cost: Tickets for the Anne Frank House are €14 ($13 USD) for adults, €7 ($6.50 USD) for youth 10-17 years old, and €1 ($1 USD) for children 9 and under.

Helpful Tips: We recommend purchasing your tickets to the Anne Frank House in advance because it’s a very popular museum, and consider an Anne Frank Walking Tour.

Dam Square

An Amsterdam 2 day itinerary would truly be incomplete without a stop at Dam Square! Dam Square is the major town square in Amsterdam that is full of shops and restaurants. Dam Square can get quite crowded and is considered a pretty touristy area, but we still think it’s worth a visit. This area is especially great if you love to shop because there are a lot of awesome stores located all around the square. Regardless of whether you plan to shop or not, Dam Square is a very beautiful area of Amsterdam that everyone taking a trip to the city should visit at least once. 

Dam Square Amsterdam Instagram Spot

Location: Dam Square

Hours: You can visit Dam Square any time of day!

Helpful Tips: Dam Square is known for frequently hosting fun events and festivals, so keep your eyes peeled during your visit.

Bloemenmarkt

Bloemenmarkt is one of the most popular attractions in Amsterdam because of how unique and famous it is. Bloemenmarkt is a flower market situated on a canal, making it the world’s first and only floating flower market! Bloemenmarkt primarily sells tulips, which the Netherlands is famous for, though there are other flowers available to purchase as well. At Bloemenmarkt, you can also watch tulips being prepared and sanitized for importation to Canada and the United States which is a really interesting process. Bloemenmarkt is a beautiful and one-of-a-kind spot that is great for wandering around and taking pictures.

Bloemenmarkt Amsterdam Instagram Photo Spot

Location: Bloemenmarkt

Hours: You can visit Bloemenmarkt from 9:00 AM to 5:30 PM Monday through Saturday, and 11:00 AM to 5:30 PM on Sunday.

Helpful Tips: The best store in Bloemenmarkt to take pictures of tulips and other flowers is the last one before Viizelstraat, near the NH Hotel. Read our guide to the Top 20 Amsterdam Instagram Spots to learn more!

Amsterdam Museum Quarter

The Amsterdam Museum Quarter is, as the name suggests, full of amazing museums! Amsterdam is known for being home to some of the best museums in the world, and many can be found in this area. Popular museums in the Amsterdam Museum Quarter include Rijksmuseum and the Van Gogh Museum. There are also a number of smaller museums in this area such as Moco Museum, which features modern and contemporary art. We recommend doing your own research on museums and picking your favorite to visit.

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Location: Amsterdam Museum Quarter

Hours: Hours will vary depending on the specific museum but typically range from 9:00 AM to 5:00 or 6:00 PM. Purchasing timed entry tickets such as for the Van Gogh Museum is highly recommended to save a lot of time.

Helpful Tips: There is a huge variety of museums in this area dedicated to different interests such as art, history, and more.

Dinner in Jordaan

Jordaan is one of our favorite neighborhoods in Amsterdam, so we knew we had to include it on this 2 day Amsterdam itinerary. Jordaan is considered a very residential part of the city, and is full of beautiful historic homes built along picture-perfect canals. There are also lots of cafes, restaurants, and shops to explore in Jordaan, though this neighborhood is generally pretty quiet compared to more popular areas of the city. While there are a lot of delicious dinner options in Jordaan, we personally recommend Café Sonneveld to try some traditional Dutch food.   

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Location: Jordaan

Hours: Café Sonneveld is open daily from 11:00 AM to 11:00 PM.

Helpful Tips: Jordaan is a very picturesque neighborhood of Amsterdam, making it a great place to take some photos for your Instagram! At Café Sonneveld, be sure to try the typical Dutch specialty, stamppot.

Sunset at the W Hotel

Whenever we take a weekend trip, we always make a point of stopping to watch the sunset at least one evening. To catch beautiful sunset views in Amsterdam, we recommend swinging by the W Hotel. Amsterdam, and most of the Netherlands, is very flat, so there are limited places to get good views from above. The W Hotel is home to a great rooftop bar where you’ll be treated to beautiful views of the city. The time of sunset will vary depending on what time of year you visit, so you may be able to catch some views before dinner, or even grab dinner at the W as you watch the setting sun!

W Amsterdam Sunset View

Location: W Hotel

Hours: The W Lounge is open from 11:00 AM to 12:00 AM Sunday through Thursday, and 11:00 AM to 1:00 AM on Friday and Saturday.

Helpful Tips: From the rooftop of the W Hotel you’ll be able to spot some of the city’s iconic landmarks, such as Westerkerk!

Optional: See the Red-Light District

The last activity we recommend to close out day one of this 2 day itinerary in Amsterdam is the Red-Light District, though we’ve made it optional because it may not be everyone’s cup of tea. There are technically multiple Red-Light Districts throughout the city, though the most well-known is De Wallen. The Red-Light District is actually the oldest neighborhood in all of Amsterdam, and is full of historic buildings and canals that sport classic Dutch architecture.

The Red-Light District is also home to some unique establishments, such as sex shops, strip clubs, and museums that focus on interests such as marijuana and sex. While it may sound a bit intimidating, the Red-Light District is an incredibly safe area of Amsterdam and a very unique fixture of the city we recommend taking the time to experience.

Location: Red-Light District

Hours: You can explore this area any time of day, though the signature red lights aren’t lit up until nighttime.

Helpful Tips: One unique aspect of the Red-Light District is that strip clubs and brothels will often have window displays featuring live models to encourage visitors. While you can photograph the buildings themselves, it is considered disrespectful to take pictures of the window models themselves.

The Ultimate Amsterdam 2 Day Itinerary: Day Two

Day two of our Amsterdam weekend itinerary will focus more on laidback activities rather than sightseeing and touring museums. This is one day you may want to consider renting a bike to explore the city, as you will have more flexibility than day one and can take more time to bike and wander around without feeling rushed.

Optional: Sunrise at Damrak

Early risers are sure to enjoy a visit to Damrak to watch the sunrise and kick off the second day of this Amsterdam 2 day itinerary. Damrak is a popular avenue and canal that is considered one of Amsterdam’s main streets, as it connects to Amsterdam Centraal. During later hours of the day, Damrak gets very busy and chaotic, so a visit early in the morning is a great way to experience the street when things are still quiet. One of the most unique aspects of visiting Damrak for sunrise is the beautiful reflections that can be spotted on the water of the canal, as the surface will be still and quiet. If you stayed out too late on day one or just prefer to sleep in, feel free to skip this stop!

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Location: Damrak

Helpful Tips: There are many cafes along Damrak where you can grab a morning cup of joe to keep you warm on your walk.

See Papiermolensluis

Papiermolensluis (try saying that five times fast!) is a picturesque bridge that is considered one of the best photo spots in all of Amsterdam. The bridge, which is made of stone, crosses over a canal and is often visited by tourists and photographers who want to snap some photos of its beauty. On either side of the bridge are classic Dutch canal houses that add a ton of charm and character to the area. There are lots of photo opportunities at Papiermolensluis, and we definitely recommend a morning visit.

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Location: Papiermolensluis

Helpful Tips: Plan your visit to Papiermolensluis for the morning so you can avoid large afternoon crowds of tourists. Take in the city as it begins to wake up!

Breakfast or Brunch in Jordaan

For breakfast (or brunch, depending on when you decide to eat) on day two, we suggest returning to the Jordaan neighborhood. There are many delicious cafes and restaurants throughout this area, though our personal favorite for breakfast is Le Petit Deli. As the name suggests, Le Petit Deli is a smaller corner café that serves breakfast sandwiches, platters, and classic coffee and tea drinks. Seating in Le Petit Deli is very limited, so be prepared to wait for a table or plan to take your meal to go. The shop itself is super cute and the food is very tasty, making Le Petit Deli the perfect spot to start your day off on the right foot! 

Read More: The Best Brunch and Breakfast Places in Amsterdam

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Location: Le Petit Deli

Hours: Le Petit Deli is open from 9:00 AM to 6:00 PM Wednesday through Saturday, and 10:00 AM to 6:00 PM on Sunday and Monday (closed Tuesday).

Helpful Tips: We recommend their delicious chicken melt sandwich, though you can’t go wrong with any of their baked goods either!

Amsterdam Canal Cruise

With over 150 canals, one of the best ways to experience the city of Amsterdam is by boat! Taking a canal cruise is an excellent way to see Amsterdam from the water and gain a new perspective on the city and its history. A canal cruise is also a great activity for day two of this 2-day itinerary in Amsterdam because it gives you the opportunity to sit back and relax while still exploring the city at the same time. There are many companies that offer different variations of canal cruises, so do some research to find one that best fits your budget and needs.

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Location: Amsterdam Canal Cruise

Hours: Some companies offer 1-hour tours available various hours throughout the day, while others offer day-long tours where you can hop on and off as you like. 

Cost: The price for an Amsterdam canal cruise will vary depending on which company you book through, but typically range from €15 to €30 ($14 to $28 USD) per person.

Helpful Tips: Some companies offer special packages like canal cruises that serve wine and beer, or romantic cruises for couples!

Bike Amsterdam

Since Amsterdam is considered the bike capital of the world, we also have to include some time for biking on this Amsterdam 2 day itinerary. Amsterdam’s infrastructure is very accommodating for pedestrians and bicyclists, and renting a bike is a fantastic way to see more of the city than you might be able to on foot. We recommend venturing away from Amsterdam’s city center to explore some of the surrounding neighborhoods. There are many shops and companies throughout the city where you can rent bikes for different lengths of time, so you shouldn’t have any issues finding a rental location.

Amsterdam Bike Instagram Photo
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Location: A-Bike Rental and Rent a Bike are some of the most popular options in the city. 

Hours: Most bike rental companies are open every day of the week from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM.

Cost: The price to rent a bike typically ranges from €10 to €20 ($9 to $18 USD) per person.

Helpful Tips: Most of the roads in Amsterdam have specifically-marked bike lanes, though you may need to walk your bike through certain pedestrian areas. Be sure to stay well aware of your surroundings as the city is filled with hundreds of other cyclists, confused tourists, buses, trams, cars, and more.

Optional: Heineken Experience

While this next activity is optional, we definitely recommend a visit if you have any interest in the Heineken company or beer in general.  The Heineken Experience takes place in Heineken’s first and oldest brewery which opened in 1864. The experience takes you through the historic brewery to educate visitors on the history of the Heineken company and the beer itself. You’ll tour the building, learn about the brewing process, and even have the opportunity to enjoy a couple Heineken beers at the end of the tour!

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Location: Heineken Experience

Hours: Tours are available from 10:30 AM to 7:30 PM Sunday through Thursday, and 10:30 AM to 9:00 PM Friday and Saturday.

Cost: Standard tickets to the Heineken Experience are €21 ($20 USD) per person.

Helpful Tips: You must be at least 18 years old to participate in the Heineken Experience.

Dinner in De Pijp

To close out this Amsterdam weekend itinerary, we suggest grabbing dinner in Amsterdam’s De Pijp neighborhood. De Pijp is one of the most popular neighborhoods in the entire city, and for good reason. The whole area is full of delicious restaurants and fun bars where you can eat and drink to your heart’s content. You really can’t go wrong with grabbing a drink and a bite to eat in De Pijp, so don’t worry about doing too much research before visiting. Part of the fun is exploring and randomly popping into different places! De Pijp is a very lively neighborhood of Amsterdam that is loved by both locals and tourists alike. 

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Location: De Pijp

Helpful Tips: Middle Eastern food is a particularly popular dinner option in De Pijp, though there are all different kinds of restaurants for you to choose from.

What is the Best Time to Visit Amsterdam?

For great weather and fewer crowds, we recommend planning your trip to Amsterdam during March through May or in September. Spring can be popular because the tulips will be blooming, but the crowds are worth the experience of seeing Amsterdam’s gorgeous flower fields in person!

Winter in Amsterdam

Winter in Amsterdam is known for its cold and dreary weather that makes outdoor activities less than ideal. Temperatures will typically fluctuate from 35 to 50 F (2 to 10 C), so you’ll need to pack plenty of layers. If you plan to primarily explore indoor spots, such as cafes and museums, winter is a great time to visit as hotels are significantly cheaper this time of year.

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Spring in Amsterdam

Spring is undoubtedly one of the best and most beautiful times of year to visit Amsterdam. With tulips in full bloom by mid-April, tourists flock to Amsterdam this time of year to visit the massive flower fields located just outside the city. The weather in spring is typically mild, ranging from 50 to 60 F (10 to 15 C), and sunny, which is quite pleasant for sightseeing.

Summer in Amsterdam

Summer is the best time of year to visit if you plan to do a lot of outdoor activities, though it is the most busy and expensive season. Summer weather in Amsterdam is especially beautiful, with temperatures hovering between 65 to 80 F (18 to 27C ). Activities such as bike-riding and canal cruises are especially popular this time of year.

Staalmeestersbrug Amsterdam Photo Spot

Fall in Amsterdam

Early fall is another great option for visiting Amsterdam if you prefer slightly cooler weather and fewer crowds. Temperatures during fall stay around 50 to 60 F (10 to 15 C), so you can still enjoy outdoor activities without being too cold. Fall is also a beautiful time of year to visit if you want to see the leaves changing.

Where to Stay in Amsterdam

Amsterdam has a large selection of hotel options for anyone looking for budget accommodation to over-the-top luxury with canal views.

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Budget Hotel Options

For casual accommodations in a convenient location, Leonardo Hotel is a great option, with rooms available for around 140 EUR ($150 USD) per night. Another good option is Corendon City Hotel, a beautiful property with budget-friendly rooms priced around 118 EUR ($127 USD) per night.  

Mid-Range Hotel Options

If you have a little more flexibility in your budget, consider staying at Eden Hotel. Eden Hotel is centrally-located, making it a great home base for your weekend trip, and is situated along a picturesque canal, with rooms available for 232 EUR ($250 USD) a night. Hotel NH is another solid option in a convenient location with stylish rooms priced at 250 EUR ($270 USD) a night.

Luxury Hotel Options

Two great luxury hotel options in Amsterdam are Andaz Amsterdam and Pulitzer Amsterdam. Both are 5-star hotels with gorgeous accommodations and excellent amenities as well. Andaz Amsterdam is slightly more cost-effective with rooms priced around 360 EUR ($385 USD) per night, while rooms at Pulitzer Amsterdam are closer to 480 EUR ($515 USD) per night.

The Ultimate Amsterdam 2 Day Itinerary

If you’re on the hunt for a fun weekend destination, we highly recommend paying a visit to Amsterdam. The entire city has a very laidback and welcoming vibe which makes it a great option for tourists with limited time to explore. From historic landmarks to famous museums and one-of-a-kind experiences, there’s a little something for everyone to enjoy in Amsterdam. This Ultimate Amsterdam 2 Day Itinerary was designed for travelers who are short on time but want to make the most out of their trip to Amsterdam. We hope you find this itinerary helpful as you plan your trip, and make sure to leave your top Amsterdam recommendations in the comments!

Amsterdam 2 Day Itinerary
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