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2 Day Amsterdam Itinerary For First Time Visitors

2 Day Amsterdam Itinerary For First Time Visitors

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If Amsterdam’s lofty gabled houses, heart wrenching history and serpentine canals have caught your eye then we’re here to show you how to spend 2 days in Amsterdam to see all of this and more. 

Read on for our 2 day Amsterdam itinerary – it’s time to start planning a weekend getaway to the trendiest of European cities.

2 day Amsterdam itinerary

Is 2 Days In Amsterdam Enough?

If you’re wondering how many days to spend in Amsterdam and whether 2 days in Amsterdam is actually enough time, then let us tell you. 

Although a 2 day trip to Amsterdam means you won’t be able to see everything of note, you will get a chance to see some of Amsterdam’s most famous attractions and things to do, as well as a handful of hidden gems.

We’d normally recommend spending at least 3 days in Amsterdam, but if you can’t do that, then here’s how to spend 2 days in Amsterdam for a short but super fun trip!

Closeup of pink flowers in a box on the side of an Amsterdam canal

2 Day Amsterdam Itinerary: What To Do In Amsterdam In 2 days

Are you ready for a whirlwind city break to Amsterdam? 

48 hours in Amsterdam will see you taking in the city’s heart wrenching and sometimes bizarre history, as well as its famous art and culture scene. 

And then – of course! – we can’t forget Amsterdam’s promiscuous side, which seeps into almost every nook and cranny of the city.

Here’s how we recommend you spend 2 days in Amsterdam…

Day 1 

Walking Tour With A Local

When you’ve only got 2 days in Amsterdam, following a local around the city for a couple of hours is the perfect way to start your trip. 

Not only will you not have to worry about directions or getting lost in Amsterdam’s little side streets, but you’ll learn so much about Amsterdam’s history and discover hidden gems you never knew existed. You’ll probably be surprised by how much you can actually see in just two hours!

During our own walking tour, we found the unofficial and official oldest pubs in Amsterdam, as well as Amsterdam’s oldest church and the narrowest street in Amsterdam to name just a few obscure highlights.

It was interesting, a lot of fun and gave us the chance to ask lots of questions about how the rest of our 2 day Amsterdam itinerary should look.

Check out Get Your Guide for various Amsterdam walking tours and prices >>

Anne Frank’s House

Anne Frank House, Amsterdam

Anne Frank’s House at Prinsengracht 263-267 is one of the most famous museums in Amsterdam and probably in the whole world. It’s a humbling experience but a must see during your 2 day Amsterdam itinerary.

The museum is housed inside the actual annex that Anne Frank and her family lived in for over two years while WWII and the persecution of the Jews happened all around them.

There is still much about the annex that has remained untouched whilst other parts have been recreated in order to bring the experience to life. 

During your visit, you have access to a free audio tour, which is full of useful information about each room you’re in, as well as more about the family’s experience in the annex and a few diary entries.

Before visiting, neither of us had read the book or known all that much about the Frank family. And yet once we’d left, we both had the urge to read the book and learn more. Spoiler: It’s an incredible book written by a talented young girl who was taken from this world far too soon.

Top Tip #1: Make sure you buy your tickets online in advance. Queues for the museum can get crazy long and so the museum have now completely stopped selling tickets on the door.

Top Tip #2: The stairs of the annex are both very narrow and steep, so ensure you’re wearing comfortable shoes during your visit.

Top Tip #3: There is a great pancake house just next door called Pancakes Amsterdam Westermarkt. Perfect for a lunch stop before the museum wouldn’t you say? It’ll take you two or three hours to walk around the museum so you’ll need a hearty lunch!

Amsterdam Canal Cruise

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Once you’ve seen everything inside the museum, there are various canal cruises you can join in different areas of the city.

Not only are these a great way to see some of Amsterdam’s 165 canals but some tours also include an audio guide that gives you yet more facts about Amsterdam and its history. 

If you can hop on a cruise ready for sunset then this is also a pretty romantic way to spend your 48 hours in Amsterdam too!

Check out Get Your Guide for different cruises and their prices >>

Venustempel Sex Museum

Venustempel Sex Museum, Amsterdam

As Amsterdam is a fairly relaxed city, sex and erotica museums are fairly common. The Venustempel Sex Museum covers most areas of sex and the history of it including the hardcore, funny and sensuous.

Split across several floors, there is a lot of sex in this museum so don’t even think about coming here if you’re a little prudish!

There is a great bit of fun to be had for a couple of hours within this museum – I particularly liked the look of the erotic cakes!

And as it’s open until 11.30pm, you’ll easily be able to fit this into your 2 day Amsterdam itinerary!

Top Tip: We’d recommend wearing layers you can easily take off to this museum. It can get very hot inside the small room dedicated to hardcore sex (it’s a tiny often packed room), so you’ll likely want to take off a couple of layers whilst in this particular part of the museum.

Day 2 

Vondelpark

At a whopping 120 acres, Vondelpark is the largest and most famous park in Amsterdam. 

Although you won’t be able to see all of it during your trip, a short stroll around part of it in the morning is such a relaxing way to start your second day in Amsterdam.

Along the way, keep an eye out for glistening lakes and tiny bridges, as well as the Joost van den Vondel statue and a tree that looks like it’s been carved onto a giant’s hand.

Psst! Don’t be surprised if you frequently get a whiff of cannabis during your walk. We saw different sections of it at different times during our own trip to Amsterdam and it just seemed to permanently smell of the stuff! Only in Amsterdam right?

Van Gogh Museum

Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam

Within a quick ten minute walk of the Joost van den Vondel statue in Vondelpark, you can be at the Van Gogh Museum.

As you might have guessed, this museum is entirely devoted to art from the 19th century painter Vincent Van Gogh and is now the 31st most visited art museum in the world.

Split across four floors, there is a lot of art to take in here. But among his most famous works are ‘Sunflowers’ (1889), ‘Irises’ (1890) and ‘Almond Blossom’ (1890). To tell you the truth, my favourite wasn’t any of these… my vote would be for ‘Flowering Plum Orchard’ (1887) … well worth a look!

As can be expected with a museum of this size, there is an audio tour included in your ticket price, which helps to explain the history behind the main pieces in the collection. You’ll also need to deposit your bags in free lockers upon entry.

Top Tip #1: Tickets are via timed entry and you’re best buying them in advance online as this is a popular museum.

Top Tip #2: If you like the idea of taking a popular print home with you, we’d recommend buying a large postcard for a couple of Euros. Once you pop it into a beautiful frame at home, no one need ever know that you didn’t splurge out on an official print!

Bloemenmarkt

Amsterdam Flower Market

One of the best places to buy souvenirs, traditional tulips and street food, Amsterdam’s floating flower market (Bloemenmarkt) is a beautiful and unique place to do some shopping and take some photos. 

You can’t miss it and it deserves at least an hour or two of your attention!

Red Light District

Amsterdam Red Light District

No trip to Amsterdam would be complete without a visit to the Red Light District. 

There are various clubs and bars here, which become heaving once the sun sets. And then of course there are the windows of women.

While some will smile, wave and beckon you over, others are shy and will hide behind a curtain if they can tell you’re a tourist rather than a potential customer. 

During our visit, our guide told us that the women in the windows are actually considered to be self-employed; they’re in charge of their own trade, taxes and prices. This was definitely at odds with the images of pimps and gigolos I’d had in my head before visiting.

While you’re here, be sure to check out the Oudekerk Church on Oudezijds Voorburgwal. This church is one of the oldest buildings in Amsterdam and is nestled amongst the debauchery and freedom of the Red Light District.

This was probably the moment when we realised just how much of a unique and oftentimes bizarre city we had found ourselves in, which makes for a truly a unique way to say goodbye to the city.

Is this Amsterdam itinerary not quite what you were after? We also offer custom travel planning services!

Where To Stay In Amsterdam For 2 Nights

Amsterdam canal houses

Amsterdam is made up of several different districts, each with their own vibe and flair. 

As you only have a couple of nights in Amsterdam to spare, you’ll want to stay somewhere fairly central, although you will play for the pleasure of doing so.

We’d recommend looking for hotels within Amsterdam-West or Oud-West. You’ll still only be a short walk or metro ride away from top attractions, but will pay slightly less than if you were to stay within the Amsterdam-Centrum canal ring.

Here are a few hotel options to consider:

Discover more Amsterdam hotels on Booking.com >>
Or check out Hotels.com >>

How To Get Around Amsterdam

When wandering around the top tourist sights and districts, you should find that the city is fairly walkable in terms of distances. 

But I wouldn’t call it a walkable city. This is simply because of how many cyclists there are in Amsterdam, which is easily in the hundreds of thousands. 

During our trip, we frequently joked how we felt like third-class citizens on foot as bikes and cars definitely have more space than pedestrians. 

That said, if you’re on a budget and want to see Amsterdam’s canals and little side streets then on foot or on a bike if you feel comfortable doing so is the best way to get around. 

Closeup of pink flowers in a box on the side of an Amsterdam canal

Alternatively, Amsterdam is also home to an efficient metro system. 

You can purchase hourly tickets if you’ll only be using the metro once or twice, or you can get top up travel cards that work just like Oyster cards in London. You simply put a certain amount of money onto the card, touch in and out of stations and keep topping up the card as you need to during your trip. 

You can also buy tourist passes like the I Amsterdam City Card, which gives you unlimited city-wide transport via the metro, tram, bus and ferry, alongside free entry to top attractions, an hour-long canal cruise and bicycle rental for 24 hours. 

You can buy different cards for the length of your trip from 24 hours up to 5 days – and they’re actually really great value for money!


What do you think of this 2 day Amsterdam itinerary? And what are you most excited to see and do? We’d love to hear your thoughts so just drop us a note or two in the comments section below…

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Want more ideas of things to do in Amsterdam? Check out these recommendations from a local!

Need help planning your trip to Amsterdam? We also offer custom travel planning services!

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