Only have 2 days in Amsterdam? It will be tight but in this travel guide, I’m going to share the best sights to see for a first-time visit. After traveling to Amsterdam it has easily become one of my favorite cities in Europe. The charm in this city comes at you from every angle. From the romantic canals (60 miles to be exact) – to the historic architecture (dating back to the 17th century) – and the fact that there are more bikes than people – it’s easy to see why so many people fall in love with Amsterdam. It’s one of Europe’s most preserved cities. That’s why I’ve created this “2 Day Amsterdam Itinerary: A First Timer’s Guide” to help you navigate this city.
The weather in Amsterdam is typically very mild however, the winters can be very cold. Because of this, it’s best to visit from late spring to early fall where temperatures are mild. October is the best month to visit Amsterdam when tourism is low and the trees lining the canals are boasting fall colors.
Things to Do in Amsterdam
The Anne Frank House
One of the most humbling experiences I have ever encountered was visiting the Anne Frank House. Seeing the secret annex where the family of Anne Frank hid during the Holocaust brought tears to my eyes. I highly suggest booking your tickets in advance because they sell out almost every day!
Visit Dam Square
“All roads lead to Dam Square.” this main city center is referred to as the heart of Amsterdam. It’s surrounded by shops, restaurants, and great photo opportunities! We had the most delicious waffle in one of the shops surrounding Dam Square. Sometimes the best way to explore is by going with the flow!
Vondelpark is the most famous park in The Netherlands stretching over 120 acres. During the warm weather, you’ll see locals scattered about enjoying the park. Finally, it’s a great place for a bike ride or to post up for a picnic.
Zaanse Schans is located 30 minutes outside of Amsterdam city. This windmill town is the cutest place you will ever visit with small tourist shops and a few cafes. For the easiest and most cost-effective way to get here hop on the local bus from Amsterdam Centraal station. It’s super easy to use and very safe!
To truly experience Amsterdam, you must book a daytime or evening canal cruise! This is the easiest way to sit back, relax, and see the city from another perspective. There are multiple options to choose from on GetYourGuide so click here to book!
Floating Flower Market
The floating flower market, known locally as the Bloemenmarkt, is one of the most visited places in Amsterdam. It’s been open since 1862 and it’s the perfect way to brighten up your day. They’re open Monday to Saturday and you can pick up tulip bulbs for your home garden.
Visit the Red Light District
Amsterdam is mostly associated with its famous red-light district. Named because of the neon lights lining the street along with windows showcasing legal prostitutes, sex shows, and more. It’s not really my cup of tea but I had to walk down one of the streets just to say I did.
Nothing but trendy cafes, little shops, and eateries. Locals flock to this place during the summer. It was by far our favorite area of Amsterdam to explore!
Museums in Amsterdam
Rijksmuseum: A national museum that is dedicated to the culture, history, and arts of Amsterdam. Tickets cost 20 euros for adults and entrance is free for anyone under the age of 18.
Van Gogh Museum: Dutch art museum dedicated to the works of Van Gogh. For more information check out their website.
Where to Stay in Amsterdam
The Hotel Dylan ($$$$)
The Hotel Dylan is part of the group “small luxury hotels of the world” and let me tell you, it sure is luxurious. The rooms were so chic and the food was great. We stayed here on our honeymoon and the service was incredible. It was a bit of a splurge but definitely my favorite hotel we have ever stayed in!
Pulitzer Amsterdam ($$$)
Pulitzer Amsterdam is a sophisticated hotel located in the Jordaan district. Stay for excellent service and the proximity to the main attractions.
Hyatt Regency Amsterdam ($$)
Moderately priced modern hotel within walking district to the Botanicus gardens. Hyatt is always a great hotel chain to stay at and has dramatically improved its hotel experience over the years!
Restaurants + Bars
The Avocado Show ($$)
If you love Avocados as much as we do then you need to make it to this breakfast spot! It’s known for its endless avocado dishes and a chic interior that is very Instagram-worthy!
Pancakes Amsterdam ($)
You are simply not living until you’ve tried a dutch pancake in Amsterdam. They may be flat but they sure are tasty AF! Pancakes Amsterdam is one of the most popular breakfast spots in Amsterdam, but well worth the wait!
Heineken experience ($)
If you’re a beer drinker then this guided tour of the Heineken factory is right up your alley. Learn all about the history of Heineken, get a chance to taste the product, and see where all of the Heineken products were manufactured up until 1988!
Bar Brasserie OCCO ($$$)
Trendy bar with quality cocktails, small plates, and stunning interior design!
French-inspired restaurant with a weekly changing menu and a warm ambiance.
Shopping in Amsterdam
The Nine streets ($$) — known as the ‘negen straatjes’ full of trendy and quirky boutiques and the occasional vintage store.
Getting Around Amsterdam
Amsterdam Centraal Station
Amsterdam Centraal Station is the largest in the country. Most people take the train to visit Amsterdam and this is where you’ll embark on your 2 day Amsterdam journey.
There is no better way to see Amsterdam than renting a bicycle and seeing it from the local’s eyes. There are plenty of bike rental shops around the city, be prepared to spend roughly 10 euros per day. We booked this bike tour and loved it, highly recommend it!
The city of Amsterdam is pretty small compared to other European countries. With that being said, walking is a great way to navigate the canals and take your time viewing this pretty city!
Buses, Metros, & Trams oh my! There is plenty of public transportation to take you around Amsterdam. If you’re going to be there a couple of days your best bet is to buy a daily transportation pass that you can use across all platforms.
Amsterdam City Card
If you’ll be visiting for 2 days then consider getting the Amsterdam City Card. It gives access to multiple museums, public transportation, bike tours, and even a canal cruise tour.
I hope you enjoyed my “2 Days in Amsterdam Itinerary: a first timers guide” and it helped you make your Amsterdam trip even better! For more of my travel guides head here!