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Amsterdam 2-Day Itinerary: How to Spend an EPIC Weekend in Amsterdam!

Looking for the perfect Amsterdam 2-day itinerary? You’ve come to the right place!

In this article I have outlined a detailed Amsterdam weekend itinerary, including useful logistical tips like how to get around Amsterdam, where to stay, where to eat, the best tours and more.

Amsterdam is one of those cities I keep returning to. Between school trips, and trips with friends and family, I’m now on my 5th visit to the Dutch capital.

With its unique architecture, romantic canals, and quirky vibe, it’s a city that could never be boring. It attracts thousands of visitors each year, and it’s easy to see why.

There are plenty of things to do in Amsterdam, which cater both to history and culture fans, as well as fun and unique activities for young travellers. It’s the perfect weekend destination.

So what are you waiting for? Let’s dive in, and start planning the perfect weekend in Amsterdam!

Exploring the canals of Amsterdam

Exploring the canals of Amsterdam

Logistical tips for your weekend in Amsterdam

Before we dive into my detailed Amsterdam weekend itinerary, I wanted to go over some useful logistical tips, that will help you make the most of your time in Amsterdam.

How to get around Amsterdam

On foot, public transportation and by bike! The centre of Amsterdam is fairly small and it’s easy to get everywhere on foot.

For longer distances during your weekend in Amsterdam there’s public transport in the form of the metro, trams, ferries and buses.

To make travelling around Amsterdam as smooth as possible, you can pick up a rechargeable transport card called OV-chipkaart.

Simply charge it up at the machines and tap as you get on public transport. The trams and metro system in particular are great. Both are clean, efficient and easy to use.

Alternatively, you can try a proper Dutch experience and rent a bike! Bike rentals are available from shops all over Amsterdam. Riding around this bike-friendly city is a fun and eco-friendly way to see the sights.

Bicycles lined along the canals of Amsterdam

Bicycles lined along the canals of Amsterdam

How many days do you need in Amsterdam?

If you wanted to see every single thing there is to see in Amsterdam – all the museums, churches, galleries, and different attractions – you would probably need months!  

But an Amsterdam 2-day trip is realistically enough to see the main highlights, and to get a feel for the Amsterdam vibe.

You could spend longer, of course, however, if you’ve all you’ve got is a weekend to spare, don’t worry!

You’ll definitely be able to see the main attractions, enjoy a slice of the city’s nightlife, and get a good introduction to Amsterdam.

Canal views in Amsterdam by night

Canal views in Amsterdam by night

Best time to visit Amsterdam

Since it’s a city, Amsterdam is a year-round destination. Even if you visit in winter, when it’s cold and raining, you’ll still have a great time.

There are lots of indoor things to do, from fantastic world-class museums to warm cafes to cosy up in.

The spring and summer months are more popular. Not only is it Easter and summer holidays throughout Europe, but the weather is naturally nicer.

Spring is a good option to see flowering tulips, but it will also be busier. 

You should also note that the price of your Amsterdam weekend trip may also increase during peak season (spring and summer).

Wandering along the canals of Amsterdam

Wandering along the canals of Amsterdam

The unique architecture of Amsterdam lit up at night

The unique architecture of Amsterdam lit up at night

Where to stay in Amsterdam

When you’re looking for the best places to stay in Amsterdam, the city center is the perfect place for a weekend. That way you will be close to all the main attractions. Here are some options for every budget.

Budget – EcomamaAmsterdam isn’t a very budget city. If you don’t want to spend loads on accommodation, opting for a bed in a hostel dorm like this one is your best bet.

Click here to book your stay at Ecomama in Amsterdam!

Mid-range – NH Amsterdam Museum QuarterLocated in the heart of the Museum Quarter, this hotel is great if you want somewhere nice that won’t break the bank.

Click here to book your stay at NH Amsterdam Museum Quarter!

Luxury – Sir Albert HotelLocated in De Pijp, a more local neighbourhood in Amsterdam, this hotel is the perfect place to treat yourself!

Check out prices & availability at Sir Albert Hotel here!

Trying Poffertjes, typical Dutch pancakes, is a must if you visit Amsterdam in a weekend

Trying Poffertjes, typical Dutch pancakes, is a must if you visit Amsterdam in a weekend

What to pack for two days in Amsterdam

If you were to forget to pack something, it’s not a big deal, as there are plenty of shops in Amsterdam where you can buy anything. However here are a couple essentials things that it’s better to have as soon as you land.

UmbrellaEspecially if you’re visiting Europe in the fall, the weather in Amsterdam can be quite grey and rainy. If you’ve got your trusty umbrella on hand, you won’t have to hunt for one under the Dutch rain.

Power bankWhether it’s for finding your way on Google Maps, or for snapping photos of the beautiful Amsterdam architecture, having a power bank ensures your phone doesn’t die on you half way through the day!

Comfortable walking shoes: This Amsterdam 2-day itinerary has a lot of walking involved, so you want to make sure you to do so in comfortable trainers, to avoid having painful feet at the end of the day.

Stainless steel water bottle: save money and reduce plastic consumption by bringing your own water bottle and refilling it on the go.

Exploring Amsterdam on two wheels

Exploring Amsterdam on two wheels

Do you need travel insurance for a weekend in Amsterdam?

After my personal experience spending two nights in a private hospital in Tenerife, and having to pay for it out of pocket (it wasn’t cheap), I always recommend getting travel insurance.

You might not end up needing it, but for a small fee you can travel without worries. Personally, I suggest getting your travel insurance with  Heymondo.

Heymondo offers tailor made travel insurance, providing the best value for money for your specific trip. You can also buy it once you’re already abroad and have forgotten about it before flying (which, if you’re anything like me, is quite likely).

Besides the usual cancellation, medical expenses, luggage coverage and general travel insurance services, Heymondo also has a 24/7 doctor chat and instant assistance through their app.

As a Greta’s Travels reader, you get 5% off your Heymondo travel insurance!

Click here to get your 5% off Heymondo travel insurance!

Cruising past De Krijtberg, one of the most famous churches in Amsterdam

Amsterdam Weekend Itinerary 

To make the most of your weekend in this cool city, follow my itinerary below so you don’t waste time figuring out what to do next during your two days in Amsterdam.

Amsterdam 2-day itinerary: Day 1

Explore Dam Square

The first day of your 2-day itinerary in Amsterdam begins in Dam Square. This large public square is just a short walk from Amsterdam Central Station.

It’s a good place to get to grips with the city. Dam Square was first constructed in the 13th century, and has been the focus of life in the city ever since. It’s located in the heart of the historic centre of Amsterdam.

It was originally the location of a dam on the Amstel River, which was built in 1270, and helped to connect two different communities on opposite banks of the river.

Over time the area built up, and became big enough to host a town square. It hosted a large fish market among other commercial enterprises.

There was a centuries-old weigh house here, which was used to determine how much goods were worth and the duties to be paid on them, but it was demolished by Louis Bonaparte in 1808.

This was so he could move into his newly renovated Royal Palace. 

Dam Square in Amsterdam - a must-see on any Amsterdam 2-day itinerary

Dam Square in Amsterdam

Visit the Royal Palace of Amsterdam

The Royal Palace overlooks Dam Square today. Dating back to the 17th-century, the structure was once home to the Dutch royal family.

Work on this grand building started in 1648 and, over time, it has been expanded and used for various functions (including as the city hall).

Today it’s open to the public. You can visit from 10AM to 5PM (tickets cost 12.50 EUR), or take a tour that’ll give deeper insight into the past of this illustrious attraction. 

Click here to book your Amsterdam Royal Palace entrance ticket & audio guide!

The outside of the Royal Palace in Amsterdam

The outside of the Royal Palace in Amsterdam

Visit the Anne Frank House

Nearby is one of Amsterdam’s most important sights: Anne Frank House.

Located around a 10-minute walk from Dam Square, the unassuming house sits in a street alongside other similar buildings. But over a million visitors a year visit the place where Anne Frank once lived.

Born in 1929, at the age of 13, Anne Frank and her family went into hiding in a secret annex of this house with another family.

It was in this house that Anne wrote her now famous diary, detailing what life was like for the teenager and the families she lived with.

Her father Otto was the only survivor of the war after the Gestapo turned up in 1944. Visiting her house is an important thing to do in Amsterdam.

If you want to understand more about her history, you can join an Anne Frank and World War II walking tour like this one.

You get to learn about her story, see poignant personal items, and reflect on this dark period of recent history. After spending time learning about the life of Anne Frank, step outside to enjoy other parts of the city.

It’ll be lunchtime by the time you finish visiting the Anne Frank Museum, so why not try some famous Amsterdam pancakes? 

Click here to book your Anne Frank and World War II walking tour here!

Cruising along the canals of Amsterdam

Cruising along the canals of Amsterdam

Try delicious local pancakes for lunch

There’s a whole host of pancake houses dotted around the city – there’s even a pancake boat! Just a 12-minute walk away from Anne Frank House is the Happy Pig Pancake Shop.

Serving up a mouth-watering selection of authentic Dutch pancakes, all of the ingredients used are organic.

Choose your toppings – from apple, raisin and cinnamon to banana – or opt for waffles instead. Or go savoury and top yours with gouda cheese. 

Trying Dutch pancakes in Amsterdam

Trying Dutch pancakes in Amsterdam

Go for a canal boat tour

After you’ve devoured your delicious pancakes, it’s time to set sail along one of Amsterdam’s iconic canals.

The city is laced with 100 kilometres of canals, with three main canals, all crossed by around 1,500 bridges, and creating approximately 90 islands.

Needless to say, canals make up a big part of Amsterdam, so taking a trip along these waterways is a great way to see not just the life of the city, but much of the city’s architecture too. 

Amsterdam’s canals were dug in the 17th century and are today listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Taking a canal boat tour is a must when you’re in the city.

This particular tour takes you past many of the top sites on a 75-minute cruise; it includes audio commentary and snacks. What more could you want?

Click here to book your canal cruise in Amsterdam!

Enjoying the view during our Amsterdam canals cruise

Enjoying the view during our Amsterdam canals cruise

Explore De 9 Straatjes

Back on dry land, it’s time to explore another central area: De 9 Straatjes, or the 9 Streets.

This shopping district is centred around nine narrow, boutique-filled streets. Spend time here strolling past the windows of art galleries, stopping by cafes and browsing cute shops.

This is a good chance to pick up souvenirs or a few gifts. De 9 Straatjes is very photogenic as well, so make sure you’ve got enough space on your camera to take plenty of pictures.

If you want more of an in-depth look at this quintessential Amsterdam neighbourhood, you could join a local guide on a walking tour.

Click here to book your private walking tour of De 9 Straatjes!

Wandering around De 9 Straatjes in Amsterdam

Wandering around De 9 Straatjes in Amsterdam

Wander around the famous Red Light District

Your list of what to see in Amsterdam in 2 days wouldn’t be complete without a trip to the Red Light District, which is around a 15-minute walk from De 9 Straatjes.

Known as De Wallen, Amsterdam’s Red Light District is possibly the most famous in the world. It also makes up the oldest part of Amsterdam.

Dating back to 1385, this notorious neighbourhood has been attracting travellers and traders for centuries. When ships docked in the harbour, women would walk down to greet the men coming ashore.

These women would hold red lights, to make them look attractive to potential clients.

Sex workers are still very much part of the Red Light District. Even if you’re not planning on being a customer, visiting the Red Light District is a must-see on pretty much any Amsterdam itinerary.

It’s a unique part of the city, which is unlike anywhere else in Europe. You might want to avoid it if you’re visiting Amsterdam with children, but even my 85-year old grandma was very curious to see it.

To get a better understanding of life here, a good option is to take a tour.

This two-hour walking tour is run by a professional guide who will lead you around the district and offer facts about the history, culture and life of the people who live and work there.

Click here to book your walking tour of the Red Light District in Amsterdam!

Exploring the Red Light District in Amsterdam in the evening

Exploring the Red Light District in Amsterdam in the evening

Amsterdam 2-day itinerary: Day 2

Visit the Van Gogh Museum

A visit to the Van Gogh Museum is the perfect start to your second day in Amsterdam.

The museum plays host to the Dutch artist’s vast personal collection of art, which he left to his family upon his death.

Making the world’s largest collection of Van Gogh pieces, the museum is perhaps unsurprisingly the most visited museum in the city. It gets over 2.5 million visitors per year!

Here you can see famous pieces such as Sunflowers, The Potato Eaters and Almond Blossoms to name just a few. It’s open most days from 9AM to 5PM; on weekends that’s 10AM to 6PM.

You have to book your tickets (20 EUR per person) in advance – possibly weeks in advance if you plan on visiting in peak season – as walk-ins aren’t always allowed.

For art lovers who want a deeper dive into the life and work of Van Gogh, an organised tour like this two-hour guided walk around the Van Gogh Museum is a must. It also includes the price of the entry ticket.

Don’t miss out, click here to book your Van Gogh Museum entry ticket and guided tour!

Visiting the famous Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam - the highlight of any Amsterdam weekend itinerary

Visiting the famous Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam

Visit the Rijksmuseum

A five-minute walk from the Van Gogh Museum is another of Amsterdam’s famous attractions, the Rijksmuseuma museum filled with over a million treasures from Dutch history.

Tracing around 800 years of history in the Netherlands, the museum was founded in 1798 in the Hague, and moved to Amsterdam 10 years later. 

Here you’ll find masterpieces from Dutch artists such as Rembrandt and Vermeer, as well as historical artifacts and photography. It’s open from 9AM to 5PM every day, with tickets costing 22.50 EUR. 

Alternatively, you could pay a visit to the Rijksmuseum’s secret library. A must-visit for book lovers, step inside this hallowed space and be surrounded by towering bookcases stuffed with tomes.

Known as Cuyper’s Library, it’s the largest and oldest in the country (open 10AM to 5PM; closed Sundays).

Click here to book purchase your fast track entrance ticket to the Rijksmuseum!

The exterior of the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam

The exterior of the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam

Learning about Dutch history inside the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam

Learning about Dutch history inside the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam

There are plenty of other museums in the Museum Quarter if the above museums don’t take your fancy (or if you’ve been to them before).

Most of them are within easy walking distance of each other, but you could also travel elsewhere to see attractions like the Amsterdam Dungeon – a fun, interactive and gory way to learn about history in the city – or pay a visit to the Sex Museum.

Other unique museums in Amsterdam include The Upside Down Museum, Moco Museum or Body Worlds.

Click here to purchase your entrance ticket to the Amsterdam Dungeon!

Exploring the canals and architecture of Amsterdam

Exploring the canals and architecture of Amsterdam

Free afternoon around Amsterdam

Your 2 days in Amsterdam end with a free afternoon! In around a day and a half, you’ve already seen the most famous, iconic sights of Amsterdam, which leaves you with a free afternoon to finish your weekend.

Amsterdam is such a varied and unique city, that once the main must-see sights are ticked off, the best things to do depend on your interests. I’ll list a few things that you can choose from to fill your afternoon in Amsterdam.

Even if you’re not a beer drinker, the Heineken Experience is a fun attraction.

The former brewery offers a chance to learn about beer-making and features an interactive museum as well as a beer terrace with views of the city (open 10:30AM to 7:30PM most days).

Check out prices & availability for your Heineken Experience in Amsterdam here!

Canal views in Amsterdam by night

Canal views in Amsterdam by night

Trying local Dutch cuisine

Trying local Dutch cuisine

If church architecture interests you, then there are some iconic churches to visit in Amsterdam.

There’s the 17th-century Zuiderkerk, the Oudekerk (dating back to the 13th-century) or the 130-year-old Basilica of Saint Nicholas.

Amsterdam also has a rich Jewish heritage. You can learn more about it at the Jewish Historical Museum, complete with buildings that date to the 17th century.

Opposite is the Portuguese Synagogue, which was the largest synagogue when it was completed in 1675.

It may not be for everyone, but you could also go on a weed and coffee shops tour. It’s a fun way to experience the world of legalised drugs in Amsterdam.

Click here to book your weed coffee shop tour in Amsterdam!

The famous sunflowers of Van Gogh

The famous sunflowers of Van Gogh

If you want to see some iconic Dutch art in an interactive way, you could check out Remdrandt’s Amsterdam Experience. It’s a reconstruction of his studio where you can learn about the master’s life and creative process.

Or if you’re a cat-lover, head to KattenKabinet. Set in a traditional Amsterdam townhouse dating to 1666, this quirky museum is dedicated to all things feline from paintings to sculptures.

There’s also De Poezenboot, a houseboat turned cat sanctuary. Opening in the 1960s, the boat has been caring for the city’s stray cats ever since.

Check out prices & availability for your Rembrandt’s Experience in Amsterdam here!

Beautiful reflections in the canals of Amsterdam

Beautiful reflections in the canals of Amsterdam

Final thoughts on what to do in Amsterdam in 2 days

There you have it, the ultimate Amsterdam 2-day itinerary! Have you been to Amsterdam before? How did you find it? Let me know in the comments below!

Personally, I think two days in Amsterdam is just enough time to discover the city.

Since it’s a short visit it will be quite packed, but it’s just enough time to see all the best museums, discover the major attractions, and wander beyond central Amsterdam.

Especially if it’s your first time in the city, I wouldn’t overthink too much about what to do in Amsterdam for a weekend. Hit the most popular places first, and then give yourself some time to just wander freely around.

After all, it’s one of the best cities in Europe, and a must-see on any Europe bucket list!

I hope you found my Amsterdam 2-day itinerary useful! If you have any questions, just let me know in the comments below!

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