48 Hours in Amsterdam – 2 Day Itinerary

Amsterdam. View of the old houses, canal and boats. Famous place in the old center of Amsterdam. Amsterdam, Holland, Netherlands, Europe

Amsterdam is a city with a rich history and architecture, making it the perfect destination for sightseeing. From the canals, museums and other sites of historical significance, there is no shortage of things to do here. Below is a rough guide to a 2 day itinerary in Amsterdam.

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How to get around in Amsterdam

Amsterdam’s public transportation system, which includes metros, buses and trams, ferries and trains, will help you get around the city. The I Amsterdam City Card lets you take unlimited rides on the GVB public transportation system for 24, 48, or 72 hours.

This city card also allows you access to more than 70 museums, bike rental and a 1-hour canal cruise. There are also plenty of apps that you can download, which will help you find your way around.

Cycling is one of the best ways to get around the city and allows you to see more in a day while blending in with the locals at the same time. You can hire a bike and make your own way around the city or you can take a guided cycling tour.

Best time of the year to visit Amsterdam

The best times to visit are either between April and May or September to November, as the weather is likely to be pleasant but the museums and attractions will be less crowded than in the height of summer.

Read more: 3 Days Itinerary for Amsterdam 

Where to stay in Amsterdam for 2 days

There really is something for everyone in Amsterdam, no matter your budget. The area has over 350 hotels, from cheaper hostels to high-end accommodations.

Some hotel recommendations include Hotel NH Collection Amsterdam Barbizon Palace, The Hoxton and Eden Hotel. There are also plenty of options to rent an apartment, which allows you more freedom and privacy. The area has many Airbnb listings, so it is easy to find one that suits your needs.

Jordaan Amsterdam - Where to Stay in Amsterdam as a First Time Visitor

Day 1 – Amsterdam Itinerary

Why not treat yourself to breakfast in The Jordaan area of the city? This is a charming neighbourhood with narrow alleys, canals lined with 17th-century houses, quirky shops and designer boutiques.

A few recommendations for where to eat include Mood’s Coffee Corner, Winkel 43 and Kessens.

Tulip Museum

This flower remains the Dutch favourite and is one of the symbols of their country. Visit this small private museum just across from Anne Frank’s House and you will learn how tulips came to symbolize the Netherlands.

You will be immersed in the world of tulips through photographs, videos, interactive displays and historical artifacts. The onsite shop sells bulbs so you can grow your own flowers at home. Entry to the Tulip Museum is only €5.

AMSTERDAM, NETHERLANDS close up of a tulip museum sign in amsterdam

Anne Frank House

The Anne Frank House is the place where Anne Frank and her family hid from the German soldiers during World War II. It is a museum dedicated to Anne Frank, who wrote the Diary of a Young Girl while she was in hiding.

Pre-book your tickets and either visit super early in the morning or towards the end of the day as this museum can get really busy. Tickets costs €14 and the house is open daily.

AMSTERDAM-People stand in a queue to the Anne Frank House Museum on April 30,2015.The Anne Frank House Museum is one of Amsterdam's most popular and important museums opened in 1960.

Dam Square

Dam Square, one of Amsterdam’s main tourist attractions and home to the Royal Palace of Amsterdam, is a lively place all year-round. Although no longer home to the Dutch Royal family, this grand 17th-century building is still used to hold official receptions.

You can take a tour or just walk around its beautiful gardens, which are filled with fountains and mosaics depicting famous Dutch people. During springtime many festivals are held in this vibrant part of town; in summer street mimes and other performers attract crowds with their acts.

With its many restaurants and shops, including the trendy Bijenkorf, Dam Square is one of Amsterdam’s busiest squares. You might even have to wait for a seat at one of the cafes or bars there. Such is their popularity that it can be difficult finding somewhere to sit!

Stop for lunch at one of the restaurants and cafes in Dam Square, while enjoying the views. Why not try one of the following, Melly’s Cookie Bar, De Drie Graefjes (Dam) or Bagels & Beans.

There are plenty to choose from. Do not forget to try some Bitterballen whilst you are there. These are delicious little deep-fried balls, similar to a croquette, that are filled with meat and roux-based mixture, which are then eaten alongside mustard and a beer.

Amsterdam, The Netherlands - Aerial view of the Dam square. The place is the historical center of the city and includes the Royal Palace.

Rembrandt House Museum

If you’re looking for something to do in Amsterdam for an afternoon, then The Rembrandt House Museum is a must. It is dedicated to the 17th-century Dutch painter Rembrandt van Rijn. The house is located in the Jodenbreestraat area of Amsterdam.

Rembrandt lived and worked in this monumental building in the centre of Amsterdam from 1639 to 1658. All of the furniture, art and objects from that era that you can see in the residence were based on an inventory that was drawn up when Rembrandt was declared bankrupt.

Let yourself be transported back to the seventeenth century as you explore Rembrandt’s living room, kitchen and workshop. The house tells not only of his life as an artist but also provides insight into him as a man—his aspirations (businessman), relationships (teacher) and politics (citizen).

AMSTERDAM, NETHERLANDS - Rembrandt House Museum (Museum Het Rembrandthuis) entrance in Amsterdam, Netherlands. Rembrandt van Rijn is generally considered one of the greatest painters in European art

Body Worlds – The Happiness Project

Gunther von Hagens’ Body Worlds is a huge tourist attraction that needs to be ticked off your bucket list. Real human bodies are presented that have been preserved through plastination. The exhibition gives you an up-close and personal look at the inner workings of our anatomy, allowing you to see how we function as living beings.

The Happiness Project is located in a historic building right in the centre of Amsterdam (Damrack 66) and takes you on a journey through seven levels of the exhibition, exploring what happiness is and how it affects us physically.

You start your visit by taking the elevator to the 6th level and then walking down through each following level of the exhibition until you reach its end in the basement.

On your way down, you will see 200 plastinated real human bodies and learn all about how happiness affects the body. The attraction has been a success all over the world, with tours in more than 100 cities in Europe, America, Africa and Asia.

Since it began in 1995 this innovative experience has drawn more than 40 million visitors. This is definitely worth checking out if you want to see something educational and fascinating while visiting Amsterdam!

Booking tickets online is the fastest and easiest way to guarantee availability. The attraction is open daily from 10 am until 10 pm and entry tickets cost €21.50 per person.

AMSTERDAM, NETHERLANDS - Entrance to Body Worlds museum. More than 200 real dead human bodies are a part of this Amsterdam interactive exhibition and illustrate detailed human anatomy.

Red Light District

If you are looking for a fun evening during your weekend in Amsterdam, then the Red Light District is a great place to start. You are in Amsterdam, so no doubt you have already heard of the Red Light District (De Wallen).

The RLD is one of the most famous tourist attractions in the city. As night falls, it is lit up with endless neon lights, but there is much more to this part of town than meets the eye. A guided tour can give you an insight into the history of sex work, coffee houses, and erotic theatres in the city’s most talked-about neighbourhood.

Alternatively, you can download an audio guide to your smartphone, which will provide you with facts and direct you to places that you may miss on your own.

The Amsterdam Red Light District offers a variety of attractions, from brothels to sex shops and museums. A little worried about getting lost or not sure where you’re going, then I’d recommend you enjoy a tour that includes the red light district and coffee shops with a local.

There are around 160 coffee shops in Amsterdam, with the majority of them located in the Red light district. There is plenty of variety from local ones to more touristy ones, there is something for everyone.

They are not just for smoking weed, they are sociable places to meet friends and have a good time. Although Amsterdam is renowned for being more liberal, make sure you follow the rules when you are inside.

Night view of Red - light district in Amsterdam, Netherlands with sex shops

DAY 2 – Amsterdam Itinerary

Your second day on your 48 hours in Amsterdam itinerary will be just as jam packed as the first. Start the day off at a local cafe such as Greenwoods Singel, Bakers & Roasters or Heart-Garden Waffles & Coffee. Have a breakfast of waffles, coffee and a croissant before heading off to your first attraction.

Van Gogh Museum

The Van Gogh Museum is the most important art museum in Holland. The museum is located in the Museumplein, a large park close to Amsterdam Central Station.

The museum is named after Vincent van Gogh (1853-1890) who was a Dutch painter and one of the most famous artists in history. You will be transported on a fascinating journey through the life of the artist and his contemporaries.

The museum introduces the complete story: the artist, the context, Van Gogh’s personal ambitions, his emotions, the myths that surround him, and his influence right up until this very day.

In addition to its permanent collection, the museum hosts 3 special temporary exhibitions every year. Book your tickets online in advance to make sure that you do not miss out! Prices for entry are €20 per person and the museum is open 365 days a year.

Amsterdam, Netherlands - Van Gogh museum building outstanding with design architecture in Amsterdam, Netherlands

Albert Cuyp Market

The Albert Cuyp Market is named after the Dutch artist Albert Cuyp and is located on the Albert Cuypstraat in Amsterdam, in the heart of the ‘de Pijp’ area.

It originated in 1901 and is popular with locals, tourists and entrepreneurs with 260 market stalls selling food, flowers, clothes and other goods.

AMSTERDAM, THE NETHERLANDS - People visiting the Albert Cuyp Market, a street market and a tourist attraction in Amsterdam, on the Albert Cuypstraat in De Pijp area of the city

Rijksmuseum

The grandest museum in Amsterdam showcases a stunning array of artworks and artifacts, ranging from the city’s Golden Age to current artistic innovations.

There are 80 galleries and 8000 objects on display, so it is impossible to view the complete collection of treasures in a single visit.

However, on your whistle-stop tour and two days in Amsterdam, make sure you pop in for an hour and take a look around before lunch! Some great lunch spots include PIQNIQ and Lunchcafe Waterloo.

AMSTERDAM - I Amsterdam slogan with crowd of tourists on April 16 2015 in Amsterdam. Located at the back of the Rijksmuseum on Museumplein the slogan quickly became a city icon.

Canal Cruise

To begin your afternoon take a canal cruise, as this is a great way to see Amsterdam. You can get on and off at any stop along the way, so you will get to see many of the city’s landmarks from the water.

Canals are also an important part of Amsterdam’s history; they were dug in the 17th century to make transport easier for goods being brought into and out of town by ship. The city’s canals are lined with grand mansions, dating back to the 17th century.

The canals were added to UNESCO’s World Heritage list in 2010 and what you see now is how they were created originally. This has allowed the city that grew up around them to remain a leading light in Europe.

There are many different kinds of Amsterdam boat tours available. Romantic candlelight dinner cruises, daytime excursions and trips to the nearby town of Keukenhof for viewing its renowned tulip gardens—just to name a few.

Amsterdam city skyline at canal waterfront with spring tulip flower, Amsterdam, Netherlands

Heineken Experience

You will learn the history of Heineken and the brewing process, by taking a trip through the story that started over 150 years ago in the very first Heineken brewery.

You will have the opportunity to sample some of their beer. The Heineken Experience is located in Amsterdam and is the perfect experience for anyone who wants to learn more about beer and Dutch history.

The museum covers everything from the history of brewing in Amsterdam to how beer has evolved over time.

If you’re looking for a fun day out with friends or family then this is definitely one worth checking out. There are various tours available to suit your needs when you book via the website.

AMSTERDAM, NETHERLANDS,The Heineken Experience, located in Amsterdam, is a historic brewery and corporate visitor center for internationally distributed Dutch pilsner, Heineken beer.

Vondelpark

The Vondelpark is the most famous park in Amsterdam, having been designed and built in 1850. It offers residents and tourists a variety of outdoor activities such as biking, hiking, and running.

You can enjoy barbecues and picnics if the weather is pleasant. This is an ideal spot for a wander and the perfect place to relax in the sun with a book.

Amsterdam, Holland, The Vondelpark: the large park in the heart of the city. On a rainy day, view of one of the lakes: people stroll with an umbrella enjoying the beauty of the place.

Stedelijk Museum

If you’re looking for an art museum that’s a bit different from the usual galleries, the Stedelijk Museum is where you’ll want to go.

The museum was founded in 1895 and houses over 130,000 works from artists including Picasso, Matisse and Van Gogh.

The modern art museum features rotating exhibits by both local and international artists—including those who have curated their own collections on display at the Stedelijk.

AMSTERDAM- The Museumplein (Museum Square). The Museumplein is surrounded by the most important museums in Amsterdam such as Van Gogh Museum the Rijksmuseum the Stedelijk.

Foodhallen

For your last evening in Amsterdam, why not try the Foodhallen? Only a 20-minute cycle ride from the centre of Amsterdam is Foodhallen, an indoor food market with lots of stands selling a variety of food from all around the world, including sushi, Thai, burritos, burgers, and traditional Dutch food such as Bitterballen.

So if you do not know what you fancy for dinner, then this place will give you an appetite! There is a great atmosphere here, whilst you dine and drink lots of beer and gin!

To finish the night, head to a bar for a nightcap. The Netherlands is famous for its pubs and cafes, which are at the heart of Dutch culture.

Whether you want to visit a traditional brown café or sample something more modern and stylish, there is no shortage of places to grab a drink along your trip. A rooftop spot to try out includes the Sky Lounge at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel.

Amsterdam, Netherlands - Large selection of cheese heads on shelves in a store. A traditional delicacy.

Conclusion

The city of Amsterdam is a bustling metropolis with much to offer. There really is something for everyone and many fall in love with Amsterdam and visit time and time again.

We hope that this weekend in Amsterdam itinerary will help you plan out your time so that you make the most of your travels. So what are you waiting for?

Recommended tours in Amsterdam

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48 Hours in Amsterdam - 2 Day Itinerary
48 Hours in Amsterdam - 2 Day Itinerary
48 Hours in Amsterdam - 2 Day Itinerary

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