Filling up 2 days in Amsterdam is an easy task! The city is bursting at the seams with world-class museums, theatre, live music, quirky festivals and endless bars and restaurants. From the UNESCO world heritage listed canals to the enormous green spaces and the best cycling network in the world, spending time outside is amazing no matter the weather.
In the summer you can enjoy picnics by the canals or a walk through the luscious Vondelpark. Summer nights are best spent enjoying the many outdoor bars and terraces at every turn. Meanwhile, winter is a perfect excuse to cosy up in a canal-side café, visit some of the many museums or taste the best delicacies that Amsterdam has to offer.
Alongside its abundance of museums and galleries, Amsterdam’s Red Light District is also one of the most unique tourist attractions you’re likely to see.
So if you have 2 days in Amsterdam, here’s what you shouldn’t miss!
What you shouldn’t miss if you spend 2 days in Amsterdam
Amsterdam’s Tourist Attractions
There’s so much to see and do in Amsterdam that you’ll have trouble knowing where to start. The city is bursting with 800 years worth of culture and history to uncover. From the many museums to the ancient churches and all the charming cobbled streets along the way. For a small city, Amsterdam has a lot of world-class museums like Rijksmuseum, Van Gogh Museum, Stedelijk Museum and Anne Frank House. Then there’s the other, raunchier side of the city in the Red Light District with its buzzing nightlife and infamous ‘coffee shops’.
The City of Canals
There are over 165 canals in Amsterdam and the city’s canal ring is even a UNESCO world heritage site. With so much water, there are plenty of ways to enjoy it at all times of the year. Enjoy picnics by the canals, sit on one of the many café terraces that line the streets or go on an evening boat cruise. If you’re after something a little more active, there are some great cycling tours to choose from or you can simply stroll along and enjoy the beautiful scenery.
Food & Drink
Not only does Amsterdam have a huge foodie scene, it’s also known for its big selection of delicious traditional specialties. It’s the perfect city to suit any kind of traveller when it comes to food. Favourite dutch street-side dishes include chips and mayo, raw herring and stroopwafels. Foodies flock to the 16 Michelin star restaurants around town. Meanwhile, there are more and more trendy cafés and restaurants opening every month around Amsterdam’s neighbourhoods.
Day one in Amsterdam
Recommended things to do and see on your first day in Amsterdam
On your first morning in Amsterdam, head to the world-famous Anne Frank House. As it’s one of the most visited museums in the Netherlands, the queues can get quite long so it’s best to go early. The museum house is the former hiding place of Anne Frank and her family during the Nazi occupation in World War II. Those who are familiar with the story will know that it wasn’t a happy ending for the family, so visiting the house educational but also emotional.
After the Anne Frank Museum, you’ll find yourself standing right in the heart of Jordaan – one of Amsterdam’s most famous neighbourhoods. Make the most of your time here by exploring the iconic area known for its iconic beauty and charm. Head to the Nine Streets for a bit of shopping, or try Noordermarkt square and visit the local market. If you need a rest, order a coffee at one of the cozy cafes lining the canals.
On your first night in Amsterdam, head to the centre of town. You’ll quickly find yourself in the middle of the city’s famous Red Light District (known by locals as De Wallen) which is hard to miss. This is unlike any other red light district that you’ve ever seen or read about. Alongside the brothels and sex shows are hoards of tourists who wander along the streets to experience this unique part of Amsterdam whilst taking in the history of the area. During the day you may not even notice where you are, but in the evenings the party crowds arrive and the area becomes a little more intense.
Where to stay for your first night in Amsterdam
Recommended tours & activities for your first day in Amsterdam
Day two in Amsterdam
Recommended things to do and see on your second day in Amsterdam
Another day, another round of world-class museums to see! In the morning head straight to the Museum Quarter. Here you can choose to go into the national Dutch museum Rijksmuseum featuring artists like Rembrandt and Frans Hals, not to mention an incredible library. You also have the option of seeing the Van Gogh Museum, which features the biggest collection of Van Gogh’s work. Ideally, if you have enough time then you should see both!
After your museum-filled morning, make your way towards the trendy De Pijp area, which is easy to reach from Museum Quarter. There’s endless options for lunch here, or a spot of shopping if you prefer. Beer lovers will love visiting Heineken’s historic brewery which is in the area. There’s an interactive museum inside, you can tour the brewery and have a beer tasting at the end. It’s the perfect way to spend the afternoon.
In the evening, it’s time to enjoy Amsterdam from the water. There are over 165 canals in the city and plenty of options to cruise down and enjoy the sunset. Whether you go on a simple evening sightseeing cruise or choose something a little more special, like a 4-course dinner cruise, there’s nothing quite like seeing the twinkling lights of Amsterdam from the canals’ waters.