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Learn how to spend two amazing days in Amsterdam for first time visitors!!
Amsterdam, the beautiful city of elaborate canals, narrow houses, rich history, and cultural expression, is
Our two days in Amsterdam were only a taste of everything the city has to offer. In this Amsterdam itinerary, we provide advice for first-time visitors to Amsterdam, a list of the museums in Amsterdam, and the top things to do in Amsterdam!
We only had two days in Amsterdam, but we were still able to do a lot in the city including a half-day trip to Volendam. Amsterdam is always the first place that people think of when they plan on visiting the Netherlands, but there are a lot of other alternative places to visit in the Netherlands!
Here’s a complete Amsterdam itinerary including the top things to do for two days in Amsterdam!
Two Days in Amsterdam Itinerary: Top things to Do in Amsterdam
Advice and Practical Information for Visiting Amsterdam
Go to Amsterdam with an open mind, you’re likely going to see things you weren’t expecting. Be forewarned, things close early in Amsterdam and a coffee shop doesn’t sell coffee. Things can close early as in 6-7 PM. so, when you’re planning your days in Amsterdam, check when things close. If you want coffee, go to a café. A coffee shop is typically is for those looking for the legal marijuana!
The Red Light District. Put your phone and camera away. It’s disrespectful to those working.
Getting around Amsterdam is easy once you figure out the tram system. The tram system is like any other subway; however, sometimes it was hard to tell if we were on the right side of the platform depending on which way you want to go!. So always check where you’re trying to go!
Bikes. Bikes everywhere. Treat them like cars that don’t abide by traffic laws! We almost got run over a few times and got some nasty looks from locals.
10 Awesome Things to Do in Amsterdam
Day One: Sightseeing in Amsterdam and Amsterdam’s Museums
Hop on a Bike for an Amsterdam Bike Tour
Since almost everyone in Amsterdam rides a bike, why not join them? Start your two days in Amsterdam off with a bike tour! We went on a countryside bike tour with AmsterBike. Our tour included a part of the city, a few nearby villages, a windmill, and lunch. Our bike tour of Amsterdam’s countryside took almost all morning and included lunch!
For lunch, we stopped at a local restaurant to have traditional Dutch pancakes! They were as a big as our plates! There are only eight surviving windmills in Amsterdam. The windmill we saw was used for grinding chalk and is still functional; however, it is not used.
Tip! If you only have a short amount of time in Amsterdam, check out this post by Out Chasing Stars on how to spend two days in Amsterdam!
Eat a Stroopwafel for Dessert
Stroopwafels were first made in Gouda, Netherlands and are one of the country’s most popular treats. Meaning literally syrup waffle, this crispy caramel filled waffle cookie is a must-try food in Amsterdam!
Visit the Van Gogh Museum (or Another one of Amsterdam’s Museums!)
Amsterdam is known for it’s amazing and obscure museums. If you want to learn more about Dutch culture and history, visit the Rijksmuseum (where the I AmSterdam artwork is located). Interested in art? See the largest collection of Van Gogh work in the museum dedicated to him or stop by the Rembrandt House Museum. For science nerds, the NEMO is your place. For the obscure, the Museum Our Lord in the Attic is a hidden church worth visiting. After Catholics lost their freedom of worship in 1663, a hidden church was constructed in the attic. Today, it’s a cherished museum for visitors. There are countless other museums like the Museum of Prostitution, Tulip Museum, Museum of Bags and Purses, Body Worlds, and the Heineken Experience. The list goes on and on.
During our two days in Amsterdam, we decided to tour the Van Gogh Museum and it was amazing! We almost made the mistake of not getting our timed ticket earlier! So grab your Van Gogh Museum ticket before you head off to the museum or you might not get in.
Things to Discover at the Van Gogh Museum
- Take a selfie with Van Gogh at the selfie station
- See the famous Sunflowers painting
- Hours: 9AM to 5PM daily
- Admission: €19
Walk the Amsterdam Red-Light District
Amsterdam is known for its sexual liberation. The Red Light District leaves little to the imagination with its window brothels, sex shops, and museums; however, it has an interesting history and atmosphere to go with it. One of the best ways to see it is by a knowledgeable guide and walking tour. The district is considered safe for tourists. New businesses are brought in continuously revitalize the area while giving these businesses opportunities to thrive. You can find quirky shops and hip bars and restaurants. If you visit the district, please be respectful of the women by not taking photos.
Visit the Bloemenmarkt Amsterdam’s Floating Flower Market
Amsterdam’s floating flower market, The Bloemenmark, is the only one in the world. Founded in 1862, this market has been selling some of the finest tulip blooms, flowers, and bulbs! If you haven’t had enough of the flowers, visit the Tulip Museum! And if you’re lucking enough to be in the Netherlands in the spring, you can see the tulip fields in blood!
End the Day by Going on A Canal Cruise
We would consider going on a canal cruise as one of the top things to do in Amsterdam because you can get a very unique view of the city! Amsterdam is one of only a handful of cities that is full of canal systems. If you want to see Amsterdam from a different perspective, go on a canal cruise. Different cruises offer different routes and features, so browse the tours to see what fits your expectations!
Day Two: Explore the Top Things to do in Amsterdam
Visit the Anne Frank House
If you could only visit one museum in Amsterdam, I would recommend visiting the Anne Frank House. Here, Anne Frank and her legacy live on through every visitor. Although heart-wrenching, visiting her home is a truly awakening experience. Tip for visiting the Anne Frank House: tickets go on sale 3 months before the visit date, so get online and booking for when you want to go! Simply arriving at the house and waiting in line does not guarantee entrance.
Stroll Through Vondelpark
If you want away from the city, visit one of the parks. The Vondelpark is a beautiful park located near the city center, right by where all the museums are including the Van Gogh and Rijksmuseum. There is a rose garden, ponds, a cafe, and lots of places to relax during your busy day!
Visit Dam Square
Dam Square is located in the historical center of Amsterdam and is one of the popular tourist attractions in Amsterdam. It’s beautiful buildings including the neoclassical Royal Palace and 15th-century Gothic Nieuwe Kerk (New Church) and the The National Monument makes visiting Dam Square worth it! Dam Square is also a hub for events throughout the year in Amsterdam
Take a Half-Day Trip to Volendam
During our two days in Amsterdam, we look a half-day trip to a nearby pot village called Volendam. Here you’ll find all things cheese, clogs, and herrings! Read more on our post about Volendam!
Where to Stay in Amsterdam: StayOkay Zeeburg Amsterdam Hostel
If you need an Amsterdam hostel that is good for only sleeping, this place will fit your needs. For anything else, like good food or laundry, it wasn’t the best.
While in Amsterdam, we stayed at the StayOkay Zeeburg Hostel. This hostel is a former 20th-century school building. When you walk in, you’ll instantly have flashbacks of elementary school with the odd color palate. In general, the rooms were comfortable and very cheap; however, the extra costs of everything outweighed the cheap rate. If you’re okay with going elsewhere for breakfast and laundry and in search of an affordable hostel, this hostel would be good for you. The hostel located was outside of the city center, but there was a tram stop a block away. This made it much easier to get around. It would have been nice to walk everywhere, but the tram was a plus.
Our room housed six people with two bunk beds and two single beds in a loft. The beds were comfortable and each had a private reading light and power outlet. There was a big window for natural light. Each room had its own bathroom; however, towels were available at extra charge. This hostel has a laundry facility at an extra charge as well. It was quite overpriced at 10 Euro per load.