2 Days in Amsterdam: The Perfect Itinerary (First Time Visit)


How to spend 2 Days in Amsterdam: The Best Itinerary + Where to Stay

You’re planning to spend 2 days in Amsterdam and you’re looking for the best things to do?

You’re at the right place!

In order to help you plan your stay, I have prepared for you this perfectly optimized 2-day itinerary in Amsterdam that will allow you to discover the must-see attractions of the city.

In addition to the best places to visit and activities for each stage of your itinerary, I will also give you all my best tips and accommodation suggestions depending on your budget.

So, what are the best places to visit in Amsterdam in 2 days? Where to stay?

Let’s find out!

How to avoid waiting in line (and save a lot of time!) at Amsterdam’s tourist attractions

It’s no secret that the Dutch capital is one of the world’s most touristic cities, attracting tens of thousands of visitors every day.

All year round, there are long queues outside the city’s iconic museums such as the Rijksmuseum and the Van Gogh Museum, and hordes of people wanting to take a cruise on the canals.

You might not know it, but it’s hopefully possible to avoid the hassle of waiting in line.

Actually, you have 2 options to save a lot of time and make the most out of your 2 days in Amsterdam.

Here they are:

1. The I Amsterdam City Card

The I Amsterdam City Card is your first option to save time and money during your 2-day itinerary in Amsterdam.

The City Card entitles you to free or reduced entrance to the main tourist attractions!

The great thing is that it also includes free unlimited access to public transport, so you can use it on the tram, metro or bus.

The card is valid for a period of between 1 to 5 days, depending of what you choose when booking.

You need to book it online and collect it at the start of your weekend in Amsterdam using your confirmation email (you can print it or show it on your smartphone, that’s up to you!).

Here is what you will get with the I Amsterdam City Card:

  • Free entrance to all the city’s museums
  • A canal cruise
  • Discounts on attractions, such as the Amsterdam Dungeon or the Heineken Experience
  • 25% off bike hire and in certain restaurants
  • Unlimited use of public transport during your 48 hours in Amsterdam.

You want to learn more about the I Amsterdam City Card? Simply click on the button below for more details and to book it!

2. Fast track tickets for Amsterdam tourist attractions

Your second option to get fast track access to the main tourist attractions is to buy your skip the line tickets one by one.

This way, you get only the tickets for the places you plan to visit or the activities you want to do during your 2 days in Amsterdam.

There are many fast track tickets available for the museums and for the most popular activities.

Here’s the list of attractions and activities I will talk about in this itinerary.

Simply click on the orange links or green buttons to book. For your convenience, I will of course also include these links throughout the article:

2 Days in Amsterdam: Must-See Attractions:

Voyage Tips - Advice

If you want to book other activities, you should always book through this reliable and secure website which offers all the official tickets:

One Last Tip for a Perfect 2-Day Stay in Amsterdam

If you already know your travel dates (or as soon as you will have them!), you should really book your accommodation.

As Amsterdam is one of the most touristic cities in the world, the hotels offering the best value for money are often fully booked months in advance.

As a seasoned traveler, I can assure you that it’s always by planning as far in advance as possible that I’ve found the best hotels or apartments deals.

You agree that it would be a shame to somewhat ruin your stay in Amsterdam by ending up in a not-so-great hotel that costed you a fortune, right? 😅

So your best bet is to take 5 minutes now to have a look at traveler’s favorite hotels in Amsterdam.

And if you like one of the hotels you find, book it!

It’s fast, it’s easy and most accommodation offer free cancellation. That’s the best way to protect yourself from the inconvenience of finding nothing but mediocre rooms at exorbitant prices.

To check the best hotels deals in Amsterdam, simply click on the green button below:

After securing your dream stay, it’s time to continue reading this guide!

2 days in Amsterdam: the best itinerary

Let’s now plan your 48-hour itinerary in Amsterdam!

For this itinerary, I assume you will be spending 2 full days in Amsterdam and purchased, the I Amsterdam City Card or your fast track tickets.

That’s the best way to save time and money during your stay!

If you still have questions after reading this guide or need help planning you holiday, don’t hesitate to ask me your questions in the comments section located at the end of this article.

Day 1 of your Amsterdam itinerary – The historic centre

itinéraire Amsterdam jour 1
2 days in Amsterdam: Day 1

Day 1 visits:

A. Dam Square and the Royal Palace
B. The Amsterdam Dungeon or the Amsterdam Museum
C. The Béguinage (Begijnhof)
D. The flower market
E. Zuiderkerk and Nieuwmarkt
F. The Red Light District
G. Oude Kerk

A. Dam Square and the Royal Palace of Amsterdam

You should start this first of your 2 days in Amsterdam at Dam Square, the city’s main square.

It’s located about 10-minute walk from the central station via Damrak street or Nieuwendijk street. Of course, if you don’t feel like walking, you can take the tram (for free with the I Amsterdam City Card.)

On this square, you can admire the national monument, Nieuwe Kerk church as well as the impressive Royal Palace of Amsterdam.

It served as the Town Hall for 2 centuries and then became the royal family’s residence. Nowadays, you can visit the palace and see its impressive rooms featuring period furniture, paintings and sculptures.

If you want to visit the palace, remember it’s not included in the Amsterdam City Card. You thus need to buy your fast track tickets in advance so you don’t start your weekend in Amsterdam standing in line.

The price is the same using the link below as you would pay at the ticket office at the palace.

The audio guide is included as well, so you get the full history of the place. Simply click on the green button below to book your tickets:

place du Dam Amsterdam
Dam square and the Royal Palace – 2 days in Amsterdam

B. The Amsterdam Dungeon or the Amsterdam Museum

For your second visit, you will have the choice between 2 attractions, both relating to the history of the city but in a totally different style.

They are both located less than 5-minute walk from Dam Square.

1) The Amsterdam Dungeon, where you can relive the dark history of the Netherlands through staged productions with actors in period costume – and, of course, you will be invited to participate!

During this experience, you will attend a trial during the Spanish inquisition, an act of torture and a witch burning at the stake.

It’s really very well put together and you will for sure love the dark atmosphere mixed with funny situations!

The Amsterdam City Pass entitles you to a 10% discount on visiting the Dungeon. The I Amsterdam City Card gets you a 25% reduction on your entrance ticket.

Without one of these City Passes, your best option is to reserve your entrance ticket in advance by clicking here.

2) The Amsterdam Museum is all about the “classical” history of the city. 1,000 years of history are detailed in a modern and interactive way, making it a highly interesting visit.

And entry is free if you have your City Card.

Otherwise, fast track tickets are available online by clicking here.

Voyage Tips - Advice

You don’t want to visit the Dungeon nor the Amsterdam Museum?

No problem! Close to Dam Square, you also have several other options (simply click on the links to book your tickets):

Amsterdam Dungeon
Amsterdam Dungeon

C. The Béguinage (Begijnhof)

End the morning by exploring a place away from the hustle and bustle of the city: the Béguinage, one of the oldest inner courtyards in Amsterdam.

It was once occupied exclusively by a community of women known as the Béguines. That’s no longer the case today, but the buildings are still occupied, so you should respect the residents’ peace and quiet by not talking too loudly and staying behind the fences.

There, you can also see the last wooden house that remains standing in Amsterdam – it’s also one of the oldest house of the city!

This type of housing is now strictly forbidden because of the high risk of fire.


D. The flower market

Another must-see place during your 2 days in Amsterdam is the flower market, or ‘Bloemenmarkt’.

As you know, the Netherlands is famous for its iconic flower: the tulip.

And the best place to find tulips in Amsterdam is the flower market, located just a 5-minute walk from the Béguinage.

You’re sure to find tulips of every variety and colour here. They’re sold as bulbs for you to plant at home.

You will also see freshly cut flowers at the market (not quite as easy to get home!) as well as bouquets of wooden tulips which make a brilliant gift idea.

Of course, there are also shops selling souvenirs such as clogs, magnets and postcards that you can bring back home as a reminder of your 2 days in Amsterdam.

marché aux fleurs Amsterdam
Amsterdam flower market

E. Zuiderkerk and Nieuwmarkt

Continue your 2-day tour of Amsterdam by walking along Kloveniersburgwal canal for around 10 minutes.

On your way, you will pass by Zuiderkerk church. You can climb to the top of the bell tower (with a guide) to gaze at the panoramic views across the whole city. This visit can only be done at certain times of the day (unfortunately a bit random, it changes often – You will need to see on site).

Next you will arrive at Nieuwmarkt square, easily recognizable thanks to the small castle located in the center. This building that once was the gateway to the city now houses a café and restaurant.

You can then continue north of Nieuwmarkt to find small Amsterdam Chinatown district.

Nieuwmarkt Waag

F. The Red Light District

Nieuwmarkt marks the western limit of the famous Red Light District.

This iconic part of the city is especially famous for its brothels featuring red lit windows, behind which prostitutes stand.

Practicing the world’s oldest profession is totally legal in Amsterdam and the industry is regulated and controlled. For example, these woman have to pay their taxes just like every other resident of the city.

However, don’t even think about taking a photo as a souvenir: it’s strictly forbidden, and you will have problems if you do.

To learn more about the subject (without actually partaking! 😅) and discover the history of Red Light District, you can take a guided tour. You need to book it by clicking on the button below:

Voyage Tips - Advice

Or for something a bit less traditional, but equally instructive, you can:

red light district Amsterdam
Red light district

G. Oude Kerk

You can end the first day of your 2-day itinerary in Amsterdam by taking a look at Oude Kerk.

Built in the 1300s, it’s the oldest church of the city. I really liked the exterior architecture, with its red bricks and large stain glass windows.

But I really wouldn’t recommend you to visit the inside, for 2 reasons:

In my opinion, the 15€ entrance fee is a bit expensive, and the church hosts quite strange contemporary exhibitions most of the time, that clearly won’t be to everyone’s taste.

Voyage Tips - Advice

Entry to the Oude Kerk is free with your I Amsterdam City Card.

So if you have the City Card, don’t hesitate to go have a look inside!

Oude Kerk Amsterdam
Oude Kerk Amsterdam

Day 2 of your weekend in Amsterdam: Things to see and do

itinéraire Amsterdam jour 2
2 days in Amsterdam: Day 2

Day 2 visits:

A. Jordaan district
B. The Cheese Museum
C. Anne Frank House
D. Visit a museum: Rijksmuseum, Van Gogh, MOCO or Stedelijk
E. Vondelpark
F. Canal cruise

A. Jordaan district

In addition to the historic centre and the Red Light District you visited on the 1st day, there’s another traditional neighbourhood you should explore in Amsterdam: the Jordaan district.

So that’s where you should start the second day of your 2-day stay in Amsterdam!

Let’s take a leisurely stroll along the canal to admire the traditional red brick houses. Don’t miss the biggest Protestant church in the Netherlands: Westerkerk.

Voyage Tips - Advice

Another really nice way for you to explore the Jordaan and discover its highlights is to book a guided tour.

The best 2-hour guided tour needs to be booked here:


And if you’re a food-lover, you should opt for this fantastic food tasting tour by clicking there!

quartier Jordaan Westerkerk
Jordaan district / Westerkerk

B. The Cheese Museum

Talking about food, you can’t spend a weekend in Amsterdam without taking the opportunity to try some local cheeses!

So if you’re in the Jordaan district, you should visit the Cheese Museum.

To be honest, it won’t take you long at all to visit the museum itself: it’s just a room located in the basement of a cheese shop, with a few explanations about how cheese is made.

However, the shop on the ground floor makes up for it with a wide selection of Gouda (pesto, truffle, chilli) which you can taste for free. Of course you can buy some too if you want to bring some Dutch cheese home!

Voyage Tips - Advice

If you’re a real cheese-lover, you can make the most of your 2 days in Amsterdam by taking part in a tasting workshop.

The one I suggest includes a tasting of 5 of the finest Dutch cheeses, all served with local wines and beers.

You need to book your cheese-tasting in Amsterdam here.

musee du fromage
Amsterdam cheese museum

C. Anne Frank House

Still in Jordaan district, cross the canal, and you’ll arrive at Anne Frank House.

It’s here that the young Jewish girl and her family hid during the Second World War to avoid deportation to the concentration camps.

Anne Frank’s diary – the book has been translated worldwide – recounts their life during that time.

During your visit, you will discover the house as well as photos and objects that belonged to the Franck family, all alongside extracts from the diary.

You have to get your entrance tickets online from the official website.

80% of the tickets are made available online 2 months in advance, and the rest are released in batches from 9.00 am each day.

Since the house is one of Amsterdam’s main tourist attractions I should warn you that they go incredibly quickly so you should book as far in advance as possible.

Voyage Tips - Advice

For even more historical facts, or if you unfortunately couldn’t get tickets to Anne Frank’s house, you should take a guided tour of the former Jewish district.

The 2-hour tour is full of information about Anne Frank and life at that time:

maison d'Anne Franck Amsterdam
Anne Frank house – Amsterdam

D. Visit a museum: Rijksmuseum, Van Gogh, MOCO or Stedelijk

2 days in Amsterdam gives you enough time to explore at least 1 of its world-famous museums.

They are all located in the same area: around Museumplein, or Museum Square.

You have 2 options to get there from the Jordaan:

  • A 30-minute walk along the canal
  • A 20-minutes tram ride

Here’s the list of museums you can visit (the choice is yours!):

  • The Rijksmuseum, this vast museum is the most famous in Amsterdam and displays the largest collection of paintings from the Dutch Golden Age. Entry is included in the I Amsterdam City Card. If you don’t have a City pass, you really should buy your fast track tickets for the Rijksmuseum in advance by clicking here.
  • The Van Gogh Museum, dedicated to the famous Dutch artist. There, you can admire 200 of his paintings, as well as drawings and letters. Free entrance with the Amsterdam City Card. If you don’t have a card or pass, you can get a fast track ticket here.
  • The MOCO focuses on contemporary works of art, and in particular houses an exhibition on Banksy. Free entrance with the City Card.
  • The Stedelijk Museum, the museum of contemporary art and design. Free entrance with the City Card.
Voyage Tips - Advice

When you’ve finished wandering through the museums, there’s nothing like a little pick-me-up before you get on with the rest of your day!

Just off the Museumplein, enter the House of Bols Experience, a place dedicated to oldest spirits brand in the world.

You will learn about the process of producing a liqueur, but best of all, the tour concludes with an excellent cocktail!

You need to book your tickets for the House of Bols by clicking here.

Rijksmuseum – A must-see during your weekend in Amsterdam

E. Vondelpark

Let’s now enjoy a bit of greenery at Vondelpark, located close to the Museumplein. It’s the perfect place to enjoy a short stroll.

This is the biggest public park in the city, with its numerous paths, lakes and play areas for the children. You can also hire bicycles to visit the park.


F. Canal cruise

To end your stay in style, there’s one last thing you should do during your 2 days in Amsterdam: a canal cruise!

As there are lots of different cruises to choose from, I have selected the 5 best for you (simply click on the links for details and to book):

Don’t forget that if you’ve bought the I Amsterdam City Card, you’re already entitled to a free cruise.

Croisière canaux Amsterdam
Canal cruise – Amsterdam

Where to stay in Amsterdam

So now you know exactly what to do and see in Amsterdam in 2 days!

Well, almost – because there’s one more thing you need to organize: where will you stay?

I’ve made life easier for you here as well, with my selection of the best hotels in Amsterdam depending on your budget:

  • Hans Brinker Hostel Amsterdam: Youth hostel 400 metres from the Rijksmuseum and 10 minutes from the Vondelpark. Bed in a dormitory from 26€, including breakfast. Strong points: the location, the warm welcome, the atmosphere. An excellent choice if you’re looking for a cheap accommodation in Amsterdam!
  • Motel One Amsterdam: Located 2 km from the Rikjsuseum and the Albert Cuyp Market. Clean and well-decorated double room from 110€ per night, breakfast 11.50€. Strong points: helpful staff, location 2 minutes from the metro, the good breakfast.
  • Jaz Amsterdam: Situated a 15-minute metro ride from the centre. Spacious and stylish room from 110€, breakfast 16.95€. Strong points: very friendly staff, good facilities, the fabulous breakfast.
  • Motel One Amsterdam-Waterlooplein: Situated close to the Zuiderkerk and a 15-minute walk from Dam Square. Warm room with very comfortable bed linen from 154€, breakfast 11.50€. Strong points: close to the centre, delightful staff, good and varied breakfast. It’s my favourite for its excellent value for money in Amsterdam!
  • Mövenpick Hotel Amsterdam City Centre: Situated just a 10-minute walk from the railways station and the centre of Amsterdam. Spacious, modern and comfortable room, some with a river view, from 190€, breakfast 25€. Strong points: location, comfort, friendly staff, access to the sauna included. The best hotel for a high end stay in Amsterdam!
  • NH Collection Amsterdam Grand Hotel Krasnapolsky: Located right on Dam Square, this luxury hotel offers rooms with a sleek and modern décor from 310€, breakfast included. Strong points: central location for exploring Amsterdam on foot, exceptional bed linen, the excellent breakfast. Perfect for a romantic break in the heart of the city!
  • Hyatt Regency Amsterdam: 5* hotel situated 800 metres from the zoo. Bright and elegantly decorated rooms from 360€, breakfast 28€. Strong points: the staff are concerned to ensure the well-being of their guests, the decoration, the location, the excellent restaurant. The best hotel in Amsterdam for a luxury stay!

And if you prefer to rent a luxury apartment for your stay in Amsterdam, the Keizersgracht Suite 471 is the best address in the city!

Voyage Tips - Advice

If these hotels are full or don’t suit you, you should take a look at the traveler’s favorites by clicking here: The Best Hotels in Amsterdam.

Since I had a very early flight home on the morning of my departure, I also tried out the Ibis Schiphol Amsterdam Airport situated 10 minutes from the airport (free shuttle). And I was pleasantly surprised: the rooms are modern, comfortable, and you can’t hear the planes at all.

Amsterdam in 2 days with the kids

Wondering whether this itinerary can be done if you’re bringing your kids with you on your 2 days in Amsterdam?

It certainly is!

Apart from the Amsterdam Dungeon which isn’t suitable for young children, this whole itinerary can be enjoyed with your kids.

They’ll particularly love the flower market, the Jordaan district and the canal cruise.

You can also add tours especially for them:

The best way to move around Amsterdam is to walk or take the tram. The city is also suitable for pushchairs.

More things to do during your 2 days in Amsterdam

If you want to adjust this 2-day itinerary in Amsterdam and would like to include different tours or activities, you should read my detailed guide of Amsterdam here: The 30 best things to do in Amsterdam.

It might even make you want to extend your stay in Amsterdam by a few days so you have enough time to fit it all in. In that case, you should check my other itineraries right there!

Renting a boat in Amsterdam

If you want to rent a boat for a nice day on Amsterdam’s canals, you should book it with Samboat.

Motorboats, sailboats, yachts, small boats without a license, with or without a skipper: they simply have the most complete offer for boat rental!

So, what are you waiting for to book your boat trip on Amsterdam’s canals? 😊

Map of your 2-day itinerary in Amsterdam

To help you visualize your daily itineraries during your 2 days in Amsterdam, I have created this map with all the places to visit day by day. You can view the legend of the map by clicking on the top left button, the one with a little arrow.

You can thus see the suggested itineraries for each day.


2 Days in Amsterdam: Flight prices and tips

As always, you should book your plane tickets as early as possible to get the best prices.

To check the rates and schedules for flights to Amsterdam, you can use our flight comparator, in partnership with Skyscanner:

Once you will arrive at Amsterdam Schiphol airport, you will have 2 options to reach the city center:

  • Take the train to the central train station
  • Take the #397 bus to go to the Museumplein.

You should choose according to your hotel location!

For the “Schiphol airport – Amsterdam city center train”, you should really book your tickets in advance. You will save a lot of time when you will arrive!

You will get the ticket directly on your mobile (no need to print it), so you won’t need to queue at the ticket counter or vending machines.

To book your round trip “airport – city center” train ticket, simply click the button below:

If you don’t want to take a flight, you can also get to Amsterdam by train from many European cities.

To check the schedules, the rates and to book your tickets, it’s right there:

You need help to plan your 2-day trip to Amsterdam? Don’t hesitate to ask me in the comment section located below!

Book your trip now and save money!

You’re traveling to the Netherlands? These articles will help you !

Discover all my articles about Amsterdam: All my articles to help you plan your trip to Amsterdam are listed there.

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Best places to visit in Amsterdam in 2 days
Best places to visit in Amsterdam in 2 days

Creator of the Voyage Tips blog, travel and photography lover. I give you all my best tips to plan your next trip.

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