PEAK TOURIST SEASON: June-August and tulip season in late Spring
TRANSPORTATION: Amsterdam is a very walkable city. If your destination is to far to walk, the public tram system is very easy to navigate.
MUSEUM TICKETS: Buy tickets in advance of your visit. Popular museum tickets sell out quickly and weeks in advance.
RESTAURANTS: Cafe Sonneveld (near the Anne frank house), Piqniq (lunch), Zaza’s (dinner spot), Blue pepper (more upscale dinner option), The Seafood Bar, Guts and Glory, Cafe Loetje (best steak), Lucius (seafood), La Place (organic cafeteria style restaurant)
There is so much to see and do in Amsterdam, a bustling canal city where bikes seem to out number people. If you are trying to make the most of a few days in the city, this is our recommended guide to 48 hours in Amsterdam.
Your first stop should be the beautiful canal neighborhood of de Jordaan. Grab a quick cup of coffee and head out early to avoid the crowds and capture the best morning light. The quiet streets have some of the most picturesque canals in all of Amsterdam.
Work your way from the beautiful De Jordaan canals to Dam Square, the historical city center. Dam Square is home to the Royal Palace and the 15th-century Gothic Nieuwe Kirk (New Church). From Dam Square, make a stop at the flower market to enjoy all the stunning tulip colors and souvenir shopping.
From the flower market, hop on a tram and head to museum plaza. Hopefully, you have reserved your museum tickets in advance! Tickets to popular museums like the Van Gogh Museum and Anne Frank House sell out weeks in advance. Spend the afternoon at your museum of choice. Top picks: Rijksmuseum, Van Gogh Museum, Rembrandt House Museum.
You have had a busy day! Take a rest at your hotel or enjoy beer at a local bar along the canals. We found a boat bar along the canals and had a beer right on the water.
Seafood is a go to meal for this port city. Enjoy your fresh catch dinner and round out your evening with a stroll through the Red Light District. (Photography is not allowed in the area. This was not our particular scene, but the district is so important to the history of the city, a walk through could not be missed.)
For a more detailed account of our first day in the city, check out our full Guide to Amsterdam.
On your second full day, catch a bus or hop in a cab to the Zaanse Schans Windmill Village in the morning. Located 10 mintues outside the city, you do not need to book a guided tour to enjoy this quaint village. Zaanse Schans is a great way to see an iconic symbol of the country, the windmill but remain close to the city. Did you even go to The Netherlands if you don’t see a windmill???
For more on Zaanse Schans, our day trip to Volendam and guided tour, click here.
After heading back to the city, check out the Anne Frank House. The museum is sober and covers a dark time in history, but it is so well done and one of the most impressive museums we have ever visited. Again, make sure to book your tickets in advance! We purchased our tickets 5 weeks out from our trip and there were only a few remaining time slots available on the days we were in Amsterdam.
Lastly, hop on a sunset canal cruise and see the city from a different prospective on the water. There is no such thing as too many canal pictures!
Hitting many of the city’s main attractions, this quick guide is a great start to getting to know Amsterdam. For more on traveling to Amsterdam, check out our full Guide to Amsterdam for more details of our visit.