Weekend in Amsterdam: what to do and see in 2 days, and where to sleep?

Are you going to Amsterdam for 2 days and want to see as many things as possible?

You are in the right place!

To help you organize your stay, I have prepared the ideal itinerary for you to visit Amsterdam in 2 days.

I start with my tips to avoid waiting in front of museums and tourist attractions. You will see that thanks to my advice you will save a lot of time during your weekend in Amsterdam!

I continue with the detailed program for the two days, designed to optimize the visits and make the most of your short stay.

At the end of the article, I also give you my selection of the best hotels in Amsterdam according to your budget.

So where to go and what to do in Amsterdam in 2 days?

Our tips to avoid queuing in Amsterdam

It’s no secret that the capital of the Netherlands is one of the most visited cities in the world and attracts tens of thousands of tourists every day.

Many people line up all year long in front of the city’s iconic museums such as the Rijksmuseum, the Van Gogh Museum, and more.

If you want to optimize your visit to Amsterdam in 2 days and you don’t want to wait hours before visiting, here are the 3 best solutions:

  1. The Amsterdam Pass by Stromma

To save time during this 2-day trip to Amsterdam, the first solution is to buy the Amsterdam Pass.

Access to over 50 attractions is included, including the most popular such as the Rijksmuseum or the Amsterdam Dungeon.

It is valid for a period of 1 to 5 days and can be ordered online. You can order it online.

You will then receive a confirmation email which will be used to collect the official pass at the start of your 2-day stay in Amsterdam at the visitor center.

I’m giving you a shortlist of everything that’s included in the 48-hour Amsterdam Pass:

  • Entrance to many museums: the Rijksmuseum, the MOCO, the Stedelijk or even Rembrandt’s house
  • Access to Amsterdam’s most popular attractions for free: A’DAM Lookout, The Dungeon, This is Holland, The Heineken Experience
  • Day trips to visit the mills of Zaanse Schans and the typical villages of Edam and Volendam
  • In season, transport and entry ticket for Keukenhof, the park with millions of tulips
  • Unlimited access to buses and boats during your weekend in Amsterdam
  • Free transportation to/from the airport.

This is, in my opinion, the best option to visit Amsterdam in 2 days.

  1. The City Card I Amsterdam

The City Card I Amsterdam is the second solution that I offer for this 2-day itinerary in Amsterdam.

It follows the same principle as the Amsterdam Pass in the sense that you will benefit from free admissions or discounts for the main tourist sites.

But it also includes free access to public transport. You can take the tram, metro or bus with it.

It is also better to order online and collect it at the start of your weekend in Amsterdam using the confirmation email (to be printed or presented directly on your smartphone).

I will give you an overview of the benefits to which you are entitled with the City Card I Amsterdam:

  • Free entry to all museums in the city
  • A canal cruise offered
  • Discounts on attractions like the Dungeon or the Heineken Experience
  • 25% discounts on bike rentals and in some restaurants
  • Unlimited use of public transport during these 48 hours in Amsterdam.

Skip-the-line tickets to Amsterdam tourist attractions

The third and last option for quick access to major tourist sites is to buy your skip-the-line tickets one by one.

You will be able to take only what you need and which correspond exactly to your program of visits of Amsterdam in 2 days.

There is a very large selection of skip-the-line tickets for museums and for the best-known activities.

  • The Royal Palace in Amsterdam
  • The dungeon
  • Amsterdam museum
  • Guided tour of the Red Light District
  • Jordaan district private tour
  • The Rijksmuseum
  • Van Gogh Museum
  • MOCO
  • The Stedelijk Museum
  • Canal cruise
  • Guided tour of Amsterdam
  • Guided bike tour
  • Anne Frank themed Amsterdam walking tour
  • Guided Segway Tour

Visit Amsterdam in 2 days: the best route

Let’s go for my 48 hour itinerary in Amsterdam!

Discover now the circuit to follow in the city for each day.

For this planning, I based myself on the principle that you spend 2 full days in Amsterdam and that you have your Amsterdam Pass, the City Card I Amsterdam or your skip-the-line tickets so that you can visit as many places as possible.

If after reading the article you have other questions or need help planning your stay, you can ask me for advice in the comments section.

So what to visit in Amsterdam in 2 days?

Day 1 of this itinerary in Amsterdam – The historic center

Photo taken in Amsterdam

Visit Amsterdam in 2 days: 1st day

A. Dam Square and the Royal Palace
B. The Amsterdam Dungeon or the Amsterdam Museum
C. The Begijnhof
D. The flower market
E. Zuiderkerk and Nieuwmarkt
F. The red light district
G. Oude Kerk

A. Dam Square and the Royal Palace in Amsterdam

I suggest you start this first day of your 2-day trip to Amsterdam by Dam Square.

It’s the city’s main square, which is about a 10-minute walk from Central Station via Damrak Street or Nieuwendijk Street. It is also possible to go by tram.

You can see the national monument and the Nieuwe Kerk church there, but the most impressive building is the Royal Palace in Amsterdam.

The old town hall for 2 centuries then the residence of the royal family can be visited. We discover some rich paintings and sculptures.

The visit to the palace is not included in the Amsterdam Pass or the City Card. It is, therefore, better to buy your fast-track tickets in advance to avoid starting your weekend in Amsterdam by queuing.

The audioguide is also included, which will allow you to know everything about the history of the place.

Dam square in Amsterdam

B. The Amsterdam Dungeon or the Amsterdam Museum

Less than 5 minutes walk separate the Dam from the next visits.

I leave you indeed the choice between 2 places, related to the history of the city but yet totally different:

1) The Amsterdam Dungeon allows you to relive the dark history of the Netherlands in the form of productions with actors in costume and audience participation. On the program: attend a trial of the Inquisition, a torture session or a witch pyre.

With the Amsterdam City Pass, visiting the Dungeon is free. With the City Card I Amsterdam, you are entitled to a 25% reduction on the entry ticket.

2) The Amsterdam Museum explores the “classic” history of the city. 1000 years of history are detailed in a modern and interactive way, to make the visit very interesting.

Entrance is also free if you have your City Pass or City Card.

Travel Tips

Not interested in the Dungeon or the Amsterdam Museum?

No problem, near Dam Square, you can visit

Body Worlds: An exhibition of real human bodies preserved using the plastination technique
Madame Tussauds and her replicas of wax figures
The Ripley’s Museum and its many curiosities.
The Amsterdam Dungeon
The Amsterdam’s Dungeon

C. The Begijnhof

At the end of the morning, discover a place preserved from the bustle of the city: the Begijnhof, one of the oldest inner courtyards in Amsterdam.

It was previously occupied only by a community of women, called the Beguines. This is no longer the case today, but the houses are still inhabited.

It is, therefore, necessary to take care to respect the tranquility of the inhabitants by not speaking too loud and staying behind the barriers.

You can also see there the last wooden house in Amsterdam, which is also one of the oldest. This type of house was later strictly prohibited due to the high risk of fire.

The Begijnhof in Amsterdam

D. The flower market

Another must-see on your 2-day visit to Amsterdam: the flower market, the Bloemenmarkt.

As you know, the Netherlands is renowned for its emblematic flower: tulips.

The best place to find them in Amsterdam is therefore the flower market, which is just a 6-minute walk from the Begijnhof.

Here you are sure to find all varieties and colors of tulips sold in the form of bulbs to replant at home.

You will also find fresh flowers (but it’s less convenient to bring back!) And bouquets of wooden tulips, which are a great gift idea.

Small shops also offer many other souvenirs (clogs, magnets, postcard) to bring back from your 2-day stay in Amsterdam.

Market flower in Amsterdam
flower Market in Amsterdam

E. Zuiderkerk and Nieuwmarkt

Continue this 2-day circuit in Amsterdam by going up the Kloveniersburgwal canal for ten minutes walk.

You will then come across the Zuiderkerk Church, where it is possible to climb to the top of the bell tower to contemplate the panorama of the whole city. Small clarification: the ascent is only accompanied by a guide at certain times of the day.

Then join Nieuwmarkt square, which you will easily recognize by the building which looks like a small castle and which is in its center. The place, which now houses a café restaurant, was at the time the gateway to the city.

North of Nieuwmarkt is the tiny Chinatown.

Nieuwmarkt  in Amsterdam
Nieuwmarkt  in Amsterdam

F. The red light district

The Nieuwmarkt marks the entrance to the Red Light District.

This although emblematic district is a little bit special, it is there that you can find the famous red-fronted windows in which prostitutes stand.

In Amsterdam, practicing the oldest profession in the world is completely legal and the “profession” is regulated and supervised. These young ladies must, for example, pay their taxes like any other inhabitant of the city.

Do not try to leave with a picture, it is strictly prohibited.

Travel Tips

– Visit the Amsterdam Prostitution Museum
– Brothel visit with a professional
Red light district
Red light district

G. Oude Kerk

End the first day of your 2-day Amsterdam itinerary with a trip through the Oude Kerk.

Built in the 1300s, it is the oldest church in Amsterdam.

Its exterior is very nice with its red bricks and large stained glass windows.

However, I don’t really recommend visiting the interior.

Already, I find that the entry price at 15 is too much, and in addition, the church hosts most of the time fairly specific contemporary exhibitions that distort the place.

The Travel Tips

If you have the City Card I Amsterdam, access to the Oude Kerk is free.
Oude Kerk Amsterdam
Oude Kerk Amsterdam

Day 2 of this weekend in Amsterdam: What to do and see?

Visit Amsterdam in 2 days: 2nd day

A. The Jordaan district
B. The cheese museum
C. Anne Franck’s house
D. Visit to a museum: Rijksmuseum, Van Gogh, MOCO or Stedelijk
E. Vondelpark
F. Cruise on the canals

A. The Jordaan district

In addition to the historic center and the red light district that you were able to explore yesterday, there is another typical district to discover in Amsterdam: the Jordaan district.

So this is where I suggest you start the second day of your 2-day stay in Amsterdam.

Take a leisurely stroll along the canal to admire the traditional red brick houses and don’t miss the largest Protestant church in the Netherlands: the Westerkerk.

The Travel Tips

Another very pleasant way that I advise you to visit the Jordaan and discover its essentials, is to book a guided tour.
Jordaan/Westerkerk district
Jordaan/Westerkerk district

B. The cheese museum

Speaking of typical products, you cannot go to Amsterdam for a weekend without taking the opportunity to taste the local cheeses!

For this, still in the Jordaan district, you can visit the cheese museum.

Well, in reality, the visit to the museum part is very quick because this is a small space in the basement with a few explanations on how cheese is made.

But the shop located on the ground floor compensates with its wide choices of gouda (pesto, truffle, chilli) to taste for free. Of course, you can also buy them if you wish.

Travel Tips

Large cheese lovers can also take advantage of spending 2 days in Amsterdam to participate in a tasting workshop.

The one I have selected offers you a taste of 5 of the best Dutch cheeses. All come with local wines and beers.
Cheese Museum
Cheese Museum

C. Anne Franck’s house

Stay in the Jordaan district for the rest of the day.

You just have to cross the canal to reach Anne Franck’s house.

This is where the little girl and her family, of Jewish origin, hid during the Second World War so as not to be deported to the concentration camps. Anne Franck’s diary, the book translated all over the world, tells of their lives during this period.

During the visit, you will discover the rooms in the house as well as photos, objects that belonged to the Franck family, all accompanied by an extract from the newspaper.

80% of tickets are put online 2 months in advance and the rest are available drop by drop every day from 9 a.m.

Travel Tips

To complete the visit or if unfortunately you were unable to obtain a ticket, I recommend that you choose a guided tour of the Jewish district.

The tour, which lasts 2 hours, includes a lot of information about Anne Frank and life at the time:
Anne Frank’s house

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

Visiting Amsterdam in 2 days allows you to discover at least 1 of its world famous museums.

You will find them all in one place: around the Museumplein, the museum square.

2 possibilities to go there from the Jordaan district:

  • In 30 minutes walk along the canal
  • In 20 minutes by tram

Here is the list of museums you can visit (optional):

  • The Rijksmuseum, this huge museum is the best known in Amsterdam. It exhibits the largest collection of paintings from the Dutch Golden Age. Its entry is included in the City Card I Amsterdam or the Amsterdam Pass. Otherwise, I strongly recommend that you purchase your skip-the-line tickets in advance for the Rijksmuseum.
  • The Van Gogh museum dedicated to the famous Dutch painter and in which you can admire 200 of his paintings but also drawings and letters. Free entry with the City Card. Otherwise, I can only advise you to take a fast-track ticket.
  • The MOCO is interested in contemporary works of art with an exhibition on Banksy. Free entry with the City Card and the Amsterdam Pass.
  • The Stedelijk Museum, the museum of contemporary art and design. Free entry with the City Card and the Amsterdam Pass.

Travel Tips

After walking the aisles of the museums, nothing like a little climb before continuing the day!

Right next to the Museumplein, enter the House of Bols Experience. The place is dedicated to the oldest brand of spirits in the world.

We discover in particular the process of making a liqueur but above all it all ends with an excellent cocktail!

Besides the visit is free with the Amsterdam Pass, so no reason to miss it

E. Vondelpark

Also next to the Musumplein, if you want to get some fresh air, you can also take a stroll at the Vondelpark.

The park is the largest in the city and has many trails, lakes, and children’s play areas. It is also possible to rent a bike to explore it.


F. Cruise on the canals

At the end of the day, you will have an activity that you must do in your 2 days in Amsterdam: the canal cruise!

This is the best way to end your 48-hour trip to Amsterdam on a high note.

You can choose according to several different types of cruises, depending on the duration of the tour or the boat.

I have selected 5 of them that are among the most popular.

  • 75-minute cruise to explore the historic center + audio guide
  • 1-hour cruise with audio guide to admire the facades of the Dutch golden age houses
  • 1-hour cruise in a semi-open electric barge to fully enjoy the view
  • 90-minute evening cruise to enjoy the city lights
  • Luxury cruise with drinks and snacks included.

Please note that if you have taken the City Card I Amsterdam or the Amsterdam Pass, you are entitled to a free cruise.

Amsterdam canal cruise
Amsterdam canal cruise

Where to sleep in Amsterdam

You now have all the info regarding what to do in Amsterdam in 2 days!

Well, almost all of them, because there is still one question to settle: where are you going to sleep?

But here too, I made it easy for you by preparing my selection of the best hotels to stay in Amsterdam according to your budget:

  • Hans Brinker Hostel Amsterdam: Hostel located 400 meters from the Rijksmuseum and 10 minutes from Vondelpark. Bed in the dormitory from €26, breakfast included. Even better: the location, the welcoming, the atmosphere. An excellent choice of where to sleep inexpensively during your weekend in Amsterdam!
  • Motel One Amsterdam: Located 2 km from the Rijksmuseum and the Albert Cuyp Market. Clean and well decorated double room from €110 per night, breakfast at €11.50. Even better: helpful staff, location 2 minutes from the metro, good breakfast.
  • Jaz Amsterdam: Located 15 minutes by metro from the center. Spacious and design room from €110, breakfast €16.95. Even better: very friendly staff, equipment.
  • Motel One Amsterdam-Waterlooplein: Located near Zuiderkerk and a 15-minute walk from Dam Square. A warm room with very comfortable bedding from €154, breakfast at €11.50. Even better: close to the center, the charming staff, the good and varied breakfast. This is our favorite for its price/quality.
  • Mövenpick Hotel Amsterdam City Center: Located just a 10-minute walk from the train station and the center of Amsterdam. Spacious, modern and comfortable double room with some river views, from €190, breakfast at €25. Even better: location, comfort, friendliness of staff, access to the sauna included. This is our recommendation for an upscale stay in Amsterdam!
  • NH Collection Amsterdam Grand Hotel Krasnapolsky: Located right on Dam Square, this luxury hotel offers rooms with refined and modern decoration from €310, breakfast included. Even better: the central location for visiting Amsterdam, the exceptional bedding, the excellent breakfast. Perfect for a romantic stay in the heart of the city!
  • Hyatt Regency Amsterdam: 5 * hotel located 800 meters from the zoo. Bright room with elegant decoration from €460, breakfast at €28. Even better: a staff concerned about the well-being of customers, decoration, location, excellent food. It’s the best choice for a luxury weekend in Amsterdam!

Travel Tips

Having a return flight very early in the morning of my departure, I also tested the Ibis Schiphol Amsterdam Airport located 10 minutes from the airport (free shuttle). And I was pleasantly surprised, the rooms are modern, comfortable and you can’t hear any planes at all.

Visit Amsterdam in 2 days with family

Are you wondering if this program is feasible if your children accompany you during these 2 days in Amsterdam?

Well, yeah! Apart from visiting the Amsterdam Dungeon, which is not recommended for young children, the whole route I suggested can be done with children.

I think they will particularly like the flower market, the Jordaan district and the canal cruise.

You can also add tours specially for them:

  • The zoo – Free access with the City Card
  • The Nemo Science Museum, Amsterdam’s science museum, interactive and fun
  • The Lego shop, located on the Kalverstraat, it offers giant scenes and animations
  • Micropia, a museum dedicated to microbes and bacteria. Really original and well done! It is not far from the zoo.
  • A game of Mini Golf in the dark

To move around, I prefer walking or tram. You can also bring a stroller, everything is suitable.

About you now, which activities seem interesting for you? Don’t hesitate to give me your thought.