Pack a good map and a sense of adventure! A 48-hour trip to Amsterdam provides sufficient time to visit the city’s best-known sights as well as explore some lesser-known treasures. Below is a suggested itinerary for getting the most out of your two days in Amsterdam.
48 hours in Amsterdam: Day 1
Spend your first day in Amsterdam getting to know the lay of the land and looking at the city’s rich history.
Cruise the canals
A canal cruise is a great way to get acquainted with the city. During your trip, you can also jot down a few places that you might want to visit later. A few of the most notable canal cruise operators include Lovers, Canal and Holland International.
History & hidden culture
After your canal cruise, walk to the Amsterdam Museum and delve into 800 years of local history. Once you’re done, walk around the corner to the Spuiplein and enter the Begijnhof through a barely noticeable door. Take a peaceful stroll around this courtyard -- once home to the faithful Beguine order.
Grab a sandwich and refreshing drink at a small café or restaurant nearby. You’ll find plenty of options near Dam Square, Leidseplein or any of the streets lining the canals off the Leidsestraat.
Rent a bike
It’s time to start exploring on your own. Go to a reputable bike rental shop like MacBike or Yellow Bike and hire Amsterdam’s preferred form of transportation for 24 hours or more.
Shopping with the locals
Consult your map and cycle beyond the centre to get to know the ‘real’ Amsterdam. Stop by one of the daily street markets to pick up a snack or pop in the small boutiques you’ll see on the way. A couple suggestions:
Windmills & beer
Take a break with a cold frosty drink. Brouwerij ‘t IJ in Amsterdam Oost brews delicious organic beer at the foot of a windmill. In warm weather you can enjoy the huge outdoor terrace. Keep in mind it closes daily at 20:00.
Finish your introduction to Amsterdam at a restaurant that serves traditional or modern Dutch cuisine.
48 hours in Amsterdam: Day 2
On your second day in Amsterdam, take time for a dose of culture and dare to discover what lies on the other side of the water.
Start your day by diving into Amsterdam’s cultural scene. Visit one of the city’s most popular museums, like the Rijksmuseum, Van Gogh Museum, Stedelijk Museum or Anne Frank House.
Lunch under the trees
Weather permitting, grab lunch to go and enjoy it outside at one of Amsterdam’s many spacious parks, like the Vondelpark, Oosterpark, Westerpark, Sarphatipark or Amsterdamse Bos. If it’s chilly or rainy, have lunch at Hortus Botanicus café. Even in winter, the tropical greenhouses are a delight.
Head across the river
If you’ve still got your bike, take the free ferry across the water to Amsterdam Noord. Visit the architecturally stunning EYE Filmmuseum, see what’s happening at the Tolhuistuin, stop by the gritty NDSM Wharf or bike through Durgerdam or Broek in Waterland – tiny villages with old-fashioned allure.
International dinner delights
For tonight's dinner, pick something more exotic. You'll find nearly every major cuisine in Amsterdam, including French, Belgian, Italian, Spanish, Chinese, Japanese and Thai restaurants.
Drinks with a touch of class
Finish your day at one of Amsterdam’s best cocktail bars – both the ingredients are the creative presentations are sure to impress.
A night on the town
If you’ve still got energy to spare, treat yourself to a night out at one of Amsterdam's many bars and clubs. If you’d prefer a concert, play or dance performance, visit the Last Minute Ticket Shop (open daily 10:00 – 17:00) and spontaneously pick a show at up to 50% off.