Amsterdam in two days

If you’ve already ticked off some of the major attractions and must-see sights (see our guides to a quick stopover or 24 hours in Amsterdam), you can delve deeper into Amsterdam’s neighbourhoods and have a richer experience of authentic Amsterdam. These are our tips for a two-day visit.

Venture east

The city’s leafy Plantage neighbourhood is one of the best to discover with little ones in tow. Aside from its idyllic gardens and picnic spots, it’s home to the ARTIS Royal Zoo (free with the City Card), where little explorers can meet zebras, elephants, giraffes and more. 

Duration: 3 hours

Visit a canal house museum

Grachtenhuis Amsterdam Thijs Wolzak

By now you’re familiar with Amsterdam’s canal houses, but did you know that some allow you to look inside? Discover the history of the canals at Het Grachtenhuis, or see photography exhibitions in a 17th-century interior at the Huis Marseille Museum of Photography – all free with the I amsterdam City Card.

Duration: 2 hours (one museum)

Order your I amsterdam City Card online

Relax in a park

Amsterdam is one of the greenest cities in Europe, and with more than 30 parks to choose from, you’re always within easy reach of a picnic spot, including the 47-acre Vondelpark and the stunning green oasis Rembrandtpark.

Duration: 1 hour

Take home a piece of Dutch Design

Forgo traditional souvenirs in favour of elegant design pieces found in stores like Droog, Moooi Showroom and the I amsterdam Store.

Duration: 2-3 hours

Explore Westergasfabriek

Westergasterrein terras Koen Smilde

The city’s former gasworks is now a cultural complex surrounded by the green landscape of Westerpark. There are plenty of bars, restaurants, a brewery and an arty cinema to explore, so it’s always worth a visit.

Duration: 2-3 hours

Hire a boat

Amsterdam canal boats Merijn Roubroeks

Summer in Amsterdam is best spent on the water and there’s no better way to experience it than to captain your own ship. Gather your group and hire a boat from one of Amsterdam’s many rental companies (you don’t need a boat licence for smaller boats). Prefer to sit back and relax? See all the major sights on a one-hour canal cruise by booking a Canal Cruise Ticket.

Duration: 4 hours

Get into the Dutch spirit

Amsterdam Dutch local cafe bar, Marie-Charlotte Pezé

At the end of a long day discovering Amsterdam, it’s time to disappear into one of the city’s many brown bars – traditional Dutch pubs – to mingle with the locals and sample some renowned Amsterdam beers.

Duration: 2 hours

Hit the shops in Haarlem

Haarlem shopping street Cris Toala Olivares

Haarlem is Amsterdam’s best-kept secret when it comes to independent boutiques and specialty design stores. Of course, the city boasts all the household names, too. Spend the day perusing the racks and then head to nearby Bloemendaal or Zandvoort for a glass of wine on a heated beach club terrace to celebrate your purchases.

Duration: 2 hours

Try some Indo-Dutch cuisine

Amsterdam Indonesian restaurant Kantjil de Tijger, CC BY-SA 2.0 Franklin Heijnen via Flickr

Few visitors to Amsterdam are aware that alongside pancakes and bitterballen, Indonesian food features highly in traditional Dutch cuisine. Most Indonesian restaurants serve ‘rijsttafel’ (rice table); a colonial Dutch creation of small dishes from the Indonesian islands.

Duration: 3 hours