How to Fall in Love with Amsterdam in 2 Days

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2 Days in Amsterdam: How to Fall in Love with Amsterdam in 2 Days

So, you’re taking a trip to Amsterdam? Consider me jealous Amsterdam is one of the most vibrant cities in Europe. The first time you visit the capital of the Netherlands, you’ll fall head over heels in love with it, just like I did. There’s nothing better than wandering the canals, day or night, and feeling the pulsing energy that Amsterdam is filled with. From the stunning 17th-century canal ring district and outstanding museums to a vibrant nightlife and an excellent selection of restaurants, your 2 days in Amsterdam will be packed with nothing but delight. 

On your trip, you’ll find the city full of eventful history, astonishing architecture, and an incredible cultural landscape. Once a tiny fishing village, Amsterdam has grown into a bustling culture, art, and business hub over the centuries.

Two days is not nearly enough to see everything in Amsterdam. In fact, trying to fit everything you could possibly see in Amsterdam into two days is a fool’s errand.

Instead, I’d recommend slowing down and picking the attractions you are REALLY interested in and focusing on those so that you have plenty of time to walk and wander Amsterdam’s picturesque canals.

This 2 day Amsterdam itinerary has you seeing many of the major attractions, but saves time in between for getting off the beaten path and exploring on foot.

A Perfect 2 Day Amsterdam Itinerary

I wrote this guide to help you plan your Amsterdam itinerary and make sure you don’t miss the best experiences, here are the top things to do, see, and eat in Amsterdam. 

Amsterdam is packed with attractions. Rather than overstuffing your 48 hours in Amsterdam with as many ‘to-dos’ and ‘to-sees’ as possible, I’d suggest doing less and focusing on the most important experiences. For example, do you really need to go to that fourth museum, or would your time be better spent exploring one of Amsterdam’s best neighborhoods on foot?

I’d argue that it’s the latter. You’ll find that the real magic of Amsterdam is the in-between moments, where you wander down a deserted alley or stroll alongside a picturesque canal and have time to appreciate the sheer beauty of the city.

Day One: Jordaan and the Red Light District

If you want to get to know the real character of the city, get lost in the labyrinth of its side streets. Let’s kick off your Amsterdam weekend with a nice and easy self-guided walking tour of one of its most famous neighborhoods.

But first, coffee.

Morning: Explore Jordaan and The Nine Streets

If you ask me, a good start to the day always includes a good cup of coffee. Start your day at Screaming Beans Coffee Roasters (Runstraat 6, 1016 GK Amsterdam, Netherlands) with a perfectly pulled shot of espresso or a frothy, creamy latte before you begin your Amsterdam adventure. 

You’re going to be walking A LOT, so you’ll need plenty of energy to explore every nook and cranny of Amsterdam. To fuel up, start your day with some insanely tasty gluten free Dutch pancakes at Pancakes Amsterdam. They have four locations throughout the city, but as you’re in Jordaan, you’ll find one close to the Anne Frank House the most convenient. Choose from over a dozen Dutch and American pancakes made from fresh ingredients from local farms. They also serve lactose free and vegan pancakes, so make sure you let the staff know about your allergies and food preferences. The place isn’t 100% gluten-free but they take preventive measures to avoid cross contamination. You can read about them here


I almost always recommend starting your trip with a walking tour to get your bearings and to get some tips from your local guide. Below, you’ll find a rough self-guided walking tour, but if you want to get deeper into the colorful history of Jordaan with an experienced and knowledgeable guide, here are some guided walking tours to consider.

If you’re more into self-guided walking tours, here’s how to explore Jordaan and uncover its hidden gems.

This distinct neighborhood near central Amsterdam is famous for its architecture, arts, food, and a unique atmosphere

Walk around and explore the quirky streets of the most photogenic neighborhood in Amsterdam surrounded by centuries-old canals. Book a guided Jordaan walking tour or roam the district’s labyrinth of streets on your own, it’s really up to you.

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