Evening: The Canal Cruise
Probably the best way to end a day one of your Amsterdam weekend is to board a romantic evening cruise that glides under a few of the 1,000 beautiful bridges in the city.
Explore the unique spectacle that is Amsterdam’s canals from the best vantage point: on the water. It’s certainly a different perspective, and it’s one that is worth getting during your 2 days in Amsterdam.
Did you know that the canal loops in the medieval old town of Amsterdam are a UNESCO World Heritage site? The evening canal cruise is a perfect way to get a sense of the Dutch Golden Age when the city’s art, architecture, and trade were thriving.
The evening canal cruises usually take 1 to 1.5 hours, and provide a unique perspective of Amsterdam’s architecture and scenery.
Wrap up the first of 2 days in Amsterdam by taking in the view of the city bathing in glittering lights of its streets and shimmering waters of 17th-century canals.
Head to De Italiaan for a relaxing Italian dinner on one of Amsterdam’s prettiest terraces. Try their gluten-free pizza (the best in the city!) or other celiac-safe yummies.
After dinner, you’re going to want a drink. For amazing cocktails, check out the Tales and Spirits (Lijnbaanssteeg 5-7, 1012 TE Amsterdam, Netherlands). Or if you’re craving a beer, stroll to Proeflokaal Arendsnest (Herengracht 90, 1015 BS Amsterdam, Netherlands). They serve over 100 beers with a focus on local and Belgian beers, and have a few ciders in bottles.
Day Two: Museums and Vondelpark
Kick off your second day with an of espresso at Black Gold Coffee and Vinyl shop, away from the tourist crowds.
Morning: The Best Museums in Amsterdam
Armed with the jolt of energy that comes from that shot of espresso (or three), explore the Museum Quarter of Amsterdam. It’s home to the city’s most visited museums like the Rijksmuseum, Van Gogh Museum, and modern art Stedelijk Museum.
I recommend AT MOST visiting two of them with 2 days in Amsterdam. I would do the Rijksmuseum for sure, and add on the Van Gogh museum only if you’re a fan of his art. Each museum deserves at least 2-3 hours of time dedicated to it, and that would mean you’re spending your entire second day in these two museums. See both (and skip the lines) with this 5.5 hour highly rated guided tour of the Van Gogh Museum and Rijksmuseum.
Don’t forget to take a selfie with a famous I Amsterdam sign that can be found right outside the Rijksmuseum.
If you’re going to visit one museum (which is usually the number of museums I have patience for), this is the one. You’re going to want to avoid the ticket line, which can get pretty gnarly, so buy your skip-the-line tickets in advance. Click here to check prices and availability.
The Rijksmuseum is one of Amsterdam’s most popular museums where you’ll find a huge collection of illustrious art by Rembrandt, Van Gogh, Vermeer, Frans Hals, and many more artists.
The Rijksmuseum first opened in 1800. However, it was situated in the Hague until 1885, when it was transferred to its current building.
The Rijksmuseum collection contains more than a million pieces of paintings, sculptures, and historical artifacts.
If you’re looking for a guided tour of the Rijksmuseum, which I’d recommend (if not, definitely get the audio guide), here is a highly rated private tour of the Rijksmuseum that will bring history to life with an expert guide walking you through the highlights of the museum. Alternatively, here is a guided small group tour of the Rijksmuseum.
Van Gogh Museum
The famous Van Gogh Museum holds the world’s largest collection of pieces by Vincent Van Gogh. The permanent collection includes 500 drawings, the famous artist’s collection of Japanese prints and over 750 letters.
The tickets can be purchased here and they cost € 21. It’s a timed entry, so you’ll need to plan in advance when you want to be there. Get the audio guide for some added color.
If you’re looking for a guided tour of the Van Gogh Museum to hear more about his background, his life, and both caused his work to change over time, this is the tour I would book.