Called the city of sins, Amsterdam is one of the best cities in Europe. If you are wondering how to spend a weekend in Amsterdam then you are in the right place. Buckle up as we tell you how to spend 2 days here in Amsterdam.
Amsterdam is a wonderful place for a city break. You can visit the museums, eat at trendy restaurants and even take strolls in the park as you look at the city’s beauty. If you are visiting Europe or are a resident of the continent then you must not miss out on the Amsterdam city break.
The city has a lot to offer for all types of travelers. Are you a museum person? An adventurous person? Or just a person who enjoys indulging in the beautiful scenery and a friendly atmosphere? Worry not because Amsterdam has got you covered. Here are some of our selected top destinations.
Weekend in Amsterdam Itinerary—Day 1
We start our first day in Amsterdam by visiting Dam Square. Now, it is one of the most famous and touristy spots but it is worth visiting at least once when you are here. It is not that far and you can easily start by walking there, or you can even cycle if you like that.
When you reach, you will see both the Royal Palace of Amsterdam and the National Monument. The New Church (Nieuwe Kerk) dates back to 1409 and is located right at Dam Square.
As you go around the place you will see how lively and busy the place is. You will see so many people busking, comedy shows, and much more. Though while visiting Dam Square beware of pickpocketers as the crowd is very busy filled with hundreds of people.
In case you don’t want to walk or cycle around the city, you can take the Canal Tour and explore Amsterdam. The boat will not only be easy transport but will also show you some very interesting sights along the ride and will give you an idea of Amsterdam.
You will most probably end up seeing much more than you would have if you went on your own. Amsterdam canals are famous and very beautiful. You should not miss out on the chance to see these famous canals.
The best way to have a good experience opt for a smaller canal boat that is smaller and has fewer people since that will help you enjoy the scenery better without much distraction. You should also go for open boats if the weather is on your side.
Make sure that you check the route and starting points of every tour before you book so that you don’t waste time transporting from one place to other.
Located at the museum square located are two of Amsterdam’s most popular museums, van Gogh and Rijksmuseum. You must remember that these are popular destinations and would be crowded.
Ever since Covid-19, there has been a newer rule that you need to pre-book slots before you visit the museums as they divide the crowd based on slots. They would not let you enter without your booking and in case you are standing out in a line, they would send you back if you do not have a booking. Do not worry if you see the queue being too long as the staff goes around to check for pre-booking confirmations from visitors.
Van Gogh Museum
Once you step inside, you will be greeted with works of beautiful art by Vincent Van Gogh. Amsterdam holds the largest collection of artwork by him.
Be sure that you book your tickets way prior to your trip because they get sold out quite fast. Once you have the pre-booked ticket, you would be able to enter the museum within 30-35 minutes of arrival. It only takes around an hour to visit the museum.
The museum is open daily from 9 am to 5 pm and the last slot to visit the museum is 4:30 pm but it is recommended that you leave at least 1 hour to explore the museum properly.
This museum is very huge and contains over 8,000 objects filled with art and the history of the Dutch along with many more. It takes around 2-3 hours to explore and look at everything present here so it would be recommended to book early tickets to enjoy it fully and better.
The museum is open from 9 am to 5 pm. If you have a museum card along with an e-ticket you could skip the ticket line, saving you about half an hour. In case you have I Amsterdam city card you would still need to stand in the ticket line.
Please remember that you are not allowed to click any pictures in the Rijksmuseum except in the library which is allowed.
Anne Frank House
A weekend in Amsterdam visit would not be completed if you did not check the Anne Frank House out.
Anne Frank and her family resided here for around 2 years and a month hiding away from the Nazis in this secret place. During the time this was happening, she wrote her diary which later became a very important part of history that we still read about.
When you check the house out, you can see and tour all these hidden rooms and see all the things you may have only heard about. You can also see the moveable bookcase.
One of the most famous beaches in Amsterdam and is located very close to NDSM Werf too which makes it an ideal place to check out directly after exploring NDSM Werf.
The Pllek beach has smooth sands but sadly its water is not swimmable. You can sunbathe, enjoy the ambiance and eat and drink here at the Pllek restaurant which offers mouth-watering meals and a great beach bar.
This beach is one of the most happening places in all of Amsterdam and you should give this a go. The sunset in this part feels magical and you should not miss out on it.
Though sunsets in summers happen around 10 pm while in autumn, they happen during 8-9 pm. Staying to watch the sunset will be a highlight of your trip and is highly recommended as the best way to end day 1.
Weekend in Amsterdam Itinerary—Day 2
You can start your second day of the weekend in Amsterdam by going to a popular food destination here in Amsterdam called the Pancake Bakery. It is a place that you should definitely go to and eat at. They have giant pancakes with any toppings you may want be it sweet or savory. One thing you should definitely not miss out on is the Dutch Pancakes.
This is a place that you must definitely try out if you can.
The world’s only floating flower market founded in 1862 is Bloemenmarkt in Amsterdam. It is located in Singel Canal and deserves to be checked out if you are visiting Amsterdam. This place is as pretty as you may imagine it to be with bright flowers all around floating in the water. Have lots of fun and meet the locals while you are at it.
You can spend time here exploring and shopping. These nine streets hold a lot of shops like art galleries, cafes, restaurants, clothing stores, and much more. You can easily spend a lot of time here.
Jordaan is a place that would take some time to explore. On the 3-3.5 hour tour on Jordaan, you would be able to sample 13 different Dutch foods and also learn about history as you go along. You would also see so many sites that usual tourists miss out on.
This is a place you should not miss out on during your weekend in Amsterdam break.
Museum Ons’lieve Heer Op Solder
Also called Our Lord in the Attic, this museum can quite simply be called one of the best museums for learning more about Amsterdam’s history. It was built in 1630 and looks like a normal house if you look at it from the outside but on the inside, it is a canal house, house church, along with museum in the city center.
Back in the 17th century, catholicism was banned and so people built small churches inside their houses so they could pray away from the public’s eyes. During your tour of this museum, you will learn a lot about the history of Amsterdam.
The museum is open 10 am to 5 pm from Tuesday to Saturday and 1 pm to 5 pm on Sundays. It stays closed on Mondays.
Red Light District
Amsterdam is a city where you may see things available to people that are illegal in most places but not here. One of those things is prostitution. In Amsterdam, there is a place called the Red Light District, a place that supports the sex worker and allows them to be able to do sex trades.
It is a great experience to see how the place changes itself entirely in the evening. All the houses that looked normal during the day, showcases sex workers in the evening. You would see multiple sex-related items being sold with the utmost professionalism, performances, and much more that you may not see anywhere else.
And as the name suggests, the area is lit up with red lights too. One thing that you must remember is to not photograph the sex workers and respect them. Photography is prohibited in the area. It is one of the local laws.
In case you are visiting with your kids, you can skip this place.
End your weekend in Amsterdam by visiting the pubs.
Weekend in Amsterdam Itinerary—Day 2
Waterlooplein Flea Market
A visit is never completed without shopping. The roadside flea market in Waterloo Square, Amsterdam is the oldest and most famous flea market present here in Amsterdam. It is not just a market for you to shop in but also a very beautiful place for you to soak in the atmosphere.
This flea market has items that are over 130+ years old which makes it very unique. You will find many antique things, books, vintage things like cameras, records, and much more. But, besides just the market, the market also has food trucks where you can catch your breakfast at.
You can take the ferry from Amsterdam Central to Noord which is totally free of cost. You can also bring your bicycles in case you are cycling around as you explore. When you reach Amsterdam-Noord, you will be greeted with a calmer and quieter part of the city where you can rest and have a little break.
A weekend in Amsterdam should not just be running around to places but also resting and enjoying peace and calm.
Do you want to get that picturesque view? Check A’Dam Lookout Tower out. To get here, you would not have to go too far as it is right next to the ferry you would get off of. When you come here, you would get in a glass elevator and be taken 20-stories up to this beautiful view.
If you want to have a mini-adventure and want to try something really unique, then you can swing on the spellbinding over-the-edge swing. It is not something everyone can do but you will be guaranteed a one-of-a-kind view. Only do this if you are not scared of heights and not under pressure.
Checking the lookout as a part of your weekend in Amsterdam trip is highly recommended for a great experience.
An eco-friendly sustainable cafe called De Ceuvel has been transformed from a site that once had old houseboats into a sustainable workspace.
They serve some great vegan food like bread with daal paste on top, daal(lentils) soup, and much more. Their portions of serving are also very worth the money. You will come out satisfied with the food. Another fact about the place is that the food they cook comes from their own organic garden.
Besides the amazing food, this place also has various spots where you can sit and spend your time.
Amsterdam is filled with art and creativity all over the place and one of the best places to see all the talented artist’s works is NDSM Werf.
A fun fact about the area was that it was once a shipyard but then was converted into a free alternative art exhibition. You will see a lot of cool artwork here. NDSM doesn’t just offer your regular graffiti artwork but also murals, arts with meanings and much more than what you could imagine. NDSM offers a place for all the artists to express themselves.
Evening Canal Cruise
What better than ending your weekend in Amsterdam holiday by taking an evening Cruise as you enjoy an hour of relaxation as you bid Amsterdam goodbye. A canal tour in Amsterdam is fun but is even more fun in the evening as the lights turn on and create a beautiful view for you to watch as you go back to your hotel.
In case it is your first time visiting the North, you must remember that the sunset does not happen until 10 pm here so be careful while booking your cruise and check the sunset time.
After all, what is the best way to end your trip besides touring these famous canals.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are some of the most common and frequently asked questions regarding your weekend in Amsterdam visit for your city break or just in general.
How to get around in Amsterdam?
You can explore Amsterdam any way you may like, by cycling, taking a boat, train or even by walking. Hopping on the two wheels is said to be the fastest mode of transport because Amsterdam is cycling-friendly which makes it easy to transport in but then with every pro comes its cons.
You cannot carry your luggage if you cycle or if you drink as it is not safe. And you wouldn’t want to work out so much on your weekend in Amsterdam city break.
Walking is a good option too but it can get tiring. So, using trains and metros can be one of the most convenient ways of transporting in the city.
You can also purchase multi-day tickets which help out a lot and you would not have to visit the booths again and again when you want to take a tram, metro or bus.
Do I need to get the ‘I Amsterdam city card’ or the ‘Museumcard’?
Both the cards have their own benefits and we will here tell you the difference between them.
I Amsterdam card
This card gives you free entry to most museums, cruises, and public transport. Though, it is quite costly as it takes €90 for 48 hours and €65 for 24 hours. You should always look over your trip itinerary before you buy as it would be a waste if you do not end up using it enough to make the money worth the spending.
You must note that €10 for Anne frank’s house is not included in the card.
As the name suggests, this card lets you enter around 400 museums in Amsterdam free of cost. For Dutch residents, it is valid for around a year while for tourists it is valid for 31 days(The card costs €65). In case you are visiting a lot of museums then you should go ahead and buy this card. But, in case you are not visiting many museums then it might not be worth the spending.
If you decide to buy the card, buy it at your first museum itself so you can save up a lot. It is available at Rijksmuseum, a museum mentioned in this itinerary.
Best time to visit Amsterdam?
The best time to come to Amsterdam for your weekend in Amsterdam city breaks is said to be April to early May as it is the prime blooming season. But, it is also one of the busiest times as most of the tourists choose this time to come to Amsterdam for their city breaks.
The summer is also a busy time as most children have their holiday in the summers. So October becomes a good time to come to Amsterdam with cool nights and the fall season. Winter is also a good time as the crowd fades away during this time. It is chilly but not downright cold.
Where to stay for your Weekend in Amsterdam holiday?
It is said by many people that the best place to stay at during your holiday is the Jordaan area. You can check these hotels mentioned below:
- Amsterdam Wiechmann Hotel (budget)
- Crowne Plaza South (mid-range)
- The’t Hotel (mid-range)
- The Dylans (luxurious)
- NH Collection (luxurious)
- Generator Amsterdam (Hostel)
These are some of the hotels you can check out before booking anything. Be sure to also check the top deals out in case you luck out.
Before you come to this beautiful city for you holidays, be sure to check the latest travel information as those are very important before visiting any place. Amsterdam is the Dutch capital, it is a very pretty city that has a lot to offer. Things cannot just be explored here in two days or three days but we tried our best to create a guide for you to explore.
It is recommended to save at least 5-7 days to properly explore the city as it may be small but is very vast. We are sure you will fall in love with the city within these two days.
Check out Best Holiday Destinations in Europe.