One of the most popular cities in Europe and a great place for a weekend getaway, Amsterdam draws thousands of tourists every year with its historic gems, world-class museums, nightlife, and culture. Not to mention the legal cannabis and Red Light District. The beautiful waterways and streets of the city have so much to offer to visitors. Keep reading to find out how to spend two days in Amsterdam.
A good way to start your weekend in Amsterdam is in Dam Square, the center of the city and just a short walk from the main transportation hub. A good way to start your weekend in Amsterdam is in Dam Square, the center of the city and just a short walk from the main transportation hub. You can people watch, grab a bite to eat, or view the National Monument and the impressive Royal Palace.
Take a Walking Tour
One of the best ways to really get acquainted with any new city is through a walking tour. When I was in Amsterdam, I did the Sandemans New Europe Free Walking Tour and I highly recommend it. As a bonus, it starts in Dam Square. The tour company also offers several other tours of the city, including a Red Light District tour, a boat tour, World War II and Jewish Quarter tour, and an Amsterdam Countryside tour.
Anne Frank’s House
If you joined the Sandemans walking tour, you’ll end near Anne Frank’s House, which gives you a perfect chance to see where one of the city’s most famous residents lived in secret during the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands. The hidden annex where Anne Frank spent her life before being taken away to the concentration camp can be visited on the Prinsengracht canal. There is also a neighboring museum about her tragic story. It’s best to book your ticket in advance if you’re planning on visiting the hidden apartment.
Stroll the Markets
There are several open-air markets around the city just waiting to be explored. These city markets give you a feeling of the “real Amsterdam.” The best known and largest one is the Albert Cuypmarkt, featuring over 300 stalls that sell everything from clothes and jewelry to produce and cheese to more Dutch delicacies like the stroopwafel (which you should definitely try). If you love flowers, be sure to check out the Bloemenmarkt along the Singel canal.
Hop on a Canal Cruise
I think the best way to end your first day in Amsterdam is to hop on a canal cruise, giving you a great overview of the city from a different perspective. Cruising the seventeenth-century canal belt offers one beautiful panoramic view after another. A wide variety of canal cruises are available, including drink excursions, candlelit dinners, historic cruises, and more.
Van Gogh Museum
Not only will you find the largest collection of artwork by Vincent van Gogh in the world at the Van Gogh Museum, but works by several artists as well, such as Toulouse-Lautrec, Monet, and Gauguin.
The sprawling Rijksmuseum is home to around 8,000 historical artifacts and artwork, most of which is Dutch in origin. Masterpieces on display include works by Frans Hals, Rembrandt, and Johannes Vermeer.
Relax in Vondelpark
After taking the works in the city’s world-class museums, be sure to take some time to relax in Vondelpark. The park is a favorite among both tourists and locals alike for a picnic. It’s pretty easy to lose yourself for a couple hours in the oasis of winding paths, ponds, lawns, and over sixty sculptures. During the summer, you may be able to catch a performance at the open-air theater.
If you’re a fan of beer, particularly Heineken, then the Heineken Experience is worth a visit while in Amsterdam. The interactive experience shares how the Heineken brewery began and how its beer is brewed. It’s part tour, part museum and you get to drink some beer at the end.