What to do in Amsterdam if you have 1 or 2 days

Katherine Kooistra

By Katherine Kooistra
13 Nov 2019

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If you’re heading to Amsterdam, you have definitely made the right decision! It’s certainly a city like no other. This funky capital of the Netherlands is home to canals, countless bicycles and so many unique attractions that you’ll definitely be coming back. For a plan of how to spend 48 hours, keep reading…

1 Day in Amsterdam | The Must-Do's

Start the day with a delicious brunch. Eat some pannenkoeken (pancakes) at the Amsterdam institution, the Pancake Bakery. Or if you’re more of a savoury person, go to the New Zealand style restaurant with Brazilian flavours called Bakers and Roasters. The perfect place to get that eggs benny you’ve been craving.

Now that you’re full, head to one of the many canal tour agencies dotted around the town and book a ride. A canal boat ride is the best way to see the city, giving you the opportunity to check out the narrow houses on the streets, the bridges above you and all the houseboats that fill the canals. If you’re light on cash, explore the canals by foot instead!

After exploring the canals, walk over to the nearest FEBO. This walk-in snack bar specialises in vending machines which pop out the best Dutch snacks on the market. If you haven’t tried a kroket, frikandel or bitterballen, you haven’t lived. They're the perfect snack to satisfy any cravings.

Next on the agenda is the Anne Frank House. Step inside the annex where Anne Frank lived as a child and wrote her diary. This biographical museum not only serves as a tribute to Anne Frank, but is also a sobering exhibition on the Jewish people who suffered discrimination during WW2. It should take you around 60 to 90 minutes to fully explore the House. Pre-book your tickets online well in advance so that you can get yourself a spot. Adult tickets cost 10 euros.

Less than half an hour walk away from the Anne Frank House is the Van Gogh Museum. It will set you back around 19 euros and you'll need to pre-book your slot online in advance, but this Museum is definitely worth exploring. It contains the life works of Dutch artist Vincent van Gogh, including 200 paintings, 400 drawings and 700 letters. Allow yourself around 1.5 hours to fully take it all in.

Time for dinner! Less than a 10 minute walk away is Hap Hmm! This restaurant is very popular with locals due to having delicious traditional Dutch food at a low price.

After dinner, walk over to the Red Light District (De Wallen), less than a half hour walk away from Hap Hmm. Famous for the legalisation of brothels in Amsterdam, it is incredibly popular with tourists. Check out the Museum of Prostitution, the Condomerie, or go to a strip club or sex show.

If you feel like a beverage, a funky place within the Red Light district is Tonton Club. What makes Tonton different from any other bar? It’s actually a barcade: a video-game bar infamous for its craft beers and complete with foosball tables, classic arcade games, air hockey and much more!

If you have more time | Local Experiences

With another day up your sleeve, you can make the most of your time in the Netherlands and visit somewhere further out of Amsterdam. Cycling is an important Dutch tradition, so be like the Dutch and jump on your bike. Rent a bike from near the Amsterdam Central Station, jump on a free ferry to Amsterdam Noord and follow the canal to the Waterland. Cycle all way to Monnickendam and then up to Marken - this is the perfect way for you to see windmills, small villages, waterways and nature reserves. Take a picnic with you!

If you prefer to stay within the city, spend your morning checking out the Moco Museum. For years, it housed rather large Banksy and Warhol exhibitions. It costs 18 euros if you book tickets online, or 20 euros if you book upon entry.

While you’re in the area, make sure you head over to the Albert Cuyp market. Grab yourself some Dutch delicacies, such as stroopwafel or some poffertjes (aka the best things ever) and enjoy strolling around the town.

In the afternoon, pop over to the Heineken Experience where you can take a guided tour to learn all there is to know about the famous Dutch beer brand and taste some beer too, of course! Book your tickets online before to secure your spot.

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