Our itinerary for visiting Amsterdam in 2 days

As the historic centre of Amsterdam is quite small, the Dutch capital can easily be visited over a weekend. By bike, on foot or by boat, you can see the monuments and major museums in just two or three days - perfect for a rural and picturesque city break.

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Day 1: Visit to the historic centre

A canal cruise

The best way to visit Amsterdam in a weekend is to devote the first day to exploring the city centre. First of all, we recommend that you buy the I Amsterdam City Card, which gives you free access to the city's public transport and to over 70 museums and activities. You can even start your itinerary with a guided cruise on the Amsterdam canals. Sailing through the historic centre gives you a good first impression of this village-like capital.

Our favourite Amsterdam cruise! Amsterdam

Our favourite Amsterdam cruise!

The Blue Boat cruises take you to Amsterdam's main points of interest with an audio guide available in 21 languages, all at a very reasonable price!

The ultra-centre

After this perfectly bucolic stroll, it's off to Dam Square, the nerve centre of Amsterdam: : every street you take leads to a corner of the city to discover! But before setting off to explore the other districts, don't forget to pay a visit to the Nieuwe Kerk, a Gothic-style church dating from the early 15th century, and the Amsterdam Royal Palace, a monumental building that is the official reception venue for the Dutch royal family.

Amsterdam's Royal Palace.

- © Travelpixs / Shutterstock

The Jordaan district

We then move on to the Jordaan, which in our opinion is the best district in Amsterdam. Stroll through the narrow streets lined with typical colourful houses where art galleries, coffee shops and brown cafés stand side by side.

The Jordaan is a trendy, arty district.

- © Harry Beugelink / Shutterstock

Have lunch at Café Chris, Amsterdam's oldest 'brown café', and step back in time to the 17th century. You can also sample dozens of different types of Gouda cheeses at the Cheese Museum. Not far away is the Anne Frank House, where Anne and her family hid during the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands: a touching story and very interesting visit.

Anne Frank's house seen from the outside.

- © Ivo Antonie de Rooij / Shutterstock

Shopping and sightseeing

If you fancy a bit of shopping, the Negen Straatjes is the place to go: a vintage district brimming with original boutiques. Alternatively, head straight for the Beguinage, a medieval inner courtyard once home to a community of women known as the Beguines. The silence is striking. Then we reach the Bloemenmarkt, a floating market selling flowers of all colours, including tulips.

Les tulipes du Bloemenmarkt.

- © Tupungato / Shutterstock

How about a broodje haring for a snack? At first glance, these little smoked herring sandwiches don't look like much, but they're very good! You can also get eel, cod... but also with chicken or vegetables.

The red light district by day and by night

Now that we're all refreshed, we can continue our walk to the Zuiderkerk. The bell tower of this 17th-century church offers a breathtaking view of the whole city. We then arrive at the Nieuwmarkt square, where the small castle is in fact the former gateway to the city. Today, the square forms the boundary of the famous red light district.

Amsterdam's Red Light District.

- © S.Borisov / Shutterstock

While the area is famous for its sex shops, erotic cinemas and red neon shop windows that come to life after dark, there are also plenty of things to visit during the day. The Amstelkring, for example, is a former underground church hidden in the attic of a house that has now been turned into a museum. And don't forget theOude Kerk, Amsterdam's oldest church.

The Oude Kerk church in Amsterdam's Red Light District.

- © Neirfy / Shutterstock

You can dine in one of the district's restaurants while waiting for night to fall - we recommend the café restaurant van Kerkwijk. We then end the day by wandering the narrow streets of the red light district to discover its very special atmosphere and its shop windows behind which young women sway undress.

Where to stay in central Amsterdam?

Mr. Jordaan 3* - Amsterdam Amsterdam

Mr. Jordaan 3* - Amsterdam

This 3-star hotel in the heart of the Jordaan is sure to please thanks to its decor and the friendliness of its staff.
£192 / night

Day 2: Museums by bike

The museumplein

On this second day, we'll be moving away from the city centre and covering slightly longer distances, so it might be worth hiring a bike. Cycling is the preferred means of transport in Amsterdam, the city isn't nicknamed the "cycling capital" for nothing!

Our favorite guided bike tour of Amsterdam Amsterdam

Our favorite guided bike tour of Amsterdam

This guided walk allows you to discover all the secrets of Amsterdam using the locals' favorite means of transport. A most pleasant walk!
£34 / person

Pedal your way to Museumplein, home to the city's most important museums. If you're only staying two days in Amsterdam, you'll have to make a choice, as you won't have time to do everything. Our hearts go out to the Rijksmuseum and the Van Gogh Museum, both of which are well worth a visit.

Le Rijksmuseum à Amsterdam.

- © NAN728 / Shutterstock

Food and drink

Just a few metres from the museums, the Vondelpark is Amsterdam's green lung. It's easy to cycle around the park and stop off at one of the lakes for a picnic in the sunshine. We then continue to the Heineken Experience museum, a must-see to discover the history of this blonde beer that is the pride of the Netherlands! At the end of the tour, you'll be offered two pints.

Le Musée Heineken Experience.

- © Wut_Moppie / Shutterstock

If you're feeling peckish, the Albert Cuypmarkt is the ideal spot for a delicious snack. In this huge market, you can discover poffertjes, typical Dutch mini-pancakes, or stroopwafels, crispy waffles filled with caramel. You'll also find stalls selling clothes, flowers and souvenirs.

The north of Amsterdam

We're now heading for the north of Amsterdam, about 15 minutes by bike from our current location. If you have time, visit Amsterdam's National Maritime Museum, whose maps, tools and replica ships retrace five centuries of Dutch history.

Amsterdam's National Maritime Museum.

- © Nick N A / Shutterstock

Alternatively, you can visit the Rembrandt House Museum, which closes a little later. This is where the master painter lived and created his most famous works, and the house and studio have been completely restored to look as they did in the 17th century.

The Rembrandt House Museum.

- © Ivo Antonie de Rooij / Shutterstock

When the sun begins to sink in the sky, head for the A'DAM Lookout This observatory perched atop a 100-metre tower offers a 360° view of Amsterdam and the surrounding countryside. But that's not all! You can swing above the void on Europe's highest swing, enjoy a unique virtual reality experience, and much more...

La balançoire “Over The Edge” au sommet de l’A’DAM Lookout.

- © Max Villa / Shutterstock

The A'DAM Tower is also home to a panoramic restaurant that spins around so that you can eat without missing a moment of the fabulous panorama - a must do! The tower is also home to a hotel offering rooms with stunning views.

Sleep in the A'DAM Tower!

Sir Adam Hotel 4* - Amsterdam Amsterdam

Sir Adam Hotel 4* - Amsterdam

Spend the night (or more) in the mythical A'DAM Tower! The rooms are superb, and that's not even mentioning the breakfast!
£178 / night
by Jude JONES
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