Amsterdam, the city with more bicycles than people and the capital of Netherlands, is known for its elaborate canal system and artistic heritage. This beautiful city had been on my bucket list for the longest and this summer I had the opportunity to visit it. Even though it was only for 2 nights, I wanted to do and explore as much as possible. And what I discovered was that the best way to see the city is on a bicycle!
There are several places where you can rent a bike and the cost? Well, just under 6 Euros per day! No having to deal with traffic or parking expenses and a great way to workout while on your vacation! I recommend Rent a Bike Amsterdam, click here to get started.
Now that you have your mode of transportation figured out, here is a guide on how to make the most of your 48 hours in Amsterdam.
WHAT TO DO
Stop 1: After landing at 6:00 AM, my first stop was the I Amsterdam sign. From what I heard, the sign moves around the city, however, the current location is the back of the Rijksmuseum on Musseumplein. The sign is one of the most instagrammable spots in Amsterdam and gets very crowded, the best way to get a picture without tons of people in your photo is to get there early! Hence, it was my first spot after landing. There is no entrance fees to visit the sign.
Stop 2: Don’t go too far from the sign because you are right next to your second stop, the Rijksmuseum. It is one of Amsterdam’s most popular museum which showcases 800 years of Dutch history through art and artifacts including some amazing paintings by world renowned artists such as Van Gough, Rembrandt, etc. Tickets costs around 20 euros, and is free with the I amsterdam city card. Click here for the hours of the museum.
Stop 3: Next stop is right around the corner too! Van Gogh Museum which is an art museum dedicated to the works of the artist himself.
Stop 4: Another crowd favorite is the Heineken Experience. Literally a minute away from the Rijksmuseum (500m to be exact), this is an interactive tour of the worldwide known beer brand, Heineken, which includes a tasting of the beer. Tickets can be purchased online and I highly recommend purchasing them in advance, this is another very popular attraction, get there early! The tickets are under 20 euros per person, click here to purchase them.
Check out my top 15 travel must haves here.
Stop 5: Hop on your bikes to get to your next stop, Dam Square, which takes around 7-8 mins to get there. A stunning square with several restaurants, cafes and stores to shop at. The square itself has beautiful buildings around including the Royal Palace and hosts many events all around the year. I came here to take a break and enjoy some coffee with fresh pastries, yum!
Stop 6: The Royal Palace is located on the west side of the Dam Square. It is one of the 3 palaces in the country and is open for visitors. The tickets cost 10 euros.
Stop 7: Probably 2 blocks from the square is the infamous Red light district and yes it is exactly how you have seen it in the movies. The district is more happening during the night hours, however, can be visited during the day and gets extremely crowded especially during the weekends. In addition to the countless sex shops, there are several good restaurants around as you walk along the canal. If you are a little scared of exploring the district alone, book yourself either a day or night tour. Click here for one of the tour options.
PRO TIP: One of the best ways to explore Amsterdam when short on time is via a canal cruise. Amsterdam has an extensive canal system and many cruise options are available during the day or evenings.
PRO TIP: If you are short on time and are not spending a night in Amsterdam, you can store your luggage at one of the several luggage lockers around the city. Amsterdam Central Station offers lockers for 7-10 euros per day.
WHERE TO STAY
For such a short trip, I recommend staying central or near the airport. I stayed at an amazing Airbnb apartment located less than 10 mins from the airport since I had a 6:00 AM return flight. The apartment is hosted by August En Petra who by the way is an wonderful hostess. A full review is coming up on my stay, in the mean time click here to see more of the apartment.
If you are looking to get away from the city life and experience a bit more of Netherlands, the Dutch city of Leiden is an excellent option. Roughly an hour away from Amsterdam, Leiden is known for its centuries old architecture and all the Dutch charm. You can also stay at an 18th-century house in the heart of Leiden. Click here to check out the second airbnb house I stayed at.
PRO TIP: If you are travelling by a car to Leiden, there is a parking garage located within 5 mins of walking distance from the above airbnb called Morspoort garage.
Amsterdam is an amazing city to visit whether it be for a short or long duration. I spent 2 nights in the city and loved every minute of it. My favorite part was how accessible the entire city is via a bike. The people are mostly friendly when approached for help, Dutch is the main language, however, English is widely spoken. Most of the stores don’t open till 9:00 or 10:00 AM on the weekends, therefore, the streets are very quiet and empty before those hours.
If you have visited Amsterdam, I would love to hear your highlights from the trip! And if you are planning to visit soon, I am happy to help make your trip fun and stress-free, ask away in the comments below!