Plotting your next urban adventure? The canal city of Amsterdam has a whole host of things to keep any budding explorer occupied. Museums galore, markets hidden away down cobbled streets, vibrant bars – the list goes on.
Only got two days in the Dutch capital? No problem, here are the top ten things to do when you’ve got just 48 hours in Amsterdam…
Check out the museums
No Amsterdam weekend is complete without a trip to at least one of the city’s quirky museums. Put it this way, the choice is far from limited, in fact, there are more than 70 to choose from!
The Cat Cabinet Museum is perfect for feline fans, while the Museum of Bags and Purses does what it says on the tin. Interested in the story behind Amsterdam’s national flower? Then the Tulip Museum will be the best of the bunch.
Visit Anne Frank House for the Jewish writer’s moving story and stop off at the Amsterdam Museum for a timeline of the city’s past. If olde worlde architecture enchants you, then Dam Square should be your next stop – the neoclassical Royal Palace and 15th-century Nieuwe Kerk church are two to look out for. Amsterdam’s oldest building? The incredible De Oude Kerk church, just five minutes away! It spans back eight centuries and has a floor made from gravestones!
Shop on De 9 Straatjes
If one-of-a-kind designs are your style, De 9 Straatjes is right up your street. In this quaint cluster of streets, you’ll find Scandi minimalism-style clothes and gift shops crammed with treasures just waiting to be found. Yes, Amsterdam has all the highstreet faves like H&M, Urban Outfitters and Forever 21, but you can get all these back home. We’re talking the Netherland’s answer to London’s Shoreditch – just on a cosier scale.
Make for the markets
Every day is market day here in Amsterdam, so whether you’re a fashionista or a foodie, there’s a shopping spot with your name on it. The Albert Cuyp Market in the De Pijp neighbourhood is the best known, which is no surprise considering it’s Europe’s biggest outdoor market! It’s been trading since 1905 and has more than 300 stalls to choose from. Pick up a posy of peonies, feast on street food and snap up unusual fabrics – they’re sold on huge rolls by the metre.
Board a boat trip
Did you know that Amsterdam’s canals stretch an incredible 100 kilometres? Or that the city has three times as many bridges as Venice? We can hardly believe it either! The best way to admire this UNESCO-listed waterway is of course by boat, so bag yourself tickets for a sightseeing cruise and sail the canal network in style. Some of the trips even include museum entry, so this is perfect for when you’re only in Amsterdam for the weekend and time’s limited.
Take a walk in the park
Break away from the hustle and bustle of the city centre and check out one of Amsterdam’s glorious green spaces. Vondelpark is the most popular and definitely one for the tick list, it even has an open-air theatre where free events are held during summer months. Sarphatipark is petite but pretty as a picture, what’s more, it’s right next to Albert Cuyp Market, so it’s easy to weave into your itinerary.
Embrace local traditions
If you manage a trip to Amsterdam without spotting tulips and clogs – then were you even here at all? Spring’s prime time for seeing the city’s national flower in full bloom, but you’ll find them in the markets all year round. The clogs? Well don’t expect to see these wooden shoes on the feet of the locals these days, but they’ve found their way onto many-a-magnet in the gift shops across Amsterdam.
If art’s your thing, Amsterdam’s your city. The Van Gogh Museum is the biggest of its kind, showcasing some of the artist’s most iconic work in a great big glass-fronted building on Museum Square. Or, if you prefer your art modern, swing by Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam with its sculptures painting and prints from the 20th century onwards. Tickets for each of the above galleries are around €19 per person, but they’re well worth it.
When it comes to local cuisine, one thing’s for certain – Amsterdam is crackers about cheese! From the gigantic wheels stacked up on market stalls to the slices of pizza oozing mozzarella sold by street vendors, this city is a cheese lover’s dream. There’s even a Cheese Museum that’s open between 9am and 7pm, seven days a week.
Have a night on the town
Beer is big business here in Amsterdam – in fact, you can even enjoy a tour of a brewery at the Heineken Experience! When the sun goes down, the crowds come out, so make a beeline to the bustling Leiden Square where vibrant bars and restaurants await. Want to dance the night away? The choice of clubs is endless, so take your pick!
Feeling inspired to plan a city break after reading our guide to 48 hours in Amsterdam?
Posted: 14th May 2019.