A simple travel guide to the capital of the Netherlands!
If you are wondering what to do in Amsterdam for two days, then this page is for you. We traveled around Amsterdam in the month of May 2013 for two days. We wished we were there longer!
This is a section on our travels outside Singapore, where we share how you can also travel Europe yourself!
If you’re planning to travel Amsterdam yourself, which what we strongly encourage, we hope the tips and information we share will help you!
“Are you ready for the tuuullliiipppsss?”
Amsterdam is the capital and the most populated city in the Netherlands, it originated from a fishing village and became one of the most important ports in the world.
With many canals running through Amsterdam, you will find many scenic and beautiful canals with bridges over them and trees surrounding it just like the photo below. Such a pleasant sight!
If you have a limited time and thinking how to plan your itinerary for Amsterdam, I would suggest to start exploring the city from its centre. It is possible to walk from the Centraal Station to Dam Square (approximately 10 minutes); alternatively you can take the tram from the Central Station, it’s just a few stops and you will reach Dam square.
Dam square or the Dam is the Amsterdam town square and it’s an important location in the city as events are frequently held here. One of such events would be fun fair on Kings Day or near Christmas!
On the other side of the square you will find a white stone pillar that had been erected in 1956 in memory of the victims of World War II as many had died during the Dam Square shooting in 1945.
There were many souvenirs shops and restaurants at the Dam Square but one shop that caught my eyes was a shop selling cheese.
You will be able to find many different flavours of cheese. Some example would be cheese with chilli, pesto cheese and mustard cheese. If you are a cheese person, you will definitely love this shop because you can sample the different types of cheese!
What to do in Amsterdam #1 – Explore City Centre!
The next day, which was also the highlight of the entire Amsterdam trip, was to visit Keukenhof!
It’s also known as the Garden of Europe because of its size and the number of flowers that are being planted annually in the park. It is located in the southwest of Amsterdam in the small town of Lisse.
It’s our very first time seeing so many tulips! Imagine the vast number of flowers before your eyes and the vibrant colours! It will just brighten up your day by visiting this garden.
Amazing mix of colours.
You can also take close up shoots with the tulips!
And also some time for a romantic shot!
Even though we didn’t managed to explore the daffodils and hyacinths, one thing we did not regret was to rent a bicycle and explore the tulip fields outside of the garden.
Sea of reds, yellows and pinks filled our eyes! Indeed it was beyond beautiful and it was like a dream came true for me (Valerie) to have been and taken photos with tulip fields.
And this is how they look like close up!
When we rented the bicycles, we were given a map and suggested routes to follow but we got lost in the midst of it. However we just went along the way and explore on our own and came across even more tulip fields!
Truly, some things are best left to be explored by ourselves.
What to do in Amsterdam #2 – A day trip to Keukenhof, plus your own cycling adventure!
What’s next after Kuekenhof?
The bundle ticket for entrance into Kuekenhof comes with the canal cruise tickets as well!
Being able to sit on the cruise, enjoying the cool breeze blowing against our faces and seeing the scenery of Amsterdam was just peaceful. At the same time we can rest our feet from all the walking!
The canal cruise lasted 30 minutes and it took us around the some of the many canals there.
Lovers Company provide 3 different lines you can choose from, Museum Line, Canal Cruise and Artis Express. Canal cruise was the one that comes with the ticket bundle purchase for Keukenhof.
If you want to enjoy a dining experience on the cruise with your loved ones, there are various dinner cruises that you can book as well!
What to do in Amsterdam #3 – Canal Cruise!
When you walk along the streets around Amsterdam Central, you will find that there are many different types of museums around.
Some of the famous ones are Van Gogh Museum, Anne Frank House, Heineken Experience and so on. However, we decided to check out the Sex Museum!
[No Entry If You’re Under 18!]
Well, what can I say? It was a one of a kind experience indeed! Sex Museum is also the oldest one in Europe, featuring many unique objects and images in the museum.
It brings you through the history of sex and sex trade over the years. I know you want photographs, but I think the exhibits are best seen with your own eyes (most images there are not suitable for our family-friendly page here!)
That’s the golden chair that Marcus was sitting on. Why is it golden? Only the chair in the centre vibrates!
What to do in Amsterdam #4 – Check out the oldest sex museum in Europe!
I’m sure this is one of the famous tourist photo taking place in Amsterdam, just right in front of the Rijks Museum! It is also the Dutch National Museum dedicated to history and arts in the Netherlands.
It was closed in 2003 for renovation and reopened ten years later in April 2013.
Unfortunately, we did not managed to go into it as it was already closed. But nonetheless, we had so much fun taking photos with IAMSTERDAM sign!
Unfortunately, we did not managed to go into it as it was already closed. But nonetheless, we had our fun taking photos with IAMSTERDAM sign!
The IAMSTERDAM sign is akin to our Merlion of Singapore. Take a photo there to show you’ve been there!
What do to in Amsterdam #5 – Visit Rijks Museum and take photo with IAMSTERDAM
On the morning when we left, we went to the local Dutch market – Albert Cuyp Market that was a stone’s throw away from the place where we stayed. It was a weekday morning and shop owners were selling their fresh vegetables and fruits in the market.
There are many different stores in the market, stores that sell seafood, churros, clothes and even home made chocolates!
Lots of things to see, lots of things to buy. Of course, we didn’t shop till we drop, as we have to budget our expenses. But if we could, we will really buy! The items there are relatively cheaper than the ones at other tourist attractions.
It’s a pleasure to shop around the market without many other tourists. That, we know we are shopping at the right place!
What to do in Amsterdam #6 – visit the local Dutch market
Anything else in Amsterdam?
We hope our guide shows you briefly what to do in Amsterdam. Of course, that’s not all that Amsterdam has to offer! If you plan to stay for more than two days in Amsterdam you can check out the following places as well:
- Zaanse Schans : windmill that’s uniquely Netherlands
- Vondelpark: rest and relax, perhaps even a picnic in the largest park in Amsterdam
- Rotterdam: take a short trip to Rotterdam to get a different experience
- Ajax Arena: needless to say if you are a soccer fan
- Alkmaar: cheese factory
Where to stay in Amsterdam?
Just like our Germany trips in Munich, Berlin, Cologne, Stuttgart and Hamburg, we looked for room rentals through airbnb instead of hotels.
In this way not only are you able to save on expensive hotel costs, you are also able to explore Amsterdam like a local as hosts usually will recommend places to go to.
Airbnb.com is an awesome site where you have hosts open up their empty rooms or apartments for travelers for a fee and it’s much cheaper than hotels.
In Amsterdam, we stayed in the town of Weesperzide, just few minutes walk from the metro Wibautstraat. Here’s our host Guus. You can find out more about his apartment through his room listing on Airbnb. We highly recommend this place to stay because we had an awesome time here!
What to do in Amsterdam #7 – stay with a local!
Alternatively, you can stay in hotels too, which is everywhere around the city. Before you book, do compare the hotel rates below.
How to go to Amsterdam?
You can fly into Amsterdam from wherever you are. Schiphol is one of the busiest airports in Europe and the it’s ranked 16th in the world that provides international and domestic flights.
You can take the NS Hispeed trains and you will arrive at Amsterdam Central Station. That’s how we get into Amsterdam from Frankfurt. Do get your train tickets if you decided to take the train.
You can also purchase the tickets online. But before you buy any tickets, do check the train timing online first.
Did you rent a car in Europe? Then you can drive into Amsterdam too.
How to travel around Amsterdam
That’s the main transport we took when we were in Amsterdam. It was convenient and as it brought us to places that we want to go to.
Trams are convenient as well but do check the direction as well as service number that you have to take.
You can explore Amsterdam by foot, especially if you stay near the Central station as everything is within walking distance. But of course, do have a GPS with you in case you got lost.
What to eat in Amsterdam?
We found out from our host that there isn’t a Dutch food culture! Well, except for snacks like stroopwafle.
…and fries with mayonnaise.
Hence we decided to make our own sandwiches with the ingredients we bought from the supermarket.
We had so much fun making sandwiches and even had our very own canal dining experience.
(Also because we can only make sandwiches there, since we dare not use the host’s kitchen to cook! :P)
Yay or Nay?
Why we love Amsterdam:
- Unique experience to Keukenhof and tulip fields around Lisse
- Friendly Dutch people (like our Airbnb host!)
- Sailing along the canal
- Exploring the local Dutch market and see how different it is from our own Singaporea’s Pasar Malam aka Night Market
Why we may not love Amsterdam:
- Costly if dine in restaurants
- There isn’t a food culture, a foodie may even feel disappointed because of this!
What Say You?
We enjoyed Amsterdam very much even though it was just a short stay. And we did managed to cover many places so if you worry that you don’t have time to visit the places you want, fret not because we did it!
Amsterdam is a lovely place and I’m sure we will be back in the future as there are still other places we have yet to visit.
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