On a budget and short on time but want to see Amsterdam in just two days? You’re in luck! I’ve got the ultimate Amsterdam 2 day Itinerary for budget travelers!
In this post, you’ll get highlights of the city and see the best tourist spots without feeling too rushed or overwhelmed.
Amsterdam can sometimes get a rep among tourists as a party location. It’s where weed and prostitution are legal, and the culture of “you don’t bother us, we won’t bother you” is obvious from the second you step off the plane. It makes for some vast assumptions.
I feel like this is a bit unfair. There’s a whole world beyond Amsterdam’s initial first impression. The Red Light district and pub crawls can be fun, but I wanna share the other side of Amsterdam with you. It’s what made me love this city as much as I do.
Amsterdam 2 Day Itinerary for Budget Travelers
Map of Amsterdam
Introduction to Amsterdam
Official Language(s): Dutch
Emergency phone number: 112
When to Go to Amsterdam
April – May or September – October
Tulips are an eternal presence in the markets of Amsterdam, but if you want to see them in all their glory, aim for April-May.
I went in early October, and it’ll be hard to get me to visit again at any other time. The leaves on the trees along the canal were changing, which was a beautiful sight to behold. The weather was delightful; I needed a light jacket at most.
Where to Stay in Amsterdam
I tend to be a bit distrustful of Airbnb’s, but this one is legit. If you’re someone who wants a chill, quiet neighborhood, check out this Airbnb. It’s next to a bus stop, so you’re not far from the city center, while still being walking distance from a few shops and restaurants.
Private Room: $62/night
But if you’re a city-center-or-bust traveler, ClinkNOORD hostel is for you. Bike rentals and free walking tours await.
Badhuiskade 3, 1031 KV Amsterdam
Transportation Options in Amsterdam
Bikes are huge in Amsterdam (more on that later). So if you’re not balance-challenged (*raises hand*) it might be a fun idea to rent a bent or look into a bike tour and see how the locals do it.
To take advantage of the fantastic bus system in Amsterdam, I highly recommend buying a GVB Ticket. It’s a travel pass you can use throughout the city during your length of stay.
When you arrive at Schipol Airport, there’ll be a kiosk where you can buy these tickets. Hold onto them, you have to check in with them every time you board a bus.
Travel pass available for 24, 48 or 72 hours
Where to Eat in Amsterdam
First thing that needs to be 100% on your list is brunch at The Carousel, where you can experience the magic that is poffertjes. Baby Dutch pancakes that are light, spongy and best eaten with powdered sugar. The Carousel is favorite spot of mine, it’s got a whimsical vibe and a friendly staff.
H.M. van Randwijkplantsoen 1, 1017 ZW Amsterdam
Next thing you’ll just have to trust me on is the FEBO automat. To some, it looks… interesting. Eating food from a wall… um, ok. But really, for one euro you get can fried cheese, or try kroket (a Dutch favorite) or spend a little more for a full blown meal. FEBO has locations all across the city, including in the very center.
Nieuwendijk 220, 1012 MX Amsterdam
Dutch cheese was the answer to my prayers. Henri Willig is arguably the best choice; they have samples of their finest cheeses (try the goat cheese and thank me later) and they offer cheese to go. To go. The staff are so friendly and knowledgeable it’s hard not to spend an hour or more there.
Haringpakkerssteeg 10, 1012 LR Amsterdam
Stroopwafels are everywhere and an absolute must! Two stiff waffles with syrup in between. It’s good stuff. Confectionery Lanskroon is a popular place for these cheap little delights, but don’t worry too much about getting your sweet fix elsewhere. They’re an awfully hard dessert to screw up.
Singel 385, 1012 WL Amsterdam
Day 1 in Amsterdam
Getting up early will suck, but grab a coffee and head down to Vondelpark. It’s a beautiful park that’s perfect for an early morning stroll.
After a bit of walking, you’ll arrive at the two museums I’d like to focus on for this itnerary… the van Gogh Museum and the Rijksmuseum.
van Gogh Museum
I started with van Gogh first, and I’d recommend it. Get there right when it opens. It crowds up fast and you’re gonna want The Potato Eaters all to yourself.
No photos are allowed.
Museumplein 6, 1071 DJ Amsterdam
Open 9 a.m. – 6 p.m.
I amsterdam sign
Across from the museum is the I amsterdam sign. It’s usually crowded with people trying to get that perfect photo, but if you arrive really early you have a better shot of just getting yourself in the picture.
Straight ahead is the Rijksmuseum. The Rijksmuseum is a place where I could spend weeks. They have everything. Since time is precious, the places to see are the Vermeer and Rembrandt wing.
If this is what you came here for, budget about an hour or two. It’s quite the collection.
Museumstraat 1, 1071 XX Amsterdam
Open 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
After this, walk on down to Rembrandt Square. It’s a fun, open air art market that’ll reinforce what you just took in at the museums.
Rembrandtplein 5, 1017 CD Amsterdam
Remember what I said about those tulip markets? Bloemenmarkt, about a five minute walk from Rebrandt Square, is where it’s at.
Singel, 1012 DH Amsterdam
Anne Frank House
If you want to visit the Anne Frank House, you need to book this as far in advance as you can. Spaces go fast. While there is an option to wait in line sans ticket in the evening, you’d be gambling. It’s a small space that can only fit so many people. The line moves slowly.
Be smart, buy tickets ASAP.
Prinsengracht 263-267, 1016 GV Amsterdam
Open 9 a.m. – 7 p.m.
Day 2 in Amsterdam
Take a Walking Tour
The Sandeman’s free walking tours are a favorite of mine. Here, you’ll get to take in all the wonderful weirdness that is Amsterdam.
(Although, I have to be honest, I left the tour early once we got to the market.)
I love food markets, and Amsterdam has so many to choose from. Nieuwmarkt is the most convenient choice, and also where I had my first taste of Belgian fries.
The Heineken Rock the City tour is admittedly, a giant tourist cliche. That said, I loved it.
The Rock the City tour is quite the package. You’ll begin with a self-guided brewery/museum tour that was interesting and had multiple interactive moments. There’s a karaoke machine, for starters.
Then, you’ll move into the stables where you’re provided with a free glass of Heineken and a little history on the brew itself.
Next, it’s time to gear up for a canal ride down the main canal. pro tip: if you’re visiting in October, like I was, a 6 p.m. booking will get you Amsterdam at sunset.
Your journey ends with a trip up the A’DAM lookout tower. It’s a windy lookout, so do bring a jacket. But wow, those are some views.
There’s a bar and restaurant in case you feel like sticking around. Also a giant rooftop swing that goes over the edge of the building. Not for the faint of heart (me).
Stadhouderskade 78, 1072 AE Amsterdam
2 Days in Amsterdam Cost Calculator
Know Before You Go
Almost everyone in Amsterdam owns a bike. As a result, there are bike lanes anywhere and everywhere. Do your best to keep an eye out for incoming bikers. The ol’ “look both ways before you cross the street” applies here liberally.
Pin this 2 day Amsterdam itinerary for budget travelers!