48 Hours in Amsterdam
Traveling throughout Europe has been a mostly easy and stress-free experience for me. I’ve learned that you can cross countries by train relatively inexpensively within a few short hours. While planning a trip to Paris, I knew I wanted to make one more stop in Europe before heading back to the states. For about 100 US dollars you can travel from Paris to Amsterdam on a clean, comfortable and fast-paced train in only 3.5 hours. Nap, snack, read and before you know it, you’re there! I found the best rates on goEuro.com.
Here are my tips for visiting Amsterdam in 48 hours!
Getting there and around the city
If you’re flying into Schiphol airport, it’s very convenient to access other cities from here. There are trains and other means of transportation in the same terminal and access to lockers if you’re only in town for a short layover. This is great if you don’t want to worry about lugging your bags around the city.
From Amsterdam Centraal, you can walk to the City Center or get in a taxi (if you have heavy luggage). You can also travel to many other European cities from here.
The bus system is a good way to check out different neighborhoods. Bus fare is €2.90 for use within one hour and you can purchase it on the bus using a credit or debit card only. They don’t accept cash on the buses.
More than anything, Amsterdam is a GREAT walking and biking city. Now I know why the air feels so clean and fresh, everyone is riding a bike!! You can easily traverse different neighborhoods by foot.
The Jordaan neighborhood was a great choice for a home base in Amsterdam. You can feel like a local while still experiencing a few tourist attractions here. It’s perfectly situated right along the canals for lovely walks down the picturesque streets. I could live here.
The Linden Hotel was a great find by my forever travel companion, Debbie. It’s within walking distance of everything you can see and do in two days. There’s a bus stop conveniently located one block away from the hotel as well.
Upon arriving a few hours before check-in, the hotel concierge offered us a coffee, a place to hold our bags and a map of the city with all the must-see attractions. He gave us a great breakfast recommendation and made us feel right at home. The decor of this place exceeded our expectations with the perfect blend of green and pink details, free postcards for the taking and so many little extra special touches. The Linden Hotel was the perfect stay for two chic women traveling together.
The rooms are small, but they make up for that by providing stroopwafels on your nightstand! There’s an espresso machine offering the most delicious make-yourself cappuccinos for a morning or afternoon pick-me-up on your way out to see the city!
You can get very reasonable rates for this neighborhood at 100-200 US dollars per night. I would definitely stay here again.
If you’re like Debbie and I, your vacation is a mix of experiencing the local culture, shopping, eating and some sightseeing. In 48 hours you can fit in all of this!
Anne Frank House
It’s VERY important that you plan this ahead of time. You cannot buy tickets at the museum. You MUST buy them online in advance. Tickets sell out quickly, so I suggest picking your dates and purchasing at least one month in advance. They are 10 euros, but if you wait too long to book, go to stubhub.com and purchase them for a hefty markup at 50 euros per ticket. This was still worth it to me to experience the real space that Anne Frank and her family were hiding in.
The museum is so well done with real video footage and artifacts of the Frank family. You’ll get a guided tour through the museum with the headphones provided to you. Be ready for some steep stairs as you make your way up to the area where they lived. Photos are strictly prohibited out of respect for the family and other visitors who may have been affected. It’s quite an emotional experience and photos would just tarnish that.
The House has been restored since Anne Frank lived there. Go around to the side of the building to see the original architecture of the house. You can take photos here.
Spring is a fantastic time to visit Amsterdam because all the tulips SHOULD be in bloom, but due to an unseasonably cold winter, the tulips at Keukenhof were scarce. So at a 45-minute drive from the city center, we didn’t want to go there to see only few tulips. So although we visited at prime tulip time, it all depends on Mother Nature! However, a good alternative was the Tulip Museum right in town. They had a plethora of flowers that you could shop and take home to plant. Two-months later and a gorgeous Amaryllis plant I brought home as a gift has bloomed beautifully!
(Pronounced da peep) is another great neighborhood for shopping and walking. Check out the open air market for souvenirs and all sorts of fresh food. There are a few cafes and eateries as well as thrift shops and yoga studios here.
The 9 Streets for shopping
There are so many great small boutiques with unique gifts for yourself or to bring home to your friends.
I scored a beautiful dress at Samsoe & Samsoe (a Danish company with such great quality clothes and accessories), that I plan to wear to the number of occasions I have coming up this summer!
If home decor is your thing, definitely visit Entrepôt Holland. They carry a beautiful selection of jewelry, art, and decor designed by all local artists and artisans. This was like visiting a museum. You can find so many beautiful pieces at very reasonable prices. It’s one of those stores where you walk in and think I can’t afford anything in here! But to my surprise I found a number of unique gifts to bring home including a pair of earrings for my sister and Debbie found a gorgeous handmade flower vase that we both swooned over. The best part was the wonderful store owner offered us low-cost shipping as we didn’t want to pack such fragile gifts. They don’t currently have online ordering, but if you see something you like on their instagram page, send them a message and they will gladly ship it to you.
You’ll get a diverse array of food options in Amsterdam. Authentic Dutch cuisine can be found, but you have to look for it. Don’t leave Amsterdam without trying the local beers, stroopwafels, fries, apple pie, and fresh mint tea.
Piqniq is a wonderful local spot with only a few breakfast options, but you can’t go wrong with anything there. Get the chai latte for sure. We enjoyed a traditional breakfast with a cute cat napping next to us.
VleminckX fries in the Centrum neighborhood- wait on the curbside line to get your afternoon snack.
Cafe Wester to enjoy a beer outdoors and people watch along the canals.
Food market De Pijp- hot off the press stroopwafels, fresh squeezed juices and other Dutch delicacies like meats and cheeses.
Apple Pie at Winkel 43– Winkel’s apple pie was the single best food item I had in all of Amsterdam. When locals recommended it, we knew we couldn’t leave without trying it. Sit at the bar for faster service because it fills up and you may be waiting in line for a while. Trust me, this pie is worth the wait. Debbie and I are the sharing type, but my only regret is that we didn’t get one for each of us! I will go back to Amsterdam just for this pie and if you know me, you know I mean it.
De Reiger was the real deal Dutch cuisine that we were looking for. The food and beer were on point. Just be prepared for a menu that’s only written in Dutch! The waitstaff will try their very best to translate it for you. But if you want to know before you go, we ordered the ravioli appetizer and the fish special. If you’re into IPA’s try the brouwerij’t ij. This was a solid meal in Amsterdam.
Cafe Duende is the oldest tapas bar in Amsterdam. You can’t go wrong with the tapas and red Sangria. It’s another great local spot if you’re staying in the Jordaan neighborhood.
End your stay with a nighttime stroll through the city. The canals are lit up and it’s just one more way to appreciate all the beauty that Amsterdam has to offer.
Have questions? Recommendations? Leave me a comment below or on my instagram feed!