WHAT TO DO WITH 2 DAYS IN AMSTERDAM

WHAT TO DO WITH 2 DAYS IN AMSTERDAM

Earlier this year, we spent a short time in Amsterdam and fell in love. Visiting this historic city for the first time meant we arrived wide-eyed and eager to experience as much of the city as possible. If you’re like us and only have a limited time for adventure, you’re likely in the midst of narrowing down the plethora of possibilities for 2 days in Amsterdam. We can help.

Knowing we would write an Amsterdam itinerary, we packed in more sites, shops, and museums than you can probably imagine. We’ve trimmed the fat to bring you a list of our favorite spots, based on what we loved and would love to see again.

2 Days in Amsterdam: I Amsterdam City Card

Before we get into the itinerary, you should make note of the I Amsterdam City Card and consider picking up the 48hr card at the airport. After landing, you’ll find the Holland Tourist Information Centre in Arrivals 2, or you can buy the I Amsterdam City Card online.

Buying the card gives you unlimited travel on Amsterdam city public transit (not including rural buses or the airport tram) and free access to a ton of museums, tours, and sites. The card comes with a city map along with a detailed list of everything you can see for free, as well as locations you can visit with a discount. If you read through our itinerary and feel like substituting one of the activities, there are countless alternate options for you to choose from for your 2 days in Amsterdam.

Day 1 of 2 Days in Amsterdam

Museum Het Grachtenhuis

Start your 2 days in Amsterdam with this interactive, multimedia story of the Amsterdam canals. Walking into this historic home, the tour starts with a guide leading you into the first of five rooms, where a mixed media history of the canals begins to unfold in front of your eyes. Progressing through the rooms, you learn more and more about the reasoning, process, and stages of the canal development, combining illustration, 3D models, animation, projections and audiovisual storytelling. This is one of our top picks and not to be missed. You’ll understand this when you see it, but when you get to the room with the 3D house, find the woman hanging her laundry and try not to burst out laughing.

Open Tuesday -> Sunday 10:00am -> 5:00pm
FREE with the I Amsterdam City Card.

Bloemenmarkt Flower Market

At a roughly 500 meter walk from the canal, the museum is Amsterdam’s famous floating market of flowers. Positioned along a stretch of Amsterdam’s central canal belt, this market operates year-round and is a great stroll full of colorful, fragrant tulips.

Open Monday -> Saturday 9:00am -> 5:30pm, Sundays 11:00am -> 5:30pm

After lunch, explore the city’s canals by foot or by bike. 

Plan for some exploration time in the earlier part of your 2 days in Amsterdam. Before you know it, you may have spent all of your trip running in and out of museums without giving yourself a chance to experience the city streets. It is very easy to rent bikes in Amsterdam and some companies even offer discounts with the I Amsterdam Card. Alternatively, you can choose to explore by foot by way of a free Amsterdam City walking tour.

Verzetsmuseum – Dutch Resistance Museum
After a few hours of exploring the streets and before you sit down for dinner, you’ll be ready to visit the Dutch Resistance Museum. The Netherlands was occupied by Nazi Germany for five years, and this museum does a fantastic job at telling the stories of those who resisted and those who complied with the occupying power. With your free audioguide in hand, you’ll walk through this museum at your own pace, reliving some historic scenes and understanding the various perspectives through thoughtful, tone-setting dramatizations.

Open Tuesday to Friday 10:00am -> 5:00pm,  Saturday and Sunday  11:00am – 5:00pm
FREE with the I Amsterdam City Card.

Have a Stroopwafel
Diets and palates vary greatly, so we won’t even attempt to suggest dinner spots. But regardless where you decide to eat, leave some space for a fresh and hot, traditional Stroopwafel. Step outside and throw a stone in any direction to find the nearest shop selling these gooey goodies. The waffle is baked to order, sliced thinly in half and filled with a caramel-like goodness. You can always pick some up at the airport if you forget, but nothing – NOTHING! – beats them fresh.

Anne Frank House
The famous Anne Frank House is a good option for visiting later in the day because it is one of the few sites that are open late. You must buy tickets online for a specific time slot between 9:00 am and 3:30 pm, but the house is also open from 3:30 pm to 10:00 pm without an online ticket, for those buying a ticket at the entrance. Unfortunately, the I Amsterdam City Card does not cover the cost of the Anne Frank House.

Adults €9, Age 10-17 €4,50, Age 0-9 free

Day 2 of 2 Days in Amsterdam

Zaanse Schans

Start your second day early with a visit to the small town of Zaanse Schans on the outskirts of Amsterdam. In addition to the fresh air and beautiful scenery, this cute and quaint historic Dutch village includes six windmills, a wooden shoe workshop, and a cheese farm. Visiting in the morning is the best idea because the afternoon – especially during high season – can get busy.

The Connexion bus #391 from Centraal Station bus platform will take you there within 30 minutes, and you’ll likely want an hour or two to explore the area. The I Amsterdam City Card gives you access to one of the windmills free of charge. Important to note is that the City Card does not include the rural bus fare from Centraal Station. With the City Card, however, you can purchase a rural transit day pass at a discount. For €10, (instead of €13,50) you get unlimited rides on all of the rural buses for the day.

Hermitage Museum
With portraits, paintings, and featured exhibitions, Amsterdam’s Hermitage Museum is a must for those who enjoy the art and ambiance of a traditional museum. Free audio guides are included with your visit, allowing you to point at signed postings on the walls for language-specific descriptions. Look for the Portrait Gallery of the Golden Age for a unique presentation of some immense group portrait paintings.

Open daily 10:00am -> 5:00pm
FREE with the I Amsterdam City Card.

Fields of Tulips
the-gays-abroad-amsterdam-6
If your 2 days in Amsterdam happen to be during the months of April or May, make sure to go and see the vast and boldly colorful fields of tulips in the Southwest outskirts of the city. Having already purchased the rural transit day pass to visit Zaanse Schans, you can head over to either Leidesplein or Rijksmuseum and hop on bus 197 to the airport. From the airport, take bus 858 directly to Keukenhof. After you’ve arrived, you can buy tickets to access the Keukenhof gardens, or you can rent bikes for a self-guided tour of the farms and fields in the area.

Canal Cruise
The I Amsterdam City Card includes 1 free canal cruise with the operator of your choice. Because the Amsterdam canals look magical at night (and it fits better in our itinerary, let’s be honest), you should use your free tour during the evening with one of the operators that schedule night cruises (either Holland International 100 Highlights Cruiser Lovers Canal Cruises).  Both of these companies offer tours until 10:00 pm during the Summer and until 9:00 pm during the Winter.

FREE with the I Amsterdam City Card.

Traveling with Kids

If you’re traveling with kids and are looking to substitute any of our highlighted attractions, be sure to look into the Nemo Science Museum as well as the National Maritime Museum (specifically, the incredible replica of the 18th-century ship Amsterdam).

10 REASONS TO VISIT NEW ZEALAND

New Zealand is at the top of our list of countries we would absolutely love to revisit. Having spent a month traveling both islands, our affection for the country grew stronger and stronger as each week blew by. And while much of the world begins to brace for Winter, New Zealand’s warmest, sunniest days are on their way. Here are our 10 reasons you should visit New Zealand.

10 REASONS TO VISIT NEW ZEALAND

1. You are Never Farther than 128km from a Beach

Beautiful beaches abound all over New Zealand. No matter where you are, there is always one within an hour’s drive. New Zealand is home to the drivable 90-mile beach in the north, the gorgeous Coromandel Peninsula, and countless bays and coves throughout. You can drive right up to Piha Beach and enjoy a day with the locals, or hike to find some quiet time at the secluded Orokawa Bay.

2. Visit New Zealand for an Amazing Road Trip!

Outside of Auckland and the capital of Wellington, traffic in New Zealand is minimal. The views are incredible along with the coast on the way to Wellington or Queenstown, and especially as you make your way to Milford Sound. Driving your own way around means you can take your time in the spots that really impress you, and adjusting to driving on the left happens with ease. Considering New Zealand has both a North and South Island, it’s a bonus that some car rental companies include a return ferry ticket for your vehicle in the price of a rental.

3. There are no Deadly or Venomous Animals

It may be hard to believe – considering its proximity to neighboring Australia – but there are no deadly or venomous animals in New Zealand. Australia is well known for its poisonous spiders and snakes, but New Zealand has none of that. There aren’t even any large predators like the bears we have in Canada. After Iceland and Denmark, New Zealand has once ranked the safest country in the world. We should say, however, that there is technically one poisonous spider in New Zealand, but people discount it because it hasn’t been seen for decades!

4. You can Camp Throughout the Entire Country

Visit New Zealand and experience a national pastime. Kiwis love camping, and they make it easy with tons of campsites positioned all over the country ranging from basic, free campgrounds to amenity-packed sites and Holiday Parks for a fee. For the socially-inclined, there are many popular spots for groups and families. But if you prefer some time alone in the great outdoors, you’ll find campsites in New Zealand with nothing in sight but the bright, starry sky. For everything, you need to know about camping in New Zealand, check out our complete guide below.

5. The People

We’ve met plenty of kind and helpful people along our travels, but Kiwis top them all. Never have we come across a country so warm and friendly. Standing in the line at a grocery store picking up supplies for our road trip, people would chime in to offer advice on the best spots to visit and to wish us their best for our travels. The Kiwis we had the chance to really get to know had a great appreciation for their history and culture and were just as excited for us to experience their country as we were.

6. The Landscape is a Hiker’s Dream

New Zealand has a plethora of hikes scattered all across both islands. There is something for every type of hiker: hikes of a few hours, day trips, great walks of anything from 3-26 days in length, and remote mountain journeys for the especially fit. The sun is strong during the summer months, especially the farther North you are, but once it recedes behind the clouds, the brisk winds cool you off very quickly. Pack plenty of sunscreen, water to keep you hydrated, and, of course, your swimsuit.

7. Experience the Wildlife

New Zealand is home to many unique native animals. Take, for example, the Kiwi bird, which the country is working tirelessly to save from the threat of extinction. You can share a beach with a penguin in one of the South Island’s hot spots for penguin viewing, or swim with dolphins along New Zealand’s scenic coast. Especially noteworthy is the Kea bird, also dwindling in population. Though they are both loved and hated by New Zealanders, Kea is highly intelligent and the world’s only parrot to call the mountains home.

8. New Zealand is an Adventure and Xtreme Sports Mecca

For any fan of adventure, New Zealand has a lot to offer. Queenstown is located in the South of New Zealand’s South Island and is the famous adventure hub in the country is known for. From there, you can experience everything from bungee jumping to skydiving and whitewater rafting. In the North Island, there is a unique experience called Zorbing that we happily decided to check out. You’ll find it right by the town of Rotorua. Watching a Zorb slide effortlessly down the hill feels a bit underwhelming, but experiencing it first hand is incredibly fast, fun and full of laughs!

9. You Cannot Take a Bad Picture in New Zealand

Often, you can look at a photo and know that it couldn’t have possibly looked that way in real life. Visit New Zealand and discover the exception to that rule because the colors really are that incredible. Take, for example, the saturated aquamarine of Lake Tekapo, or the opaque and creamy turquoise of Hokitika Gorge. We’ve mentioned the views before but there’s no harm in reiterating. On your way to Queenstown, Wellington, or the small French town of Akaroa, you’ll find yourself taking longer than expected, having to stop and make sure you get some unforgettable shots of the breathtaking scenery.

10. The Land of Lord of the Rings

Something everybody knows by now is that when you visit New Zealand, you are stepping directly into scenes from the Lord of the Rings movies. In the past, Air New Zealand has even used this reputation to create some entertaining flight safety videos for their passengers. Though there are travelers who specifically go to explore the scenes of the famed trilogy, you don’t need to be a die-hard fan to appreciate and enjoy the known sites you happen upon during your travels. There are rivers, lakes, mountains, and forests from the film that you’ll likely visit without even knowing ahead of time that they were filmed locations, while a tour of Hobbiton in Matamata will have to be a planned, intentional stop.