I’ve built up a pretty hefty sum of rewards points thanks to recent account openings. Also, I continue to reap some awesome benefits from prior cards.
2 Days in Amsterdam: A Complete Itinerary to See Everything
Thanks to my American Express Platinum card I’m heading back to Europe! I can’t wait to share some of my travel experiences with you.
I’m very excited to provide a guide to Amsterdam and a full itinerary. It’s one of those places that I’ve been wanting to write about for a long time. Amsterdam is one of my favorite cities in the world. In fact, I would totally live there if I were given the opportunity.
Thanks to travel hacking, I’ve found another way back to Europe!
The good thing is that it only cost me ~$170 to fly directly into Schipol airport from Minnesota. Not bad right?
Well the first tool that is a must-have is my travel hacking spreadsheet that is completely free to download. My travel hacking spreadsheet includes:
- Credit card churning tracker
- Manufactured spending tracking
- Hard pull credit inquiries
Booking the trip was easy and well worth it.
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How I Travel Hacked to Europe (Amsterdam)
With the American Express Platinum Card, you get $200 in airline credits each calendar year. Yes, calendar year. So, I typically fly Delta.
I bought 4 $50 gift cards for Delta Airlines during the year. In addition, you get 60,000 bonus points when you sign up along with $15 per month in Uber credits. I opened this card because I was already over the Chase 5/24 rule.
AND you get lounge access across the world. I will definitely be letting you know how my lounge access goes while I’m waiting to board this flight to Amsterdam.
I used each one of those to buy a $370 flight direct into Amsterdam. I found this low of a flight via Scott’s Cheap Flights. From there, I plan on using my American Express Membership Rewards Points to book hotels or even use Airbnb for my stays around Europe depending on cost.
I’ve already been to Amsterdam a few times already, so I’m only spending 2 days there. Amsterdam is one of those cities that you can likely cover in 2 or 3 days.
However, it’s the culture, charm and the experience that leaves you coming back for more. It’s the latter that makes me want to live there for an eternity.
This is the first stop of my trip to Europe. From Amsterdam, I’m taking the high-speed rail to Paris and then onto West Germany along the Rhine River.
My 2 Days in Amsterdam Itinerary
I’m so excited to give you my 2 days in Amsterdam itinerary, so you can plan your trip to the amazing capital of the Netherlands.
In order to plan my 2-day itinerary in Amsterdam, I made a list of some of my favorite things to do in Amsterdam:
- Anne Frank House
- Van Gogh
- Dam Square
- Heineken Tour
- Canal Booze Cruise
- Vondelpark (weather permitting, but still worth the sunset no matter what time of year)
- Red Light District (duh)
- Rooftop at The W
- The Bulldog / Abraxas
- Ride bikes around Amsterdam (no matter the weather conditions)
- All the amazing restaurants and hip drinking establishments (who doesn’t love Heineken?)
This is not necessarily in order of priority. However, use this list as a way to plan your 2 days in Amsterdam. Each person has separate priorities. For me, I love cultural experiences and museums. Other people might love food only.
For example, riding bikes in Amsterdam has this cultural mystique that I simply can’t explain. It’s amazing and refreshing. I love the sounds of bike bells and quietness rather than the loud-obnoxious car honking.
Day One in Amsterdam: Museum Day & Entertainment
On your first day in Amsterdam, I think you should prioritize the various museums including the Anne Frank house. I love how Amsterdam is set up. You can visit nearly all the museums in a few hours span.
Thanks to Museumplein, which is a big park where all the art galleries (including the Van Gogh Museum and Rijksmuseum are located). In terms of priority for the museums, I suggest that you arrive early and start in the following order:
- Anne Frank House: Lines get very very very long. Buy your tickets as soon as possible. Like right now… Even if you are leaving in 3 months. It’s only 10 Euros. The Anne Frank House (or Anne Frank Huis) only takes about 15-30 minutes to visit.
- Van Gogh Museum: Van Gogh can also get very busy. Plus, it’s a smaller venue. It can get jammed in there during the afternoon, so if you go early enough you won’t have to deal with the people.
- Rijksmuseum: The Rijksmuseum is a lot bigger than the Van Gogh museum so you can actually get lost in there. Plus, there are a lot more things to see. You can arrive at the museum later in the day since it’s so big. You won’t feel as crammed as the Anne Frank House or Van Gogh Museum. I can’t wait to visit it again!
From there, I highly suggest that you proceed from Museumplein towards Dam Square, Red Light District and Old Town. You will find a number of amazing restaurants and good scenery to enjoy a beer (or two) along one of the many canals.
The walk I suggest you take from Museumplein is through Leidesplein, but take the scenic route through the tail end of Vondelpark. When you get to Leidesplein, you can stop for an outdoor beer and bask in a number of different entertainment venue. Here is how you should do it:
- Walk from Museumplein through Vondelpark to Leidesplein
- Walk from Leidesplein to the Bloemenmarkt (flower market)
- From there, walk up to the church of Saint Nicholas (you will see many of the amazing spots): The Church of Saint Nicholas is right by my favorite spot aka ‘the corner’, which is what I believe is the best canal view in all of Amsterdam.
Take your time as you stroll through the city center. You should make it up to the Church of Saint Nicholas by sunset. It’s very pretty over there and you will be glad that you did. There are a lot of good restaurants in that area as well for a nice dinner that I’m sure you will enjoy.
Plus, you will want to visit the Red Light District at night time of course. Trust me it’s not as exciting during the day time.
How’s that for your first day in Amsterdam? During your first day you can say that you accomplished the following:
- Anne Frank House
- The entire Museumplein including Van Gogh Museum, Rijksmuseum
- Then, you venture through Vondelpark
- The main canals
- Red Light District
That’s a great way to cap off your first full day in Amsterdam, now what about your second day in Amsterdam?
Day Two in Amsterdam: Exploration and Amazing Food + Drinks
For day two in Amsterdam, we want to experience more the culture, food and people. We covered a lot of ground in our first day of the Amsterdam itinerary. This will combine just outright exploration and great food spots plus drinks.
Start out your day by getting a coffee and breakfast near your location. We’ll want to grab some bikes for our second day in Amsterdam. We’re going exploring!
Get some good breakfast, you are going to need it. Our bike tour starts now and lasts 6 kilometers.
Assuming you are staying near Centruum, you’ll start out there where you will rent your bikes. There are plenty of places to rent a bike in Amsterdam.
No matter the weather conditions this is a must-do while in Amsterdam. Here is a map of my recommended personal bike tour around Amsterdam. The red flag is where we will end.
Here is the lowdown on the personal bike tour:
- Start in lower Centruum
- Do a slow bike ride through the amazing canals and by the House Boat Museum to finally stop at Foodhallen for lunch. Foodhallen is an amazing compilation of food establishments. Try Bitterballen at De Ballen Bar. It’s amazing!
- From Foodhallen, you will want to proceed through Jordaan one of the most majestic and friendly neighborhoods of Amsterdam. This is a very local area that has amazing cheese shops. Save room for your bike basket and load up on some cheese to bike home.
- Through Jordaan, we will bike up to the top of Centruum near Centraal station. You will have to bike down the main corridor. This is a great way to see the hustle and bustle of Amsterdam’s busiest streets. Don’t worry it’s bike friendly.
- Finally, you will end at the Royal Palace of Amsterdam and Dam Square. The Royal Palace is one of three palaces in the Netherlands which are at the disposal of the monarchy. It is situated on the west side of Dam Square, opposite the War Memorial and next to the Nieuwe Kerk.
This day should combine enough good food and history to keep your hearts filled. Six kilometers of biking in Amsterdam is easy. There’s so many spots to link your bike up and explore. So, take your time and enjoy the scenery.
Whatever you do, you MUST rent a bike in Amsterdam. If there are any parting words, FIND A BIKE.
Conclusion on My 2 Days in Amsterdam Itinerary
Amsterdam is a city that is filled with things to do. In fact, you might see it all in a day or two. I can guarantee that you will be wanting to go back for more. It’s a city filled with mystique and great vibes.
The best part of the two-day itinerary in Amsterdam is that you can always switch around your days. I made these in pairs so that if you prefer you can do the second day first.
These 48 hours in Amsterdam will leave you speechless about the city. If you are travel hacking your way to Amsterdam, don’t make these churning mistakes along the way. Keep in mind there’s more to travel hacking than credit cards.
Use these tips for travel hacking without credit cards.
I’d imagine that you would have a hard time saying that you didn’t accomplish enough or you didn’t see it all.
Contact me for any additional questions and stay tuned for an update on my experience in Amsterdam.
What do you think of my 2 days in Amsterdam itinerary? Let me know in the comments below. I’d love to hear from you!
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