Fodor's Travel Talk Forums

Fodor's Travel Talk Forums (
-   Europe (
-   -   48 hours in Amsterdam, what would you do? (

nycnyc Dec 18th, 2008 11:29 PM

48 hours in Amsterdam, what would you do?
if you had only 2 days in Amsterdam and Holland what would you do?

hetismij Dec 18th, 2008 11:58 PM

It depends on what you like doing, and when you are going to be there, but you could easily spend your 48 hours just in the city, visiting museums, people watching, wandering around, exploring, enjoying some of the other legal delights of Amsterdam if you are so inclined.

gruezi Dec 19th, 2008 12:26 AM

I would go to: The Anne Frank House, the Van Gogh museum, the small Houseboat museum nearby, stop at the flower market, and try to squeeze in the Vermeers and Rembrandts at the Rijksmuseum.

A quick canal boat ride would be nice.

I would also indulge in the fries with mayonnaise and some good beer in a pub and perhaps stop in a coffee shop...

You can do a lot in 48 hours in Amsterdam.



Ida101 Dec 19th, 2008 04:34 AM

If the weather is nice, since it is outside also include Zaanse Schans to see the working windmills, the nice old houses, the cheese farm etc.

NativeNewYorker Jan 11th, 2009 03:17 AM

Depends on the weather. Canal boat ride would give a nice overview and "lay of the land" from the canal perspective. Anne Frank Haus, for sure. Then, just a block or so south of the Anne Frank Haus is the Pancake Bakery, where the ambiance is pure old Dutch and the pancakes ROCK! Meander around. Walk, have a beer. Have a chocolate. Have some cheese. Walk some more. Window shop. It is an amazing city. I would live there.

artstuff Jan 11th, 2009 03:36 AM

I agree with all the previous posters. But I would like to add The Amstelkring (Our Lord in the Attic) and the Resistance Museum to the list of sights to see, two of our favorite museums in Amsterdam.

If you like "flea markets", stop at the Waterlooplein daily market. You never know what kind of junk bargain you might find.

Robyn :)>-

zeppole Jan 11th, 2009 03:46 AM

I toured the canals by boat in rainy cold weather and it was still fantastic.

I would go to the Rijksmuseum -- and make a point of seeing the Delftware in it in addition to its treasure trove of paintings.

If you go to Den Haag (The Hague), check out the Panorama Mesdag.

I enjoyed window shopping in the Jordaan.

hetismij Jan 11th, 2009 04:23 AM

The Rijksmuseum is still be rebuilt so only has a fraction of it's treasures on display.

zeppole Jan 11th, 2009 04:47 AM

Oh, that's terrible! It's been so long. I actually saw the "fraction" and its a very worthy collection, and certainly worth seeing, including the aforementioned Delftware.

The Stedelijk was also closed for renewal when I was there. Is it still closed?

letsgo39 Jan 11th, 2009 04:59 AM

There is actually a "hop on,hop off" canal boat tour that we took in pouring down rain.The stops include the Rijksmuseum and Anne Frank House. It was a great way to see Amsterdam particularly as the weather was terrible.I think the ticket was good for 24 hours.It was the last day of a 18 day Europe trip and we were tired so it was also good to not have to walk everywhere.

avalon Jan 11th, 2009 06:00 AM

Well, if you are female, you could always do a Happy Ho Tour

hetismij Jan 11th, 2009 06:29 AM

Zeppole, the Stedelijk is closed now until december 2009 when it's new building will (hopefully) be opened.
They have temporary exhibits in the amongst others the Nieuwe Kerk and Van Gogh Museum.
It is terrible that the Rijks, Stedelijk and ship museums are all closed at once.
The exhibition in the Nieuwe Kerk actually sounds very good. Called Holy Inspiration it includes work by Chagall, Mondrian, Klee, Kandinsky, Pollock, Bacon, Koons, Warhol, and others.
I've just added it to my list of must sees.

JulieVikmanis Jan 11th, 2009 06:46 AM

avalon, thanks for posting about the HappyHo tour. I'm well past the point where it could do me any good, but it did furnish a good laugh. Entrepreneurial ingenuity at its best/worst or whatever. Very interesting.

On a more serious note, the Van Gogh museum is also good, but just walking around is best. The Rembrandt's Plein and the Leidseplein are musts. The flower stalls on the Singel canal are wonderful.

zeppole Jan 11th, 2009 07:15 AM

Thansk, hetismij, I've been holding off returning to Amsterdam until it was reopened. That's a long time to wait. :(

MJ105 Jan 11th, 2009 10:07 AM

Depending on the time of year, I would try to get to Keukenhof--the flower displays are unbelievable. A hop-on/hop-off canal tour would let you see the entire city, permitting you to disembark anyplace that you find interesting. I had a great time visiting Westerkerk (amazing view of the city from the top of the bell tower) and strolling the surrounding streets.

On the food front--definitely visit a brown cafe (De Prins is my favorite) and a Dutch pancake house.

nona1 Jan 11th, 2009 01:55 PM

the Old Church. (The Oude Kerk)

The oldest church in Amsterdam, easy central location, interesting little place often with cultural activities going on, and if you are brave enough to climb up the tower you get the most fantastic view of the city.

spaarne Jan 11th, 2009 07:41 PM

I am jaded by all those still scenes in Amsterdam, except Frans Hals, Rembrandt van Rijn, and a few others.

With only 2 days I would waste no time and go directly to the Hoppe at het Spui for a borrel. Then after another borel and a pils I would be talking to an echte Amsterdamer, cussin and discussin the world. For lunch I would slip over to the Cafe Luxembourg and have erwtensoep (winter only) or a haring by the tail (anytime). Cafe Lux has newspapers from around Europe, including the IHT. You can sit for hours and and read or watch the Amsterdamers ride and walk by. There is a bookstore across the street if you should get bored. When the shops and offices close at 6 I would get back to the Hoppe for more close encounters with the Amsterdamers. Whether or not I met anyone interesting at het Hoppe I would walk up the Spuistraat and have dinner at Luden. Later I would stroll around (depending on the climate at the moment) and end up back at the Hoppe.

The next day I would do a little shopping. I'd buy some cigars for sure. Then I'd look for a haring stand or a fish market to buy a few dozen harings vacuum packed to bring home. Other souvenirs would include Dutch cheeses and a bottle of jenever.

I definitely would not get in a canal cruise boat with a bunch of tourists. Been there, done that, and don't recommend it. I would try one of the bicycle rickshaws for a more personal street level tour of the city. I've never done that but will on my next visit.

zeppole Jan 12th, 2009 03:49 AM

I'm going to disagree with the last paragraph of the above. The last thing in the world I ever want to do while touristing is get on a bus tour with tourists, but when I visited Amsterdam I discovered no other way to get onto the water without taking the ordinary canal boat tours.

I don't think its possible to understand the history of Amsterdam without seeing it from water level of the canals. That may strike some as an absurd absolutism, but Amsterdam is below sea level. It owes it's whole history to mastering the water. There is a point where the canal boat leaves the canals and briefly enters the open sea (or open harbor). It's really something to experience, I think, and the architecture of the most beautiful canal row houses are best appreciated from the canals. When the rich traders of Amsterdam built them as showplaces, they knew people would be staring at them from the canals, and surely the architects designed them to have impact from there.

I may have been lucky in that I took my canal boat tour on an absolutely miserable day in January, when the only other ticket buyers were a Russian couple who were more interested in each other, and hid in a back corner of the boat kissing. The tour "guide" was a pre-recorded narrative. Because of the rain and the early sunset hour, the canal houses were all lit up from within, so it was particularly enchanting.

I don't think I would have gotten as much out of a rickshaw, although bicycling is also so much a part of life in Amsterdam, I'd add it to my next trip as well.

danon Jan 12th, 2009 07:32 AM

I agree with PP.
although it seems touristy ( and it is) the canal tour in Amsterdam is a must.

utrechtman Jan 15th, 2009 01:54 AM

go to the top of west church for a beautiful view of the city. and the royal palace (koningsrijk paleis) at dam square is an interesting tour as well.

All times are GMT -8. The time now is 10:00 PM.