Updated: Jun 21, 2021
A random flight ticket search from Delhi to Paris led to an even more random and impromptu trip! I had no plans for visiting Europe because like everyone else in India, I assumed that a trip to Europe would be very expensive. However, Delhi to Paris and back during mid-season (September) was costing us only Rs. 28,000 per person, hard to believe isn't it? I looked at my brother and he seemed as thrilled as I was. Well, we didn't think twice and booked it immediately. That is when the research into 8-10 day itineraries for Europe began.
Paris - Brussels - Brugge - Amsterdam - Paris
That was the itinerary we finalized on. Between Visa work, health insurance, and packing, we barely found time to research further. We read up everything we could about Paris and figured we'll read the rest on the plane and bus journeys between cities. While that worked for Brussels, and a little for Brugge, we reached Amsterdam completely clueless and already a bit exhausted from our super packed itineraries. The only things we knew we had to try were Dutch Pancakes, Stroopwafels, and Spacecakes. We got to Amsterdam at 8 PM via Flixbus and boy, we were not ready for Amsterdam!
The city of bikes, the city of canals, the city of freedom, and the city of sin, Amsterdam has many names and many faces. While quite a lot of people visit Amsterdam for its relaxed cannabis laws and the intense party scenes, we decided to go a completely different route. Now when we look back at it, it seems almost impossible how we managed to see and do so much in just 2 days' time! And if I'm a hundred percent honest with you guys reading this, it took me a lot of time to write this blog, because I just couldn't structure it well! There's so much to talk about, so here goes my try at helping you find the perfect 2 days itinerary for Amsterdam through my experience:
Getting to Amsterdam
One word - Flixbus! If you're planning to travel within Europe from city to city or country to country, Flixbus is one of the most comfortable and the most affordable options out there. We took a bus from Brugge to Amsterdam which takes 4 hours and 10 minutes to get from Brugge, Bargeplein to Amsterdam, Sloterdijk. The cost of one ticket was $17.99 (INR 1345) only, which is way cheaper than a flight or most trains connecting the two countries. In Rupees 1345, we were able to cross countries!
Brugge to Amsterdam Flixbus
Stay in Amsterdam
We reached Sloterdijk Bus Station in Amsterdam around 7 PM and started walking towards our hostel. For some reason, Google Maps wasn't showing the right direction at the time so we decided to walk to the nearest building which was an office. We asked for directions from these two guys taking a break from their work, casually rolling a joint. That was the first time it hit us that we were in Amsterdam! Subconsciously, my eyes kept going back to the ease they were rolling joints with and they caught me looking and laughed! Cultural shock, I guess?
Amsterdam, like most other European cities, has lots of hostels, Airbnb's & hotels to pick from. But stay in Amsterdam is the most expensive as well! If you want to be in the heart of where all the action in Amsterdam happens, you should pick hostels located within 1 Km radius of the city center. You'll be wat walking distance from the iconic dam square, red-light district, Vondelpark, and Van Gogh museum. The hostels around the city center are a bit more expensive than the ones located in more residential areas. We chose 'Wow Hostel' which is located 3.7 Km away from the city center. Even though it was further away from the famous sights, we got to experience commuting like locals in the city trams every day.
Sightseeing in Amsterdam
Amsterdam has something for everybody! It's not only a paradise for people looking to unwind and spend a weekend partying, but also for art & history lovers like me and my brother. However, we made sure we did a balance of both! For anyone looking to explore Amsterdam, I have two suggestions - A) Rent a bike and cycle around town like a local with ease! B) Buy a hop-on-hop-off boat & bus tour!
We picked the latter. The hop-on-hop-off boat & bus tour price starts from around $31 per person & goes up to $90 depending on how many inclusions you choose. There are two options available. You can either choose a 24-hour tour or a 48-hour tour which gives you access to the boats & buses an unlimited number of times within the 2 days.
The key inclusions of the hop-on-hop-off boat & bus tour are:
Explore Amsterdam - the Venice of the North - from an open-air double-decker bus
See Amsterdam’s top attractions including the Anne Frank House, Heineken Experience and more
Enjoy a cruise on the famous city canals with your Hop-On, Hop-Off Boat ticket
Sail past the beautiful city bridges or hop off at your favorite landmarks to explore further
Discover the city at your own pace with flexible validity options
Upgrade your tickets to visit the Amsterdam Dungeon, Madame Tussauds or Body Worlds
Audio Guide in 18 languages
Attraction Entry Tickets (if option is chosen)
We picked the option where we got the entry tickets to Rijksmuseum and a few other spots included! Here's a map & list of attractions the tour covers:
Amsterdam hop-on-hop-off tour map
What Not to Miss in Amsterdam:
Amsterdam, the greatest planned city of northern Europe, has always been a well-known name in world history and played a central role in the history of the Netherlands. Amsterdam was founded as a fishing village around the thirteenth century. Amsterdam developed round a dam in the Amstel river at the end of the 12th century. Everything that followed has led to the colorful evolution of the city of freedom today! Here's everything you shouldn't miss in Amsterdam:
Van Gogh Museum
Red Light District
Anne Frank House
What to Eat in Amsterdam:
Amsterdam can be a food lover's bliss! There are several mouth-watering options to try from in the city of Amsterdam. Local delicacies range from tasty sugar-filled desserts like tompuce or Bossche bol to savory finger food favorites like frikandel, bitterballen & patatje oorlog (Dutch style french fries). Seafood is one of the highlights of Amsterdam which includes dishes like Broodje Haring, Gebakken mosselen & Kibbeling.
Here are 4 items you cannot afford to miss:
Dutch Style French Fries
Hash Brownies & other edibles
Coffeshops in Amsterdam:
What we call coffeeshops outside of Amsterdam are your usual cafes where you can get a nice cup of coffee and quick bites to eat. Coffee Shops in Amsterdam are not what you could ever expect. There are hundreds of bustling coffee shops around the city center and guess what they sell - not coffee- but a large variety of weed & hash strains to choose from. Bulldog is one of the most popular chains pf coffeeshops in Amsterdam and before we began our sightseeing tour, I decided to go inside one and get the actual feel of Amsterdam! Honestly, my first emotion was overwhelming fear, and you know what? I was surprised that I was scared. If you're into pot, coffee shops are what must feel like heaven to people. Fresh, beautiful looking strains to choose from, all kinds of rolling papers, pipes, filters, and other accessories to choose from! Everywhere you look you can see people having a great time rolling and smoking with friends and even strangers. I took a little tour and walked out. Yes, I'm a noob. But later that night, when I finally met my long lost childhood friend, I decided to try hash brownies. However, I felt no high sadly, only munchies. Shhh. Don't tell my parents.
Final Thoughts on Amsterdam
It doesn't take long to fall in love with the city of Amsterdam! With its thriving energy, super friendly vibe, and liberal ways, Amsterdam will grow on you within no time. Of course, it's better if you spend more time here but even if you get two days as I did, it will be totally worth the money & time you spend here!
There is no other place quite like Amsterdam, and I bet you'll find yourself wanting to return time and again. Amsterdam is a place full of new experiences, and inspiring places. With this guide, you will be sure to make the best out of your 2 days in Amsterdam and have an extremely memorable time.
Let me know in the comments section below if you would like to know more about Amsterdam, I'll write a separate blog on places to visit along with their history and what to expect there. Thank you for reading!