Welcome to the ultimate 48 hour city guide to Amsterdam. I’ve lived all over the world and grew up traveling from the time I was born. In my early teens I got a job at a newspaper where I was taught how to use a camera and a darkroom.
I was tasked with documenting events and stories for the newspaper. I loved the ability to capture a moment – and to create something that told a story. This is how I still approach photography – whether it’s a model, a city or a landscape – I want to say something, to tell a story, not just take a snapshot.
I was immediately amazed at the uniquely beautiful architecture of the city and the friendliness of the people. I would walk from the train station to my office and was always amazed at the beauty of the buildings, the smiling people riding their bikes, and the cleanliness of the streets.
To live here is amazing – everything works so well and is so straightforward and practical. I’ve lived all over the world and the Netherlands has one of the highest qualities of life and is extremely safe.
My Favourite Places to Visit in Amsterdam
The Leidsegracht in the area of the bench from “The Fault In Our Stars” movie is my favourite place in Amsterdam. It’s a small, quiet, tree-lined canal with beautiful houses and benches where you can sit and watch the boats glide past.
I love the peaceful beauty of that canal and street the most, and it’s a place I find myself (and many other photographers) returning to time and again.
If you time it right you can visit on “Open Tower Day” and be able to register to visit some of the church bell towers and normally closed towers of Amsterdam.
Must-Do Experiences in Amsterdam
The first must-do experience in Amsterdam is a walk along the smaller canals in the Jordaan and center. Take your time and really look at everything.
If you have time, visit the Rijksmuseum and Museum Quarter. This will give you great insight into Dutch culture and history.
Visit a windmill. Rent or borrow a bike. Eat a fresh stroopwafel on the Albert Cuyp Market. Try fresh haring. Walk along the Utrechtsestraat and the Speigelstraat. Take a boat tour – it’s a great learning experience. Amsterdam is an amazing city and it’s super rich in history.
Another fantastic experience in Amsterdam is the food. The years that I’ve been here, the food scene has improved enormously. There are so many amazing options, and every type of cuisine – from Lebanese, Mexican, Italian, Turkish – you name it.
City Guide to Amsterdam: The Perfect 48 Hour Weekend Stay
My perfect 48 hour weekend stay in Amsterdam would look something like this. Arrive at Schiphol and take the train to Centraal. Get a 2-day public transport card. Stay in a hotel or B&B within the canal belt if possible and rent or borrow a bike.
See the redlight district but don’t kill too much time there. Visit the Jordaan and the Pijp by bike. Stop a lot and take a lot of pictures. Talk to people. Be curious. Ask questions.
Wake up and grab a coffee and brioche at the Hotel W top floor lounge then ride your bike through the Vondelpark and check out the Museum Quarter. Visit the Jewish quarter, see the Magerebrug and Staalmeesterstraat.
City Guide to Amsterdam: Best Accommodation Options
The Hotel W is great also. The staff is amazing, and the roof terrace is incredible.
Essential Tips for your Amsterdam Visit
Take pictures that tell the story of your visit. Take your time. Look around, but most of all…look up.
Don’t buy cheap tulip bulbs on the Floating Flower Market! 80% of them won’t grow!
Don’t walk on the red roads (these are bike paths, and you must always be aware of the commuters on bikes).
Talk to people! Ask questions. Everyone is very nice, so don’t be shy.
Thanks for reading my 48 hour city guide to Amsterdam. I hope you enjoyed it!