The perfect itinerary for 2 days in Amsterdam in spring: best places to see in Amsterdam, great city museums, restaurants and shopping areas – Updated 2021
A weekend in Amsterdam in spring is one of my favorite treats to myself.
One of my closest friends lives in the city and I am her regular guest.
On a normal year, I go to Amsterdam at least 6 times (!), with 2 days in Amsterdam city each time, and I have spent each of those weekends discovering different parts of the city, Amsterdam’s main attractions and off the beaten track places.
Out of all my Amsterdam weekend trips, there is one that I love most of all are those that bring me to Amsterdam in spring.
Spring in Amsterdam is a time when the city starts dressing up in the colors of its famous tulips and a time when we can pursue both indoor and outdoor pursuits and enjoy all the city has to offer.
Today I want to share it with you with favorite itinerary for a spring weekend in Amsterdam.
This is my favorite itinerary to spend 2 days in Amsterdam with a friend or your partner (for my recommendations for Amsterdam with kids, go here instead)
Please note: this post contains affiliate links and, should you make a purchase through them, I might make a small commission at no extra cost to you.
The restaurant recommendations come from my own taste and experience and are in no way sponsored (I pay for all my meals and never even mention I may write about them).
The weather in Amsterdam in spring: what to expect
Spring in Amsterdam is delight however, the notoriously changeable Amsterdam weather is even more changeable in spring so you need to be ready for different weather options.
In general, Amsterdam in spring has mild weather, with temperatures rangin between 2C (lowest temperature in March) to 17C (highest temperature in May).
In practice, this means that on a sunny day you may feel well and even warm in the sun, but will want to reach for a warmer jacket and scarf in the evening.
Rain is common so layers and a rain proof layer is paramount.
For comfort, I recommend layers, a good scarf that you can take on and off and good walking shoes: you will walk a lot in Amsterdam in spring to see all those pretty sights!
You can find my packing list for Amsterdam in spring here
2 days in Amsterdam spring itinerary day 1
Morning – take a walk in Jordaan
I love starting my morning in Amsterdam with a walk around Jordaan.
This is a wonderful area, full of canals and beautiful homes, and I find it also a great introduction to the city as it doesn’t get half as crowded as the city center proper and feels a lot less touristy.
My favorite way to enjoy this area is strolling around but there are also a couple of interesting sights here that I do recommend you visit, if this is your first time in the city.
One is the vert famous Anne Frank House (advance booking needed, you can get your tickets from their official site here).
The other one is the Amsterdam Houseboat Museum, which is cool as it shows how much you can fit into a tiny space and still live quite well!
Good to know: You do not need to get tickets in advance for the Houseboat museum but it is good to know it is included in the IAmsterdam card offering.
Jordaan is a wonderful, leafy area and, in spring, you will notice all the lovely trees coming back to life and the pretty blossoms everywhere on balconies, bikes and house entrances.
Lunch – have a tasty break in Jordaan / Nine streets
After a lovely walk in leafy Jordaan, I like to go for lunch in the nearby area called ‘Nine Streets’.
This is a pretty, picture-perfect, lively area of Amsterdam with very many concept stores and cafes and I find it particularly pleasant in spring, when you get flowers in bloom outside the Perry shop fronts and may even be able to sit outside in the sun.
Some places I love for a spring brunch/ breakfast in Amsterdam are:
Pluk: this is a lovely, Instagram- ready cafe serving salads and gorgeous pancakes.
They have more than one address, all in the same part of Amsterdam, and they are perfect if you want a snack or a light lunch.
Burgermeister: if you feel like a burger this is a good address to have.
This is a simple yet good burger joint serving a good selection of burgers, toppings and sides.
As well as more traditional burgers they serve a vegetarian option (falafel) and cater for kids or smaller appetites with the mini burger, a small size version of their main dishes.
Afternoon – 9 Streets, Dam square and the city center
After lunch, I recommend you have a stroll around the Nine Streets and then dive into Amsterdam City center proper.
This is a very touristy part of town and I always need to somehow brace myself before coming here, but there are some really nice sights here that I believe are worth seeing.
The most famous is probably Dam square, which is a large square with the big royal palace, but my favorite site is a little less loud and visible: it is the Amsterdam Begijnhof.
Afternoon break – Amsterdam Begijnhof and Amsterdam flower market
The Amsterdam Begijnhof dates back to the Middle Ages and is an inner courtyard overlooked by now historic buildings.
In its origin, the Begijnhof provided housing to the beguines, lay religious women who chose to live in this housing community, and now the Begijnhof if still inhabited but can also be visited as a historical attraction in Amsterdam city center.
The Begijnhof is a little hidden oasis and it is not only beautiful and interesting but also an easy place to escape the crowds, heavy in this part of town.
The beginhof is wonderful any time of the year but in spring, it is special!
The little garden has a green central lawn and, as spring temperatures start to warm the air, small daisies make their first appearance, making the place look dainty and cute.
Not far from here you also have the Amsterdam Bloemenmarkt, the famous flaring market of the city.
Personally, I find this market overrated as a tourist attraction (if you are imagining a floating market Bangkok style, this is not it!). However, I feel that if you are in Amaterdam in spring, you cannot miss it as you have an incredible number of tulips here!
In the flower shops, you can buy tulip bouquets, tulip bulbs, tulip-inspired house decor items and pretty much anything tulip related you can dream of!
If you prefer different types of flowers, fear not! The market has many flower varieties so whatever flower you are after, chances are you will find it!
Evening – take a canal cruise + dinner in De Pijp
After all this walking I like taking it a little easy and one of the best ways to do so in Amsterdam is to take a canal cruise.
Spring in Amsterdam is hit and miss when it comes to weather and temperatures, so chances are you may still want to get a closed top cruise boat, rather than an open top one.
I personally love them and never tire of taking them. My favorite Amsterdam canal cruise is the one by the Blue Boat company: they serve drinks and light snacks and they a wonderful guide that shared a lot of fun facts about Amsterdam and I highly recommend it.
For dinner, I like to head towards the Amstel, take a short stroll and then head to de Pijp for dinner (Le Petit Caron is a restaurant worth trying but there are lots of places here, with the most varied cuisines!)
Spring in Amsterdam itinerary day 2
Morning – Brunch and visit to the red light district area
My tradition for my second morning in Amsterdam is to go for brunch and my favorite place lately is The Press Room.
This is a restaurant attached to the INK hotel and has a great brunch menu (they also do lunch and dinner) in a location excellent for sightseeing.
From here, it is super easy to visit the famous Oude Kerk (one of the oldest buildings in Amsterdam and the oldest parish church) and the red light district, which has surprisingly beautiful architecture!.
You absolutely do not have to partake into ‘red-light activities’ to appreciate this area and it is surprisingly clean and safe (I have only been in the morning, I cannot speak for the night).
Near here you can also find the famous gingerbread houses, although the last time I was in the city they were under restoration and covered up entirely!
They are along the main street as you walk towards Centraal: it is a busy stretch but the views are worth it!
If you are in Amsterdam in December, this is one of the most Christmassy views you can catch in the city but they are pretty in spring too, especially if you get them on a bright day, with the spring sun projecting their reflection on the water of the canals!
Relax in Vondelpark
If you are in Amsterdam in spring, then you simply cannot skip going to Vondelpark.
Vondelpark is a wonderful city center park and one of the best places to see the tulips in Amsterdam.
It is a good walk from the center so you may want to consider public transport or factor in a good time at the park for recovering.
Here, you can take a nice stroll or have lunch in the lovely outdoor terrace overlooking the park: on a good day, there is not better place to sit in the sun!
Afternoon – go to a museum
Amsterdam is full of museums and the area of Museumplein has some of the most famous.
If you have never been to Amsterdam before, I highly recommend you book skip the line tickets for either the Rijks Museum (Dutch masters, advance booking a must) or van Gogh (same, advance booking highly recommended).
Museumplein is a lovely area and, on a nice day, another lovely location to relax in Amsterdam city center.
In spring, it fills up with tulips too!
If you have already seen Amsterdam’s most famous museums, you may opt for something a little less known such as the Katten Kabinett (all cat-themed!).
Dinner – Amsterdam Noord
This is the area of Amsterdam on the other side of the central station and has become very popular in the last few years because of its up and coming, vibrant atmosphere.
For dinner, I am going to give you two recommendations: one for a dry and warm srping evening in Amsterdam and one in case of rain.
If the weather is on your side, I recommend you go for dinner to Amsterdam Noord.
Here you have lovely art spaces, the famous Amsterdam lookout and many beer gardens and restaurants, especially welcoming in spring and summer thanks to their leafy terraces.
Il Pecorino Italian restaurant is my favorite: they have a nice menu and outdoor tables in a lovely square.
If spring in Amsterdam comes with rain, I recommend you opt instead for dinner in Amsterdam city center.
If you like Japanese, you can go to my usual hangout the KU Kitchen (Japanese restaurant on Utrechtsestraat) or get dinner in the Pulitzer (restaurant or bar), making sure you top it up with one of the house cocktails!
Something special: if you are in the mood for something different, I highly recommend you check out the program at Amsterdam Opera. They have amazing shows and the views from inside are gorgeous.
Practical travel tips for visiting Amsterdam in spring
Arrival: how to get from Schipol airport to Amsterdam city center
I live in Dublin so my arrival in Amsterdam is always by air, via Schipol airport.
Schipol is immediately outside of Amsterdam and it super well connected to the city.
The easiest way to get into town is by train and this is my preferred mean of transport.
The train station is right inside the main airport arrival hall and there are ticket machines that accept cash or card: they are yellow and well visible, you cannot miss them.
The trains from Schipol to Amsterdam Centraal, the city’s main station, are frequent and the ride only takes about 15-20 minutes.
The train has first and second class and I personally always opt for the second class ticket although the train does get busy and this means you might have to stand.
For me, the length of the journey doesn’t justify the extra cost of the ticket but this is something you may want to consider if you have any mobility issues.
If you prefer a taxi into town, they are available just outside the arrivals hall.
In the evening, they can get you into the city center fast however, at peak traffic times you may get stuck in traffic.
I found this to be particularly true between 4pm and 6pm, when the many people working in the Schipol area get in the car to go home.
Especially if arriving at that time, I highly recommend you get the train instead!
How to get from Amsterdam Central station to your accommodation
Unless you are staying very near Centraal, Amsterdam central station, chances are you will need to get a tram to get to your hotel.
I find trams in Amsterdam excellent and easy to use.
Just outside the station, you have a large tram terminus and, just in front, you have the GVB Service & Tickets, Stationsplein Central Station info point.
Here you can get maps and all the info you need about transport in Amsterdam and, should you need one, the Amsterdam travel card.
Good to know: it is possible to buy Amsterdam public transport tickets online in advance. Have a look at prices and what they cover here
If you already know what tram you catch and not need a travel card, you can just hop on the tram and get a ticket on board (payments are by card only): super easy!
Do you need a travel card for 2 days in Amsterdam in the spring?
Amsterdam has several travel cards and transport ticket solutions for visitors and how much or how little convenient they are depends on your plans.
The main things to consider are:
Where is your accommodation? If you need to get the tram every day more than once, then a travel card is probably a good idea.
A good value one is this public transport card, valid on all GVB trams, metro and buses, all day and night.
How many museums will you see? The I Amsterdam card is a solution combining entrance to museums and public transport.
If you are planning on taking the tram more than once a day and plan on seeing 2 museums or more (of those included) then getting the city card is probably a good idea
If you are staying in a central area and do not plan on visiting more than one museum over the weekend, then you probably do not need the Amsterdam card and will find it better to just pay as you go. This is particularly true if you are in Amsterdam in the spring, a time when (rain permitting) a stroll along Amsterdam canals is a sightseeing opportunity in itself!
The best place to stay in Amsterdam for a spring weekend
Amsterdam city center is pretty compact and, in general, once you stay inside the canal ring, you know you are in a convenient location for sightseeing.
However, within this area, you have different neighborhoods and depending on what you like, you will find some more suitable than others.
Personally, I am fond of 2 areas.
Jordaan: convenient, quiet and pretty
Jordaan is within the Amsterdam canal ring, on its Western side.
This is a pretty, well off area with gorgeous canals and beautiful homes.
Staying in Jordaan means you can pretty much walk anywhere or you can easily catch a tram.
This is a great area to stay if you only have 2 days in Amsterdam.
If budget allows, I highly recommend you stay at The Pulitzer (if you can’t, I still recommend you get a drink there in the evening, I have it as a must stop on my itinerary below!)
Other good addresses in Jordaan are:
Mr Jordaan: a beautiful boutique hotel with neutral tones and amazing staff
Nine Street Inn, a great B&B in between Jordaan and the Center proper
Prinsengracht / Utrechtsestraat area: dynamic, leafy, well served
This area is at the opposite end of the canal ring from Jordaan and it is where I feel most at home.
What I love here is that you have the charm of the canals, you are in close proximity to pretty much anywhere in the city center but you also have easy access to hip areas such as De Pijp and the Albert Cuyp Markt, which is lovely for a cup of coffee and herring on the go.
Addresses you might like in this area area:
Keizers Kanal, B&B, which stands out for excellent location and welcome
Hotel Dwars, which is not only beautiful and well located but also have rooms for up to 4 guests, which make it also handy for families
I hope you enjoyed this itinerary and it has given you good ideas on how to spend two days in Amsterdam.