two days in amsterdam.

how to spend two days in Amsterdam.

I don't know if you remember, but {cv} and I had a little European adventure at the holidays. {My Instagram has the evidence, I promise.} Life has been a little nutty around here, so I finally have the first round of photos for you today. I know you were all waiting with bated breath ;)

wintermarkt in Amsterdam.

{cv} and I landed in Amsterdam a few hours late, courtesy of a mechanical delay in London. It seriously cut into our tourist time on day one, but we hit the ground running. Knowing that our next day was already jam-packed {but also knowing it was on our must-see list}, we headed straight for the Anne Frank House after dropping our bags at the hotel. We went about 90 minutes before the museum closed, but we still had a significant wait. Be sure to budget at least an hour of wait time--unless you're one of the smart ones that books your ticket in advance. It is an incredibly powerful experience to walk through the doors of the secret annex, so in my opinion, it was worth the wait.

We decided to get familiar with the lay of the land after our visit to the Anne Frank House. It was already dark, but in true holiday fashion, the streets were beautifully illuminated with twinkle lights. {cv} and I always like to get our bearings when we first arrive. We stumbled on the Wintermarkt, a few streets packed full of travelers and residents--and street food. Our first meal in Amsterdam was a favorite of mine, established on our trip to Munich the previous summer: currywurst. No judgments, please ;) {cv} and I ended up at two very Dutch establishments for some refreshements over the course of the evening--nothing fancy but certainly scenic: Café van Beeren and Café-Hotel International.

canals in Amsterdam.

{cv} and I woke to more rain on our second day in Amsterdam, which unfortunately became the overwhelming theme of our time there. {It also impeded me from taking more photos with my Nikon, rather than my iPhone.} We started the day with a super quick breakfast around the corner from our hotel at Café Nielsen. From there, {cv} and I set our sights on seeing the newly renovated Rijksmuseum. {We had tickets for the Van Gogh Museum in the afternoon, so we figured this would be an easy way to get out of the rain. Little did we know, every single tourist had the same plan.} No exaggeration: {cv} and I found lines nearly a quarter mile long. Lesson learned {again}: pre-purchase tickets whenever possible.

canals in Amsterdam.

For lunch, we were determined to have some Dutch pancakes. Though we'd wanted to go to The Pancake Bakery {aka Pannekoeken}, it was nearly a mile walk back to our hotel. Because of the rain, we opted for another pancake establishment, which was much more touristy and not as yummy. We did, however, find a cute spot across the street called In de Buurt. We got out of the cold rain for a quick beverage before trekking back toward the Van Gogh Museum.

canal houses in Amsterdam.

I must admit I'm a big Van Gogh fan, so I made sure this was a stop on our itinerary. On my only other stop in Amsterdam {at age 14}, I fell in love with his work. It was so interesting to go back 14 years later and pick up on things I hadn't at that age. I also loved being able to share my favorite painting with {cv} for the first time. One interesting note: you should definitely pre-purchase your tickets for this museum, especially on a Friday when they have an incredible installation in the evening with a live DJ. {The tickets allow you a certain time window to check in, but we observed it was more of a one-in, one-out situation.}

the canals at night.

After an incredible afternoon at the Van Gogh Museum, we made our way back to the hotel to freshen up for dinner. Through Trip Advisor, we found the lovely Restaurant ANNA in the Sint-Anne Quarter. We were one of the first reservations of the night, so it was a bit empty when we first arrived. However, by the time we left, there wasn't an empty seat in the house. This was one of our most memorable meals of the trip, both for the ambiance and for the food. It wasn't the cheapest meal, but it was worth the "investment". My mouth still waters thinking about their truffle risotto.

Amsterdam at the holidays.

We ambled back toward our hotel, making the requisite pass through the Red Light District. {If I could put emojis in a blog post, I would use the super wide-eyed one here.} We did one last pass through the Wintermarkt before turning in for the night.

early morning in Amsterdam.

{cv} and I woke up early to catch our train--so early that it was still dark out at 8:00am. I wanted a few last pictures {without the rain} and I managed to snag them right as we got in our taxi bound for the train station.

{long distance loving} on Amsterdam.

Our accommodations in Amsterdam were courtesy of Starwood points from {cv}'s work travel in the last couple of years. Cashing in those point was worth it: we absolutely loved our stay at the Hotel Pulitzer. It was one of the most unique hotels I've ever seen--made up of 25 canal houses that they'd converted into one large hotel. Our room had a gorgeous view of the canal, some of which can be seen in the background below. All in all, it was one of the best rooms of our trip.

The "two" days we spent in Amsterdam were lovely. Looking back at the photos, the rain added even more to the charm. It really was such a treat to experience Amsterdam at the holidays. I would like to get back there in warmer {slightly less wet} weather and take a ride on the canal or go on a bike ride. If you've visited Amsterdam, what else would you add to the list for those who have two nights in the city? xoxo {av}

P.S. In case you're planning a winter trip to Europe, here's a post on how to pack for your adventure!


  1. I would love to visit Amsterdam if only for a few days. I was there a long time ago and I'm about ready to return!


  2. I have to get there SOON. Love all your pics!!

  3. I spent two days in Amsterdam and went to a lot of the same places! I absolutely loved it. Now that we live in England, I cannot wait to bring my husband to visit.

  4. Gorgeous photos! I've been to Amsterdam once, and I loved the Anne Frank house - so surreal to see in person. I am now craving a street waffle.... Happy Vday!

  5. Great recap! We went to those same museums, but surprisingly didn't eat at any of the same places! We found it was best to get to museums just before they opened to avoid the long lines. It also rained every day we were there, and it was May, so I guess that's a year-round issue in Amsterdam!

  6. Loved reading this, we are going to Amsterdam next month & I also haven't visited since I was 14, really looking forward to it :)

  7. Traveling to Amsterdam with my husband in May...loved everything about your post! Thanks for sharing!

  8. I went to the Upstairs Pancake Huis ( when I was in Amestardam about 2 years ago. It's amazing! Tiny, packed, lovely interior, and the stairs are so steep they're practically a ladder =)