Amsterdam Canal

48 Hours In… Amsterdam

If you are lucky enough to spend 48 hours in Amsterdam at any time of year, you will find something special in each season. In spring the city awakens from the cold winter days and Holland’s famous tulips brighten up the city. Summer brings festival season, picnics in the park and the arts move outdoors.

For many, autumn is the best season to visit Amsterdam. The trees lining the ancient canals turn rich shades of red and gold and the sprawling Vondelpark transforms into a spectacular sea of colour, as the city takes on the new season in style. The colder days of winter allow you to cosy up in one of Amsterdam’s many bars or sample the festive atmosphere at a Christmas Market. There truly is something for everyone in this wonderful city, even if you only have a weekend to enjoy it:

Amsterdam Houses



Step into the heart of the autumnal action with a crisp walking tour of the city. Free guided tours start from 10am at the National Monument in Dam Square. Along the crunchy, leaf-laden route, you’ll pass the Anne Frank House, the smallest house in Amsterdam, the world’s first Stock Exchange, the Royal Palace, the Red Light District, canal houses, and many more of the city’s landmarks. A walking tour of Amsterdam is a fantastic way to orientate yourself, if you only had 24 hours in this great city, this would still be on our list.


When you’ve worked up an appetite, head to rooftop restaurant Blue Amsterdam on the third floor of the Kalvertoren shopping centre for a scrumptious brunch and fantastic 360-views of the city. Check out the menu here. Another option, if the weather is nice and you want to sit canal side, is Calf and Bloom, with plenty of outdoor seating and reasonably priced food this spacious industrial-style cafe is perfect for groups.

After brunch pay a visit to the incredible Bloemenmarkt, Amsterdam’s famous flower market, just across the canal.

Gallery of Honour. Photo: Erik Smits
Gallery of Honour at Rijksmuseum. Photo: Erik Smits


Amsterdam is an art lover’s nirvana. Spend the afternoon at the Museumplein in the Old South neighbourhood, home to three of the city’s most impressive museums.

Dazzling Dutch masterpieces like Rembrandt’s The Night Watch and Vermeer’s The Milkmaid await in the Rijksmuseum’s four floors of galleries.

Across the square you’ll find the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam’s leading contemporary art museum. There you’ll find works by Picasso, Matisse, Warhol and more of the world’s leading modern artists.

Van Gogh Museum
Van Gogh Museum

The Van Gogh Museum is an essential stop on any 48 hour visit to Amsterdam. If you’ve only got time for one museum, this is the one to choose. Get your tickets early though, particularly if you are visiting during peak times. Cleverly laid-out to tell the story of Van Gogh’s life, his influences and tragic demise, the museum is a celebration the city’s most beloved modern artist. You’ll be treated to an explosion of colourful canvasses, calm scenes of nature, and, of course, self-portraits like no other.

Broewerij ‘t IJ Brewery and Windmill


Admiring all that artwork is thirsty work. Escape the city centre for an evening visit to Broewerij ‘t IJ, one of Amsterdam’s leading microbreweries. Hop on tram 10 and get off at the windmill, or an Uber should get you there for approximately €12. Formerly an eighteenth-century bathhouse, the brewery sits at the base of Holland’s largest wooden windmill. Take a short tour, then grab a table and sample the seasonal brews and tasty local delicacies against the backdrop of an iconic Dutch landmark. It doesn’t get much better than that.

Eggs Benedict



Stop in at Greenwoods Singel for top-class eggs Benedict, homemade cakes, pies and great coffee. The pretty canal-side tearoom serves breakfast all day – ask for the window seat so you can watch the world cycle by.

If you’re looking for a lighter bite, try nearby Brasserie Baton for a freshly baked croissant, piece of gingerbread and a tea or coffee with beautiful views of the canal.


No trip to Amsterdam is complete without a boat tour of city’s intricate maze of Golden Age canals. There are dozens of cruise options to choose from. Consider whether you would prefer a luxury cruise with a local guide, a hop on hop off option or pizza and beer as you sightsee.

Festival of Lights
Festival of Lights

Planning a visit in December? The Amsterdam Light Festival, a festival of light, art and water will see more than 40 artworks by artists from all over the world, including renowned artist Ai Wewei, illuminate the canals. For the best views of the unique installations, take the special Water Colour Route cruise by Amsterdam Canal Cruises, where a live guide will tell you about the art and the artist behind them.


See a different side of the city in the Oud-West (Old West) neighbourhood. Don’t miss out on the bustling international food hall, Foodhallen. Highlights include Meneer Temaki for Japanese street food, Jabugo for Iberian ham and the G&T bar for gin fans. Housed in a former tram depot, the complex includes a cinema and arts centre. When you’ve completed your tour of the Foodhallen, get a fix of the best caffeine in the city in the nearby espresso bar Lot Sixty One.

Nine Little Streets
Nine Little Streets


Autumn is the best time of year to experience gezellig, the Dutch take on the Danish ‘hygge’ concept of ‘feeling cosy.’ Amsterdam’s brown cafés, the traditional Dutch pubs, are the best places to get a taste of gezellig. Round off your city break with a cosy evening in one the local watering holes and enjoy a key part of Amsterdam’s culture. Café Hoppe at Spui, Café de Dokter in the Nine Streets neighbourhood and Café Chris in the Jordaan neighbourhood are three of the best.


If you are visiting over the summer months, Amsterdam is a hive of festivity. Some of the highlights held every year include Vondelpark Open Air Theatre where you can catch a classical music performance, Amsterdam’s Pride festival is one of the biggest in the world and something not to be missed if you can make it at this time.


If you are spending two days in Amsterdam in Winter, there is still lots to do. In December you can take in one of the many Christmas markets that take place around the city. Each market has a different theme. The Funky Christmas market, held each Sunday in December, offers local arts and crafts as well as glühwein and tasty treats to warm you up. If the weather is altogether too cold, head indoors to enjoy the Amsterdamsche Kerstmarkt. Located in Noord the neighbourhood behind central station, is a place to pick up some gifts for your nearest and dearest while enjoying the best food, drink and live music Amsterdam has to offer.


Amsterdam is one of the best cities in Europe for a weekend away no matter the season, so what are you waiting for? Book your flights to Amsterdam today.


HOW TO GET THERE: Choose from a range daily flights from Dublin or Cork to Amsterdam.