The ideal itinerary for 48 hours in Amsterdam with kids: image of houses on Damrak during pride week
Europe,  Travel

48 hours in Amsterdam with kids: the ideal itinerary

Amsterdam is a great city to visit with kids of any age. The wide variety of museums, shops and activities mean that any trip can be easily tailored to suit the ages and interests of your children. There is something for everyone! This is our suggested itinerary for 48 hours in Amsterdam with kids.

Generally, the itinerary assumes that you will be in Amsterdam and ready to start early in the morning. However, it can easily be adjusted and reordered to account for arrival times, weather, kid needs (naps, food), jetlag, etc.

How to spend 48 hours in Amsterdam with kids

Day 1

Take a boat tour

When you have 48 hours in Amsterdam with kids, the first event on your itinerary should be a boat tour. It doesn’t really matter which one you take, but if you have the I Amsterdam card, choose a tour that is covered by the card. Most tours take between one and one and a half hours.

A boat provides wonderful views of Amsterdam. A tour is also great for orientation and helps work out which things you may want to look at in more detail. Besides, which kid doesn’t love a boat ride?

Drunken houses, as viewed from the boat tour, the first point on our itinerary for 48 hours in Amsterdam with kids

Tip: Give your kids a camera and let them take photos. There are a number of views that even a young novice can capture well.

Do a walking tour of the city

When the boat docks, go for a walk through the city.

Royal Palace at Dam Square during 48 hours in Amsterdam with kids

Take a stroll down Damrak towards Dam Square to see some of the prettiest buildings in Amsterdam. If you feel so inclined, at Dam Square, you can visit the Royal Palace, Madame Tussauds or go shopping. Continue on to the Begijnhof and take a few moments to pause and reflect. When you’re ready, visit the Bloemenmarkt (the flower market) for some bulbs and souvenirs. Stop for something to eat along the way.

Real looking fake tulips at the Bloemenmarkt: 48 hours in Amsterdam with kids

Tip: For a local delicacy – especially for those with a sweet tooth – we recommend van Wonderen Stroopwafels.

If you have time, continue walking to the Rijksmuseum. If you are planning on visiting it or the Van Gogh Museum, this is your stop! Take some photos at the I Amsterdam sign and have a look at the spider art in the garden of the Rijksmuseum.

Visit a museum or two

With around 75 museums to choose from you are bound to find one that suits your interests. Boats? Houseboats? Cats? Handbags? Art? Science? There is quite a variety!

Most museums have free audio guides and with extra audio tours for kids. Some museums even have other tours or activities designed just for kids.

Don’t forget to visit the gift shop!

Almond Blossoms by Vincent Van Gogh, at the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam

Tip: If you plan to visit the Van Gogh Museum (even with the I Amsterdam card), you need to book in advance to reserve a time slot. We also recommend booking online for the Rijksmuseum and Anne Frank house, especially during school holidays.

Have a fun and traditional dinner

Try some Dutch pancakes for dinner. There are a number of pancake restaurants or you can even have dinner on a pancake boat.

Alternatively, visit a Markthallen so each family member can choose their own speciality.

Indonesia is a former Dutch colony. As a result, Amsterdam has some of the best Indonesian food in the world. Try a Rijsttafel with its variety of dishes.

Bonus activity: visit Vondelpark

In the middle of summer, Vondelpark is a great place to let the kids cool down and burn off some energy. If the weather is not as warm, go for a walk and play on a playground. If you have time (and your kids are the right age), have a coffee at the café while the kids do some cooking. They can even cook something for you!

Day 2

Brunch

Like most major cities, Amsterdam has a number of cafés and restaurants that are known for their family-friendly brunches. If you have time (or if you need the time to get started in the morning), start the day with a delicious brunch. 

Go shopping

Take the morning and do a bit of shopping. We recommend visiting one of the markets. Our top picks are the Albert Cuyp Market and the market at Waterlooplein – which is close to the zoo if you are heading that way next.

A stall at the market on Waterlooplein: itinerary for 48 hours in Amsterdam with kids

Tip: Give your child a small amount of money and let them find their own souvenir at the market. (Please note: neither market is open on Sundays)

If markets aren’t your thing, or your child has Birthday money to spend, wander around the 9 streets district and visit some of the unique boutiques. The 9 Streets can be found between Singel and Prinsengracht, behind the Palace. It’s a great place to shop if you are planning a visit to the Anne Frank House.

Visit Artis, Nemo or another museum

This activity depends on the age of your kids and their interests. 

If you have young children, visit Artis, the Amsterdam zoo. The zoo has a number of covered exhibits so that it is even possible to have a good day at the zoo when it rains. 

Tip: Artis is in walking distance of Waterlooplein, so it works well with a visit to the Waterlooplein market. Don’t forget to try the Poffertjes!

Alternatively, if your children are more technically or scientifically minded, visit the Nemo Science Museum.

Tip: In Summer, make sure you go up to the roof to the cascade pools. The museum also has great views of the city.

If your children are older and are perhaps looking at World War II or the Holocaust at school, visit the Anne Frank House.

Tip: Combine this with some shopping in the Nine Streets district.

Alternatively, try one of the art museums. More unusual ones include Moco Museum (with works by Banksy) and the Hermitage.

For older kids – go on an ‘Instagram’ photo tour

Amsterdam has numerous instagrammable spots to offer. Let your kids determine the route and tour some of the spots to take photos. If the locations are far apart, hire bikes for the tour. We recommend:

Tips:

  • the street art in De Piip: combine it with a trip to the Albert Cuyp Market)
  • Brouwersgracht: this works well with some shopping in the Nine Streets, a visit to Anne Frank House and a climb of the Westerkerk Tower. Don’t forget to purchase a unicorn cake pop from Polaberry – it’s just as instagrammable as the Grachten!
  • Zevenlandenhuizen: these are located next to Vondelpark, not far from the Rijksmuseum
  • The giant dogs in Rembrandtpark and
  • The I Amsterdam letters next to the Rijksmuseum. When we were there last the I Amsterdam had been changed to I Amazon.
Wall Gallery in De Piip: 48 hours in Amsterdam with (older) kids
Wall Gallery, de Piip

Take in the view

Round off your ideal 48 hours in Amsterdam with kids by viewing the city from above. Visit one of the many towers and rooftops to view the city from above and find the sites that you have seen during your trip.

Tip: Kids will love the rooftop at Nemo where they can also play in the cascade falls in Summer. The Westerkerk Tower works well with shopping in the Nine Streets district. The W hotel terrace provides great views of the Royal Palace.

If you are lucky enough to be taking in the view without kids (or are staying at the DoubleTree Hilton), try the SkyLounge in the DoubleTree next to the Central Station. The coffee is very expensive (EUR 8 for a cup!) but the views are fantastic.

The ideal itinerary for 48 hours in Amsterdam with kids

With so much variety, Amsterdam is a great place to visit with kids, no matter what the age. It is so easy to tailor an itinerary to suit the interests and ages of your children that it will quickly become the ‘best trip ever.’

Have you visited Amsterdam with kids before? Do you have any other recommendations?

Enjoy your trip sign-off
48 hours in Amsterdam with kids: image of a Delft tile with child playing with hoop: Our Lord in the Attic

8 Comments

    • Rachael Matthews

      Thanks Kate! I can’t take all the credit – our daughter (Miss 4!) actually took some of the photos. This was part of my way to get her involved in the trip!

  • Jenny Bhatia

    Beautiful pictures, and I love that you included some fun activities for older kids. Mine both love Instagram photography. I think they could find some great images in Amsterdam. WE will get there one day, I hope.

    • Rachael Matthews

      I was there with our little one, so our focus was much younger, but there is definitely the potential there! I wanted to stop and photograph a number of places but didn’t because the focus was on her and not on blogging.

    • Rachael Matthews

      It is a great city, even without kids. That is the beauty of it – there is so much variety that you can easily tailor what you do to suit your likes or dislikes. I found it even more eclectic than London.

  • Jenn Summers

    I had no idea Amsterdam had so much to offer as a family-related trip! You have really opened up my eyes to this being a new bucket list item on our travel list! I think our first stop would have to be the Zoo my girls would absolutely freak to see it! The riverboat tour looks so romantic and relaxing, might have to ditch the kids for evening tour haha.

    • Rachael Matthews

      The zoo was fantastic! It rained the day we went and we still loved it (and let’s face it, how many other zoos can you say that about?). There is so much to see in Amsterdam and more outside the city, such as the cheese markets, windmills and the tulips (in season). It is definitely worth a visit if you make it to Europe.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Comment moderation is enabled. Your comment may take some time to appear.

%d bloggers like this: