Guides Amsterdam What to Do During an Amsterdam Layover: Tips to Enjoy

What to Do During an Amsterdam Layover: Tips to Enjoy

City Guide May 10, 2024



Layovers can be a drag, but not if you're in Amsterdam! With its vibrant city life, picturesque canals, and rich history, a layover in Amsterdam can feel like a mini-vacation. Whether you're here for a quick three-hour stretch or an overnight adventure, there's plenty to do and see. Here's how to make the most out of your Amsterdam layover.


Can you leave the airport during a layover in Amsterdam?

First, can you leave the airport during a layover in Amsterdam? Absolutely! Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport is well-connected to the city center. With efficient public transport options and services, exploring the city during your layover is feasible. Just monitor the time and consider the travel time back to the airport.

Before you venture out, though, you'll want to sort out your luggage. Carrying bags around can dampen your spirits, but luckily, there are convenient solutions at the airport.

Consider using a luggage storage service like Nannybag to make your layover hassle-free. Conveniently located, the best luggage storage Amsterdam Schiphol Airport or Nannybag's luggage storage service at Amsterdam Schiphol Airport offers travelers a secure place to store their belongings. Whether you're exploring the city for a few hours or overnight, Nannybag provides luggage storage Amsterdam airport. Their services cover everything from short to long layovers, ensuring your bags are safe while you soak up the Dutch culture.


How to Get from Amsterdam Airport to Amsterdam Central

Traveling from Amsterdam Airport (Schiphol) to Amsterdam Central Station is straightforward and efficient, and multiple options are available to suit various preferences and budgets.

By Train: The most popular and fastest way to reach the city center is by train. Schiphol Airport has its train station located directly beneath the airport. Trains to Amsterdam Central Station run every 10 minutes and take about 15 to 20 minutes. Tickets can be purchased at the automated machines or the ticket counter.

By Bus: Another convenient option is the Amsterdam Airport Express (Bus 397), which operates from Schiphol to Amsterdam Central. The bus service is available from early morning until midnight and runs every 15 minutes. This ride takes approximately 30-35 minutes, depending on traffic, and tickets can be bought directly from the driver or at the ticket machines.

By Taxi: Taxis are available outside the arrivals hall for those preferring a direct route. A taxi ride to Amsterdam Central can take around 20-30 minutes, depending on traffic, and will cost more than public transport options.


What to Do During an Amsterdam Layover

If You Have a 3 Hour Layover

With just 180 minutes to spare, your best bet is to stay close to the airport. Schiphol itself offers a variety of activities:

Holland Boulevard: Dive into Dutch culture right inside the airport. Holland Boulevard is an area between Lounge 2 and 3 where you can enjoy Dutch art, visit a library, and even see a temporary exhibit from the Rijksmuseum.

Amsterdam Airport Baggage Issues: If you're worried about short layover times and baggage, rest assured. Schiphol is known for its efficiency. However, keeping essential items in your hand luggage is wise, allowing you to move freely without waiting for checked baggage.



If You Have a Long Layover

Longer layovers open up a world of possibilities:

Canal Cruise

A 20-minute train ride can get you to Amsterdam Centraal, where you can jump on a canal cruise. It's a splendid way to see the city’s iconic waterways and historical buildings. The cruise offers a unique perspective of Amsterdam's architecture and bustling street life, providing a relaxing and informative experience.

Van Gogh Museum and Rijksmuseum

Art lovers would relish visiting these world-class museums. Both are located in the Museumplein, which is easily accessible by public transport. The Van Gogh Museum offers an extensive collection of his works, while the Rijksmuseum features Dutch art and history from the Middle Ages to the present day.

Anne Frank House

Visit the Anne Frank House for a touch of history. Book your tickets in advance, as queues can be extended. This profoundly moving experience provides insight into the harsh realities of war and the enduring spirit of hope.

Red Light District and Dam Square

Experience Amsterdam’s famous Red Light District and the bustling Dam Square, where the Royal Palace is located. Just be mindful of your time! These areas are rich in cultural and historical significance, offering a glimpse into Amsterdam's old and modern facets.


Overnight Layover

An overnight layover in Amsterdam presents a unique opportunity to dive into the city's vibrant nightlife and serene early morning atmosphere:

Nightlife: Explore the dynamic areas of Leidseplein and Rembrandtplein, both renowned for their lively bars and clubs. These neighborhoods are energetic and offer various entertainment options, from dance clubs and live music venues to cozy pubs and upscale cocktail bars. Whether you're in the mood for a casual drink or an all-night dance party, these districts cater to all tastes.

Early Morning: After the nighttime festivities, enjoy the calm before the city wakes up. Visit the famous Flower Market, which is exceptionally tranquil in the early morning. Here, you can wander through colorful stalls of fresh flowers and unique souvenirs.


Alternatively, enjoy a quiet morning walk along the canals. The peaceful waterways and beautiful architecture provide a picturesque setting dramatically different from the daytime hustle and bustle. This early morning stroll offers a fresh perspective of Amsterdam’s charming streets and historic buildings.


Practical Tips

Leaving the Airport: Check the time to return and go through security. A safe rule is to return at least 2 hours before your connecting flight.

Buying Tickets: Buy tickets online to save time for museums and attractions.

Train Station: Amsterdam Centraal Station is your hub for all local trains. It takes about 15 to 20 minutes from Schiphol Airport.

Airport Hotels: If your layover is too short for a city trip or you need a quick nap, several hotels are directly connected to the airport.



Making the Most of Your Amsterdam Transit

Whether you're indulging in a quick snack at one of the airport’s many eateries, embarking on a rapid tour of the city's highlights, or simply unwinding at a canal-side café, your Amsterdam layover can be as relaxing or as exhilarating as you choose to make it.

From handling Amsterdam airport baggage issues with ease at Schiphol to enjoying a canal cruise through the city's heart, every moment of your layover can be a mini-holiday. Just remember, whether on a 3-hour dash or enjoying a 24 hour layover, Amsterdam offers a memorable stopover adventure. So go ahead, step out of the airport, and quickly plunge into Dutch life!

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