When it comes to a long layover, Amsterdam is one of the best cities to visit. The airport is close to the city center and you can see many of the must-see sites in just a few hours. Even a 5 hour layover in Amsterdam is enough time to enjoy your visit.
If you need to store your carry on luggage before heading into the city, check out the luggage lockers at Schiphol Airport.
Once you are luggage free, you need to get into the city. Thankfully, Amsterdam makes this easy. Hop on the commuter train or better yet prebook a taxi Amsterdam airport to city center. Either way, you can be in the heart of Amsterdam in around 15 minutes.
Whether you have 5 hours or a full day, Amsterdam has plenty of things to see and do on a layover.
1. Cruise the Canals
An iconic feature of Amsterdam are the city’s many canals. You can easily rent a bike and follow the canals by land. Even better, consider hopping on a boat and exploring by water. There are a number of canal cruises which let you see a lot of the city while also learning a bit about the history and culture.
2. Visit a Museum
Amsterdam has some of the world’s best museums. With only a layover in Amsterdam, it’s best to pick just one to visit. Also, buy tickets online ahead of time if you can. Some top choices include – the Anne Frank House, the Rijksmuseum, or the Van Gogh Museum.
3. Explore the Red Light District
Another iconic part of Amsterdam, the Red Light District is not nearly as seedy as you might imagine. While the district is a great place for nightlife, it is a cool place to explore in the daytime too. Sign up for a tour to learn more about the district or just explore on your own.
4. Check out a Coffeeshop
While it might not be for everyone, if it’s your thing, stopping by a coffeeshop might just be the best way to enjoy a layover in Amsterdam. These shops are legal dispensaries for marijuana and can be a lot of fun. Just make sure you consume responsibly—if you’re on a layover, you don’t want to lose track of time! 😉
5. Explore by Foot or Bike
Starting from the Amsterdam Central station, you can easily explore some of the city’s best neighborhoods by walking or renting a bike. A few places worth stopping include Dam Square, where you can see the Royal Palace and the Nieuwe Kerk (New Church). Then head west and explore the pretty canals and boutique stores in the Jordaan or Negen Straatjes areas.
6. Grab Some Food
Make sure you leave yourself some time to try some traditional Amsterdam favorites. Try a sweet stroopwafel, a nice Dutch cheese, or grab some bitterballen, which are dutch meatballs served with mustard.
And then, before you know it, your layover in Amsterdam will be over and it will be time to head back to the airport.