Layover In Amsterdam: The Ultimate Guide 2023
If you have a layover in Amsterdam you'll more than likely find yourself in Schiphol Airport. It's the second largest in the Netherlands and one of the busiest in Europe. Schiphol is just fifteen minutes from the center of Amsterdam by train or thirty minutes on the express bus service. That's an absolute bonus when you're on a short layover in Amsterdam as you can still get into the city to have a look around.
Don't forget though that getting through passport control, customs, and collecting your bags can take an hour or more, so keep that in mind when making your layover plans. You'll need to factor in time for checking in for your connecting flight and for passing through security too which can also be very time-consuming. If your layover at Schiphol Airport is long enough, don't hesitate to drop your bags at an Amsterdam luggage storage service before heading off to explore this incredible UNESCO World Heritage city that's known as the Venice of the North.
6 hour layover in Amsterdam
Six hours may seem like a long time to be on an Amsterdam airport layover, but after you've dealt with all the faff of documentation and security, it's not. Count in being at the check-in desk for your connection at least two hours prior to take-off and you'll suddenly realize all the rigmarole has eaten away at your layover time and you've only got three hours, or less, to spare.
Save yourself the stress of going into Amsterdam and keep that experience for when you have a long layover instead. There's plenty of things to do in Schiphol Airport so you won't feel deprived by staying there and neither will you run the risk of missing your connecting flight. Store your bags in a luggage locker first and then you'll be burden free to browse the Rijksmuseum, get a massage or spa treatment, try your luck in the Holland Casino or shop until your connection check-in opens in the Schiphol Plaza.
- Three hours can pass really quickly especially when you're enjoying yourself so keep an eye on the time and don't be late getting to the check-in desk for your connecting flight.
- There are three terminal buildings at Schiphol Airport and it's easy to get disoriented while exploring. Download a site map from the official website and you'll find your way around a lot easier.
8 hour layover in Amsterdam
When you have an eight hour layover at Schiphol Airport, count on having around five hours to yourself for actually doing something. It's not much, but it's enough time to be able to go into Amsterdam without giving yourself a nervous breakdown. Stash your baggage in a luggage locker then catch the Amsterdam Airport Express (Bus 397), they depart every seven minutes or so from Stop 17, and as well as getting to the city center, you'll get a sightseeing tour too as it passes all the main attractions. Jump off in Leidseplein Square, have a walk around followed by coffee and a slice of Dutch apple pie at one of the street cafes before catching the bus back to the airport to catch your connection.
- To find Stop 17, exit the airport via the Schiphol Plaza and turn right.
- Make sure you get your OV-chipkaart at the airport. As long as it's charged with sufficient funds you can use it on all public transport services in the city.
10 hour layover in Amsterdam
Having a ten-hour daytime layover at Schiphol Airport will give you more than enough time to slot in some fun or cultural activities. While catching the train into the city center might appear the best option, you'll find Bus 397 may take a few minutes longer but will leave you in the Museumplein, which is five minutes walk from the Van Gogh Museum. If you don't spend too long browsing Van Gogh's amazing paintings you'll have time for a swift tour and tasting or two at the House of Bols Cocktail and Genever Experience.
- To enter the Van Gogh Museum you need to pre-book online and state the starting time of your visit. If you're delayed, you'll need to change the time of your booking to gain access to the museum.
- The Van Gogh Museum doesn't have storage facilities for large bags so leave yours in a suitcase storage at or near Schiphol Airport.
12 hour layover in Amsterdam
On a twelve-hour layover you're going to have time to spare, so if you're feeling cramped after sitting in the plane seat, it's time to get pedaling. Amsterdam has one of the best cycle path networks imaginable and there are bike hire shops all over the city center where you can pick up a cheap rental bike and safety helmet before touring the city on two wheels for a couple of hours. Alternatively, take to the canals of Amsterdam for a one-hour boat cruise or make the layover even more fun, and aerobic, by exploring the canals in a peddle boat.
- If you think you don't have enough time left for a sit-down meal and a canal cruise, consider doing a pizza cruise or a cheese and wine cruise and you'll get fed and see the sights at the same time.
- You can't cycle or have fun in a peddle boat with your bags so leave them in a luggage locker at Schiphol Airport before heading into the city.
24 hour layover in Amsterdam
If you've got an overnight layover in Amsterdam, you're lucky. It's unbelievable how much you can cram into twenty-four hours in this city. Your daytime layover hours can be occupied with sightseeing the main attractions and visiting the major museums like the Stedelijk Museum of Art and Design or the Diamond Museum, but when night falls – it's time to party. Start out by making an eye-boggling visit to Amsterdam's infamous Red Light District then make your way to the A'Dam Toren for dinner and drinks at the Moon Restaurant on the 19th floor.
- Pre-book your table at Moon online well in advance or you could be going hungry.
- Get a big adrenaline thrill by riding the A'Dam Toren swing. It's a great way to see Amsterdam illuminated at night as long as you're not afraid of heights.
- Try and get at least a few hours sleep or you'll be exhausted for your connecting flight the next day.