Amsterdam Layover Guide

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With its canals, coffee shops and notorious cannabis culture, this scenic destination also happens to be the perfect layover spot. So forget killing time in the airport (although the Amsterdam Airport Schiphol is quite good as far as airports go), and take the train to the city centre to get a taste of Dutch living.

See: Rijksmuseum | Anne Frank House | Van Gogh Museum

Only applicable if you have a 5-hour layover or longer and don’t even think about doing more than one museum, as lineups await year-round. Your best bet for saving precious time is to reserve tickets ahead. The Anne Frank House is consistently booked solid, so waiting in line is usually the only option (and even that can take an hour or longer). Get acquainted with Dutch masterpieces from Vermeer and Rembrandt at the Rijksmuseum or wander through the largest Van Gogh collection in the world at his namesake museum where you’ll see iconic pieces like Sunflowers and The Potato Eaters.

Eat & Drink: Stroopwafels and coffee

Sweet tooths won’t be disappointed with the selection of treats here, but if you have to choose only one, you can’t leave without indulging in the city’s famous stroopwafels. This popular pastry is made up of two waffle-style cookies with a caramel-like syrup sandwiched in-between. You’ll find them in every grocery store, but the most delectable version is fresh from a local bakery or street vendor, the most notable being the historic Lanskroon bakery. Have a truly authentic experience by laying the cookie flat on top a steaming cup of coffee or tea until the middle gets gooey. Can you say yum?!


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Do: Walk along the canals

There are Insta-opportunities at every turn as you zigzag through the narrow cobblestone streets that bridge together the city’s historic ring of canals. From the canal houses to the bridges, you can’t miss wandering through this UNESCO heritage site. A couple must-see areas include the “Golden Bend” that stretches from Leidsestraat and Vijzelstraat and has the city’s most prestigious stretch of real estate, as well as the three main ring canals that encircle the oldest part of Amsterdam (Herengracht, Prinsengracht and Keizersgracht) are home to some seriously gorgeous canal houses.

Stay: citizenM Hotel

Need to catch some zzz’s before your flight out? We highly recommend citizenM Hotel located at the Schiphol airport. A trendy boutique hotel that won’t break your budget, the vibe is friendly and stylish, with a 24-hour restaurant, free Wi-Fi, and lobby that you actually want to hang out in. The rooms aren’t huge, with the bed taking up most of the real estate, but hey -- that’s the main reason why you’re there right? Plus we were fans of the free on-demand movies.

FYI:

  • Bikes rule the roads here, so keep your eyes peeled when crossing the street

  • No hotel? You’ll find luggage lockers at the airport ranging in sizes small to extra large

  • If your curiosity lands you in the Red Light District just be careful of pickpockets and don’t take any photos of the windows in the area