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  • Writer's pictureKita the Explorer

Enjoy an Amsterdam Layover

Updated: Dec 8, 2020

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I’m just going to unboard this here plane, leave the airport and see what is happening in Amsterdam, The Netherlands for a 5 hour layover! Keep reading to learn how to do this...

I recently booked a flight deal with Scott’s Cheap Flights from DC to Istanbul which included a five hour layover in Amsterdam. And yes, it is very practical to see Amsterdam in a five hour layover.


After landing, I used the toilet and proceeded to customs. I landed at 6:30 AM so the customs line was reasonably short. And since it was a layover, the airline still had my bag. I proceeded to the transportation area with my train ticket which was already purchased. I asked which track to go to and hopped on the express train to Amsterdam Central Station.

I'm checking the monitor to see how long before train arrival

From here, I ended up just walking around, exploring the canal and viewing the Red Light District (considering the time of day). I smelled the remains of a lot of marijuana (which I don’t smoke). Took pictures and purchased some souvenirs. Afterwards, I headed back to the airport to go through customs and eat a snack before boarding my next flight. Here is a list of what you need to know:

  1. Have at Least 4-5 Hours to Spare: If you do not have at least 4-5 hours in between flights, do not even think about leaving. You have to keep in mind you need that time to use the toilet, board next flight, and eat. If you leave in a short window, you risk missing your next flight.

  2. Be Aware of Customs: If the customs line to exit the airport is really long and it looks like it will take an hour, just don't leave the airport! You have now shortened your window!

  3. Book the Train Ticket in Advance: There is a train that goes directly from the airport to Amsterdam's city center. The train only takes about 15 minutes, runs frequently, and operates 24/7. But I do suggest buying the round trip ticket in advance to save on time. A one way ticket only costs about 4.50 Euros (5.09 USD - based on Mar 25 2019 rate). You can purchase your tickets here! Be sure to book a round trip ticket without a scheduled time so you won't have to worry making a specified train. Lastly, have the ticket printed just in case you cannot access the internet upon arrival.

  4. Use the Toilet: Try to use the toilet before the plane lands or as soon as you get off. The last thing you want to do while you are out exploring is trying to find a toilet.

  5. Head to Transportation Area: After exiting customs, head over to board the train. The trains are located between terminals 2 and 3 and are underground. You can follow the signs or check out the airport's map here! Once there, if you are unable to determine which track to board, please ask an employee.

  6. Have the Map of Amsterdam Downloaded: Open (or download) your Google Maps application on your smartphone and download an offline version of Amsterdam. Do this right before you head on your trip and the map will remain available for about 30 days after downloading.

  7. If You Arrive Later, Take A Canal Tour: I arrived really early in the day and only had five hours, so I couldn't book a proper tour. If you arrive at the earliest of 9:00AM and have the time, take a canal tour. I really wanted to do this!!! There is a pick up point for the canal tour right outside of Amsterdam Central Station. The tours last an hour and give you history as well as scenery of the city. The canal tours are 16.00 Euros (18.05 USD at Mar 25 2019 rate).The tour ends where you begin.

  8. Be Aware of Customs Again: Please allow enough time to return to the airport and go through security/customs. These wait times can vary. I only waited approximately 20 minutes but you never know. I suggest allowing at least two hours to return to the airport and get settled there. But you be your own judge!

Walking the streets of Amsterdam

I hope these eight pointers help you enjoy your layover in Amsterdam! Enjoy your trip!

If you have any questions, please comment below or feel free to contact me at!

Short video coming soon!

Thank you for stopping by!

~ Kita the Explorer

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