Amsterdam Layover Guide (AMS)
Amsterdam Airport Schiphol (AMS) is the main international airport found in the Netherlands. It is located 9 km (5.6 mi) from the center of Amsterdam. The airport is the third busiest airport in Europe and has had commercial flights since 1949. Amsterdam is the commercial and cultural capital of the Netherlands and one of the top financial centers in the world.
Can you leave Amsterdam Airport (AMS) airport during a layover? Do you need a visa?
It's possible to visit Amsterdam during a layover. Whether or not you need a visa depends mainly on your nationality. (more info).
Tours, Things to do, Sightseeing
Amsterdam Organized Tours
Van Gogh Museum
This is the world’s largest collection of Vincent van Gogh’s paintings and works. The Van Gogh Museum houses 200 paintings, 500 drawings, and 750 letters from the master Dutch painter. Embark on a fascinating journey through the life of the artist and his contemporaries through these artistically rich items. There are world-famous paintings such as Sunflowers, Almond Blossom and The Potato Eaters available to admire. » book this tour
Evening Canal Cruise
How many canals are in Amsterdam? Find out on this picturesque evening canal cruise. See the historic city center at the best time as the sun sets and the city lights turn on. Sail past the Skinny Bridge, Golden Bend, illuminated buildings, bridges, and boats. Learn a host of stories, legends, and historical facts about Amsterdam during cruise. Amsterdam is most beautiful when thousands of lights highlight the hundreds of bridges and the iconic buildings alongside the canals. » book this tour
Heineken is said to be the world’s favourite beer. It was in 1867 when Gerard Adriaan Heineken built a brewery in the heart of Amsterdam. Visit this old brewery and discover the world of Heineken beer. Find out about the company’s heritage, the famous beer brewing process, the 4 natural ingredients in the beer, Heineken’s innovativeness, and even the expert way to pour the beer. Also learn about excellent marketing and how Heineken has become one of the world’s most recognizable brands through its sponsorship activities with Formula 1, the UEFA Champions League and the Rugby World Cup. » book this tour
Amsterdam Things to do / Sightseeing
Anne Frank House
Anne Frank House is a testament to the atrocities committed against the Jewish people during World War II. The Prinsengracht house is where Anne Frank and her family hid from the Nazis for almost two years after fleeing persecution in Germany. The house has been divided into 2 parts. The front is a world-class museum while the back annex retains its humble look to preserve what life might have been like for Anne and the families she hid with.
Time required: 2 hours to 3 hours.
Airport to here: Taxi takes an average of 30 minutes while public transport takes about 40 minutes.
The Rijksmuseum is one of the best-known museums in the world and has even featured in several movies. The building is huge and creates an overwhelming silhouette while it hosts some of the world’s best-known artwork from artists such as Johannes Vermeer, Rembrandt van Rijn, Jan Havicksz Steen, and Frans Hals. The must-see masterpiece is the world-famous Night Watch by Rembrandt van Rijn, which is located in the center of the museum. The museum holds about 8000 art treasures.
Time required: 2-3 hours.
Airport to here: Typically takes a Taxi 22 minutes while public transport can take a little more than half an hour.
This is an impressive complex of former industrial buildings that once were the city’s municipal gasworks. Visiting now means seeing the buildings transformed into a colorful cultural hub with a vast variety of bars, restaurants, coffee roasters, a microbrewery, an art-house cinema, and a whole host of creative businesses. There are always events especially the superb Sunday market held on the first Sunday of every month.
Time required: You will need at least an hour to enjoy the Westergas.
Airport to here: Taxi takes an average of 25 minutes while public transport typically takes 40 minutes.
The Houseboat Museum in Amsterdam is not a regular museum, it gives a glimpse to tourists what it might be like to actually live in one of the canal boats. It was Vincent van Loon who first decided to give tourists this chance. He renovated the boat, Hendrika Maria and opened it to the public to visit.
Time required: At least an hour would be the minimum.
Airport to here: Typically takes a Taxi 25 minutes and public transport takes 40 minutes on average.
House of Bols
The House of Bols is a unique museum in Amsterdam also found in Museum square. It offers an award-winning cocktail & genever experience that teaches you the history of Lucas Bols, liqueur and spirits but also allows visitors to enjoy samples. Lucas Bols is the world’s oldest distilled spirit brand and there are 38 different Bols liqueurs and some of them have lasted since 1575 in Amsterdam! Also, learn about the process of distilling to create a final product. In Genever room, gin lovers can learn the history of the Dutch Spirit Genever, which is nicknamed as the grandfather of gin.
Time required: Set aside an hour or 2 to enjoy the Bols experience.
Airport to here: Taxi takes an average of 20 minutes while public transport typically takes 40 minutes.
Artis Amsterdam Zoo
This is the oldest zoo of The Netherlands when it was founded in 1838 but it has not lost its luster. It offers a wonderful break from a busy commercial alpha city. The zoo feels welcome and intimate in a small and compact setting because of the lack of space for expansion. Artis is ideal for family fun, it is home to 750 different species of animals including elephants, monkeys, snakes, otters, giraffes, sea lions and several birds, and over 300 species of trees and plants. The gardens of Artis are especially enjoyable in summer and spring when the trees are decorated with blossoms. The zoo also features the African Savannah, butterfly gardens, birdhouses, an aquarium, wolf forest, and an Insectarium.
Time required: Set aside 2 or 3 hours to explore the Amsterdam Zoo.
Airport to here: Typically takes a Taxi 25 minutes and public transport takes 40 minutes.
BODY WORLDS Amsterdam
This exhibition is an in-depth journey through the human body and teaches everything about human anatomy, from the strength and defense mechanisms of the body to vulnerabilities of the human body. ‘The Happiness Project’ is the theme exhibit and shows the anatomical effects of happiness such as how a smile comes about and what kind of hormones affect happiness. The museum is full of 200 anatomical models, made out of real plastinated bodies. This educational experience is great for both young and old.
Time required: Set aside 2 hours to enjoy the exhibition.
Airport to here: Typically takes a taxi and public transport takes both about 20 minutes.
Casa Rosso Erotic Theatre Amsterdam
Casa Rosso Erotic Theatre is at the heart of the Red Light District. It is said to be the oldest live sex theatre in Amsterdam. The Erotic Theatre can seat up to 180 guests and has a varied program including live shows of striptease acts, soft S&M shows and the banana show. Casa Rosso has the best reputation as one of Amsterdam’s foremost adult entertainment tourist attractions.
Time required: Set aside an hour or more to enjoy the erotic theatre at night.
Airport to here: Typically takes a Taxi 20 minutes and public transport takes about 30 minutes.
Things to Do in Amsterdam Airport (AMS)
Relaxing and Sleeping
Airport Lounges and Relaxing
There are many lounges in each of the airport's terminals. » view all lounges or buy a lounge pass or membership online
Hotel and Sleeping
There are many hotels close to the airport. » view all or book an airport hotel online
Rest Area and Sleeping in Airport
Schiphol Airport has many free rest zones with reclining relaxation chairs.
WIFI/Internet and SIM Card
WIFI/Internet: Free WiFi is available at the airport. Connect to the “Airport_Free_Wifi”.
SIM Card: There are several shops within the airport that sell SIM cards. » buy a global sim card for Amsterdam, Netherlands that you can use for other countries as well!
Transportation to/from airport
Taxi: Various taxis are available outside the Arrival halls.
Train: Schiphol is connected with the vast Netherlands train network that can transport you anywhere in the country. (more info).
Bus: Local buses operate from the Schiphol bus stops that are located right outside Schiphol Plaza. (more info).
Shuttle: There are several hotel shuttle buses.
Car rentals: Car rentals are available and can be booked online. » view available cars or rent a car now online
Parking: There are many parking options at the airport and these can be checked or booking online.
Luggage Storage & Lockers
There are secure luggage storage in all terminals available on a 24 hour basis. » book a luggage storage or locker at Amsterdam Airport (AMS) online (subject to availability).