I’ve had many brief stops in Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport (AMS) but not a lot of time to explore anything other that the shoppes in the terminal. I carefully booked a flight to Egypt which gave me 9 hours on the ground to explore the city.
If you’re wanting to explore during a layover at AMS, carefully understand your layover timing – Planes won’t wait for you, and your airline may cancel the rest of your trip if you miss your connecting flight (if booked under the same ticket).
Leaving the airport
- 30+ minutes to get through passport control
- 30-60 minutes to get into the city center
Getting back to the airport
- Budget the same amount of travel time
- 30-45 minutes to go through security and get to your gate
Canal tour of Amsterdam
When you arrive in Amsterdam, you’re literally in the city center. Immediately you’ll notice tons of public transportation (trains, trolleys, busses) and bicycles – there are relatively few personal automobiles.
Amsterdam’s city center is extremely easy to navigate as everything is focused around the city center and roads/waterways radiate out around in it concentric circles.
Immediately outside the train station, you’ll see no less than a dozen different river boat tours, ranging in price, duration and routes. Tours range from €10-35 ($11-40 USD) depending on route and duration chosen. All of the riverboats have a guide who explains the different areas of Amsterdam, points of interest and history of the city and country.