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What to do in Amsterdam in 6 hours or less

This week, I'm heading to Sweden to visit my dearest friend and celebrate her 40th birthday. However, I have a 6 hour layover in Amsterdam and would like to use that time to see something if possible. Though I've been to Sweden & Denmark before, I've never been to Amsterdam and I will be traveling alone. Any tips or suggestions? I'm a planner, so any tips those who have done this would be great. Thanks!

Posted by
8976 posts

Amsterdam is a very compact city so its easy to see a lot in a short time frame. A lot depends on your interests, but at the minimum I would take the train to Centraal Station and walk down to Dam Square. At Nieuwe Kerk (New Church), across from the Royal Palace, you will find top notch temporary art exhibits. Currently on display is art and atricfacts from the National Museum of Afghanistan. From there I would walk to the Anne Frank House. If you have any time left over you can simply walk around the beautiful residential streets around the AF House, or backtrack to Dam Square and take a quick walk through the Red Light District. Even though your only going to be in the city for a few hours, you should purchase the "Top Ten Amsterdam" guidebook.

Posted by
18 posts

Thanks! Art is definitely an interest to me, so this is helpful. I'm wondering, do I have to claim my baggage and recheck it? I never have before, but this is the first time I've had a layover in another country. Also, are the lines to go through customs to get out of the airport and then back in again terribly long? I'm just picture the nightmares at LAX :) Finally, the money...would it be easier if I had some euros with me before I leave, so I don't have to try to change money? I usually use a credit card when I travel, but I've found there are times it was good to have a little cash and some coins, but I also know that changing money in an airport can be a pain. Thanks again!

Posted by
8976 posts

If you your connecting flight is on the same airline or another airline that has a "transfer" agreement then your baggage will be automatically sent to your connecting flight. If not then you will have to recollect and store it in lockers. Schipol has lockers both in the terminal and public sections of the airport. Sometimes lines at immigration can be long; but since it will be off-season I doubt it will be a problem this time of year. Changing money is painless at Schipol; there is a large desk near the luggage carousels with ATM's nearby. Be advised that Dutch Rail does not accept US credit/debit cards so you will need cash to pay for your ticket into Centraal Station.

Posted by
964 posts

Hi Kelly,
If you're interested in art, the Van Gogh museum is about a 20 minute walk from the station, and also the Rikeismuseum (think I spelled that wrong!) which is full of Old Masters, including the 'Night Watch'; and on your way there, you would pass the Flower market, which is a visual treat.
Amsterdam is a delightful city. If you did nothing more than wander around beside the canals and enjoy some coffee at a cafe, you'll enjoy yourself.
Some of the cafes are places where people smoke grass- like the one called the 'Grasshopper', where I mistakenly left my very straight husband while I went looking for a cheese shop!
Have a great trip!

Posted by
26 posts

I completely agree with Maggie.
In fact, a few hours walking around
may be all one needs to get a good
idea of what this city is about(the art/architecture/canals/intersting shops
and cafes...)

Posted by
505 posts

There's also a little branch of the Riiksmuseum right at the airport.

You should have time to go into Amsterdam, but make sure to leave plenty of time to get back through check-inn and security. How much time (if any) you'll to have to explore depends on whether you flight arrives on time, how long it takes to get through immigrations (you would only go through customs if you are flying different non-codeshare airlines and thus have to claim your luggage and recheck it with the new airline.

Schipol's also a spread out airport, so it can (but not always) a fair walk to a gate. And you may have to go through security and then a ticket check at the gate, so make sure to arrive at the gate when they indicate even if it's an hour ahead of the flight - it took that long to get us all through the security and ticket check last time I flew via Schipol.

Have fun!
Kate