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If you have a layover at Amsterdam Airport Schiphol (AMS) and are wondering if you can leave the airport to explore the city, you’re in the right place. With a quick train ride, it is possible to take a break from the airport during longer layovers in Amsterdam.

Here’s what you need to know about leaving the airport on a layover and seeing some of the sights in Amsterdam.

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer: With at least 3 hours between flights, you can take the train from Schiphol Airport to Amsterdam Centraal station in about 15 minutes. This allows you to leave the airport and explore Amsterdam during your layover.

Layover Time Needed

When planning to leave Amsterdam Airport during a layover, it’s important to consider the amount of time you have available. While it is possible to explore the city, it’s recommended to have at least 3-4 hours of layover time to ensure a stress-free experience.

At least 3-4 hours recommended

With a layover time of 3-4 hours, you can venture out of the airport and get a taste of Amsterdam’s vibrant culture.

This gives you enough time to visit popular attractions such as the Anne Frank House, the Van Gogh Museum, or take a leisurely stroll along the picturesque canals.

Keep in mind that the airport is located around 15 kilometers from the city center, so it’s essential to factor in travel time to and from the airport.

Additionally, it’s advisable to check the waiting times at airport security and immigration, as these can vary depending on the time of day and season.

How to get to/from airport and city

Getting to and from Amsterdam Airport during a layover is relatively easy. The airport offers several transportation options, including trains, buses, taxis, and even bicycles.

The most convenient and efficient way to reach the city center is by train. The train station is located directly underneath the airport, and there are frequent connections to Amsterdam Central Station.

The journey takes approximately 15-20 minutes, making it a quick and hassle-free option.

Alternatively, you can also take a taxi or use ride-sharing services like Uber. However, keep in mind that this option can be more expensive, especially during peak hours.

If you’re feeling adventurous and want to immerse yourself in the local culture, consider renting a bicycle. Amsterdam is known as a cycling paradise, and there are numerous bike rental shops near the airport.

This allows you to explore the city at your own pace and enjoy the scenic routes along the canals.

It’s worth noting that public transportation in Amsterdam is efficient and well-connected, so you can easily navigate the city using trams and buses.

Make sure to check the schedules and plan your journey accordingly to ensure you return to the airport in time for your connecting flight.

Getting Between the Airport and Amsterdam

If you have a layover at Amsterdam Airport, you might be wondering if you can leave the airport and explore the beautiful city.

The good news is that Amsterdam Airport, also known as Schiphol Airport, is conveniently located just 9 kilometers southwest of Amsterdam city center.

This makes it easy for travelers to venture out and explore the city during their layover.

Trains from Schiphol Airport

The most popular and convenient way to get from Schiphol Airport to Amsterdam city center is by train. The train station is located directly beneath the airport terminal, so you don’t even have to step outside.

Trains run frequently and are efficient, making it a quick and easy journey into the heart of Amsterdam.

Ticket costs and types

When it comes to purchasing a ticket for the train, there are a few options available.

The most common ticket type is a single journey ticket, which allows you to travel from Schiphol Airport to Amsterdam Centraal Station. The cost of a single journey ticket is around €5.00 for adults.

If you plan on using public transportation more extensively during your layover, you can also consider purchasing an Amsterdam Travel Ticket or an OV-chipkaart, which offers unlimited travel on public transport within a certain period.

Finding the train at the airport

Once you arrive at Schiphol Airport, finding the train station is a breeze. Just follow the signs for “Trains” or “NS” (Nederlandse Spoorwegen) and you’ll easily locate the train platforms.

The ticket machines are also conveniently located near the entrance to the train station, making it easy to purchase your ticket before boarding the train.

Arriving at Amsterdam Centraal Station

After a short train ride, you’ll arrive at Amsterdam Centraal Station, which is the main train station in the city. From here, you can easily explore Amsterdam’s famous attractions, such as the Anne Frank House, the Van Gogh Museum, and the historic canals.

The city center is within walking distance from the train station, but if you prefer, you can also take a tram or a bus to reach your desired destination.

It’s important to keep in mind that when leaving the airport during a layover, you should consider the time it takes to go through security and immigration upon your return. Make sure to allow ample time to make it back to the airport and go through all necessary procedures before your next flight.

Top Things To Do With a Short Layover

Walking canal tour

One of the best ways to experience the beauty of Amsterdam is by taking a walking canal tour. Amsterdam is known for its picturesque canals, and a leisurely stroll along the waterways will give you a glimpse into the city’s rich history and charming architecture.

You can explore the narrow streets, admire the traditional Dutch houses, and even stop by some of the local cafes to enjoy a cup of coffee or a delicious stroopwafel.


If you’re a fan of art and culture, a visit to the Rijksmuseum is a must. Located just a short distance from Amsterdam Airport, this world-renowned museum houses an impressive collection of Dutch masterpieces, including works by Rembrandt, Vermeer, and Van Gogh.

Spend a few hours exploring the museum’s galleries and be amazed by the artistic treasures on display.

Van Gogh Museum

For art enthusiasts, the Van Gogh Museum is another must-visit attraction in Amsterdam. This museum is dedicated to the life and works of the famous Dutch painter, Vincent van Gogh.

Here, you can admire some of his most iconic paintings, learn about his artistic journey, and gain a deeper understanding of his unique style and technique.

Albert Cuyp Market

If you’re looking to experience the vibrant local culture of Amsterdam, a visit to the Albert Cuyp Market is highly recommended.

This bustling street market offers a wide range of products, from fresh produce and flowers to clothing and souvenirs.

Take a stroll through the market, interact with the friendly vendors, and indulge in some delicious Dutch treats like stroopwafels or herring.

Canal boat tour

If you prefer a more relaxing way to explore the city, a canal boat tour is the perfect option. Hop on one of the many boat tours available and sit back as you cruise along the canals of Amsterdam.

You’ll have the opportunity to see the city from a different perspective, pass under charming bridges, and admire the beautiful waterfront buildings.

Don’t forget to capture some Instagram-worthy photos along the way!

Anne Frank House

A visit to the Anne Frank House is a powerful and moving experience that should not be missed. Located in the heart of Amsterdam, this museum is dedicated to the life and legacy of Anne Frank, a young Jewish girl who hid from the Nazis during World War II.

Explore the secret annex where Anne and her family lived in hiding, read her diary entries, and gain a deeper understanding of the impact of the Holocaust.

Amsterdam offers a wide range of activities and attractions that can be enjoyed even with a short layover.

Whether you choose to immerse yourself in art and culture, explore the vibrant markets, or simply take in the beauty of the city’s canals, there is something for everyone in the Dutch capital.

Getting Back to Schiphol Airport

When you have a layover at Amsterdam Airport Schiphol, you may wonder if you can leave the airport and explore the city.

While it is possible to leave the airport during a layover, there are a few things to consider before doing so.

Allow enough time for security screening

Before leaving the airport, make sure you have enough time to go through security screening again. This is important because you will need to go through the same process as if you were entering the airport for the first time.

The lines can sometimes be long, so it’s best to allow yourself ample time to get back to the airport and go through security without feeling rushed.

Taking the train back to the airport

One of the easiest and most convenient ways to get back to Schiphol Airport is by taking the train.

Amsterdam has an extensive and efficient train network, and there are direct train connections to the airport from various parts of the city.

Trains run frequently, so you won’t have to worry about missing your flight. Just make sure to check the train schedule and plan your journey accordingly.

Check-in requirements

Before leaving the airport, it’s important to check the check-in requirements for your specific airline and flight.

Some airlines may require you to check in a certain amount of time before your flight, so make sure you allow enough time to get back to the airport and complete the check-in process.

Additionally, be aware of any baggage requirements or restrictions that may apply.

Alternative Airport Hotels to Rest

During a layover at Amsterdam Airport, sometimes you just need a place to rest and recharge before continuing your journey.

Fortunately, there are several excellent airport hotels that provide comfortable accommodations and convenient access to the airport terminals. Here are some top options:

CitizenM Schiphol Airport Hotel

The CitizenM Schiphol Airport Hotel is a popular choice among travelers looking for a comfortable and modern stay. This hotel offers stylishly designed rooms equipped with high-tech amenities, such as mood lighting and tablet-controlled features.

With its convenient location just a short walk from the airport terminal, you can easily return to catch your next flight without any hassle.

Hilton Amsterdam Airport Schiphol Hotel

For those seeking a more luxurious experience, the Hilton Amsterdam Airport Schiphol Hotel is an excellent option.

This upscale hotel boasts spacious and elegantly furnished rooms, as well as a range of amenities including a fitness center, spa, and multiple dining options.

With its direct access to the airport terminal via a covered walkway, you can enjoy a convenient and comfortable stay.

Sheraton Amsterdam Airport Hotel

The Sheraton Amsterdam Airport Hotel is another great choice for travelers looking for a comfortable and convenient stay during their layover.

This hotel offers well-appointed rooms with modern amenities, including plush bedding and soundproof windows to ensure a peaceful night’s sleep.

Additionally, the hotel provides a fitness center, a spa, and multiple dining options to cater to your needs.

YotelAir Amsterdam Schiphol

YotelAir Amsterdam Schiphol is a unique hotel concept that offers compact and efficient rooms perfect for short stays. Each room is equipped with a comfortable bed, a private bathroom, and a workstation.

Whether you need a few hours of rest or an overnight stay, YotelAir provides a convenient and affordable option just moments away from the airport terminals.

These alternative airport hotels provide a range of options to suit different budgets and preferences. Whether you’re looking for a modern and tech-savvy experience or a luxurious and indulgent stay, Amsterdam Airport has you covered.

So, next time you have a layover in Amsterdam, consider checking into one of these fantastic airport hotels and make the most of your time between flights.


With some advance planning, it is possible to take a break from Amsterdam Airport and get a brief taste of the city during layovers of 3-4 hours or more. The quick train connection makes getting to and from the airport a breeze.

Focus on seeing one or two attractions or wandering the scenic canals to make the most of your limited time. Or if you don’t want to deal with making the trek into town, there are also nice airport hotels to relax and recharge.

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