six hour layover amsterdam guide

On our way to Italy, we had a 6 hour layover in Amsterdam and after reading a series of reviews, realized that we could easily head into the city instead of camping out at the airport for all that time. We were there after all, so we might as well see it!

HOW TO GET OUT OF THE AIRPORT :: Thankfully, Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport has an incredible train service that goes straight from the airport to Centraal Station. The trip itself takes about 20min and takes you directly to the central part of the city. Head to the main ticket counter or they also have yellow ticket machines you can use to purchase your tickets. Train tickets cost around 6.50 roundtrip and the trains depart every five to ten minutes from the tracks downstairs. If you have any questions - the main ticket counter attendees can assist.

layover guide to amsterdam six hours tour 

WHAT TO DO WITH YOUR LUGGAGE ::  Our large luggage was checked through to Florence, so we didn’t have to worry about claiming it and re-checking it. We had some larger carry-on’s that I had no intention of hauling around with us through the city - especially when you want to be able to move as quickly as possible to see everything! The airport is equipped with multiple luggage locker stations and we were able to fit both of our larger carry-on items easily in a locker. I planned ahead of time and had my crossbody purse packed in my larger carry-on. It had my credit card, passport, chapstick, cash and sunglasses so I was ready to go. For the love, do not forget your passport!

OUR TRAVEL ITINERARY ::  We got off the train, walked across the canal and headed straight down Martelaarsgracht, which turns into Nieuwezijds, and stopped at Vinnie’s for coffee - it was 9am in the morning, although we felt like it was 1am! We continued on down the street, but after a few blocks, began to meander through the side streets, which was actually a bit magical as the city was just waking up and was pretty empty. We explored the cutest little streets until we arrived at the Royal Palace of Amsterdam.

amsterdam layover travel guide

At this point we had mentioned taking an Uber to the Van Gogh Museum, but instead, saw how much time we still had and knew the best way to see the city, and keep ourselves awake and energized, was by foot! Walking to the museum also enabled us to swing by the famous ‘I Am Amsterdam’ art installation (which moves locations periodically) and cross a good number of the iconic canals that the city is known for. I just couldn’t stop taking pictures on every street!

We walked until we hit the Van Gogh Museum and thankfully booked our tickets ahead of time. Little tip: you buy tickets based on a time - we picked 10am - but really got there at like 10:45am and had no issue cutting the huge line and going straight in. If you don’t buy tickets ahead of time online - the wait is like at least two hours. Yikes. This was a major win for our little sightseeing excursion.

six hour layover in amsterdam city guide
amsterdam layover travel guide 

I will admit that I’m not a major art history nerd and appreciate seeing iconic and beautiful pieces, but both Eric and I acknowledged that we didn’t need to stop and see every.single.picture in the museum. Our objectives were to 1) see the museum -it’s beautiful and 2) see some of the notorious pieces of art that were showcased there. In the end, we were in and out of that museum in under 30 min and felt damn good about it!

We exited, checked our time, and called an Uber. We still had about 30 minutes before we needed to board the train back to the airport, so we had the driver drop us off at a cute little bakery and cheese shop by one of the canals that was just a 5min walk back to Centraal Station. We sat down overlooking a canal and enjoyed some pastries and cheese, took in our final views of the city and then walked back over to the train station. Seriously, this was the best whirlwind six hours we could've planned! 

six hour layover amsterdam city guide flight outfit

OUTFIT DECISIONS :: Flying from Dallas (where we dropped of Parker with her grandparents) to Amsterdam was an overnight flight, so I had two objectives - be comfy and be ready for a day out exploring the city.

I opted for a comfy dress that acted like a nightgown and my black pashmina that served as my blanket. My chambray button down was tied around my waist to wear for warmth on the plane and I had my leather jacket rolled up in my carry-on bag to wear when we landed. Obvious travel show of choice were my Birks - which ended up being the best pre-trip purchase.