What to do during an overnight layover in Amsterdam

Overnight layover Amsterdam

Are you arriving at Amsterdam Schiphol Airport late at night and having a layover? Yes it’s certainly worth going into town! This is the list of things to do in Amsterdam. First of all, you need at least a 4,5 hour layover between your flights. Of course this depends on whether you are taking a flight to another EU (Schengen Area) country or an intercontinental flight and whether you have checked-in and have your boarding passes already. Don’t worry you do not need cash euros for your overnight layover. Amsterdam is one of the most cashless cities in the world, you can pay train tickets by card. We have put together a 3,2km / 2 mile walking tour which will take about 1-2 hour.

View from the bike flat, in front of Amsterdam Central Station

Do you want to see three times more on your layover?

We are specialized in Layover tours. Together with a local you’ll experience Amsterdam to the fullest: boating, biking and on foot. Book today, also for layovers by night. We’ll make sure you’re at the airport in time.

1. Drop your bags at Schiphol Airport or Central Station – Layover by Night Amsterdam

You do not want to stroll around with your luggage, but taking a hotel just for your luggage is really wasting your money. Amsterdam Schiphol Airport has lockers in which you can store your luggage. So get to the lockers at the Airport which are located on the lower level between the arrival halls. Medium sized bag 24-hour storage will cost you EUR 8 and may be paid by card. We recommend using the luggage storage at Schiphol Airport and not the one from Central Station as the latter is closed from 1 AM to 5 AM, is further away and is the same price.

Locker Amsterdam Central Station Locker Amsterdam Central Station is closed from 1 AM to 5 AM, so you better use the lockers at Schiphol Airport

2. Take the train to Amsterdam Central Station from the Airport – overnight layover Amsterdam

The airport has a perfect train station which has a direct connection to the center of Amsterdam. Trains between Schiphol Airport and Amsterdam Central station run all night. Between 0.41am and 5.30am you will have a transition of trains at Amsterdam Bijlmer ArenA. Between these times there are fewer trains. Trains are scheduled for 2.15am, 3.15am and 4.15am. Train run frequently and directly (up to 10 times per hour) from 5.30am again. When having a transition it will take you 29 minutes to get to the center. When having a direct train it will take you 17 minutes to get there. Check the website of Dutch Railways to plan your journey. The journey will cost you EUR 4,2 one way. Kids till 12 years old cost EUR 2,5 for two ways. The train is faster and way cheaper than a taxi to the center (EUR 32).

Trains to the airport run all night – overnight layover Amsterdam

3. Get out of the train station and look at the train stations’ building – overnight layover Amsterdam

This is already worth your trip to the centre: the train stations’ building itself. The Amsterdam Central Station building is beautiful. Partly built on the Lake behind it in 1881 on 8067 wooden piles it is a true landmark for the city. On one side you will find the IJ Lake with its ferries going to Amsterdam North and on the other side you will find the centre of Amsterdam. Sint Nicolaas Church, view from Amsterdam Central Station

4. Walk over the Damrak towards Dam Square and the Royal Palace – overnight layover Amsterdam

Walk towards the Victoria Hotel (the white, super nice building on the corner) and go into that street. This street is called the Damrak and will lead you to Dam Square. But first, look around and see the Church of Saint Nicholas and the square before the central station. On the Damrak you will cross the Sex Museum and Body Worlds and then you’ll reach Dam Square. This square is the most important square of the Netherlands. On one side of the square you’ll see the Royal Palace and on the other a pillar. This pillar is the National Monument for all fallen Dutch soldiers. On the 4th of May the square is packed with people memorialize and at 20.00h the Dutch keep two minutes of silence together with the King and Queen.

Dam Square, Royal Palace Dam Square, Amsterdam by night

5. See the old Central Post Office (now shopping mall Magna Plaza) – layover by night Amsterdam

Behind the Royal Palace you will find shopping mall Magna Plaza. It’s a magnificent building which you have to see. From Dam Square, walk towards the Royal Palace and cross it on the right side (next to the Church on the square). When you have seen the building walk back to Dam Square towards the National Monument (the white pillar).

The Former Amsterdam Main Post Office

6. Visit the famous red light district – overnight layover Amsterdam

The red light district is much nicer to see by night then during the day because there’s more activity going on and the red lights can be seen. Although you may not find girls behind windows after 4am anymore. Walk from the National Monument on Dam Square towards Hotel Krasnapolsky. Go into the street on the right side of this hotel. There you’ll find Café Zwart, Cau and Dam Apotheek. This street is called the Dam street. Walk till the first canal and turn left (street name: Oudezijds Voorburgwal). You have reached the red light district now! Look around and think about the pros and cons of tolerating prostitution.

Red light district Amsterdam - overnight layover Amsterdam Red light district Amsterdam

7. Smallest Alley of Amsterdam – overnight layover Amsterdam

The smallest alley of Amsterdam is located on the Oudezijds Voorburgwal. Right before you get to the Old Church on your left. The alley is called the Trompetterstreeg. It’s easy to miss. It’s next to the Gottahaves from the Bulldog Coffeeshop on street number 88.

Coffeeshop next to smallest alley way - overnight layover Amsterdam Coffeeshop next to smallest alley waySmallest alley way - overnight layover Amsterdam

Smallest alley way

8. Old Church – overnight layover Amsterdam

This is the oldest church in Amsterdam. Built in 1213 the church made money from the sins happening around it and became bigger and bigger. And sins happened a lot around it. Needy sailors set off and came back at the red light district. Make sure to walk around the church and see the ‘different kind’ of prostitutes behind the church. When you are out of time you can continue on the street ‘Oudezijds Voorburgwal’ and then you’ll reach Central Station again. When you want to see more Amsterdam we can continue to a square called the New Market (Nieuwmarkt). Want to go to the toilet? Next to the Old Church is a public toilet (men only), in Dutch we call these toilets ‘green curls’. You will find out why.

View from bridge at the Old Church

9. See the Waag on New Market – overnight layover Amsterdam

From the Old Church take the bridge next to the public toilet (the green curl). And continue into the small alleyway, you’ll be walking next to Café Pleinzicht. You are still on the red light district and the girls are going to be close to you, so be prepared for this. When taking pictures the girls will throw water at you, so do not try this. Walk further until you can’t go further anymore, at this point you have reach China Town (street name: Zeedijk). On your left side you’ll find a Buddhist temple. We are going to turn right here. Now you’ll reach Nieuwmarkt and the beautiful building ‘De Waag’. This building was built as one of the cities gates, then used to as weigh house, and then as fencing hall, furniture workshop, oil lamps workshop, fire station and city archives. Nowadays this beautiful building is a restaurant.

De Waag, Nieuwmarkt - overnight layover Amsterdam De Waag, Nieuwmarkt

9. Damrak by night

From de Waag on Nieuwmarkt go into the street ‘Geldersekade’ which is on the right side of ‘Café de Zon’. Follow this street till the end and then you’ll see the beautiful building of Central Station again. On the way, don’t forget to stop at Damrak, the most beautiful and traditonal canal houses of Amsterdam!

Damrak, the beautiful traditional canal houses in Amsterdam

10. Back to the airport by train – overnight layover Amsterdam

Take the train to Amsterdam Schiphol Airport. Do not buy a supplement ticket; this is not needed for Amsterdam Central Station to Schiphol Airport.

Train back to Schiphol

11. Do You want to see as much as possible of Amsterdam?

Optimising your time in Amsterdam? Hesitation whether you can make it? Want to safe time buying tickets and looking for things? We can optimise your short trip here in Amsterdam. We have the train tickets ready, bikes on central station and if you like you can drop your bags. By doing this you can see up to twice as much from Amsterdam. You can book your overnight LocalLayover.com trip here. We are happy to guide you around, also during the night!

11 thoughts on “What to do during an overnight layover in Amsterdam

  1. Vertoe inc says:

    Whatever you do during an overnight layover in amsterdam first thing to consider is to drop off your bags first using luggage storage service to enjoy your trip without any worries .

    • hope says:

      Hi Hannah! Was there any replies re: female solo traveler doing overnight layover sightseeing in Amsterdam? Having one soon, as well. Let me know. Thanks!

      • Anonymous says:

        Totally safe, although comfortable surfaces are very few and far between. I cannot emphasize how worth it would be to purchase a night in one of the hotels inside the hotel. Also, the airport has rats. Lots of them. Not enough to make it not safe to sleep out and about, but enough that it was weird. Also, if you arrive late in the evening there are almost no food places open.

        • hope molina says:

          Thank you for your reply.

          I dont mean to be impertinent, but may I ask what you mean with “hotel inside one of the hotels.” Do you mean at the airport? There is a hotel in that airport? Or just a night in any hotel outside the airport? I have a 12-hour layover, and you just mentioned rats in the airport, so definitely wanting to maximize my time instead of dodging the rodents😝

          • Anonymous says:

            Well I probably should learn to read my comment before hitting “send”! I meant the hotels inside the airport. I landed at a terminal, and after walking to what would most easily be described as the “central hub” of the airport, there are several hotels after security inside the Amsterdam airport. I didn’t book one because I assumed I could do so later or I could just sleep on a bench. I deeply regret that, and I only had about ten hours of layover time. YotelAir has a property as well as Mercure Hotel I think. They are not super cheap, but if you’re on a sleeping layover, it may be worth it. Now, I hate mice, but I wasn’t afraid or thinking they were going to come near me, so I wouldn’t classify it as a safety issue. The time through security however, was the greatest concern for me, as I flew in during June/July when the security nightmare was in full swing.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Ok cool! Thanks so much! Very good info to know. This is very helpful and reassuring. Much appreciated! Happy future travels to you!

  3. Annie says:

    I arrive in Amsterdam at 10pm on a Sunday night and my flight leaves at 10am on Monday. i was hoping to go the Greenhouse effect for a cup of coffee I believe its in or close to Red Light district. The coffee shop closes at 1am. Is it safe for a solo female to walk around after midnight? Is there anything I can do on a Sunday night after 1am, safely? Thank you!

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