7 hours in Amsterdam

7-hour layover in Amsterdam – What to do?

Many travelers have a 7-hour layover in Amsterdam. Amsterdam Schiphol Airport is the third largest airport of Europe with around 70 million passengers per year. Many passengers are flying into the airport and catching a next flight a few hours later. When you have 7 hours on the Airport of Amsterdam you can see a great deal of the historic beautiful city of canals, bikes and tulips.

City trip within your flight home

We are here to optimize your time in Amsterdam. With us you can see up to 3 times more than on your own. We recommend having at least 4,5 hours between two flights when going into town.

7 hours in Amsterdam

Flying back to the United States

Let’s assume you are flying back from your holiday in Rome, Italy to Salt Lake City, USA. Landing in Amsterdam is at 9.00AM and your next flight is 7 hours later at 4.00PM from Schiphol Airport. Of course, you can spend those 7 hours on Amsterdam Schiphol Airport but it’s much more fun to discover the beauty of Amsterdam.

A minute-to-minute itinerary for a 7 hour layover in Amsterdam

Here a possible itinerary – minute by minute – of what you can do and see on a 7 hour layover in Amsterdam. It includes a lot of biking, boating and walking through the city.

9:00 AM Arrival Amsterdam Schiphol Airport from Rome – taxiing
9:25 AM Passport control
9:30 AM Meetup local guide at arrival hall 1, 2, 3 or 4
9:35 AM Store luggage between arrivals 1 and 2
9:40 AM Walking to the train
9:45 AM Train tickets are ready: Taking the train to Central Station
10:00 AM Arriving at Amsterdam Central Station
10:05 AM Bikes are ready: Take bike from the Bikeflat. Bike tour including Dam Square, New Church, National Monument, Royal Palace and Old Church
10:40 AM See the Red Light District and a Coffeeshop
11:00 AM Continue bike tour to China Town with Temple, De Waag, Nieuwmarkt, Jewish district with shadow wall, Skinny Bridge, Rembrandt Square, Thorbecke Square, Reguliersdwarsstraat, Gay street and the Anne Frank House
11:40 AM Boat is ready: Boat UNESCO listed canals, Prinsengracht, Reguliersgracht with its seven arched bridges, Amstel River, Groenburgwal, Oudezijds Voorburgwal, Geldersekade, Recht Boomsloot, Oudeschans, Singel and Brouwersgracht and have a local snack on boat
12:40 PM Walk or bike through UNESCO listed Jordan District
12:55 PM Bike to Multatuli Statue, see the Flowermarket and convent courtyard Begijnhof
1:25 PM Bike to Central Station and park bikes
1:45 PM Take the train back to Amsterdam Schiphol Airport
2:00 PM Arrival at Airport. 2.00h before flight
2:05 PM Pick up luggage from storage
2:10 PM Walk to departure hall 1, 2, 3 or 4
2:15 PM Go through security
3:30 PM Boarding aircraft
4:00 PM Flight to USA

7 hours in Amsterdam

No stress to catch next flight

Most important is of course to catch your next flight. We check your train & flight status and keep track of time while you enjoy Amsterdam. When an activity takes longer (or shorter) a next activity will be adjusted.
Turning your 7-hour layover in Amsterdam on Schiphol Airport into a city trip is certainly possible.

7 hour layover in Amsterdam: Optimize time

When having a 7-hour layover in Amsterdam send us a message to see what you can do. Our tours are private and customized to your wishes and flight schedule. Tours start when you arrive and end when you leave. Optimize your precious time in Amsterdam, book an Amsterdam Layover Tour here.

Top 10 most Beautiful Bridges Amsterdam

Beautiful bridge amsterdam – How to get the most beautiful pictures during a short time in Amsterdam

Amsterdam is one of the most postcard worthy places on planet earth. Are you visiting with friends or do you have a short layover in Amsterdam? Would you like to go home with the most beautiful pictures of the most beautiful places? Check out our list of most picturesque bridges. What is your most beautiful bridge Amsterdam?

Amsterdam the Venice of the North

Amsterdam is called Venice of the North because both cities are world famous for their canals and their number of bridges. Do you know that Venice has only 400 bridges and Amsterdam more than 1200? Plenty of choices to take beautiful pictures in the capital of the Netherlands. Here is a list of the most beautiful bridges in Amsterdam. And let’s start with the most famous one, the Skinny Bridge.

Magere Brug (Skinny Bridge) most beautiful Bridge Amsterdam

Exact location: crossing Amstel with Kerkstraat

Beautiful bridge Amsterdam

Skinny bridge by night

It’s one of the most beautiful draw-bridges of Amsterdam, it goes over the huge and famous Amstel River. At night lights on the bridge illuminate and give it a romantic feeling. Many lovers and photographers walk on that bridge at night, watching the boats navigating through the small openings of the bridge.

Leliegracht most beautiful Bridge Amsterdam

Exact location: crossing Prinsengracht with Leliegracht

Beautiful bridge Amsterdam

Leliesluis bridge right after sunset

When you’re at this bridge, you’ll have the Wester Church Tower of Amsterdam right behind you. The admired 85m/275ft high Protestant Wester Church Tower was build between 1619 and 1638. This is the highest and most famous church of Amsterdam. This church is also famous because of Anne Frank, she wrote numerous times about especially the bells in her diary. The tower could be seen from the place where she was hiding during the Second World War. The sound of the carillon was for her the sound of freedom and comfort.

Papiermolensluis bridge most beautiful Bridge Amsterdam

Exact location: crossing Korte Prinsengracht with Brouwersgracht

Beautiful bridge Amsterdam

Papiermolensluis bridge

When standing at this magical bridge you are right next to the beginning of the Prinsengracht and on the Brouwersgracht. Here you will discover one of the most well known and typical corners of the capital. Many drawings and paintings were made of this place, many to be found in Coffee house Papeneiland between Prinsengracht nr2 and the Brouwersgracht.

Staalmeesterbrug, the Bridge of Love, most beautiful Bridge Amsterdam

Exact location: crossing Groenburgwal with Staalstraat

Beautiful bridge Amsterdam

Staalmeesterbrug over the Groenburgwal

Also known as the ‘Bridge of Love’, this romantic bridge is famous for the wonderful view of the South Church that you may enjoy here when taking break during your journey. Watch out for bikes that cross the bridge, they don’t want to be late at work. A while ago you could also see many padlocks on the chains of the single draw-bridge but nowadays, the city is removing them every other day.

Sint Antoniesluis bridge, most beautiful Bridge Amsterdam

Exact location: crossing Sint Antoniesluis with Jodenbreestraat

Beautiful bridge Amsterdam

Sint Antoniesluis bridge

You can take such an impressive picture on this bridge, in front of historical Café de Sluyswacht. It has been one of the most beautiful places on the Jodenbreestraat for years. The black house is tilting a lot which will make your picture even better! Don’t forget to have a look at Rembrandt House, just at the opposite side of the street, built in 1606.

Prinseneiland Bridge, most beautiful Bridge Amsterdam

Exact location: Realengracht crossing with Zandhoek

Beautiful bridge Amsterdam

View from the bridge at Prinseneiland


This place is one of the quiet and hidden gems of Amsterdam. A secret area with beautiful canals and a small harbor located behind Central Station. During the summer, people are swimming here and jumping in the water from the beautiful draw-bridges.

Reguliersgracht, the seven arched-bridges most beautiful Bridge Amsterdam

Exact location: crossing Prinsengracht with Reguliersgracht

Beautiful bridge Amsterdam

Reguliersgracht with its 7 arched bridges

From this bridge, you can see the seven lighted arched-bridges that cross this quiet and small canal. It looks like the place was made for taking perfect pictures at any time of the day.

Spiegelgracht, most beautiful Bridge Amsterdam

Exact location: crossing Prinsengracht with Spiegelgracht

Beautiful bridge Amsterdam

Spiegelgracht, amazing lights during Christmas time

The tiny Spiegelgracht is one of our favorites because of the beautiful view on the famous Rijksmuseum. At night, you can see the reflection of the light. You are going to love it! The shops on both sides of the streets are part of the unofficial antique district of Amsterdam.

Bushuissluis bridge, most beautiful Bridge Amsterdam

Exact location: crossing Kloveniersburgwal with Bushuissluis

Beautiful bridge Amsterdam

Bushuissluis bridge with a view on New Market

From this bridge, you’ll have an interesting view on the Waag. This monument on the Nieuwmarkt looks like a castle but in fact it was the main entrance to the city center when the old city wall was still there.

Armbrug, Red Light District, most beautiful Bridge Amsterdam

Exact location: crossing Oudezijds Voorburgwal with Armbrug

Beautiful bridge Amsterdam

View from the Armbrug, Red light District

The ‘wallen’ (the Dutch name for the Red Light District) is the oldest part of Amsterdam. From the Armbrug you can have a picture-perfect view over the old houses which are build just next to the water!

Map of the most beautiful bridges in Amsterdam


Take your beautiful pictures during your amsterdam layover with localLayover.com

Do you want to see even more? Do you have a layover in Amsterdam and do you want to optimize your time? We have the train tickets ready, bikes at Central Station and a boat waiting for you. By doing this you can see up to three times as much of Amsterdam. You can book your LocalLayover.com experience here. We’ll be delighted to guide you around. This tour is unique, private and customized to you. The tour starts when you arrive and ends when you leave. See you soon!

Beautiful bridge Amsterdam

Skinny bridge is best seen from the water, here at Amstel River

Top 5 hidden Secrets of Amsterdam

Every city has their own secrets. Amsterdam has a lot of secret alleys, houses and churches, all with their own stories. Did you find the hidden secrets of Amsterdam? Boat, walk, bike around with Locallayover.com and discover the secrets of Amsterdam.

Victoria Hotel – secret of Amsterdam

One of the oldest hotels in the Netherlands is the Park Plaza Victoria Amsterdam. It was built in 1890 and it’s the first Hotel with electricity and double glass windows in every room. For the original construction of the hotel they had to buy a lot of houses from the original inhabitants. Almost everyone accepted the money, with the exception of two houses. They wouldn’t leave their homes, even when a higher bid was made. So until today these houses aren’t part of the hotel. The hotel is built around those small houses and still aren’t property of the hotel. This is one of the secrets of Amsterdam.

Victoria Hotel, in front of Central Station

Villa Betty – secret of Amsterdam

On the Dutch national list of monuments you’ll find Villa Betty, the biggest and most expensive house in Amsterdam. The mansion is located next to the Vondelpark, yet you can nearly see it because it’s hidden behind a small fence with a large driveway. This secret of Amsterdam is named after Clara Betty von Hunteln, also known as the queen of the Overtoom. Her husband Eduard Lehman was a wealthy man. He bought the house when he was 21 years old. After Betty died, the villa was sold for 2.3 million to Nicolaas Sandmann. A few years ago, a Dutch celebrity made an offer of 34 million, which was declined. Would you buy this villa for more than 34 million euros?

Villa Betty, hidden behind the trees

Driveway to Villa Betty

Pieter Janszoon Suyckerhoff – secret of Amsterdam

Amsterdam has many (hidden) courtyards, another secret of Amsterdam. In the Pieter Janszoon Suyckerhoff the group of inhabitants is very unique. Only Protestant elderly women and widows used to live here. The courtyard was founded in 1667. It’s located behind a long hallway and build in an L-shape. You can count 19 homes just for woman. Would you live here? The residents will decide whether you fit in.

Front door of the Pieter Jansz Suyckerhoff

Inside the Courtyard Pieter Jansz Suyckerhoff

De Begijnhof – secret of Amsterdam

It’s always noisy in the city center of Amsterdam, especially at the main shopping street ‘de Kalverstraat’. Except at this unique spot where you can hear the birds sing and your heart beat. The Begijnhof is a courtyard of silence, a real secret of Amsterdam. Number 34 at the courtyard is one of the oldest houses of Amsterdam. The inhabitants are called ‘Begijntjes’. One of the most famous inhabitants was Cornelia Arens, she passed away in 1654.  She didn’t want to be buried in the church but in the gutter. But they buried her in the church instead of the gutter. The next morning the coffin was gone, they found it in the gutter. This happened twice. According the Begijntjes, her soul couldn’t find peach and she wandered over the courtyard. So after this they buried her in the gutter.

Begijnhof courtyard

Church at the Begijnhof

For more mysteries of Amsterdam, book your unique experience at Locallayover.com/book.

Our lord in the Attic – secret of Amsterdam

Behind a normal house lies this Catholic Church of the 17th-century, The Ons’ Lieve Heer op Solder . In 1578 practicing any other religion than Protestantism in public wasn’t allowed anymore, so if you were Catholic you weren’t allowed to worship in public in Amsterdam anymore. Catholics could no longer go to official churches. The solution was simple, a church hidden in a canal mansion. What does freedom mean if you can’t openly express yourself?

Hidden Church Museum ‘Our Lord in the Attic’

Experience the real Amsterdam

Do you want to experience Amsterdam and see things that normal travellers do not see? Book a tour with us and discover this amazingly beautiful city on foot, by bike or from the water. See the world through the eyes of a local.

Kingsday on a boat

King’s Day in Amsterdam

When does it take place?

Since 2013, King’s Day (previously known as Queen’s Day) is celebrated every year in the Netherlands on the 27th of April. Officially, this is the national celebration of the birthday of King Willem-Alexander but in reality, it is a very good reason to party all day long.

People in Orange on boats during Kingsday

Where in the Netherlands should I go to enjoy the festivities?

The King’s birthday is celebrated throughout the country, Amsterdam is one of the most popular cities to celebrate it! An average of 750.000 visitors are coming to Amsterdam and join the 800.000 locals. These 1.5 million people together on Kingsday is one of the largest street parties in the world!

People on orange boat during Kingsday

Why is everybody wearing orange outfits?

Several hundred years ago, the Dutch Royal family was part of the House of Orange. From that time on wards, orange is the traditional color of the Netherlands. The Dutch football team is called «Oranje» and the players are always wearing orange too. So, don’t forget to get an orange outfit or souvenirs before going to King’s Day, it will elevate your party mood even further!

Prinsengracht Orange boat during Kingsday Amsterdam

When does it start?

King’s Day on the 27th of April is the main event, but the party already starts on King’s Night, which is the night right before King’s Day (the 26th of April). Live performances, open-air bars and DJ’s are filling the streets everywhere in the centre of Amsterdam. The party during King’s Night seems to get bigger and bigger every year. The Jordan District and Nieuwmarkt area are for sure the most popular places to go to, you’ll find a lot of street parties going on there.

Westertower during Kingsday

Try not to drink too much (ha-ha) cause the free flea markets start the next day at around 9 am.

Free Flea markets

Loads of locals and especially children sells their bric-a-brac, used clothes or last year’s King’s Day purchases on the only day on which it’s allowed to sell stuff on the street . King’s Day seems to be the best day to find good bargains of cloths, furniture and boardgames. The flea markets can be found even in the narrow streets of Amsterdam, which is very cozy!

Little kids selling their stuff on Kingsday in Amsterdam

King’s day is also ideal to discover local (orange) food like home made Tompouce pastries, fresh orange juices or some mysterious orange cocktails.

Flea Market on Kingsday in Amsterdam

Having fun on the streets

Wandering around during King’s Day will make you discover many different bands, aspiring opera singers, teenage rappers and street discos. When losing your friends, do not worry, everybody is very friendly and social that you’ll meet plenty of new friends during this day.

Flea Market Amsterdam during Kingsday

festivals in Amsterdam

If you are a festival fan, you have reached the place to be. The Dutch love dancing even early in the morning during King’s Day. It’s gonna be hard to chose between the many large-scale DJ and artist-driven events. For techno/deep house lovers, you can purchase your ticket for either Loveland or the Oranjebloesem festival. Something a bit different is the urban Music Festival for anyone who is into urban music. Kingsland festival is for the people who like more hardstyle music.

Street party Jordan District Kingsday

King’s day on a boat

Cruising the canals is the best way to enjoy the Kingsday celebrations. Thousands of boats filled with 40 or sometimes 50 people are trying to find their way through the city canals. Around 2 pm, it starts to be really crowded on the canals, people are joining their friends on the canals by jumping from boat to boat. Boats turn into crashing cars, it’s nearly impossible not to hit other boats. On every boat you’ve got another kind of music which creates a different atmosphere.

Prinsengracht Kingsday

No public transportation

Forget about trams, busses and taxis. Even biking is mostly impossible in the centre, it’s way too crowed for normal means of transportation in the city centre.

Rozengracht during Kingsday

Do you want to discover Amsterdam through the eyes of a local?

Amsterdam is a small, beautiful and open-minded city and can be discovered within a few hours. Do you want to go boating, biking, walking and get to know the insights of the real life in the capital of the Netherlands? Book a LocalLayover.com tour today and see up to three times more than exploring Amsterdam by yourself.

What to do on your layover trip in Amsterdam during spring time

Amsterdam is a magical city with its canals, historic buildings and numerous cyclists. Winter time is over, the streets are being filled with greenery and the tulips are blooming. People are filling terraces to catch warm sun rays and you’ll see the first people with sunglasses on. In this blog we wrote down some of the things you can do during your layover or the few hours you’ll have here in Amsterdam.

Kingsday: Everybody wearing orange

This is thé day of the year in the Netherlands. Street parties, boat parties, flea markets everywhere, games on the street, food stalls, and everybody wearing Orange. It’s the day the Dutch celebrate the birthday of the King and because the family name of the king is ‘from Orange Nassau’ everybody is wearing orange. This amazing party day is celebrated on the 27th of April.

Kingsday - spring time layover in Amsterdam

Children selling stuff during Kingsday

Keukenhof: Walk through Blooming tulip fields

Walk through 7 million colorful tulips, crocuses, daffodils and hyacinths. Discover the flower shows, surprising inspirational gardens, unique art and tulip mania exhibition. When walking through the tulip fields you will get to see a variety of 800 different tulips. A unique experience, not to miss when you’re in Amsterdam. Keukenhof will be open from 22 March – 13 May 2018.

Keukenhof - spring time layover in Amsterdam

Ju and PJ at the Keukenhof

Vondelpark: Relax in the Central Park of Amsterdam

As soon as the first sunrays hit the Netherlands everybody goes outside. In Amsterdam the place to be is then the Vondelpark. Having a drink on the grass or running through the park. Another option in the vondelpark is to visit one of the Free Concerts at the Vondelpark Open Air Theather. The first concert is planned on the 5th of May. Check their schedule here.

Vondelpark - spring time layover in Amsterdam

People chilling in the Vondelpark on a sunny day

Amsterdam Beach: Go for a windy walk

Amsterdam Beach, Zandvoort aan Zee is only a 30 minute train ride from Amsterdam Central Station. The train station at the beach is a 3 minute walk from the beach and from there you’ll have direct access to the North Sea. Zandvoort aan Zee is one of the most famous beaches in the Netherlands and together with the sea and dunes it forms a wonderful nature reserve. Amsterdam beach has wide, sandy beaches and many great beach bars for food and drinks from which you may overlook the sea.

Amsterdam Beach - spring time layover in Amsterdam

Go boating: See Amsterdam from a different perspective

Amsterdam is beautiful on foot, by bike, but certainly from the water by boat. Many people in Amsterdam own boats and there are many houseboats. Make sure to not miss out on a beautiful canal cruise, preferably on a local boat so you’ll get to see the narrow canals.

Boating - spring time layover in Amsterdam

Visit local brewery: Have a delicious beer on a terrace

The Dutch are not the Belgians, but they can brew beer. That is confirmed by the numerous breweries there are in Amsterdam.

Brown cafe - spring time layover in Amsterdam

Liberation day: Festivals all over the city

The Dutch were set free by the allied forces during world war two on the 5th of May 1945. The surrender of German forces in the Netherlands was negotiated on the eve of May 5, 1945 (three days before the general capitulation of Germany), in Wageningen.

Liberation day - spring time layover in Amsterdam

Festival and event season

Amsterdam hosts around 300 festivals each year. The event agenda spans all tastes and genres. The range of festivals is broad and diverse, attracting both Dutch and internationals. The festival season has started from now. We recommend going to Rolling Kitchens, it hosts dozens of food-mobiles and free concerts. It is hosted in the Westerpark from Wednesday 9th of May till Sunday 13th of May.

Festival season - spring time layover in Amsterdam

Ice skate on the frozen canals in Amsterdam

6th of March, 2018 by Juliette

Last weekend in Amsterdam was amazing! From Friday 2nd of March to the 4th of March we could ice skate on the frozen canals of the Dutch capital. What an incredible and historical day!

1. HOW is it possible that the canals in Amsterdam freeze?

An icy continental weather from the far Siberia has brought temperatures to Europe as low as -28 degrees Celsius. In Sofia, the capital of Bulgaria, they never experienced such a cold weather since 50 years. As populary know as « the Beast from the East », the winds from Siberia reached Amsterdam too. During 5 nights in a row, the temperatures during the night were below -10 degrees Celsius. I would imagine people starting to be depressed and staying at home in Amsterdam. But everybody was actually super happy about this big news cause the Dutch hoped that they could ice skate on the canals.

Amsterdam under a blanket of snow, the week before we could ice skate

The municipality of Amsterdam hoped that too. Waternet chose to help the ice grow thicker to by closing the sluices in the city center and on some canals a boating-ban was employed. This made the ice thick enough for people to enjoy it.

The ice growing at Prinsengracht

2. WHEN WAS THE LAST TIME you could ice skate IN AMSTERDAM?

The last time people could ice skate on the canals was 6 years ago. During the winter of 2012 the ice on the Keizersgracht got thicker than 15cm. In that historical year, the city organised a Keizersrace, just for fun! The winner of this race is called the « Keizer of Amsterdam » which means the emperor.

Friday morning, first people ice skating on the Prinsengracht

So, for many of the young inhabitants of Amsterdam, it was the first time they could see their city with frozen canals and experience ice skating. Because it happened on a Friday and a Saturday, many tourists who were here for a city trip could also enjoyed this amazing time.


Some parts of the Keizersgracht and the Prinsengracht canals froze hard enough to support the weight of the ice skaters. On Saturday, the Egelantiersgracht and several smaller canals were also frozen so many people came to the Jordan District.

Sun set on one of the Jordan District canals


Dozens of sightseers, locals and ice skaters came to Amsterdam this weekend for having fun on the ice!
Many tourists were on the bridges to take pictures but of course, everybody wanted to go on the ice. What a different feeling to walk on what is normally flowing water! Amsterdam looked like a completly different city. People were walking on the street with their ice skate!

People walking on the streets with their ice skates on

With or without ice skates, people were recording videos, sending pictures to all their friends and asking to join them on the ice. Everybody looked so happy and amazed by the situation! The small brown cafes opened their terrasses for the locals who were braving the cold.

A cafe on the side of the Prinsengracht canal

5. WAS IT ALLOWed FOR CHILDREN to get on the ice in amsterdam?

Yes! Many children were on the ice with their parents. This little girl was there to learn how to ice skate with her Dad and we have seen many cars full of little ones parked around the canals.

It’s time to learn how to ice skate!

It was THE activity to do on a Saturday. Moreover, this happened during the Dutch school holidays, such lucky children! They were not at school on Friday but on the ice all day long!

Let’s get on the ice friends

6. WAS IT DANGEROUS for people to go on the ice in amsterdam?

It was pretty safe on Friday and Saturday. The ice quality was good enough to stand on and at some places the ice got to 10 centimeters. But on Sunday, the ice started to melt cause the temperature reached again 1 degree above zero, so some people fell into the broken ice. But, enough people were there to rescue them in time. No worries.

Ice skating on the Prinsengracht

7. So many fun things to do on the ice!

Small shops popped up on the ice to warm up the crazy ice skaters and offered them a local soup or a hot chocolate.

Hot chocolate milk on the ice for 2 euros!

I have seen an entire family playing hockey on Saturday morning with their children. They looked to have so much fun!

Family playing ice hockey

Some people were with their dog to go for a walk on the ice, others went to do grocery shopping on their ice skates. They were carring their big plastic bags from local grocery stores Albert Hein.
Someone even tried to cycle on the canals, you know the Dutch are kind of addicted to their bike. It looked pretty hard tough, but I could take a good picture!

Crazy guy trying to cycle on the frozen canals


Yes. On the Herengracht, Waternet decided to break the ice so tourists could still go boating around the city. But as I could see, boats were pretty empty because everybody was on the ice, of course!

A canal cruises going through ice floes

9. WINTER of 2018-2019

Are you going to plan to go to Amsterdam during the winter of 2019? I hope you have got your ice skates ready for the next time when the canals freeze!

He looks to have so much fun!


When you are having a layover of 4,5 hours in Amsterdam it’s already possible to see a big deal of Amsterdam. Make sure to optimise your time and book a LocalLayover.com tour. Together we will walk, cycle, boat around the beautiful historic city, and of course we’ll show you more hidden gems. Watch our impression video below for more information, or book here.

Top 10 must see during stopover in Amsterdam

Amsterdam has a big name, in reality it is a small city. Seeing a great deal in a few hours of the historical city is certainly possible. We have created a must see in Amsterdam when having a layover, stopover or transfer on Amsterdam Schiphol Airport, the Passenger Terminal or just having a few hours in Amsterdam. Must see in Amsterdam:

1. Bikes bikes bikes bikes

Get out of the airport, take the train to Central Station and look for yourself: there are bikes everywhere. The Dutch are number one cyclist in the world. Amsterdam has a population of 850.000 while the official estimation of the municipality about the number of bikes in the city is: 1.000.000, meaning the average person has more than one bike. Crazy!

Bikes at Amsterdam Central Station

Bikes at Amsterdam Central Station

2. Coffeeshop

Holland is a liberal country. Gay marriage, euthanasia, prostitution, abortion and soft drugs are legalised/tolerated. Once you get to Amsterdam make sure to visit one of the 190 coffeeshops. The Warmoesstraat, close to Central Station is the street with most coffeeshops. Did you know that almost 1 in 3 coffeeshops in the country are located in Amsterdam and that around 1 in 19 people are living in the capital? More coffeeshops than McDonald’s!

Coffeeshop 'De Dampkring'

Coffeeshop ‘De Dampkring’

3. Red Light District

Prostitution is legal in the Netherlands. Window prostitution is distinct in the city of Amsterdam. The area, in Dutch called ‘De Wallen’ because of its narrow canals used to be an area in which many sailors would set off. Being a main harbour city, Amsterdam has a long tradition of prostitution. Local authorities treat prostitutes as independent entrepreneurs. The prostitutes have to submit for income tax and pay 6% VAT. Being a sex worker is an official job!

Don't try taking photos of the ladies themselves

Red light district. Don’t try taking photos of the ladies themselves

4. Dam Square

This is the heart of Amsterdam and probably whole Holland. It is the square where people gather after an event. It’s the square with the Royal Palace, which is used for special events by the King. It’s the beginning of the most famous shopping street: Kalverstraat. On the 4th of May, Dam Square is the place where people gather to remember the fallen soldiers of the Second World War and this is the place where the Dutch keep two minutes of silence to remember them.

Dam Square, the heart of the Netherlands

Dam Square, the heart of Holland

5. Canal belt

Amsterdam is built on water. Canals were used for water management, trade waterways and to defend the city. In the 17th century Amsterdam was a crucial centre for international commercial trade and intellectual exchange, for the formation and the dissemination of humanist thought; it was the capital of the world-economy in its day. In this so called ‘Golden Age’ the famous Herengracht, Keizersgracht and Prinsengracht were dug which are nowadays UNESCO Heritage. Check out the video of the City Archive Museum about the expansion of Amsterdam in the seventeenth century.

View on the canal houses

View on the canal houses

6. Anne Frank House

During the Nazi German invasion during World War II, Anne Frank hid from persecution with her family and four other people in hidden rooms at the rear of the 17th-century canal house on Prinsengracht 263, known now as the Secret Annex. Anne Frank did not survive the war, but in 1947 her wartime diary was published. The diary is the story of many Jewish families during World War II.

Anne Frank House

Anne Frank House, Prinsengracht 263

7. Begijnhof

Amsterdam had numerous monasteries which usually had small inner courtyards. Many of them have been turned into residential places. The Begijnhof was originally built as a sanctuary for the Begijnen, a Catholic sisterhood who lived like nuns, although they took no monastic vows. The courtyard is in the middle of the busiest streets of Amsterdam, still you can still find peace on the courtyard. The beautiful authentic houses at the place overlook its well-kept green garden and Amsterdam’s oldest surviving house ‘The Wooden House’ dating from 1420 is on the Begijnhof.

Courtyard Begijnhof

Courtyard Begijnhof

8. Jordan District

UNESCO Heritage since 2010 this neighbourhood was built in the ‘Golden Age’ in the 17th and 18th century. The Jordan District is known for its beautiful houses, many restaurants and speciality shops. It is a must to stroll through the little streets and see the narrow canals. On the many bridges over the canals, you can take beautiful pictures and see why Amsterdam is called the Venice of the North.

Jordan District, UNESCO Heritage

Jordan District, UNESCO Heritage

9. Brown café

Amsterdam has a great variety of nightlife, including pubs, bars, clubs and cafés. To lots of locals the best place to go to are the brown café. The brown café, is renowned for its dark wood and smoke-stained walls. The atmosphere is ‘gezellig’ and people feel like it’s their second home. The brown café is part of Dutch culture. Most brown cafes serve beer, wine, jenever and soda’s.

Authentic brown cafe

Authentic brown cafe

10. Museumsquare and IAmsterdam Sign

Van Gogh Museum, Rijks Museum, Stedelijk Museum and the Concert Hall are all to be found on Museum Square. The IAmsterdam Sign can be found in front of the Rijksmuseum, which gives nice pictures. The square is also used for big events like festivals, celebrations or demonstrations.

Museum Square and IAmsterdam Sign

Museum Square and IAmsterdam Sign

Top 5 best viewpoints in Amsterdam

Amsterdam is a city without skyscrapers; instead it is a city with historic buildings. The highest building in the capital of the Netherlands, the Rembrandt tower, is only 36 floors. Most buildings in the city centre are about 4 to 5 stories high, which means stunning views when being on a 6th floor of a building. So, what are the best places to enjoy the view? This is our top 5 viewpoints of Amsterdam.

1. FREE: Nemo Science Museum and Public Library Amsterdam (OBA)

The only two free viewpoints in our top 5. The NEMO roof terrace is the perfect place to relax for a moment after a long day. On the roof you will find the open-air exhibition Energetica, a large terrace and a restaurant, all with beautiful views of the city of Amsterdam. Architect Renzo Piano designed NEMO with an aim to create a real piazza (city square). He kept interaction in mind as an important element of the piazza, with interplay between the visitors and the elements. You can find out about the sun, wind and sustainable energy, through the interactive sculptures of the Energetica open-air exhibition. Visitors can enjoy the unique views indoors or outdoors all year round, while relaxing with a delicious lunch or a good cup of coffee. Check their website for opening times, during summer time the roof terrace stays open till later.

Amsterdam’s historic harbour front

Amsterdam’s historic harbour front view @ Nemo

NEMO is next to the Public Library Amsterdam (OBA) from which you will have almost the same view from the 7th floor at the La Place restaurant balcony. Since November 2017 the balcony is closed. The reason of this is unclear, but we expect they will open it again soon. The Central Library is open from 10:00am to 10:00pm. It is closed on New Year’s Day, Easter Sunday, Kingsday, Pentecost and Christmas Day.

2. Blue Amsterdam

If you want to have a great panoramic city view in the city centre of Amsterdam, Blue Amsterdam is the place to go. This place separates itself from the rest because it’s in the middle of everything right in the centre. The cafe & bar is at the top of a shopping complex in the most famous shopping sheet of the Netherlands: de Kalverstraat. They serve delicious cheesecake with red fruit compote from a local bakery, but to go real Dutch you should try out their traditional Dutch apple pie. Opening times 10.00am-6.30pm. Thursdays till 9.00pm.

Stunning view over the city centre from Blue

Stunning view over the city centre @ Blue Amsterdam


The A’DAM LOOKOUT is by far the highest lookout point on our list. Take the free ferry to go to Amsterdam North, enjoy the ride, and see Europe’s highest swing. Go to floor 20 or 21 and overlook the Amsterdamse IJ with ferries and vessels passing by. The swing ‘Over the Edge’ is available for the daredevils and thrillseekers, which will give you the feeling of literally flying over Amsterdam. Entrance ticket for adults is EUR 12,5 and the swing is EUR 5. Opening times are from 10.30am to 9.00pm.

Highest lookout point in Amsterdam

Highest lookout point in Amsterdam @ A’DAM LOOKOUT

4. Canvas

This is certainly the best viewpoint in Amsterdam East. Go to Canvas for a romantic dinner, a first date or just a cup of coffee. The place is known for their affordable and delicious cocktails, but mostly because of the stunning view of Amsterdam which, can be enjoyed from the in- or outside. Canvas regularly hosts club nights with an eclectic range of music. On Sundays from 12.00 – 6.00pm you may enjoy their hidden rooftop oasis. The ‘Badplaats’ has hot tubs, a little sauna and plenty of room to sit back and relax. Opening times of the Canvas bar are 7.00am to 1.00am, and on Friday and Saturday 7.00am to 4.00am.

Best view point in Amsterdam East @ Canvas

Best view point in Amsterdam East @ Canvas

5. SkyLounge Amsterdam

Last but certainly not least in our top 5 is the SkyLounge Amsterdam. This rooftop lounge bar offers you a panoramic view and is within walking distance of Amsterdam Central Station. SkyLounge Amsterdam is located on the 11th floor in the DoubleTree by Hilton Amsterdam Centraal Station. Walk in and take in the panoramic views over the Amsterdamse IJ on the north side and the city centre on the south side from either indoors or outdoors. It’s a dazzling view with a spectacular overview of the historic city. They serve beer, wine and other drinks, although we recommend having one of their cocktails, so tasteful. The SkyLounge Amsterdam is open from 11.00am to 1.00am on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday, 11.00am to 2.00am on Wednesday and Thursday and 11.00am to 3.00am on Friday and Saturday.

Amazing view over Amsterdam @ SkyLounge

Amazing view over Amsterdam @ SkyLounge

Hidden gem tip: H&M on Dam Square

To all travelers interested in hidden gems we have one give-away. When on Dam Square get up to the 5th floor of the H&M, on the right hand side of the New Church. Make sure to be on the upper floor (it’s not too obvious) and enjoy the view over Dam Square, the heart of the Netherlands. Magna Plaza (former Amsterdam Main Post Office), the New Church and Madame Tussauds can be seen well. Enjoy!

View from H&M on the New Church and Amsterdam's former Main Post Office

View on the New Church and Amsterdam’s former Main Post Office @ H&M

Layover, stopover, transfer, few hours in Amsterdam or on Amsterdam Schiphol Airport?

When you are having a layover of 4,5 hours in Amsterdam it’s already possible to see a big deal of Amsterdam. Make sure to optimise your time and book a LocalLayover.com tour. Together we will walk, cycle, boat around the beautiful historic city, and of course we’ll show you more hidden gems. Watch our impression video below for more information, or book here.

What to do in Amsterdam during your winter layover

When having only a few hours in Amsterdam you might want to optimise your precious time in this beautiful and exciting city. We have selected a few things you should definitely not miss out. Visit the city of Van Gogh & Rembrandt, the city of the historic canals, the city of tolerance. Visit Amsterdam during your layover, conference, cancelled or delayed flight. What to do in Amsterdam during winter time.

Bike on the Skinny Bridge during a snow storm

Top 10 winter things to do in Amsterdam

1. Christmas markets in Amsterdam

Winter has started with a thick layer of snow covering the Netherlands. This means it’s time for the Christmas market season. There are several Christmas Markets in Amsterdam starting from the 18th of November till the 4th of February.

Go for the ultimate Christmas atmosphere to the Museumplein where you can go ice skating, get hot chocolate, get that one-of-a-kind gift and walk through twinkling lights. Of course, combine visiting the Christmas market on Museum square with a picture of the IAmsterdam Sign and maybe even visit the Rijksmuseum to see the most famous painting of the Netherlands: The Night Watch from Rembrandt.

Christmas market in Amsterdam

Christmas market in Amsterdam

2. Eat an ‘Oliebol’

An oliebol is a variety of dumpling. A fist-size amount of dough is scooped and is deeply fried. An oliebollen is traditionally eaten during the time of New Year’s Eve. On all Christmas markets you will find yourself a mobile stalls selling the Oliebollen delights.

Oliebollen stall Amsterdam

Oliebollen stall Amsterdam

3. Amsterdam Light Festival

The Amsterdam Light Festival is a winter festival of light, art and water in the historical centre. It runs from the 30th of November 2017 until the 21st of January 2018. This year (2017-2018) 900 submissions were made by designers, architects and artists from 45 different countries. 35 artworks  were chosen and now make up the festival’s installations. One of the art works is ‘thinline’ by world famous Chinese artists and activist Ai Weiwei.

There are two ways to discover the Amsterdam Light Festival: by foot (or bike) on land or by boat on the water. Of course, going by boat is the true Amsterdam Experience.

Water exposition
30 november 2017 – 21 January 2018
Times: daily, from 5 pm to 11 pm (New Year’s Eve from 5-8 pm)
Location: along the canals of Amsterdam

Land exposition
14 December 2017 – 7 January 2018
Times: daily, from 5 pm to 10 pm  (New Year’s Eve from 5-8 pm)
Location: Marineterrein Amsterdam, near Amsterdam Central Station

Amsterdam Light Festival 2017-2018

4. Ice skating

The best ice skating rink can be found in Watergraafsmeer, a neighbourhood in the east of Amsterdam. The rink is named after the famous Dutch ice skater Jaap Eden. The rink contains a 400-metre lane and is open till the 25th of March 2018.

For a romantic ice skating experience you can visit the ice rink at the Museum square, just in front of the IAmsterdam Sign. You’ll be surrounded with christmas stalls and twinkling lights. The Ice Rink is open till the 4th of February.

Ice skating on Museumsquare in Amsterdam during winter time

Ice skating on Museumsquare in Amsterdam during winter time

5. celebrate New Year’s Eve in Amsterdam

New Year’s Eve is the best in the Netherlands when you like fireworks. Streetparties can be found everywhere and are concentrated at Nieuwmarkt, Leidseplein and Rembrandtplein. Most parties start around 21.30h and will continue till the early morning.

Fireworks can be seen throughout the city, but best from high up to have a good view. The Dutch are once a year allowed to light their own fireworks. On the 31st of December from 6 PM till the 1st of January 2 AM this is allowed. Around 70 million euros is spend on fireworks.

The municipality of Amsterdam is organising a firework show on the ‘Kop of Java’. The show is free and can best be seen from the Veemkade.

Fireworks in Amsterdam

6. Christmas Tree & lights on Dam square

Each year the municipality of Amsterdam lights a Christmas tree on the most famous square of the city: Dam Square. The 20ish meter high evergreen conifer is lighted with 40.000 LED lights. Every year people gather around the tree during the ‘Turn on the Lights’ event. Dam square is especially romantic because of the warehouse ‘Bijenkorf’ which is also lighted with a lot of Christmas lights.

Warehouse 'De Bijenkorf' during winter time

Warehouse ‘De Bijenkorf’ during Christmas time

7. (Boutique) cinema in Amsterdam

Pathé Tuschinski is situated right next to Rembrandtplein in the city centre and is arguably Amsterdam’s, and maybe even the world’s, most stunning movie theatre. When going there make sure you movie will be displayed in the main hall. The other movie halls aren’t that impressive. The interior and exterior of the 1921 founded cinema are a spectacular mix of styles.

Another local option is going to a boutique cinema called ‘The Movies‘. The movies is located on the Haarlemmerdijk. This famous but local street is house to speciality stores, little salons, trendy, affordable restaurants & bars and the oldest cinema: ‘The movies’. Certainly worth a visit!

The Movies, boutique cinema on the Haarlemmerdijk

The Movies, boutique cinema on the Haarlemmerdijk

8. Visit a museum

During winter time in Amsterdam it can rain, snow, hail or feel like it’s -10 degrees Celcius. The average high temperature in the month of December is just 6°C (42° F). Going to a museum is a good way to warm up and be ready for the next few hours of discovering the city.

When visiting the Anne Frank House make sure to purchase your tickets online and a few days or weeks beforehand. The museum only has online tickets untill mid-January.

Another nice museum to go to is Ons’ Lieve Heer op Solder (Our Lord in the Attic). It is located in a 17th-century canal house on the red light district. The Catholic Church was built on the top three floors in 1660. It is an example of a hidden church in which Catholics and other religious dissenters from the 17th-century Dutch Reformed Church, unable to worship in public, held services. The church has been a museum since 28 April 1888, and has around 85,000 annual visitors.

Anne Frank House - buy your ticket online during winter time

Anne Frank House – buy your ticket online during winter time

9. Go to a place with a fireplace

A fireplace makes it ‘gezellig’. Gezellig is the Dutch word for cosy, intimate, sociable or homey. Their is no literal translation for the word. It’s a feeling you have when the atmosphere is good. Warm up around a fireplace when you’ve been outside for (too) long and have some delicious winter drinks, cocktails or have a Dutch Delight like hutspot.

10. World christmas circus in amsterdam

The internationally renowned World Christmas Circus returns to Amsterdam’s Royal Theatre Carré from 21 December 2017 to 7 January 2018. The Theatre is right next to the Amstel River and close to the most famous bridge: ‘The Skinny Bridge’. Tickets start from 30 euro and the show is true value for money. This year the most visited circus of the Netherlands will focus on both classical and modern clowns, including the world-renowned Parisian star Housch-ma-Housch. This is a circus not to be missed.

World Christmas Circus Carré

World Christmas Circus Carré

Optimise your few hours in Amsterdam

Having only a few hours in Amsterdam? Try to see as much as possible. We at LocalLayover.com know the city by heart, we know what to do in Amsterdam. Don’t waste your precious time in this beautiful and exciting city. Travel through the city together with a local guide and get to know hidden gems and all the ins-and outs of the city. See Amsterdam through the eyes of a local.

More information? Contact us on facebook.com/locallayover, +316 55 555 890 or on Whatsapp.

Check our private and local tours here.

6 hour layover in Amsterdam

Do you have a 6 hour layover in Amsterdam? Amsterdam Schiphol Airport is major air hub number three in Europe. Around 25 million travellers are expected to have a transfer at the airport in 2018. Schiphol itself is a convenient airport to spend your time. When having the choice between spending 6 hours at Amsterdam Schiphol Airport or a couple of hours in the historic centre of Amsterdam, it’s an easy choice.

Prinsengracht crossing Reguliersgracht – Canal Amsterdam

YES I AM GOING. What about the time schedule?

If you do make this choice. How much time will you have in Amsterdam during a 6 hour layover?
Assuming you will be arriving on an intercontinental flight and your bags will be brought to your next plane, count on roughly:
20-45 minutes for landing, getting through immigration and walking to the train station at the airport. The actual time depends mainly on the time at passport control.
10-15 minutes for buying a train ticket and finding the right train platform
15 minutes for the train from Amsterdam Schiphol Airport to Amsterdam Central Station. Two ways = total 30 minutes
60-120 minutes be back at the airport for going through immigration, security check and being on time for boarding your flight.

Catching the train, see the city

Catch the train, it is an absolute breeze from the airport to the historic centre, it will take you 15 minutes. Wander around for a few hours, grab a bite and have a beer. Possibly visit the red light district, Dam Square and maybe even a museum. Smoking a joint during your layover in Amsterdam is not recommended.

Bikes in front of a coffeeshop

A coffeeshop in Amsterdam

Optimise your layover in Amsterdam with cycling, boating and walking over the unesco listed canals

Really optimising the time you have is done by booking a LocalLayover.com tour. Based on a group of 5 students with layovers of 6 hours this experience will cost you between 50 and 60 Euros. On arrival a guide will give you your train tickets and together you’ll head Amsterdam Central. No stress about catching the right train. During the 15 minutes in the train your guide will talk about life in Amsterdam. At Central Station you’ll get onto a bike, a local boat, or you’ll head for less obvious beautiful streets. Cycle, boat and walk over the beautiful historic UNESCO listed canals. Cycle and steer the boat yourself and experience real life in Amsterdam. Have some delicious local Dutch snacks like a stroopwafel or bitterballen. This way you will turn your 6 hour layover in Amsterdam into a real experience on which you optimise your few hours in Amsterdam. The beauty of the city makes you want having a long transfer on Amsterdam Schiphol Airport. Book your trip within your trip here.

Example Time schedule of a transfer on Amsterdam Schiphol Airport with a locallayover.com tour

Let’s assume you are flying from the United States to Italy and having a transfer on Amsterdam Schiphol Airport. Let’s say your arrival time in Amsterdam is 12.00 AM and your departure time is 6:00 PM. We will use average times and we assume your checked-in luggage will stay at the airport.

12:00: Landing
12:15: Passport control
12:30: Walking to train station
12:35: Taking the train
12:50: Arriving at central Station
13:00: Bike over the canals, see main squares and sights
14:00: Boat the canals (optional)
15:00: Walk and see for example Jordan district, local brewery, a market or the Anne Frank house
16:00: Cycle to Central station
16:30: Take train to Airport
16:45: Walk to right terminal
16:50: Security check
17:30: Boarding the plane
18:00: Flying to Italy

In this schedule 40 minutes is taken from security check to boarding time to be realistic with the timing. The security check does not take 40 minutes, this time is also for unexpected inconveniences. The actual time spent in the centre of Amsterdam during your 6 hour layover is 3 hours and 40 minutes according to this schedule.

Brewery 't IJ with Windmill de Gooyer next to it

Brewery ‘t IJ with Windmill de Gooyer next to it