I did my first grand Euro trip in April 2018. It was a plethora of experiences for me. I was robbed blind by travel agent, did so much research on travel that should earn me a PhD, and lost tasty yet expensive cheese in the streets of a Netherlands village.
In this post, I'm going to describe how we utilized our layover in Amsterdam and it will help you too if you are flying to any European city with a layover of more than 7 hours in Amsterdam.
Initially, our layover was only supposed to be for 4 hours in Amsterdam while flying to London from Delhi via Amsterdam. But I made an amazing booking mistake which gave us 11 hours of layover. So instead of spending a fortune on the rescheduling, we decided to make most of it by exploring the fascinating city.
A little about Amsterdam. It is the capital city of Netherlands. It is known for its many many canals, beautiful architecture and the famous Van Gogh museum.
It takes around 15-20 minutes in the metro to travel from the airport to Amsterdam Centraal station, which is like the main centre of the whole city. Keep around 45 minutes (maximum) for stamping, 10-15 minutes to buy the metro tickets (took us 5). It is very easy to buy tickets from the kiosk. I think return tickets to and fro cost us 10€ each.
Once you buy the tickets, hop on to any train heading towards Amsterdam and get down at Amsterdam Centraal. The moment we stepped outside the station, I broke my phone. Cursing myself for such a rocky start, husband and I set off to wander. Oh btw, the feel of the place is enticing I tell you. I still get a tingling sensation (in a good way) when I recall my time there.
Our agent booked us hop on hop off canal cruise. They are a great way to roam about the city. There are various operators and you can choose anyone. You can explore the whole city by getting down at 7 different stops. But remember, once you get to the last stop, there is no canal boat that will get you back to the centraal. You are on your own. There is continuous commentary on the cruise explaining the significance of each stop.
We saw a diamond factory at one of the stops. Meh, not so impressive, totally skippable ; I mainly wanted to use their free washroom. Oh yeah, using public restrooms in some parts of Europe costs you. We paid 50 cents each mostly at few places.
We then went to this amazing street market called Albus Cyprus. It's a street full of clothes, shoes, and souvenirs. We bought fridge magnets there (3 for 5 Euros). We ate some street food like waffles, Amsterdam famous fries etc.
We walked around aimlessly, bought a sim with international roaming and just tried to soak in everything. It was our first European city and we were quite overwhelmed.
And just like that, it was evening and we decided to head back to the airport to catch our flight to London. We sat in a tram that would take us to Amsterdam Centraal and then got into train again to Schipol Airport. The return was quite uneventful and smooth.
- Normal restaurant food is expensive in Europe in general. Eat the humongous Amsterdam famous fries with variety of yummy dips. Waffles are tasty too. Such foods will fill your stomach within 4-6€. Else, budget a minimum of 20€ for a proper sit down meal.
- Buy a local sim rather than going for international roaming packs with indian operator. We got a sim for free and activated a pack which gave us some local minutes and 6gb internet for 30 days for 15€.
- Travelling in public transport is very easy. Donot opt for cabs for airport transfers unless you have a truckload of luggage, again which I suggest against.
- Dress in layers if you are going there in spring like I did. The day of layover for us was pretty chilly. Our other day in Amsterdam spent in Keukenhoff Tulip Gardens was super sunny and hot.
You can ask any questions that you have in comments and I will be happy to answer :-)
Happy travels :-)