Overnight Layover in Amsterdam: 6 Things to Know

On our way back from Sicily, we ended up with an overnight layover in Amsterdam. We had never been before, and we weren’t sure if such a short visit would be worth it. Here’s what we learned!

1. Airport transit is incredibly easy.

Like, truly, so so easy.  We got on a train at the (very beautiful) airport.  We rode the train for about 15 minutes. We arrived in the city center.  Done!

2. Lodging is expensive.

Our flight touched down in Amsterdam at 7:25 PM, and we flew out again the next day at 1:30 PM. This meant that if we wanted to experience Amsterdam at all, we would have to stay right in the heart of it.  But highly-rated hostels in the middle of the city started at around 80 Euros a night for a bed in a dorm, hotels started at around 150 Euros (with reviews that mentioned actual feces on the mattresses), and Airbnbs, which are usually our go-to, weren’t much cheaper. We ended up paying around $150 USD for a single room in a shared townhouse through Airbnb.  It was lovely, and located right in Jordaan, but man was that an expensive night for us!

3. Food is expensive, too.

But it’s doable! After some Googling around, we decided to get Indian food at Koh-I-Noor Restaurant.  It was a little more expensive than what we’re used to in New York City, but all in all a great deal compared to the other options.  And Indian food is always delicious! The following morning we had breakfast at Omelegg, a small local chain. Not pricey at all, and very tasty!

4. No surprise – winter is cold.

We were there in February.  It was freezing. Not so unexpected.  At least the Netherlands (unlike some warmer parts of Europe) is good at heating its buildings!

5. Amsterdam is so pretty.

The canals!  The bicycles!  The trolley cars!  (Okay, trams, but they’re cute!)  The city has a reputation for drugs, sex, and hard partying, so we weren’t quite prepared for just how picturesque it actually is.  It was beautiful when we landed at night, but it was even more gorgeous early in the morning as we left for breakfast and, sadly, returned to the airport.

Amsterdam canal in winter
We were mostly in Amsterdam in the dark. One of the few shots we got when the sun had risen and we were en route back to the airport!

6. One night is not enough…

…but still grab the chance if you get it! We weren’t sure if it would be worth the hassle and expense of traveling into such a pricey city just for a short layover.  But it was definitely the right choice. We had a chance to wander around and get a feel for the city, even if we didn’t get to do much else. If you’re considering an overnight layover in Amsterdam, take it! Just know that you’ll leave wanting to come back.

Have you spent more time than us in Amsterdam?  Let us know what we should be sure to check out next time we’re there!

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