Day-long layover in Amsterdam
April 18, 2014 8:44 AM   Subscribe

I have a day-long layover (7.5 hours) in Amsterdam coming up. Research leads me to believe the airport is relatively close to the city, enough that I can probably take a train in and hang out for a few hours. What to do? I'll be there during the day. Things I'm interested in: walking around, good food/beer, clothes shopping (smaller boutique type places), modern art. I was in the city about 10 years ago so I saw a couple of the major sights.
posted by scribbler to Travel & Transportation around Amsterdam, The Netherlands (10 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Around 9 streets is a nice place for walking and shopping. Haarlemmerstraat is a nice walk too, with cafes and shops. There's also a very nice lane full of small shops that starts in the middle of Westerstraat and goes back towards the city.

You can get to Centraal station in about 15 minutes from the airport, go outside to the front and take a right and go up Haarlemmerstraat (very nice middle-eastern bakery at the end, opposite the cinema), go back down along Brouwersgracht (classic Amsterdam red shutters), around the Norderkerk (there's a cafe there with nice apple tart) and along Westerstraat, down that wee alley and into 9 streets district. It would probably take about 2-3 hours with dawdling. You could also take an hour to visit the Westergasfabriek, an old gas works. Drop into Espressofabriek for some excellent coffee.
posted by nevan at 8:58 AM on April 18, 2014 [1 favorite]

I'm just back from Amsterdam and had a fantastic lunch at The Seafood Bar by the Vondelpark. Relaxed but attentive service and the menu ranges from sandwiches at around 5€ up to the full Fruits de Mer at 50€.
posted by oh pollo! at 9:04 AM on April 18, 2014

Schiphol is 15 minutes from Amsterdam Centraal by train, though occasionally there is work going on and there are buses running instead. The people at the NS ticket desk in the airport can tell you if that's the case.

For beer, visit In de Wildeman. For lots of boutiques, head to the Nine Streets. For modern art, the Stedelijk Museum.

Everything is walkable, but since your time is limited, I'd ride the trams. You can get a 24-hour OV card at Centraal Station or just buy tickets from the tram operators.
posted by neushoorn at 9:04 AM on April 18, 2014

Let's assume that you need to be back in Schiphol 90 minutes before your flight. From experience, six hours gives you a lot of possibilities. (For me, it's a way to walk a few miles and take lots of different forms of public transport in half a day.)

Use the Schiphol lockers (6 euro or so) to dump your hand baggage and travel ultra-light into the city; if your flights take you between the Schengen side of the airport and the non-Schengen side (or vice versa), you'll want to clear passport control within Schiphol and leave your bags on the side appropriate to your outbound flight.

For starters, you could take a free ferry from the back of Centraal out to Buiksloterweg or NDSM Wharf and see the new developments north of the IJ.

I always like heading down Haarlemmerstraat, which gets you away from the tourist hordes fairly quickly and from there you can zig-zag your way down through the Jordaan following whatever takes your fancy.
posted by holgate at 9:33 AM on April 18, 2014 [1 favorite]

You can catch a train from Sloterdijk (on the way to Amsterdam Centraal) to Haarlem which is not much further, much less crowed with tourists, and none the less charming than the nicest parts of Amsterdam. Also you are a non-stop train ride from Schiphol to Leiden (about 20 minutes) which is also quite nice and very different than Amsterdam.

Go to the NS.NL to plan your trip. (The site is available in English.)

There has been a lot of work on the rails. The replacement busses are pretty efficient and I wouldn't let that stop you. A long layover in Schiphol - with endless announcements and threats to passengers to proceed immediately to their gate "or will will offload your baggage" - will drive anyone crazy.
posted by three blind mice at 11:01 AM on April 18, 2014 [2 favorites]

Walk around, take a boat ride through the canals, grab a beer at one of the wonderful "brown pubs" and definitely stop at a herring stand for pickled herrings to go. If it's raining, the brown pub/cafe and Van Gogh Museum.
posted by Elsie at 11:29 AM on April 18, 2014

Definitely have a rice table (or Rijsttafel) ! When I went we got both a veggie one and a regular meat one and shared and we both agreed the veggie was so much better. I wish I remembered the name of the place. We got lots (maybe 15) different dishes each and it was so delicious!
posted by Blitz at 11:33 AM on April 18, 2014

I did this in Fiji once... Do double check the departure time of your connecting flight both on your actual ticket and as you leave the airport!
posted by jrobin276 at 11:34 AM on April 18, 2014

Oooh I loooove Amsterdam! I even took a Dutch course after my first visit there because I love the Netherlands and the Dutch people so much.

First, it doesn't take too long to get from airport to Centraal, like 20 min if I remember correctly. Maybe 30. Not too bad.

You should absolutely go to Oude Pijp neighborhood (in and around the Heinekenplein), to the Albert Cuypstraat market/pedestrian street. Oude Pijp/Heinekenplein is a short tram ride from Centraal; it's just off the main "inner ring" but it's great. Walk around and back through the side streets; tons of great little restos and cafes of all kinds.

The Cuypstraat market itself is OK (although the fresh stroopwafels are to die for), but on the Eerste van der Helststraat are some awesome bruncafes! There's one with yellow awnings called De Groene Vlinder in it and it's on the corner of the Cuypstraat and E vd Helststraat. Super amazing food. And across the street is another great one, Cafe Schilders.

Oh, and the Gollem Beer Cafe on the Daniel Stalpertstraat (just a few blocks away) is a must-go. Amazing beers.

Ahh, so jealous!
posted by ArgyleGargoyle at 8:22 PM on April 18, 2014 [1 favorite]

A few more suggestions:

* Burgermeester does fancy burgers and has three locations (basically one on each side of the canal rings). Their website is only in Dutch but they have English menus on-site.
* If you want something more Amsterdam-specific, I'd go for Indonesian or maybe Suriname food. You might not have time for a sit-down rijstafel, but you can get Indonesian take-away from many tokos. Or, of course, you can get "friet met mayonaise"! Manneke Pis on the Damrak is pretty good.
* If you have access to your checked luggage and want to buy beer to take with you, visit De Bierkoning. It's a couple of blocks from Dam Square and has an excellent selection of Dutch and Belgian beers (including Westvleteren, usually).
* If you're interested in Dutch beer, I highly recommend trying some from De Molen. In de Wildeman usually has five or six varieties on the menu, and De Bierkoning carries a lot.
* If the weather is good, you might visit 't IJ brewery, which is a 10-minute walk from the Amsterdam Muiderpoort train station. It has a really nice terrace.
posted by neushoorn at 1:54 AM on April 19, 2014 [1 favorite]

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