12-hour layover in Amsterdam at night -- should I get out to the city?
September 25, 2018 5:38 AM   Subscribe

Was looking through earlier AskMeFi questions of this situation and could only find answers from about a decade ago. Updated thoughts about female solo traveler getting into Amsterdam during evening (9pm-9am) layover?

Visiting Europe for the first time and I feel like not taking advantage of this layover is a waste! I was considering going in to town and finding a restaurant/bar for a late meal and drinks and coming back to the airport early in the AM, maybe catching some shut-eye on the airport floor. Am I crazy?

Let me know what you all think about this idea.
posted by orangesky4 to Travel & Transportation around Amsterdam, Netherlands (4 answers total)
It's absolutely doable, and pretty easy to boot. The train from Schiphol to Amsterdam Central takes between 15-30 minutes, depending on which route you take. Trains run more or less all night (there's like an hour or two around 3 AM where there's only a night bus, but trains start up again around 4:45), so that's not really a problem. You can leave your luggage in a locker at Amsterdam Central (pay with credit card, I can't remember if they require a PIN or not), costs somewhere between €5-10.

In terms of safety for a solo female traveler, I wouldn't say it's dangerous, although being out late/all night can be a bit wilder and sketchier depending on where you are (I hate having to walk through the Red Light District/De Wallen, even when there are slightly fewer British bros than normal). The tram and metro services stop around midnight, although some night bus routes still exist. Uber is available in Amsterdam, if you're a user, although in some areas you can flag taxis fairly easily.

I wouldn't spend a ton of time in the area right around the station, since it's full of tourists and the traps what trap them, so it feels a lot grosser and rowdier than other areas, although other areas also get fairly sleepy after midnight, so weigh those factors, I guess.
posted by wakannai at 6:14 AM on September 25, 2018

This wasn't about overnight but there was a question a couple months ago about what to do with a layover in Amsterdam.

But, yeah, night-time is a bit different. There are plenty of places open late, many of them cafes, for example Cafe Luxembourg on Spui or Cafe de Jaren on the water. If you want a taste of a very lively, safe, late night area full of Amsterdammers and bars and cafes and few tourists, head down to Gerard Douplein. But by all means avoid Rembrandtplein and the Red light district. You can also just walk west after you exit Centraal (to your right as you exit the station) and quickly walk over to the Jordaan. There's a lot of good restaurants there though you'll have to look around for late-night options. Perhaps someone else can recommend.

It is a very small and walkable city so you don't really have to worry about getting stranded.
posted by vacapinta at 7:33 AM on September 25, 2018 [1 favorite]

There's also a left luggage place at Schiphol. After you collect your bags and go out, it's just downstairs near the exit doors and lifts. About €7-8 per locker IIRC. But maybe you are checked through?

Depending on where you're flying from/to, there are some "lounge chairs" for sleeping not far from the Schiphol library. Maybe between E & F Gates. There's also a Mercure hotel inside the airport - as in, after you are checked in. It's up by the KLM lounge outside of Schengen (also around F gates). But if you're out most of the night, it's probably too expensive to be worth your while.

Also, people who only transit Schiphol don't know this, but just outside the airport near the Rembrandt cafe, there's an I AMsterdam sculpture like the one near the Rijksmuseum, and just in front of it there is a food truck selling Oliebollen all year round. They are usually only available around New Year. The Albert Heijn supermarket in the concourse above the train station is a good place to stock up on Dutch stuff - cheeses, chocolates, stroopwafels and sweets... and sushi - at a fraction of the prices after security. If you're back at the airport with time to spare, it's not a bad place to shop. Opens at 0500.

I pass through Schiphol a lot. I was there yesterday.
posted by sagwalla at 10:48 AM on September 25, 2018

Sleeping in Airports has more details on sleeping in Schiphol.

I'd also consider how your plans might change if your flight is delayed, or if you take a long time to deplane, etc. -- would you still want to get into the city if you weren't able to leave the airport until 11pm, for example?
posted by diffuse at 11:20 AM on September 25, 2018

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