Layover In Amsterdam: 5 Iconic Things To Do

Layover in Amsterdam NYE

Layover in Amsterdam? SAY LESS.

When you’re sick with the travel bug, curiosity and wanderlust have no limits.

I experienced the trip of a lifetime in Switzerland for five days and luckily enough, I had an 8-hour layover in Amsterdam!

Amsterdam is one of the best spots to kick it and chill and explore. Why?

Because the Netherlands’ capital has an eccentric charm that lures you in.

It’s hard to resist the streets that reflect rich culture and history, so why not enjoy it while you can?

The streets are calling and this is the ONLY time we fully embrace it. Periodt.

Make the most out of your time and explore all the possibilities to turn your Amsterdam layover into an epic field-trip.

*NOTE* I won’t tell you to visit Amsterdam’s Red Light District because you don’t need me to tell you what Google and thousands of other people can tell you! I still recommend it but only if you happen to have an overnight layover so you can really experience the nightlife. 

Here are 5 things you can do on a layover in Amsterdam:

Visit the Van Gogh Museum

Unfortunately, when I went, the Van Gogh Museum closed due to COVID-19. 

Don’t be like me; research the openings and closures before getting there!

Nonetheless, the Van Gogh Museum houses the largest collection of artwork by Vincent Van Gogh in the world. This is for all you history and art lovers! 

Even if you’re not a fan, Van Gogh is way too iconic to pass up. It’s like saying “I want to visit Paris but I don’t want to see the Eiffel Tower.”  

The Van Gogh Museum’s admission is free for those under 18 years old, €19 for adults, and €10 for students!

There are also several COVID-19 measures that visitors must follow, so make sure to bring a mask and social distance.

MOCO Museum- Amsterdam Museum
MOCO Museum Exhibit

Visit the Moco Museum

This independent museum is dedicated to modern, contemporary and street art of Amsterdam. It’s located about a block away from the Van Gogh Museum, so you can do some museum-hopping in the area!

Some famous artists featured here include Banksy, KAWS, Yayoi Kusama, Basquiat, Haring and more. 

Needless to say, you can snap all your IG-worthy pics here at this museum among all the iconic artwork.

Adult admission prices are €14.50 per person and their student ticket price is €11.50 per person, so remember to bring your student ID card!

According to the website, masks are mandatory at all times, even when taking pictures.

Kick it and chill at a coffee shop

IYKYK. Some people have one mission in mind when visiting Amsterdam, the coffee shops.

Whatever your personal preference is, it’s difficult to deny the quintessential, liberal view of marijuana in Amsterdam. 

If you have a few hours to kick it, then why not?

Just remember not to take any bud with you because the transportation of marijuana across borders is illegal. Marijuana laws vary by place, but my advice is: what happens in Amsterdam stays in Amsterdam. So leave it!

These legal dispensaries are for smoking cannabis, so don’t confuse coffeeshops with coffeehouses, which are intended for pastries and hot beverages.

Apparently, the cannabis in Amsterdam is stronger than any you might have tried elsewhere, so keep that in mind when purchasing certain amounts.

I’m not an expert on cannabis or coffee shops, so read this article on the dos and don’ts of visiting Amsterdam’s coffeeshops.

Amsterdam Layover

Visit The Anne Frank house

Located a bit further from the art museums, you may need to take a bus or prepare yourself for a bit of a walk to get here. The Anne Frank house is a biographical museum dedicated to Anne Frank, displaying her original diary and notebooks.

The horrors of World War II should never be forgotten, and Anne Frank’s story will continue to remind us from a first-person POV. 

PRO-TIP: The Anne Frank House is usually sold out months in advance. Make sure to snag tickets here first if you can.

Admission is €12.50 for adults, and tickets only apply for specific time slots. Remember to account for travel from Amsterdam’s airport to the museum and back!

Streets of Amsterdam

Go shopping at the main district

If you still have time to kill after visiting all the iconic art and history museums, end your layover with a visit to Amsterdam’s main shopping district!

The two main shopping streets in Amsterdam’s city centre are the Kalverstraat and the Leidsestraat. I mostly visited the Kalverstraat because there were more common brands such as H&M, Zara and UNIQLO.

I’m a Zara ADDICT and I was so excited to go shopping at a European Zara. Their stores carry different merchandise from American Zaras, so it felt like an exclusive shopping experience!

I found a pair of eccentric boots that I knew I wouldn’t be able to find in the U.S., so I risked being late for my flight to wait in line to purchase them!

I don’t know about you guys, but sometimes I get so absorbed in shopping that I lose track of time. 

Make sure to keep the time in mind to make it back to the airport, considering that you might have to wait for a shuttle bus!


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