While booking my trip to Kenya, I had the option of either having a 2 hour or 22 hour layover in Amsterdam. I opted for the longer layover for a couple reasons. First, I knew that with a 2 hour layover, I would be stressed with any sort of delay that I might miss my connection. Second, I saw the 22 hour layover as a way to experience the motherland (for those of you who don’t know, my family heritage is Dutch) and explore the city. Once I landed in Amsterdam, I had two goals – see as much as I could in the day, and find Wilhelmina Peppermints.
While planning my layover, I contacted I Amsterdam for tips on what to see and do during this short time. They were extremely helpful as I made plans and helped me see as much as I could during the day.
My first stop after customs was to pick up my I Amsterdam card. This card is pretty much a ticket to see the city. It includes discounts to many locations in the city as well as free admission to lots of museums. It also includes a canal boat ride (which was a great way to get an overview of Amsterdam) and free public transportation.
I checked into my hotel for the night (more on that in a bit) then headed to the train station to venture into the city. The train ride is about 15 minutes from the airport/train station into the city. I never realized how large of a train station there was at the Amsterdam airport!
My first activity in Amsterdam was a canal boat ride. This ride took us throughout the city and showed many of the major tourist attractions. It is amazing how much of the city looks similar to when it was built hundreds of years ago. I loved seeing all the boats (and house boats) along the side of the canal. Many of them had large gardens on their decks and roofs.
These canal boats are very long and narrow, they have to make tight turns to go under different bridges and it was amazing to see the turning radius that these boat captains could achieve.
After my canal boat tour, I utilized my directional skills (and the map provided with the I Amsterdam card) to make my way to the Anne Frank House. If you know in advance that you will be heading to Amsterdam I highly recommend buying tickets online because the line wrapped around the building when I arrived.
The museum takes you through the entire hiding place and walks you through the timeline of Anne Frank’s diary. The furniture was removed after they were discovered so there are miniature displays of how each room was configured. I highly recommend that you tour this museum on a trip to Amsterdam, it is such an important piece of world history.
After departing the Anne Frank House, I wandered a bit through the city as I made my way back to the train station. I checked out both the cheese and tulip museum (if this layover had been on my way home there definitely would have been more items in my suitcase). I didn’t realize how many different types of tulips there were! I did pick up some tulip bulbs in the airport on my way home and can’t wait to get them in the ground.
Since my layover was overnight, I knew that I wanted to get an actual hotel room but stay as close to the airport as possible so that I didn’t have to worry about getting there in the morning. The Sheraton Amsterdam Airport was the perfect solution for this. The Sheraton is as close to the airport as you can get! The room was comfortable and I was able to get a good night of sleep before another long day of travel to my final destination. I also enjoyed a delicious dinner at the Voyager Restaurant. My steak was tender and grilled to perfection.
I would love to return to Amsterdam with Brad sometime in the future. All of these excursions were done by myself and it would be fun to go experience them again with my family. Having the extended layover (and comfy bed for the night) definitely helped me adjust to the new time zone in Kenya plus allowed me to see another country!
Have you ever been to Amsterdam? What attractions would you say are must do activities?
Thanks to I Amsterdam and Sheraton Amsterdam Airport for facilitating items for this post. All opinions are my own.