I almost always try to avoid layovers, as long as the locations (and, of course, the price) are right. When we looked into the flights from Paris to Sevilla for the Vacances de Toussaint, however, this didn’t seem to be an option. The best flights for our situation all included a layover of at least four hours in Amsterdam. This seemed like a huge waste of time, especially considering that Amsterdam is in the literal opposite direction as our destination.
So, how did we deal with an annoying layover? We made it even longer, of course!
We had a total of approximately 17 hours in Amsterdam, though about 2 hours were spent arriving at the airport early before our departure flight, 1.5 hours were spent in transit to and from the airport, and a solid 30 minutes were wasted searching for the right bus when we arrived.
I guess I could rename this post 13 Hours in Amsterdam, but hey, I think the hours spent confused about transport options and going through airport security are just as much a part of the journey as the fun excursions and delicious bites.
With just 13 hours to explore the city as much as possible AND rest up before over a week traveling in Spain, how did we make the most out of our time in Amsterdam? Here goes nothing!
The first thing we did once arriving in the city was check in to our hostel. Since we booked this trip pretty last-minute, most accommodations in the area were already full, but we were able to secure a private double room at Princess Hostel Leidse Square.
This wasn’t the most incredible hostel experience I’ve had, and I would have rather saved the money and slept in the multi-bed dorm rooms if we had had the option to do so, but I will say that the location and ease of checking in and out made this choice worth it. Plus, we even had our own balcony!
When I googled “Food in Amsterdam,” not too much came up from the search. One of the top search results was actually “Why is the food in Amsterdam so bad.” That being said, we definitely found some good options.
For lunch, we stumbled across what was actually the perfect place for us, The Pancake Club. Riana and I shared a Dutch pancake with bacon and cheese (wow), as well as a platter of pancake puffs, aka poffertjes, with strawberries and whipped cream (big wow).
Unfortunately, this was pretty much the only real Dutch food we ate that day. We got stroopwafels at the airport the next day and actually settled for Dunkin’ Donuts when we couldn’t find the traditional oliebollen, which might sound pitiful, but the donuts were absolutely delicious, so I’m convinced that it was worth the trip. We went to the pizza bar No Rules for dinner after deciding that “Dutch” food was pretty international after all.
One of the major attractions in Amsterdam seems to be the Museum Quarter. As much as I would have loved to check these museums out more, especially the Van Gogh Museum, we really didn’t have the time to spend exploring inside the museums. Instead, we walked around the area and settled for pics outside the Rijksmuseum and some souvenir shopping at the stands nearby.
When you think of Amsterdam, you likely think of cute building lined along canals, with bicycles scattered all along. If so, then the Canal District definitely will not disappoint! We wandered in and out of shops as we snapped photos with several different bikes at several different canals.
As if my visit to the Guinness Storehouse in Dublin didn’t teach me enough about beer, Riana and I decided to get tickets to the Heineken Experience while in Amsterdam. This interactive museum taught us about how Heineken is made and bottled, its history, and even its cultural significance. Plus, it included a tasting and two beers at the bar, so I’d say it’s definitely worth the cost of admission!
Even though Heineken is a huge deal in Amsterdam, I definitely accidentally referred to it as “Guinness” several times… I guess that as much as I learn about and try new beers, some things will never change.
Saving for Next Time
My mom always advises me to save certain attractions and experiences for the next visit, therefore giving you an excuse to return. Since I only had such a short amount of time to explore the area, there are many things I’m definitely planning to save for next time, and I can’t wait to plan another visit to Amsterdam!
- Anne Frank House
- Biking, AKA feeling like a local
- Van Gogh Museum
- Other art museums
- Trying more authentic Dutch foods
- Different neighborhoods
- I Amsterdam sign (in the daylight!)
Amsterdam(n) that was a pretty crazy 17 hours, but let’s be real, that’s the joy about traveling and exploring! Proost and cheers to the next visit!
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