Amazing Things You Never Knew You Could Do on Your Amsterdam Layover

| © Kavalenkava/Shutterstock

So long to the days of killing time at the airport with nothing to do but buy duty free, and waiting for that long connection to your dream destination. The fabulous capital city of the Netherlands is often a common layover point between the US and many other European cities, especially if you’re flying with airlines such as KLM Royal Dutch Airlines.

If you happen to find yourself at Schiphol for nine hours, fear not. Why? Because there are oodles of fantastic things you’ll want to see and do while you’re there. From the splendour of the Rijksmuseum to just simply grabbing a pint at the Heineken Experience, here’s 11 must-not-miss things to do on a layover in Amsterdam.

Skip-the-line Rijksmuseum…

The Rijksmuseum is the Netherlands’s premier art gallery. With over 7,500 masterpieces on display spread over 1.5km (0.9 mi.) of galleries, feast your eyes on a ‘Golden Age’ of nation-defining art and creativity, all while skipping the extremely long line!

- affiliated-image -

Van Gogh Museum…

Learn all about the famous artist’s life via the world’s largest Van Gogh collection, with priority access. From celebrity masterpieces (those sunflowers and that bedroom), to wonderful sketches and little unknowns – immerse yourself in the creative brilliance of an artistic master. Not enough art? Don’t worry. There are plenty of paintings by contemporaries Gauguin, Toulouse-Lautrec, Monet and Bernard on display too!

- affiliated-image -

Heineken VIP tour experience…

If you love beer, then this historic brewery is a must. The jewel in the crown of this self-guided VIP boozy experience is an eye-opening multimedia exhibit that lets you ‘become a beer’ by being shaken up, sprayed with a dash of water (literally) and subjected to a little heat. Beer lovers will revel in it, novices may shudder, but it’s all in the name of fun. Score.

- affiliated-image -

Private airport-transit city tour…

Anne Frank House

If you’re on a five-hour layover, hop on this private chauffeur-driven (yes, it’s snazzy) three-hour tour of the city that takes you to see all the main sites, including the Royal Palace, Anne Frank House and the Jordaan.

- affiliated-image -

Live audio two-hour Segway tour…

Amsterdam at Night

If you’re not a walker (a sacrilege in this part of the world), jump on a Segway and follow an uber-knowledgeable guide who will whizz you round to all the city’s top attractions. Glide along the crazy-colourful canals and wonky, iconic buildings, then gander into lesser-known spots not yet discovered by masses of tourists, all to the sounds of a wireless commentary – how very modern.

- affiliated-image -

3-hour countryside bike tour…

Not a city person? Then you’re in luck, because this charming little tour lets you see a little bit of the dashing Dutch countryside by bike. Ride along the Amstel River and Instagram magical little homes dating all the way back to the Dutch Golden Age. On the way, you’ll also stop off at one of the oldest farms in the country. There, you’ll get the chance to eat some cheese – heaven – and check out some traditional clogs (those pretty Dutch shoes you see on all the key rings). And yes, they’re for sale.

- affiliated-image -

Historical bike tour of Amsterdam…

If country life isn’t for you, but cycling is, just stick to the city – it is famed for its two-wheelers, after all. Bike it with a local guide who will show you the canals, the museums, and the notorious (but fun) Red Light District, along with many other hidden gems on a historical tour you’ll be ‘grammin for days.

- affiliated-image -

Photo shoot, Amsterdam style…

This one’s for a unique, hilarious (and possible cringe-worthy) photo souvenir. Dress up in traditional Dutch flair at the Dutch Costume museum. Take it home as a personal keepsake, send it to the bae, or the parents. Whatever you choose, it will be chuckles all round.

- affiliated-image -

Open boat canal cruise…

You can’t visit Amsterdam without bobbling along the canal. Best thing about this tour? The boat is totally uncovered, which means absolutely nothing will obstruct your views of Amsterdam’s fabulous landmarks.

- affiliated-image -

Book a local friend…

Royal Palace Amsterdam

The whole point of travelling is making friends, right? Wave goodbye to the professionals and see the city from a local’s perspective. Completely friendly, safe and very, very private, choose where you want to go and your new friend will give you all the goss about the city. Fun!

- affiliated-image -

In another part of the world? Stop off at one of these airports and they’ll give you a free tour of the city!

culture trip left arrow
 culture trip brand logo

Volcanic Iceland Epic Trip

meet our Local Insider


women sitting on iceberg


2 years.


It's the personal contact, the personal experiences. I love meeting people from all over the world... I really like getting to know everyone and feeling like I'm traveling with a group of friends.


I have so many places on my list, but I would really lobe to go to Africa. I consider myself an “adventure girl” and Africa feels like the ULTIMATE adventure!

culture trip logo letter c
group posing for picture on iceberg
group posing for picture on iceberg

Every CULTURE TRIP Small-group adventure is led by a Local Insider just like Hanna.

map of volcanic iceland trip destination points
culture trip brand logo
culture trip right arrow
landscape with balloons floating in the air


Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world

Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.

Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.

Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.

Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.

We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.