AIRPORT HACKS: Amsterdam Airport Schiphol (AMS)


By Heather

Travel & Tech Writer

Photo courtesy of Ben Koorengevelon on Unsplash

It’s considered one of Europe’s best airports, and it’s indeed a treat to have a layover at Amsterdam Airport Schiphol (AMS). Though it is the continent’s third busiest airport, it’s easy to navigate with great places to grab a bite to eat and plenty of activities to keep you occupied on a longer layover. 

From finding a spot to unwind, a spot to snooze, or a spot to shop, here are some of the aloSIM team’s fave airport hacks for Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport …

Spaces to relax

Amsterdam Airport Schiphol has an airport library complete with books and iPads (even a grand piano, if you fancy tickling the ivories between flights). There’s also an indoor greenspace complete with (pre-recorded) birdsong. So soothing!

Amsterdam Airport Schiphol is the only airport in the world with its own art museum, too. Rijksmuseum Schiphol includes works by Dutch masters and is open 24 hours a day, with no entry fee. 

Looking for a bit of relaxation? There are three XpresSpa locations after security, perfect for grabbing a quick massage or beauty treatment to find your zen in transit. You’ll also find futuristic-looking Massage-O-Matic shiatsu massage chairs located throughout the terminals for a quick €2 back fix. 

In-airport hotels

After security, there are two hotels located inside the airport: YOTELAIR in Lounge 2, and Hotel Mercure in Lounge 3. YOTELAIR offers “cabins” of various sizes for layovers of 4+ hours (available any time of day) with showers, beds, and fast wifi. Hotel Mercure offers day and night use rooms, private shower cabins for transit customers, and a breakfast buffet. 

Use the app

Amsterdam Airport Schiphol has its own app that has maps, schedules, and tips for navigating your way around. (Pssst! It’s especially useful for finding bathrooms, which sometimes seem to be hidden in this busy international hub). The app is well worth downloading if you have a long layover or will be transiting through Schiphol often. 

Airport shopping

Besides the usual designer stores and places to grab books and magazines, Amsterdam Airport Schiphol has a proper supermarket where you can pick up everyday items and Dutch specialties. You’ll also find reasonably priced chain-stores, such as H&M, should you need a change of clothes on the fly.

Take a quick trip into the city

When you have a longer layover at Amsterdam Airport Schiphol, it’s easy to squeeze in a quick trip to explore the city. The express train to Amsterdam Centraal Station takes just 15 minutes (with the non-express train taking 20-30 minutes). From the train, you can walk to many attractions, grab a meal, or just roam the pretty streets. Transit in the Netherlands is plentiful and efficient, so getting a taste of Amsterdam from the airport and then getting back for your connection should be drama-free.

Be careful when getting a cab

If Amsterdam is your final destination, be aware that unlicensed taxi operators will approach you in the airport and offer rides, but have been known to rip off tourists. Be sure to go to the official taxi line-up outside the airport and get a licensed cab to be safe (and not be charged a ridiculous amount for your fare). Unless you have tons of luggage, you’re usually better off just using the excellent train system to get into Amsterdam (or other major cities), as it’ll be quicker and cheaper than catching a cab. 

Connecting through Amsterdam Airport Schiphol is truly a pleasure, and it shows just how great airports can be for travelers when thought is put into their design. Enjoy the time you have there, whether it be a short layover or long delay by embracing the fine facilities it has to offer.