Do’s and Don’ts in Amsterdam During a Night Layover

Photo by Barry Carroll

A night layover in Amsterdam is a great opportunity to have a quick taste of this romantic and beautiful European city. Within only a few hours, you’ll be charmed by this famous, small city of the world.

When I booked my return flights from the Canary Islands to Canada, I opted for the 16-hour-night layover in Amsterdam. As well as being the cheapest option, it was also an exciting and convenient opportunity. Here are my list of Do’s and Don’ts in Amsterdam during a night layover: Do look at the seasonal weather temperatures at the time you are going. Amsterdam is charming all year round, whether you visit under a warm sun of July, or under the chilly drizzles of a November sky. However, since you are here because of transit flights, make sure you are aware of the seasonal temperatures and dress appropriately. Don’t rely on the weekly forecast. Weather in Amsterdam can be unpredictable, meaning a sunny morning can soon change into a rainy afternoon. Come prepared with a light jacket if in the summer, or a warm coat during the winter Do book accommodation in advance. Amsterdam is a year round destination, with peak times in the Spring and Summer. However, most weekends are full capacities. Don’t trust hotel runners. Tourists are often approached by runners offering them a good deal on rooms. Upon arrival at the site, in an unfamiliar place, the rates tend to go up radically and they won’t take a “no thanks” for an answer. There are a few illegal hotels with runners trying to scam tourists. Don’t be a statistic. Do take advantage of the nightlife. There are plenty of venues, dance festivals and clubs to please every taste. Don’t get too drunk. Remember you have a flight to catch in a few hours. Do bring enough money. A lot of money: We all know the Euro is highly expensive. So be smart and plan a decent budget for your trip. Be ready to spend 10euros for a vodka, plus 5euros for a side of soda or juice. Don’t expect all establishments to accept credit cards. I’d say 8 out of 10 places we patronned took cash only. Some hostels will also refuse the plastic cards. Have enough cash money on you to cover the bills. Do rent a bike for an authentic local experience. Biking in Amsterdam is a safe and easy way to explore the city thanks to the flat landscape and the panoply of cycle trails. Take a map, understand the rules of safety and use, and enjoy the ride! Don’t walk on the bike paths. Amsterdam is known as the most bicycle-friendly capital of the world. In fact, over 60% of trips in the inner city are made by bike. Due to the high cycling traffic, designated areas have been made to avoid accidents. Make sure you stay in the right one. Do get stoned. Legal coffeeshops are marked with a small green sign in the window. You can buy a gram or more, but most will let you purchase only half a gram (which might be just enough for a layover). Most shops will let you smoke your own weed, but remember they are running a business, so buy something from their shop, like a coffee for example.Don’t get too stoned. You are a tourist in a touristic place. Pickpocketing and scamming happen mostly to the vulnerable tourists. Remember you are also flying in a few hours. Be a smart tourist. And most importantly: don’t buy drugs from strangers. Here’s an interesting link on the subject: Do stroll through the Red Light District, Amsterdam’s most famous tourist attraction. Hosting brothels, sex shops and museums, this neighbourhood will confirm all the rumors you probably overheard back home. The Red Light District is a necessary check while having a layover in the Amsterdam. Don’t act like a desperate teenager. What saddened me the most was to see groups of young and olden men salivating in front of the girls. This legal prostitution involves real human beings, be respectful of the ladies. This neighbourhood can be shocking for a lot of people, so if you can’t control yourself, go take a hike. Do take photographs. Amsterdam has beautiful historical sights and romantic cobbled-stoned streets filled with restaurants, coffeeshops, bicycles and people to photograph. Also considered the ”Venice of the North”, the city has kilometers of attractive canals and bridges. Taking a cruise on the canals is a perfect way to snap great photographs. If you are there in the Spring, don’t miss the colourful tulips blossoming. Don’t take pictures of the girls in the Red Light District. Once again, respect the girls. Don’t even attempt in taking a slick picture, most likely someone will see you and might take away your device. Do visit a museum. The city has a rich collection of museums such as the Rijksmuseum, Van Gogh Museum and Anne Frank House. Don’t feel you have to go to a museum. If those establishments don’t normally excite you, there are many more things to do in Amsterdam. You only have a short period of stay, so do things that make you happy. Do taste the Dutch cuisine. Explore Holland’s best dishes, cheeses, sweets and bread spreads. Have a sit down dinner at one of the local restaurant or eat on the go at the street stalls. Don’t go for the traditional fast food. Be adventurous! You’re in Amsterdam after all! Hope you have a memorable night layover in beautiful Amsterdam. Have a great time, be a smart tourist and enjoy responsibly 😉

Vacationing in Gran Canaria

After travelling Morocco for 6 weeks, I decided to fly west to the Canary Islands of Spain, where I would spend 10 days vacationing. I’ve never been an all-inclusive fan, but considering the need for a vacation and the expensive Euro, it seemed more convenient and economic to choose a nice a hotel and not worry about anything.

I opted for the hotel Paradise Valle Taurito on for its beautiful location, affordable price and multiple attractions (read my personal reviews listed at the bottom).


Paradise Valle Taurito is a family self-sufficient resort, offering all the service and amenities you need. Wake up in the morning and enjoy a delicious breakfast on the terrace. Then move to the poolside where you can quietly read a book while sipping on a pina colada. At lunch time, enjoy a fresh seafood paella or snack on a classic burger and fries. If you are in need of more action in the afternoon, move to the waterpark and enjoy the slippery rides. Or simply unwind on your patio admiring the beautiful views of the resort and the ocean nearby. There is also a full service spa for a day of extra relaxation. At night, savour a nice dinner under the stars then perhaps have a stroll on the venue. Shows and entertainment are presented in the public place. There is also an arcade and games room as well as a mini-golf where you can show your skills. If you prefer quietness, hang out at the poolside bar where the friendly bartenders will take care of you. Nothing can beat a nice glass of wine chatting with fellow vacationers.

The black sand beach of Taurito is just a few feet from the hotel. Sandwiched between 2 wind shielding cliffs, it makes it a peaceful and comfortable area to relax, take a stroll or simply watch the warm golden sunsets.

There are many activities in Taurito to choose from. You can book a package with one of the companies located on the beach. Jetskiing, banana boating, parasailing, snorkeling, diving and sailing are all offered in Taurito beach.


I booked a day diving trip with Delphinus and did 2 beautiful dives at the marine reserve of El Cabron.

Perched on volcanic hills, Playa Taurito is located southwest coast of the island of Gran Canaria, between the port town of Puerto Mogan and the popular town of Puerto Rico. The sand dunes of Maspalomas are only a short drive away. There you can take a camel ride along the desert-like dunes.

The colourful port town of Puerto Rico offers a nice escape whether you want to take a walk along oceanfront promenade, glimpse at the fishermen returning to the marina, have a nice dinner at one of the authentic local restaurants, relax on a lounge chair at the beach or stroll the pedestrianized development surrounded by gardens of bougainvillea, palm trees, bird-of-paradise flowers, hibiscus and other colourful plants. This little “Venice of the Canaries” will simply charm you.

Finally, it wouldn’t be a complete vacation if you don’t cruise along the coast. Whether it is by bus, by car, or by scooter, the road along the ocean offers a scenic drive with the perfect sea breeze. We opted to rent a scooter and rode along the winding cliff roads, wind in the hair, chasing the sun setting over the Atlantic. Epic, scenic, simply majestic.


Paradise Valle Taurito Hotel review:

  • Location: The hotel is located south west of the island of Gran Canaria, between the towns of Puerto Mogan and Puerto Rico. The sand dunes of Maspalomas are a short drive away. No airport transfer is included with the hotel. You can choose to pay a taxi, but be prepared to pay a good 100 euros. You can opt to take public transportation. Ask the bus station clerk at the exit of the airport which bus to take to your destination. To get to Taurito, we took 2 buses, a total of 10 euros each. It took about 1  1/2 hour. Renting a car could be a great option.
  • Hotel: Very clean and comfortable newly renovated rooms with beautiful views of the resort and the ocean. Hotel always clean and well-maintained. Beautiful flowers and gardens.
  • Amenities: Small but nice pool surrounded by free long chairs. Pool tables, hot tub and free access to water park. The water has fun rides, although could need a good deep clean and TLC on the slides. Entertainment is a bit poor, but great for kids. Games room fun, but bowling is expensive. Mini-golf is a must! There is a nightclub that opens late for adults. Doesn’t get too busy and the drinks are not included, hence a bit pricey. Beach is clean and located only a few feet away. There is also a full service spa.
  • Food and Drinks: As most affordable all-inclusive resort, the food isn’t close to gastronomy. It tends to be a bit repetitive, but overall it is decent and eatable. The drinks are also ok. However, the self-service wine at dinner is horrible. Drinks and wine at the poolside bar are way better.
  • Staff: Had a great experience thanks to the staff. Very kind and helpful and, even after long days, they keep their smiles. Good job especially to the service and bar staff as well as the housekeepers. However, the front desk wasn’t too helpful with indications and recommendations, which made us miss our bus and take an expensive cab to the airport.

Gran Canaria

Photographs taken in Gran Canaria, Canary Islands. Read the full story: Vacationing in Gran Canaria.