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 😉