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Before my recent trip I hadn’t been to Amsterdam in about 6 or 7 years! And I remember feeling like I hadn’t really seen the best of it at the time. So I was delighted to have the opportunity to return to Amsterdam with a fabulous group of Irish journalists. In this article I’m going to tell you all about KLM’s increased flights from Dublin to Amsterdam, what you need to know about transiting through Schiphol airport and how to have the perfect stopover in Amsterdam.
Guide to a Transit and/or Stopover in Amsterdam
Dublin to Amsterdam
Recently KLM increased the number of daily flights from Dublin to Amsterdam from twice daily to four times daily. I know that might not sound too exciting to most of you unless you happen to have a long-distance lover in Amsterdam (how exciting). HOWEVER, let me explain what that really means.
KLM (Or Air France KLM as they are officially known) flies to 159 different destinations around the world from Schiphol airport in Amsterdam. So those 2 extra flights per day mean that you can connect with nearly any of those flights at a convenient time.
It is very unlikely that you’ll have a long wait between flights, unless you want one. And considering everything that there is to do in Amsterdam and Schiphol airport, then I wouldn’t blame you for wanting to take a longer stopover.
If you fancy a day out or have an important meeting, these additional flights mean that you can fly to Amsterdam in the morning and home in the evening. And as I found out my recent trip, you can do a lot with a day in Amsterdam. Flights from Dublin to Amsterdam with KLM start from €98 return.
Connecting in Schiphol Amsterdam
Having a transfer or connecting flight in Schiphol airport in Amsterdam is a lot easier than most airports. There is only one terminal, so there’s no need to worry about what terminal you land in and what terminal you’ll be taking off from. We all hate those inter-terminal buses that seem to drive you around the world before finally depositing you at your terminal minutes before your flight is due to depart. Schiphol is not like those airports.
This airport was designed with the passenger in mind and is always being updated to make transit quicker and less stressful. I’ve been through a few times in transit, most recently on my way to Aruba and I found my way around with ease. If you have a few hours to kill you’ll find no shortage of things to do in Schiphol.
For any of you out there with babies (fair play to you) there’s a babycare lounge where you can bathe your baby, microwave a bottle and let your little one catch a few winks in one of 7 “baby cabins”, which are basically cots with seating around them for the family and a curtain for privacy. I was so impressed by this feature. So mamas and papas, make sure to check it out next time you’re passing through.
There are a couple of in terminal hotels if you need a bed for a few hours and plenty of comfortable relaxation areas with massage chairs etc. If you haven’t printed your boarding pass for your connecting flight there are plenty of self-service machines dotted throughout the terminal. Digital addicts like myself will be delighted with the free wifi and plethora of charging ports.
If you’re really bored you can watch people’s luggage pass below your feet on their way to baggage claim in the Lounge 2 area (seriously, there’s a glass floor, it’s my favourite bit). And I think that’s enough about Schiphol for one day. But I do have a final recommendation, pick up some authentic stroopwaffle on any trip through this airport! My boyfriend always requests some every time I pass through Schiphol.
The Perfect Stopover in Amsterdam
Don’t want to stay in the airport between flights? If you have time, why not nip into Amsterdam for a few hours. Or maybe open up your flights and spend a night in the city. With trains running every 10 minutes from Schiphol, you can be in Amsterdam central in 15 minutes. You won’t be able to see everything, but you sure can fit a lot into a short stopover in Amsterdam. Here’s some of the things I got up to during my 24hrs in Amsterdam.
Things to do in Amsterdam During a Stopover
– Canal Cruise. There are SO many different companies to choose from. All have a similar route and design. There are headsets, you choose your language and get ready to take in all the facts and figures about Amsterdam from the water. I love a canal cruise, they’re like the more sophisticated cousin of the hop-on-hop-off sightseeing bus.
– Heineken Experience. NOT just for beer drinkers. As I find is ALWAYS the case with these things, the tour is made incredibly enjoyable by the bubbly, knowledgeable tour guide. Also, they have horses in the Heineken Experience, who knew?! There’s also a pretty fun (and a little bit cheesy) 4D experience involved in the tour too. And, of course, you get to taste some Heineken.
– Van Gogh Museum. If you want to get cultural, this is the stop for you. Easily done in an hour or two. I visited this museum back when I was in college and loved it.
– Anne Frank’s House. It seems weird to refer to this as a tourist attraction. It’s such an emotional place. I had tears in my eyes in a few spots throughout this tour. Honestly, if you can only do one thing on your stopover in Amsterdam then this is the one. I assume that most of you will know who Anne Frank is, for any of you that don’t, Google her. Book in advance and make sure you arrive early, queues are usually down the street. Bring tissues and prepare to be moved.
– Go for a Cycle. Amsterdam is a VERY cycle-friendly city. Almost too cycle-friendly. Be careful as a pedestrian! I honestly saw a woman get hit by a cyclist outside the Heineken Experience. ANYWAY, if you’re a confident cyclist, cycling Amsterdam is a must-do and will help you get the most out of your stopover in Amsterdam. Personally, I intensely dislike cycling so I stuck to walking.
– Food With a View. Grab a bite to eat at Blue Amsterdam, where you’ll have an incredible 360 view of the city. I highly recommend the couscous salad. In fact, all the food was delicious. I’m still dreaming of that salad though.
Where to Stay in Amsterdam
I stayed in the 5* NH Collection Doelen Hotel. It’s all about old world style and glamour. The staff are incredibly friendly, professional and immaculately well-presented. Rembrandt painted his famous “Night Watch” painting for this very hotel so there’s A LOT of history.
My canal-side room looked out over the Amstel river. As most of you know I am a huge fan/critic of hotel bathrooms and this one was an absolute delight. I do love a rainfall shower. The breakfast room is stunning, like a giant glass conservatory with a view over the canal.
FYI, there’s sparkling wine with breakfast. There’s also a bar with a great cocktail list and barman. The location is super central, an easy walk to Dam square. Rooms start at €229 per night, but it’s worth it if you want somewhere luxurious to lay your head during your stopover in Amsterdam.
Special thanks to Nadia from The Daily S’elf for being my photographer on the trip! haha.
Have you had a stopover in Amsterdam?
Got any tips for me?