Airports can be a bit of a drag. The outlets are over-crowded, people are running every which way and you just get this feeling all over your skin. It isn’t dirt, but it sure makes you feel dirty. While heading back from Tanzania, we had a 12-hour layover in Amsterdam. While the Amsterdam airport does feel like a glorified mall, we took this extended-layover as an excuse to extend our vacation: By heading out to the city to explore before heading back stateside. We made the most of our time and dipped our toes into the canals of Amsterdam. I’m definitely heading back soon to jump all the way in. Here are a few of the Amsterdam attractions we visited to make that layover not seem so daunting.
Flickr photo via Jonathan
The Westerkerk is known as the largest church in Amsterdam. Built between 1619 – 1631, the Westerkerk is a Protestant church and its bell tower, the Westerkerk Tower, remains the pride and city symbol of Amsterdam. While my travel mates and I just wandered in to have a look see, tours for the church (Westerkerk proper) are available all weekdays except Sundays from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Guided tours for the Westerkerk Tower are available June through September from 10 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. on all days except Sundays.
Grab a Heineken
Flickr photo via viZZZual.com
150 years ago, Heineken opened up a small brewery in Amsterdam. Today, Heineken is the world’s most international brewer. They really hopped to it, if you know what I mean. I’m not the biggest fan of Heineken stateside, but it sure hit the spot after being cooped up in an airplane all morning. The view of the canals, bikes and Dutch folk milling about didn’t hurt either. Fresh off the tap and served alongside a plate of caprese made this Heineken one to savour.
Flickr photo via Dennis Jarvis
I fell in love with the canals of Amsterdam. Ever since that visit I’ve been coming up with ways to befriend a resident of one of the canal houses. Ideas pending. The canal tours are offered daily during the summer and winter seasons. The 75-minute option was the perfect length during our layover. It was relaxing, informative and only cost 14 euros. Different companies offer different styles of cruises and rates, but no matter what you choose – it’s a great way to get a quick glimpse at Amsterdam by water.
Flickr photo via Ricardo Liberato
As an avid biker, I got a little starry eyed when I saw the bike capital of the world. Bikes were everywhere! Bike stop lights. Bike lanes. Just – BIKES! I wasn’t just seeing things though, according to The Guardian, the Netherlands has 22,000 miles (and growing) of cycling paths. In Amsterdam over 38 percent of all trips are make my bike – ja graag! Sorry Lincoln, this writer knows where she’s sending her resume. If only I knew Dutch.
These are just a few of the things Amsterdam has to offer, I mean c’mon it’s Amsterdam!