Schiphol Airport, Amsterdam
Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport is probably the most classy airport in Europe that I've seen. Do you know that this airport is the only place in Amsterdam where cab drivers MUST wear a tie and jacket? Talk about making a good impression from the very beginning!
Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport is much more than an airport. It's a mega mall for shopping... and also contains the Aviodome museum, train station, art gallery, business center, casino and spa. Feel free to shop up a storm, mail your letters, do your banking, have a cocktail, grab a snack, buy last minute Dutch gifts, or grab a bouquet of fresh tulips for Mom (like what I did) before boarding your plane. You can pray there (yes, they have a chapel here!) if you choose to. Or you can choose to shower. Sleep or simply read a book? In this airport, everything a traveler needs is under one big roof! It is no wonder... and for NINE years running, Schiphol has been voted the 'Best Airport Duty Free Shops' by Business Travel International. They also rated Schiphol second only to Singapore's Changi International Airport as the 'Best Airport in the World'.
At Schiphol every major currency is accepted. This is the BEST opportunity for you to spend all your extra coins. I dropped in to one of the newsshops and picked up some magazines (UK Cosmopolitan, US Vogue) to peruse onboard the plane. They weren't cheap though. The Dutch magazines are much, much cheaper.
And get this: Trying to follow in the footsteps of Singapore Changi Airport, and catering specially for TRANSIT passengers, Holland Tours Schiphol will take you on a guided city tour of Amsterdam and bring you back in time to catch your next flight. The 2 1/2 hour city tour cost approx. $30; the 3 1/2 hour one is just a little more. Tickets are available at the tour counter in the arrival lounge or in the lounge area in front of the casino (yes, they have a casino here too). These Dutch people are simply amazing! The only difference is that the tours offered in Singapore Changi Airport for transit passengers are free of charge. :-)) Maybe Schiphol can consider NOT charging?
Schiphol Airport also houses a railway station connecting to all the major cities in Holland and Europe e.g. trains leave for Amsterdam's Central Station every fifteen minutes during the day and every hour during the night. Told ya these Dutch are amazing. You can take your luggage trolley right to the boarding platform and simply leave it there when you board the train. This is a great help when you are fatigued after an overnight flight and the last thing in the world you want to do is drag your luggage from one place to another! Now, why don't other European airports follow in Schiphol's footsteps? Holland is probably one of the smallest countries in Europe and yet, they are so advanced. I take my hat off to the Dutch people.... and thank you for making my stay in Amsterdam so memorable - always!
Living in a country like Ireland where smokers are treated like wayward children is great when you are as anti-smoking as I am. ;)
(BTW I don't object to someone's right to smoke, I just don't get why anyone would ever want to)
From the time you get off the plane at Schiphol, the strong waft of cigarette smoke hits you in the face. I found it a bit hard to get used to, but smoking cigarettes and its stronger cousins is no big deal here, as you know ;-)