Schiphol Airport, Amsterdam
Schiphol Airport is an interesting place. I had a layover here for a while and had some rather weird experiences.
First of all, the airport is comfortable for those with a long layover. I just parked myself off to the side with my bags and chilled out. No one bugged me.
BUUUUT....when it finally came time to board my place I looked a bit disheveled (I was travelling on a budget). The airport security guys, even thought I'm sure they saw me there for the last serveral hours, pulled me a side to frisk me. I just wanted to get on my plane! :)
Anyhoot, more of the story is that the security here is pretty good, so don't do anything stupid like try to smuggle a pound of weed back home. There's dogs as well...not the type you pat on the head and go "awwww, you so cute" but rather the type that eats man balls for breakfast.
Happy trails. Just make sure they are safe trails.
Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport is modern and easy to navigate. You'll find all kinds of overpriced shops and bars and a clean and efficient atmosphere. The lines for international departure can be a bit slow and long, so be sure you allow yourself enough time to catch your flight. The best way, in my opinion, to reach the city or to get from the city to the airport is by train. The embarcation point and arrival point is in Central Hall which is near key airport gates. The trip to and from Centraal Station only costs 3.10 Euros (February of 2004).
The Schipol International Airport is simply the best airport in all of Europe. Yes, #1. It is also amongst the world's top 10 best. No mean feat.
The shops located at the Departure Hall is first-rate too. Just before I boarded the plane for home (on my last trip), I bought a bunch of really lovely tulips for my Mom... yes, right here at the airport. I just loooove tulips!
Don't forget to check out their ultra-cool website.
Working for an airline, I've seen an airport or two, but Schiphol (AMS) is by FAR the coolest I've seen. With it's blue & yellow scheme, I know I'm in Europe the minute I get off the plane. It's real easy to find your way around, with lot's of places(around 40) to eat & catch your 1st (or maybe one last before leaving) round of fresh Heineken. With the train station just steps from the baggage area and all under one roof, getting around couldn't be easier. Unless you're on a really tight budget, spend the extra two euro's & get a 1st Class ticket to Central Station. It's only about a 15 minute ride, but it's always wide open which helps if you're carrying luggage. Then from Central Station, just catch a tram outside & you're anywhere in the city from the airport in 40 minutes.
I'm just sorry that my flight back to L.A. leaves so early that I can't spend more time there. It's that cool. It even has a Casino!
Here's what I found helps from feeling like crap after a LONG plane trip. 1). Make sure you're well fed before you travel. 2). Drink LOTS of bottled water on the flight. Sure a few cold Heinekens will put you in the Amsterdam mood & get mellow for perhaps a little sleep, but don't get so wacked on the plane that you arrive feeling like a charcoal brickett. Pace yourself & drink plenty of that bottled water. Airplane air is really DRY & you will end up with a THUMPING headache if you get too dehydrated. 3) Get up & MOVE AROUND! On 747's, I like to sit as close to the tail as possible. You can stand up with your foot on the armrest (a VERY comfortable stretch!) & not block anybodys view of the movie. Also, there's usually the little walkway way back by the lavatorys that you should use to stand up & stretch. It also seems to be a natural gathering place for other wise individuals like yourself. You may meet somebody who you can hook up with later. Also, they seem to serve food & drinks from the aft FORWARD. So you get your drink & grub on 1st, finish 1st, & get the trays taken away 1st.
For those who come from afar, the International Airport of The Netherlands: Schiphol, is the gateway to enter our country and especially the capitol Amsterdam. More information on my special "Schiphol-page", but here I want to mention the luck you might have by arriving on route and fly over Amsterdam. This is a truely amazing sight and the best welcome you can ever imagine. Approaching Schiphol from the North-East you will have a magnificent view of the canal-rings of Amsterdam. For those who miss it, well, underneath here is a aireal photograph.
There are many ways to make your way into the Netherlands. The easiest of course is to fly in directly. From the states, Singapore airlines has direct flights from Chicago and Newark, and KLM has multiple destinations. Most of the other major Amercian airlines (United, US Airways, Northwest, etc.) service Schiphol Airport. Once you arrive at the airport, you can either take a train into the city center, you can take a bus, or you can grab a cab. Elisabeth and I grabbed a cab and it cost us about Euro 35. We did take the train to the airport on our way to the Floriade and that was a mere Euro 2.90 each way. It was also very easy. The downside to it is that you have to head to the Central Station and make your way around the city either by tram or by foot. Also, I recommend going to the courtesy desk to buy your rail pass because the automated machines do not accept credit cards (only those with Maestro) and they do not accept paper bills (only coins). I don't know much about taking a bus into the city. Sorry.. I didn't try it. The cab however, while more expensive, was comfortable ( A Mercedes E-class) , we had the option to charge our fare, and our cab driver was a real nice guy. Amsterdam can be reached by car. All the highways seem to lead into the city. Also, Amsterdam has a large port and as such, cruise ships make stops there.
Amsterdam has many options for getting around. Elisabeth and I did most of it by foot but there are trams, taxis, buses, canal boats of many varieties, and also bicycles. Amsterdam is definitely one of Europes largest biking cities. Everyone, businesspeople to lovely grannies, they were all pedaling there way around. Tourists included!
I have mixed feelings about Amsterdam's international airport.
The first time I went there, I was in transit and only remember the corridors and my poor attempts at saying "Een Wieckse Witte, alstublieft". I managed to get the right stuff in my glass so the waiter must have taken pity on me.
The second time, which was also the first time I went to Amsterdam, I got overwhelmed by the huge arrival hall, which is quite daunting when you arrive at 11pm at night. The fact that I couldn't find a single cash machine that worked didn't help.
It has taken the third time to really appreciate Schipol, its huge shopping area and the amazing number of restaurants you can find there. So, don't worry, if you haven't had time to eat or you've forgotten to buy a present, you will find anything in Schipol, before and after customs. From diamonds to flowers, you could spend hours shopping just before you fly. Be careful not to miss the flight though.
One curiosity for male tourists: each and every urinal has a very convincing drawing of a fly in the basin. Maybe it is meant to help you aim properly when you're stoned? Those Dutch are mad...
Schiphol Airport is one of the 5 biggest airports in Europe. So if you want to catch your plane don't - like us - spend too much time in the shop/restaurant area but start walking to your gate early enough! We had to rush because the distance got bigger and bigger and bigger! And when we sat down in the plane - it had to wait for 45 minutes of course ;-)
If you do not want to travel on Metro then you can either take a Taxi or a Conection Bus. Taxi will cost you aroudn 30 Euros and will take 25-45 mins, depending on the traffic. Whereas connection bus number 172, runs regular service between the airport and the Amsterdam Central Railway Station.
After reaching the airport, you need not to worry. Simply take a underground metro to the Amsterdam city. It will cost you around 6 Euros return ticket to and from Schipol airport. Metro takes just 20 mins to reach the city.You can find the metro station when u will come out from arrivals and follow the signs going outside the airport. You will reach a big hall and there is the Metro Timetable and elevators going to the plateform.
Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam is not the only Netherland's main airport but also the 3rd Busiest Airport of Europe. It is the main hub of Royal Dutch Airline - KLM. In the pic on the left you can see that my plane is about to land in Amsterdam.
Schiphol Airport of Amsterdam is no doubt the second best airport i have ever been to, after Dubai International Airport - UAE. It's HUGE and the facilities provided on this airport are excellent.
The biggest airport of the Netherlands is Amsterdam Schiphol Airport. It is unsurpassed in terms of efficiency and convenience thanks to its carefully planned 'single terminal' concept, automatic baggage transfer and signs in English.
Amsterdam Schiphol Airports offers direct flight connections to over 200 worldwide destinations anyway it might be cheaper for you to fly to a nearby city such as Amsterdam, in fact many airlines will offer you a free side trip within Europe, so ask around and see what offers are available.
We flew direct from Belfast to Amsterdam. The flight was about 1 hour and 20 minutes. Easyjet have a very good record for timekeeping and our return flight arrived a little earlier than expected. If you want cheap flights, check about 6 months in advance.