Europe

Amsterdam Airport Schiphol First Timer's Guide: How to get Around

Updated on:  
July 25, 2021
Reading Time:  
3
 minutes
Miriam Jaffe
Miriam Jaffe
Contributor
Follow us on Linkedin
Here are all the deets you should know about the Amsterdam Airport Schiphol (AMS), including getting around from the airport, covid-19 testings, transfers, and all the other useful facts to help you navigate around the airport!

Flying into Amsterdam soon? If you are, you’ll get to arrive via Amsterdam Schiphol Airport (airport code AMS if you’re curious what your checked luggage tag might say). For some travelers, airports are exciting, and for others, they might be stressful, but regardless of what category you fit into, we want to help you navigate the airport in Amsterdam.   

Schiphol Amsterdam Airport Departures 2 door.
Photo by Ben Koorengevel on Unsplash

Airport Map

Amsterdam airport has one large passenger terminal, with three departure halls, and six concourses (B-G). If you are arriving at Schiphol Airport, you’ll arrive at ground level, whereas if you’re departing, you’ll leave from the first floor. There is also a panorama terrace on the third floor if you’re interested in getting a view while at the airport. 

AMS Airport Layout of the main terminal and concourses.
Image Courtesy: iFly.com

Getting to the city center

As with many airports in Europe, the Amsterdam airport isn’t actually located in the city center. As such, you have to make your way into Amsterdam itself. There are a couple of ways you can do this depending on your budget, and how quickly you want to get there.

If time is your main constraint, you can take a taxi to the city center. There is a taxi rank in front of Schiphol Plaza where you can catch a licensed taxi to take you into town. A taxi will cost you approximately €45, although this price could increase based on where in Amsterdam you want to go, and how busy travel is.

You can also take the train to the city center! You can catch the train at the Airport Train Station, located directly below the terminal building. It will take 15-20 minutes to get you to Amsterdam Central Station. You can buy your ticket at a kiosk or desk in the arrivals hall, or online in advance. A one-way, second-class ticket will cost you €4.60. You must have a ticket to board the train.

The last way you can use to make your way into the city center is via bus. There is an Airport Express bus run by Connexxion. Bus 397 will take you approximately 35 minutes to get into the city center, but with buses departing every 7.5 minutes, it’s pretty convenient. You can catch the bus from platform B17 at Schiphol Plaza, and the three main stops in the city center are Museumplein, Rijksmuseum, and Leidseplein. Tickets cost €7.50 one way and €11.75 return.

Amsterdam AMS airport express bus ticket purchasing booth.
Image Courtesy: Schiphol Airport

Airport hotels

If you’re looking to stay at a hotel near Schiphol Airport, you have so many choices. You can choose between hotels in the airport or ones up to a 15-minute bus ride away. If you’re trying to sleep in the airport, but are willing to pay for it, here are your two choices:


●    Mercure Hotel Schiphol Terminal

○    Located directly after security in Departures Lounge 3. You can stay in this hotel so long as you are booked on a flight departing the day you plan to check out, but you can also book a room during the day (10:00-17:00) for a quick snooze or shower. 

●    YOTELAIR

○    Located after security in Lounge 2, and is accessible to anyone, even if you’re just transiting in AMS. This hotel is more expensive than Mercure Hotel, as well as some of the other options a little further away, but is a convenient way for any traveler to catch some shut-eye during a long layover.

Mercure airport hotel in Schiphol Airport Amsterdam Terminal.
Image Courtesy: Schiphol Airport

Sleeping in Schiphol Airport

While sleeping in a hotel is a great way to handle a long layover, that might not fit into your budget. If you’re looking to save some money, you can opt to sleep in the airport itself while you wait for your next flight. Based on travelers who have slept in the airport, it’s more comfortable to do so airside if you can than landside. 

Sleeping is only allowed in the airport overnight so be aware of the flight operating hours while you’re there if you’re hoping to catch some shuteye in the airport. According to Sleeping in Airports, security guards will check for a boarding pass starting at midnight if you’re attempting to sleep landside, and if you don’t have one, you won’t be allowed back in until 4 am. 

Airside there are plenty of comfortable chairs you can use to sleep between concourses E and F, and another popular sleeping spot is right before the D gates. To guarantee the nicest chairs and most comfortable sleeping arrangements, be sure to stake out your area as early as possible. 

Waiting for the airplane in Amsterdam Schiphol Airport Terminal.
Photo by JESHOOTS.COM on Unsplash

Airport Covid transfer

If Amsterdam is your final destination, you’ll have to adhere to Dutch guidelines and requirements for Covid testing. However, what if you’re just transiting through the airport in Amsterdam? The rules can be different in this situation depending on where you’re coming from or your vaccination status.

If you’re transferring from a country that is deemed safe due to low risk of coronavirus infection, you aren’t required to present a negative test for your transfer providing you transfer within 24 hours, and you don’t leave the airport. Regardless of how long your transfer is, you do need to fill out a Health Declaration form. 

Fully vaccinated travelers can transit through Schiphol and don’t need to take any additional tests so long as they don’t leave the airport. Exiting the airport counts as a new journey, and therefore you will need to then present a new negative test result (this applies to any transferring travelers).

Testing at the airport

If you’re traveling from Schiphol to somewhere that requires a negative test, you can book a rapid test at the airport for €69 at Test2fly.amsterdam. Your test will be processed within 15-20 minutes. 

Schiphol Airport Amsterdam COVID 19 Testing centre.
Image Courtesy: Schiphol Airport

Prepare for departure!

Hopefully, you feel a little more prepared for a journey involving Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam now! If Amsterdam is your final destination, and you’re still trying to figure out what to do, don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. Read all about our suggestions here!

Whether Amsterdam is your dream destination or a stop on a European adventure, we want to make sure you can check off your travel bucket list. Did you know that Pilot has a travel app to help make your plans and itinerary? No? Sign up here to give it a whirl -  we know you want to try it! If you’re more of an email person, subscribe to Flightdeck to we’ll send you all our tips and tricks straight to your inbox!

Related Articles