An Amsterdam Layover after a long flight to Europe can be an excellent way to adjust to jet lag and see some sights too.  Here’s what we did in April 2017 without even visiting Amsterdam itself:

Amsterdam Layover, Keukenhof Gardens in April, Netherlands

Keukenhof Gardens in April

CitizenM Schiphol – perfect Amsterdam Layover Hotel

Our overnight flight arrived at Schiphol International Airport around noon and we checked in to the ultra modern CitizenM Schiphol Airport.  We liked it immensely right away.  The entrance to the international airport at Schiphol is only a few steps away.  The CitizenM has you do your own automated check in.  You even swipe your room key yourself to set it.  The room comes with an iPad which controls the TV, the room temperature and even the mood lighting in the room.  The rooms are extremely small but very efficient.  We enjoyed the large windows with a view of the airport runways.  We really loved this hotel, as it’s the perfect home base for an Amsterdam layover.

Amsterdam Layover, Keukenhof Gardens, Tulip Display

Keukenhof Gardens, Tulip Display

Amsterdam Layover – Keukenhof Gardens

We planned to sleep the first afternoon, but with the line ups for Keukenhoff Gardens just a few feet away, we couldn’t resist going immediately.  We bought the flexible day passes online. The continuous string of empty buses that were waiting meant that the long lines moved quickly.  The non stop trip took about half an hour.  The Keukenhoff Gardens are only open in the spring.  The tulips were in full bloom for our visit.  The weather was typical for the Netherlands – cold, breezy, intermittent rain and periods of sunshine.  The throng of tourists at the gardens seemed to be mainly local.  Keukenhoff is an amazing experience and a great start to our Amsterdam layover.

Keukenhoff Gardens Slide Show Gallery

Amsterdam Layover – Aalsmeer Flower Auction

The next morning we visited the Aalsmeer Flower Auction, which was another great choice.  We used a cab to get there and the local bus system to return. The flower auction is one of the largest in Europe.  Suspended walk ways allow visitors a top view of the complicated process required to retrieve all the right flowers for each shipment.

Amsterdam Layover – Bruges

For our second full day of our Amsterdam layover, we bought a train pass to Bruges in Belgium.  It took 3 trains and more than 4 hours to get there, but we had a wonderful time.  The weather was mixed sun, rain, wind and even a couple hail storms.  An easy  walk from the train station led us to all the major sights in this quaint, historic town.  Along the way, we tasted Belgian waffle desserts and bought Belgian chocolates from chocolatiers.  Many of the narrow streets were empty, creating an impression that we were the only ones in town.  So, we were surprised to see how many tourists there were in Burg Square. 

Rozenhoedkaai viewpoint and the Belfry, Bruges, Amsterdam Layover

Rozenhoedkaai viewpoint and the Belfry, Bruges

We were able to see many of the famous sites, such as the Belfry, City Hall, Blind Donkey Alley, Market Square, the Church of Our Lady, Begijnhof, the Basilica of the Holy Blood and the picturesque Rozenhoedkaai river view.  It was another long ride back to the Citizen M in Amsterdam, but this was a worthwhile side trip from Amsterdam.

Bruges Slide Show Gallery

Our Amsterdam layover was a great way to see major attractions in Europe and adjust to jet lag at the same time.  After this visit, we flew to Portugal for a Lisbon Tour, which marked the beginning of a Gate1 Travel adventure through Portugal and Spain.