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janewb May 21st, 2008 11:43 AM

3 hours in Schiphol
I have a 3 hour layover in Schiphol on Friday. Can anyone recommend any restaurants or other things to do? Has anyone used the spa?



LoveItaly May 21st, 2008 11:58 AM

Hi Jane, Schiphol is a wonderful and very passenger friendly airport. Three hours is perfect imo. You won't have a long wait as you will need to go through passport control, security etc. Anyway, here is the website for your review so you can see what services are offerred and get familar with the layout.

janewb May 21st, 2008 12:00 PM

Thanks LoveItaly,
I should have mentioned that I've already looked at the website. I was looking for some more "inside" information.



travelgourmet May 21st, 2008 02:43 PM

What is the connection? Schengen (most of EU) to international, vice versa, international to international, or Schengen to Schengen?

Regardless, 3 hours is a long time, as passport control and security is a snap (maybe 10 minutes). So, excepting a long walk from a distant B pier gate to the G pier, the whole process can be remarkably short.

As for what to do... The international side has a bit more to do, including a casino, a museum, and plenty of shopping. There is also a very nice relaxation area on the second floor, near the airline lounges. The Schengen side is nice, but the options are largely limited to shopping.

Regarding the shopping, there aren't a lot of great bargains, and there is not that much at the high end. There is, however a pretty good selection of the basics. The booze selection is solid. Cosmetics and skin care is pretty good as well. There are electronics, but the deals aren't always there.

As for restaurants, this is the one area that I think it could stand improvement. The international side has one main food court, above the main shopping atrium. There is a branch of Paul, McDonald's, and an Indonesian place. Maybe a Sbarro's as well. There is a full-service restaurant here as well, with a generic menu. On the main level is a noodle place and a sushi spot. Further on toward the G gates is a McDonald's, again on the second floor. When you go down the piers, the options are slim.

On the Schengen side, almost everything is in the initial atrium. There is a Starbucks, and behind it a full-service cafe and a cafeteria. The cafeteria, at least, is nothing special. On the second level is a food court, with Burger King, a Sbarro (I think), a generic Asian place, and a catch-all grill. Again, nothing special. A bit further along, near the transfer desk and the Schengen-side casino is a seafood place - Caviar House and Prunier, maybe?

Good luck. Schiphol is such an easy airport, that you shouldn't have too many problems.

williamscb13 May 21st, 2008 08:10 PM

What about visiting the museum in Schiphol airport? It looked like it had a magnificent Van Gogh exhibit. We didn't get a chance to check it out, but maybe you should.

Agreed that the food choices are not that great.

janewb May 21st, 2008 11:20 PM

Thanks for the information. I am traveling from Schengen to Int'l so it sounds like I'll find something to do.

On my way here, I only had about 30 mins, so I didn't get to see much of anything.


travelgourmet May 21st, 2008 11:57 PM

Assuming that you are flying back to the US from Schiphol, bear in mind that you will need to clear security at the gate. This will involve an interview and a security check. Once through security, you are in a sort of holding pen.

There is nothing other than (too few) seats and bathrooms in the holding pen. Make sure to get any food, magazines, drinks, etc before going to the gate.

janewb May 22nd, 2008 01:32 AM

How much time do I need to allow to get thru security at the gate? Is this an additional security check after going thru security for the terminal and passport check? Thanks.

travelgourmet May 22nd, 2008 05:34 AM

When you are coming from Schengen to an International flight, you first clear passport control. This is painless, and usually under 5 minutes.

You do not clear security until you are at the gates. This is part and parcel of the boarding process. The boards will say: "To Gate" when they are starting the process.

I don't want to tell you when to go, but I definitely wait a while after the "To Gate" sign comes up. Usually, I will start walking down that way, and if there is still a line of people, I will just head to the nearest shop and browse the magazines or go to the bar and grab a drink. I will head to the gate after the line is pretty much gone. No sense standing in line just so that I can twiddle my thumbs in the holding pen, waiting to get on the plane.

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