On the way into Europe, we booked a long layover in Amsterdam, landing at 10:30a and leaving at 8:30p to same day. This was my first time in Amsterdam, and I really would consider it a great introduction to the city. Thankfully, we have a family member that lives very close to Amsterdam's Central Train Station who was able to play tour guide for the day! Even if you don't though, it would be very easy to give yourself a tour.
Leaving the airport, we did of course have to go thru passport control. It was quick and smooth in comparison the some of the other stops. Signs are very clear as to which line you should be in based on the country which issued your passport. There were also a couple of English speaking attendants at the start of the line to ensure passengers were in the right place. At this particular passport check, we got thru the line, were asked a couple quick questions regarding our travel, passports stamped and were on our way in under 10 minutes.
From there, we exited baggage claim and headed out to the 'Meeting Point', which is a massive cubic sculpture in the center hall. If you aren't meeting anyone and instead are looking to head straight to Central Station, just on the other side of the cube are ticket kiosks for the trains. Purchase a round trip pass to Central Station, check the boards above the ticket counters (to the right of the cube) and head for the numbered escalator to the platform boarding next for that station. On the way the the escalators there are small pillars to tap your ticket on so that it is activated. Trains are very timely, clean and clearly signed. We bought 2nd class round trip tickets, so we hopped on the closest car marked with a large number '2' by the door and were off! The train has only one stop - Central Station. Were lucky enough to store our luggage with family, but just in case you are not, don't worry. There are luggage lockers (called bagagekluizen) in Central Station costing 7-10 Euros for 24 hours.
We dropped our luggage then walked to canals to lunch with a view, which was my only specific request. Not only was lunch delicious, but the view was unbeatable! At the top of a shopping center, close to the Tulip Market, is Blue Amsterdam.
After enjoying the view and getting a good meal in, we continued a walking tour around the city followed by a boat tour of the canals which was a great way to see more of the city. As much as we thought we would want to keep walking after a long flight, the jet lag started to kick in and having a seated tour was a good way to keep going!
Walking a bit more, we then regrouped and gathered up our luggage heading back to the airport for our flight to Krakow knowing we would be back in Amsterdam on our way out of Europe.