How to get to Amsterdam
Amsterdam is one of Europe’s top destinations. Travelling to Amsterdam is usually quite easy, as it can be reached by air, land and even sea. Cheap flights from within Europe and direct flights from outside Europe are readily available, serving Amsterdam Airport Schiphol - Europe’s fourth largest airport, which is just a few kilometres from the city centre.
A direct railway line connects Schiphol International Airport with Amsterdam Central Station, and is the fastest and most convenient form of transport to the city centre. Trains run every 10 minutes from Platforms 1 and 2 in the main arrival plaza (see the airport train schedule). Fine of €35 will be added to the fare if you are caught without a valid ticket.
Amsterdam Airport Shuttles run by Connexxion depart every 10 minutes, with services to more than 100 hotels throughout the city. Tickets cost €17 for one-way or €27 for a return, and can be purchased inside the main arrival plaza. The tickets can be purchased at the Connexxion Shuttle Desk in Arrivals 4 or the Holland Tourist Information desk at Arrivals 2. Guests of major hotels should first check the shuttle area to see if their hotel provides a complementary service.
If you want to transfer from Amsterdam airport to the city center, you can book a ride with the personalized Amsterdam Taxi service.
Taxi and business limousines in Amsterdam start at €45 and can be reserved through our partners at Dutch Business Limousine.
Amsterdam is a wonderfully walkable city, with most major sites in or near the city centre. For attractions that are further away, public transport is excellent and driving is strongly discouraged within the canal ring.
For public transport in Amsterdam, GVB is the main public transportation company. It provides integrated metro, tram and bus services throughout Amsterdam and its surrounding areas. In 2010 a comprehensive ticketing system was introduced, allowing people to travel on trams, metro, buses and even trains using one Amsterdam transport OV-chipcard. However, the OV-chipkaart is more useful for residents and long-term visitors.
It is recommended that short-term visitors to Amsterdam purchase one of the many paper tickets available. There are 24-, 48-, 72-, 96-, 120-, 144- and 168- hour tickets, and they provide an economical way for visitors to explore the city.
The 24-hour OV card is €7.50 for all people over 12 and €2.50 for children aged 4-11. A one-hour OV card can be purchased on-board from GVB drivers and conductors, but this is not recommended due the premium charged for this ticket. It costs €2.90 and is only valid for one hour from the check-in time of your first journey. This card is not valid on another day or for longer than one hour, even if your actual journey has been very short.
Paper tickets are valid for unlimited travel on any GVB bus, tram, metro and night bus for the duration of the card. Please note that they are not valid on the regional buses run by Connexxion and EBS. Those who wish to travel by train will have to buy a separate ticket.
Please remember to always check in when boarding and check out when departing each bus, tram and metro, otherwise your card may not work the next time you check in.
If you have been to Amsterdam before and used the strippenkaart, please note that these tickets are no longer in use for Amsterdam transport.
Amsterdam Trams provide the best way to get around Amsterdam and run regularly until 12:15am.
Amsterdam Buses are primarily used to reach outlying suburbs during the day. Night buses are available after the trams have stopped running and are available from 12:30am until 7am, with routes connecting to Central Station, Rembrandtplein and Leidseplein. Those without a specific GVB day or multi-day ticket will have to purchase a separate ticket for €4.50. You may use this ticket to transfer to other GVB night buses.
The Amsterdam Metro system currently has four lines in service that can quickly take you to the distant suburban areas of the city (see the metro map). Three of the Amsterdam metro lines begin their journeys from Central Station. Some of the metro stations (e.g. Amstel Station and Sloterdijk) share their platforms with regular trains, which make them convenient points for travelling out of Amsterdam.
Cycling in Amsterdam
Bicycling in Amsterdam is a way of life for most Dutch people and is the best choice of Amsterdam transport. Some would say that the only way to truly experience Amsterdam is by bike. There are dedicated bicycle paths throughout the city and very few hills to conquer. A number of companies offer Amsterdam bicycle rentals for around €8 per day, with discounts for longer rentals.
Taxi stands are available at most tourist hubs including Leidseplein, Dam Square and Central Station. Although more expensive, it serves as convenient Amsterdam transport. Hailing a taxi can be difficult, especially on weekends, but cab service is generally prompt if you call ahead. You can reach the city cab line on 0900 677 7777. Rides cost €1.80 per kilometre regardless of the time of day, with an optional 5% - 10% tip.
For an alternative Dutch taxi, catch one of the many bicycle taxis around the city. The pedal-powered taxis can carry up to two people and are more environmentally friendly and cheaper than conventional taxis.
By taking advantage of the low cost bus companies you will be able to reach the places of your dreams without having to incur in frequent changes of trains or planes nor the exhaustion from driving.
Rent a car in Amsterdam
Although driving in Amsterdam is not recommended, Amsterdam car rental services are readily available at Schiphol Airport and in the city centre along Overtoom Straat, near Vondelpark. All major agencies are represented including Avis, Budget, Europcar, Hertz, National and Alamo. Driving and parking in the city can be very difficult, but may be worth the hassle for those who have chosen to travel through the Netherlands by car.
If you travel by car do not forget that finding a parking spot in the city center might be challenging. We advise to book your parking space online in advance. Check this page to find more recommendations on where to park your car in Amsterdam.
Amsterdam travel tips
- Head to the Amsterdam tourist office and buy a one, two or three-day Amsterdam Card (Amsterdam Pass) for unlimited travel on all public transport and free entry to most Amsterdam museums and Amsterdam attractions.
- Organised groups of travellers between 10 and 25 people can take advantage of a group Amsterdam transport ticket.
- Avoid purchasing one-hour tickets and instead buy a multi-day ticket for the duration of your stay.
- Plan your trip on public transport at 9292.nl/en and find out details such as transfers, stops and platforms to avoid getting lost.
- Rent a bicycle and explore Amsterdam like a true Dutchie!