This is the ultimate travel guide to getting to Amsterdam! As I travel a lot, I know how important it is to have the right information about a city you will visit. It will not only give you a perfect experience, but it will also save you lots of money!
Since I am based in Amsterdam, I know everything about this beautiful Dutch city. In this guide, you'll find everything you need to know about how to get there!
Table of Contents
1. How to get to Amsterdam?
Depending on where you are from, there are many ways to get to Amsterdam.
If you're traveling from a country within Europe, you can easily travel by plane, bus, and train.
If you're traveling from a country outside of Europe, the easiest way to get to Amsterdam is by plane. I'm going to tell you everything about it now!
1.1 How to get to Amsterdam by plane?
Since the Netherlands is a small country, it doesn't take a lot of time to travel between different cities. Therefore, it might be more affordable to fly to another city than Amsterdam (Schiphol).
I'm going to discuss the different airports you can choose to get to Amsterdam.
1.1.1 How to choose which airport you should fly to?
I'm going to discuss all the differences between the airports and the costs to get from the airports to Amsterdam below.
Even though Schiphol Airport may sound like the best choice to fly to, you can save a lot of money if you arrive at another Dutch airport.
Therefore, I would advise you to follow these 3 steps to decide which airport you're going to choose if you want to travel as cheap as possible.
1. Go to flights.google.com, choose a one-way tri, and fill in the airport you're leaving from.
For destination, you should fill in multiple airports. I'd recommend filling in Schiphol Airport, Rotterdam Airport, Eindhoven Airport, and Brussels Zaventem Airport.
A list will show up of all the flights to the different destinations. Also, you can look at the calendar and see which dates are cheaper to travel.
I'd advise doing the same for your return tickets because then you can find the cheapest combination. It could be more affordable to fly and leave from another airport, or to fly with different airlines.
2. After finding which flights are the most affordable, you should read the information below and choose how you want to travel to the city center.
You can add the costs of the flight tickets to the costs to get from the specific airport to the center of Amsterdam.
After that, you will know what option will be most affordable including the transport costs in the Netherlands!
3. Read the information below and decide what's most comfortable for you. If you don't like to travel another few hours after your flight, then it might be more comfortable for you to maybe pay a little more than the cheapest option and reach the city center quicker.
1.1.2 Schiphol Airport (Amsterdam)
Schiphol Airport is the main international airport in the Netherlands.
The airport is very close to Amsterdam. It's only 9 kilometers from Amsterdam.
Since it is the main international airport of the Netherlands, it is also a very busy and huge airport.
220.127.116.11 How to get to the city center of Amsterdam from Schiphol Airport?
In this part, I will explain how to get to the city center of Amsterdam from Schiphol including options to go by public transport. Later in this guide, I will give more information about public transport in Amsterdam and in the Netherlands.
18.104.22.168.1 By train
The easiest and fastest way to get to the city center is by train. The train station is located directly below the terminal building, which is very handy. It will only take about 15 minutes to get to Amsterdam Centraal (the central station of Amsterdam).
Most of the time, the trains to Amsterdam Centraal depart from platform 1 or 2. However, there are huge screens that will show where the train departs from.
At what time will the train depart?
You can find the exact departure times of the train here.
You can buy tickets in advance or when you arrive at the airport. Below, you can read about the possibilities to buy tickets.
- Tickets in advance:
There are two types of tickets you can buy in advance
1. Just a ticket to the center
You can already plan your journey ahead and buy your tickets to the center here! When you go to that page, you can also find the current ticket price.
2. Amsterdam Travel Ticket
The Amsterdam Travel Ticket gives access to the metro, bus, and tram in Amsterdam. You can also take the train from Schiphol to Amsterdam with this ticket. You can buy the Amsterdam Travel Ticket online on this website. On that website, you can also find the current price of the Amsterdam Travel Ticket.
- Tickets when you arrive:
You can also buy tickets when you arrive in Amsterdam. If you want to do this, you can buy a public transport card, a single ticket, or an Amsterdam Travel Ticket. Below, you will find more information about these three options.
1. Public transport card
In the Netherlands, most people have a public transport card called the 'OV-chipkaart'. Those cards can be used on the train, bus, tram, and metro, which is really great.
I'll give you more information on how to travel within Amsterdam and the Netherlands later in this article. However, you can also buy the rechargeable public transport card at the NS machines in Schiphol.
You'll find them at Schiphol Plaza (next to the entrance to the platforms). You can find the current price of the journey when you use the public transport card on this website. To travel by train with a public transport card, you have to have at least €20 credit on your card.
2. Single paper ticket
You can also buy a single paper ticket at the blue-grey machines.
These machines can be found in two places in Schiphol. First, at the Arrivals 3 baggage reclaim area. Second, just outside Arrivals 3, at the escalators that go to Departures 3.
This is always €1,- more expensive than a single ticket bought online or the costs of the journey when you use the public transport card.
3. Amsterdam Travel Ticket
As I said before, the Amsterdam Travel Ticket allows you to travel by metro, bus, and tram in Amsterdam. It also gives access to the train between Schiphol and Amsterdam.
When you are at Schiphol, you can buy this ticket at the Ticket Desk in Schiphol Plaza (next to the entrance of the train platforms).
22.214.171.124.2 The bus
The bus is also a great way to travel to the city center. In contrast with the train, the bus doesn't take you to Amsterdam Central Station, but it takes you to Museumplein, Rijksmuseum, and Leidseplein. Those places are in the city center.
Which bus goes to Amsterdam?
You can take the Amsterdam Airport Express, that is bus 397. At night, you can take the N97, which goes to the same places.
Where can I buy my tickets?
You can buy a ticket in advance, but you can also buy a ticket when you arrive in Amsterdam. Below, you can find all information about buying a ticket.
- Buying tickets in advance
1. A single or return ticket
You can buy your single or return ticket on this website. You can also find the current prices of the tickets there.
2. Amsterdam Travel Ticket
Since the Amsterdam Travel Ticket allows you to travel by metro, bus, and tram in Amsterdam, you can also use this ticket for the bus to and from the city center. You can buy the tickets here, and the prices of the tickets can also be found here.
- Buying tickets when you arrive at the airport
1. A public transport card
It is common to have a public transport card in the Netherlands. In the Netherland, we call it a 'OV-chipkaart'. You can use this card for almost all public transport, such as trains, buses, trams, and metros.
The public transport card is rechargeable. You can buy one of these cards in Schiphol, at the NS machines. Those machines can be found at Schiphol Plaza, next to the entrance to the platforms for the trains. The costs of the journey can be found here. To travel by bus with this card, you need to have at least €10,- credit on your card.
2. Buying a ticket on the bus
You can buy a paper ticket on the bus. Most of the time, you can only pay by debit card and not by cash. However, keep in mind that a paper ticket is more expensive than the costs of the journey if you travel with a public transport card. You can find the price of the tickets on this website.
3. Amsterdam Travel Ticket
The Amsterdam Travel Ticket, which gives you access to the metro, bus, and tram in Amsterdam, can be bought at the Ticket Desk in Schiphol Plaza. The current prices can be found here.
- An official Schiphol taxi
Schiphol has an official taxi rank. You can find this in front of Schiphol Plaza. Make sure that you really follow the signs to go to the taxis, because then you are sure that you're taking an approved taxi.
You can also take an Uber in Amsterdam. Most of the time, this is more affordable than another taxi. You can easily download the app of Uber and then get your ride. You can check the costs of an Uber to the city center in the app. However, prices vary because of supply and demand.
126.96.36.199.4 Rent a car
You can also rent a car and drive to the city center. It is possible to pre-book online, but you can also just rent a car when you arrive at the airport.
There is a Car Rental and Service Desk in Schiphol.
This is located at Schiphol Plaza, but you can just follow the signs to 'Car Rental'.
If you want to pre-book, you can do that on the following websites of the car rental companies. The website of Avis, the website of Avis Budget, the website of Enterprise Rent-A-Car, the website of Europcar, the website of Hertz, and the website of Sixt.
1.1.3 Rotterdam The Hague Airport
Rotterdam The Hague Airport is the third busiest airport in the country. Amsterdam is easily accessible from this airport. This airport focuses mainly on Europe.
Sometimes it's way more affordable to fly to this airport than to fly to Schiphol.
If you want to know if that's the case, you can compare the airports as I showed in 1.1.1.
188.8.131.52 How to get to Amsterdam from Rotterdam The Hague Airport?
The train is the easiest way to get to Amsterdam from Rotterdam The Hague Airport. Before you can take a train, you need to go to the train station Rotterdam Centraal.
How to get to Rotterdam Centraal (trainstation)?
How to get to Rotterdam Centraal?
You can take RET bus 33, which takes you directly to Rotterdam Centraal.
Which train goes to Amsterdam?
There are many trains that go to Amsterdam. You can take a Sprinter, an Intercity, and an Intercity Direct. I would not recommend taking a sprinter, because the journey time of a sprinter is very long.
The Intercity takes you to Amsterdam Centraal directly and it is about 1:13 hours. You can find the current prices and departure times here.
- Intercity Direct
The Intercity Direct is faster than the Intercity, but you have to pay €2,60 more. The current prices and departure times can also be found here.
How to get tickets?
- Ticket for both bus and train
In the Netherlands, almost everyone has a public transport card, called OV-chipkaart. It is easiest to travel with a public transport card to the city center from Rotterdam The Hague Airport.
For the bus, you need to have at least €10,- credit on your card, and for the train, you have to have at least €20,- credit on your card. You can buy a public transport card at the AKO (book shop) at Rotterdam the Hague Airport.
- Separate ticket for the bus
You can buy a disposable transport card at the bus driver and at the vending and charging machines at the bus station of the airport.
- Separate ticket for the train
Even though it is more convenient to use a public transport card, you can also buy a separate ticket on the website ns.nl/en.
You can also take a taxi to Amsterdam. However, this is way more expensive than public transport.
- Normal Taxi
Rotterdam The Hague Airport has a taxi stand. You can find this directly in front of the entrance and exit of the terminal of the airport.
You can also take an Uber in the Netherlands. After you downloaded the app, you can just order a taxi. It's usually more affordable than a normal taxi.
1.1.4 Eindhoven Airport
In my opinion, Eindhoven Airport is one of the best options if you're traveling from a country in Europe. The tickets are usually way more affordable than any other airport, so it is just the cheapest option most of the time. However, keep in mind that you need to travel a little more by public transport which will also cost money and time.
How to get to Amsterdam from Eindhoven Airport?
184.108.40.206 By bus and train
First, you need to take the bus from the airport to Eindhoven Centraal. You can take bus line 400 or 401 to Eindhoven Station.
The bus takes about 20 minutes. The bus station is right in front of the airport.
When you are at Eindhoven Centraal, you can take an NS Intercity which will take about 1:17 hours. The current departure times and prices of the bus and train, and the platform of the train can be found on 9292.nl/en.
How to get tickets for this option?
- Ticket for both the bus and the train
You can travel with a public transport card (OV chipkaart). Most people have this card in the Netherlands. The card is rechargeable and you need to have at least €10,- credit for the bus and €20,- credit for the train. You can buy a public transport card at the AKO in Eindhoven Airport.
- Separate ticket for the bus
You can buy your ticket for the bus ahead on this website and choose a single ride ticket. If you buy your ticket here, it is €4,-. If you travel with a public transport card, it is most of the time cheaper.
Besides that, you can also buy your ticket from the bus driver and the ticket machines at the airport. Keep in mind, that most of the time you need to pay by debit card if you want to buy a ticket from the bus driver.
- Separate ticket for the train
I would highly recommend traveling with a public transport card within the Netherlands. However, you can also buy a separate ticket for the train. You can buy a ticket ahead for the train on ns.nl/en.
The AirExpressBus can take you from Eindhoven Airport to Amsterdam multiple times per day. It takes about 1 hour and 30 minutes. You can book your tickets on airexpressbus.com. On that website, you can also find the current prices and departure times.
It is possible to go to Amsterdam by taxi. However, it is very expensive. If you want to take a taxi, you can go to the official taxi lane at the airport near the city busses. You could also call Connexxion Taxi Services (+31 88 339 47 48).
1.1.5 Brussels Zaventem Airport
Brussels Zaventem Airport isn't in the Netherlands but in Belgium. However, there are great connections between Brussels and Amsterdam, which is why it is a good idea to consider flying to Brussels.
The flight prices, both from countries within Europe and countries outside of Europe, can be much cheaper.
Keep in mind that Brussels has two airports. I wouldn't advise going to Brussels South Charleroi Airport if you're going to visit Amsterdam, because that airport is much farther away.
220.127.116.11 How to get to Amsterdam from Brussels Zaventem Airport?
You can travel by train and by bus. The bus is the most affordable option because prices start at only €13,-!
There is a direct train from Brussels Zaventem Airport to Amsterdam Centraal. The train takes around 2 hours and 30 minutes. You can buy your tickets at https://www.nsinternational.nl/en.
You can also find the current departure times and prices on that website.
There are direct buses from Brussels Zaventem Airport to Amsterdam and they take around 3 hours and 15 minutes. The bus, such as Flixbus, is a very cheap option since prices start at €13,-.
I would recommend comparing buses via omio.com. There, you can also find the departure times.
1.2 How to get to Amsterdam by train?
Especially when you're traveling from a country within Europe, traveling to Amsterdam by train is a very good option.
The railways in Europe are really great and there are multiple high-speed train lines. The train has many benefits. Traveling by train is better for the environment and it is most of the time the most comfortable way of traveling.
First, I'm going to explain how to travel to Amsterdam from any country in Europe. Then, I will discuss some specific high-speed trains operators. For both, I'm also providing information on how to buy tickets.
1.2.1 How to travel to Amsterdam from any country in Europe?
The best way to book tickets to travel from any country in Europe by train is to use Omio. You can find the fastest connection and Omio combines the routes of different train operators with each other. So that's very convenient.
18.104.22.168 How to book train tickets to Amsterdam from any country in Europe?
The easiest way to buy tickets is on the website of Omio. After you found the journey you want to take, you can order your tickets there.
1.2.2 What high-speed trains go to Amsterdam?
There are multiple high-speed train lines that go to Amsterdam. Below, you can read information about all of them. I'll also tell you how to get your tickets.
22.214.171.124 Thalys (Paris - Brussels - Amsterdam, and Marseille - Amsterdam)
There is an excellent train line between Paris and Amsterdam. The Thalys only takes about 3 hours and 20 minutes!
The train runs between Amsterdam Central and Paris Nord. The train also stops at Amsterdam Schiphol Airport, Rotterdam, Antwerp, and Brussels Midi.
Besides that, during July and August, the Thalys also runs between Amsterdam, Valence, Avignon, Aix-en-Provence, and Marseille.
126.96.36.199.1 How to book tickets for the Thalys?
You can easily buy your tickets for the Thalys on the website of Thalys. However, if you book early, the train tickets will be way more affordable! You can book your tickets three months in advance.
188.8.131.52 Eurostar (London - Amsterdam, and Brussels - Amsterdam)
With Eurostar, you can reach Amsterdam from London and Brussels. The high-speed trains are very fast and convenient.
184.108.40.206.1 How to book tickets for Eurostar?
220.127.116.11 ICE (Austria, Switzerland, Germany - Amsterdam)
The ICE is a high-speed train between Austria, Switzerland, Germany, and Amsterdam.
18.104.22.168.1 How to book tickets for ICE?
1.3 How to get to Amsterdam by bus?
You can easily travel by bus in Europe. There are many buses from many countries that go to Amsterdam. You can look at Flixbus, Ouibus, Blablabus and Eurolines.
However, the easiest way to find the cheapest and fastest bus connection to Amsterdam is via omio.com. Omio compares the different buses with each other.
1.3.1 How to book your tickets for the bus?
After you found the journey you want to take via Omio, you can book your tickets on the website of Omio. However, you can also book your tickets on the websites of the bus operators. Most of the time, you can download an app from the bus operator where you can access your tickets. You can also use the ticket that the bus operator will send to you via e-mail.
2. Do I need a visa to travel to Amsterdam?
There are three options, choose which one applies to you and below I will explain if you need a visa and how you can apply for a visa.
2.1 I’m a national from a country in the European Union, Liechtenstein, Norway, Iceland, or Switzerland.
If you have the nationality of a country in the European Union, Liechtenstein, Norway, Iceland, or Switzerland, you don't need a Visa
2.2 I have a valid residence permit from a country in the European Union, Iceland, Norway, Liechtenstein, or Switzerland.
You don't need a visa for a stay with a maximum duration of 90 days in the Netherlands.
2.3 I’m not a national and I don’t have a valid residence permit from a country in the European Union, Switzerland, Iceland, Norway, or Liechtenstein (Schengen countries).
You need a visa for the Netherlands. You can apply for a short-stay Schengen visa. If you have that visa, you can stay in the Netherlands for a maximum of 90 days within a period of 180 days. However, this period can be shorter.
The visa also allows you to travel to the other Schengen countries.
2.3.1 How can I apply for a Schengen visa, so I can travel to Amsterdam?
You can apply for a visa 3 months before your trip, but the latest possibility to apply is 15 working days in advance.
There is also the possibility to apply for a transit visa, which allows you to change planes at an airport in the Netherlands and other Schengen countries for onward travel to a country that isn't a Schengen country.
However, since this post is about traveling to Amsterdam, I'm going to explain more about the Short-Stay Visa.
When you get on that website, choose the visa you want to apply for. If you just want to travel to Amsterdam for less than 90 days, choose the Schengen Short-Stay Visa.
Then, click on 'Start Visa Application Form' and fill in the form. In this form, you need to provide information about for example your travel dates, accommodation, and travel document.
It will take around 30 minutes to fill in the form.
2.3.2 What is the fee for a visa?
An adult pays €80,- for a visa. However, there are some exceptions. For example, the visa of a child between 6 and 12 years old only costs €40,-. Sometimes a visa can be free. For example, if you're a family member of an EU or EEA national.
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