Most people arrive into Amsterdam by plane at Amsterdam Schiphol Airport. It’s the main international airport of the Netherlands and is the third busiest airport in terms of passenger footfall in the whole of Europe. It is one of the best airports in the world and makes travelling to Amsterdam (and the Netherlands as a whole) completely effortless. From the terminal design to the facilities available inside and out of the main airport terminal to ground transportation options to get to and from the airport, you can guarantee that you’ll be in good hands and have a comfortable journey.
Amsterdam is a popular destination so you can often get good deals on airfares. Not to mention Europe boasts a broad range of low-cost airlines to choose from. Just make sure you book early to avoid disappointment! Use Skyscanner the world’s best travel search engine to get the best deals from over 1,000 airlines worldwide.
Depending on where you’re coming from you may want to check the visa regulations for your home country HERE.
The airport is only located 20km southwest of the city so you won’t have to travel too far once you’ve landed into Schiphol. Here are some options to complete your onward journey.
The train station is conveniently located underneath the arrivals hall so once you’ve exited the baggage reclaim area simply follow signs for trains. From here you can get a train directly to the city centre to Amsterdam Central Station or one of Amsterdam’s peripheral stations. To check where you need to alight to get to your final destination use this journey planner.
You can purchase a ticket in the airport’s main hall, from one of the yellow ticket machines or at the ticket office. There are a number of ticket options. If you are not planning to use any of Amsterdam’s public transport system that much during your stay then you should get a one-way paper chip ticket for your train journey. But for those who will be using public transport during their trip to get around the city then it’s more cost-effective to get the Amsterdam Travel Ticket. This ticket includes return train (and bus) travel between the airport and Amsterdam and unlimited use of the public transport within the city. This ticket is available for 1, 2 or 3 days. More details on what’s covered on the Amsterdam Travel Ticket and prices can be found HERE.
Schiphol offers two bus options to get into Amsterdam. You could hop on the Amsterdam Airport Express for €10 round trip (€6 one way). Children under the age of 11 travel for only €1! Though if you think you’ll be using the public transport network during your trip then you should consider getting the Amsterdam Travel Ticket which includes unlimited travel around the city and a return journey (on either the train or the bus) from Schiphol to Amsterdam. This ticket is available for 1, 2 or 3 days. Find more details about this ticket and prices HERE.
The bus departs every 7 minutes from bus platforms B15-19, look for bus number 397. This service takes you to the city centre to Museumplein, Rijksmuseum or Leidseplein, in about 30 minutes. Tickets can be bought online or on board the bus. To check where you need to alight to get to your final destination use this journey planner.
You can buy tickets in advance and find more information about this service including a timetable on the Connexxion website.
The second option is to take the Connexxion Schiphol Hotel Shuttle. This service allows you to travel to a number of hotels in the airport area and within Amsterdam. To check if your hotel qualifies and to book your seat on shuttle bus go HERE.
Travelling on from the airport by taxi is always the most convenient alternative as you get dropped off exactly where you want to be but it’s also the most expensive travel option.
It is advisable to only use licensed taxi services which are found at the taxi rank located outside the airport terminal. You can recognise an official taxi service by its blue licence plates and the lights on top of the car’s roof. You can find a list of official taxi operators HERE.
The cost of the journey varies depending on your destination, you can use this calculator to estimate your fare.
Uber, an on-demand taxi hailing mobile application, is also a popular choice as it’s a slightly cheaper option and it gives you more control over when you get a taxi. This option is particularly helpful if the queue at the taxi rank is ever too long!
Europe has an extensive train network which makes travelling to Amsterdam possible from every corner of the continent. Often the services are quite inexpensive and it’s also a good way to get some scenery in on your way to Amsterdam! Not only this but taking the train means that you can alight at whichever station is closest to where you’re planning to stay. Use this journey planner to figure out which station is the most convenient for you to stop at. Please see Guide to ADE for more information on getting around Amsterdam and to plan your onward journey.
You can check train availability and prices on NS International. It’s possible to book trips departing from outside the Netherlands. Make sure you read the terms and conditions of your ticket before purchasing it. Most tickets are non-changeable but for a small surcharge you can add this option onto your booking which is always good if you think your plans may change.
Travelling to Amsterdam by coach is probably the most cost-efficient solution and convenient as the city is reachable from a vast network of European routes. It’s probably the most time consuming option but you get to catch a glimpse of nature on the way there and you get to save some pennies to put towards other more fun things for your trip!
If you’re arriving into the city by coach you’re likely to arrive at one of the city’s main coach terminals: Amsterdam Sloterdijk and Amsterdam Amstel. However some companies do stop in the city centre. It’s advisable to find out where you’ll be dropped off before you travel so you can plan your onward travel. Once you’ve arrived in the city you’ll be able to get to your final destination using the city’s rapid and reliable public transport system or taxis. Please see Guide to ADE for more information on getting around Amsterdam.
Driving from one country to another in Europe is doable as motorways are well tendered to. This option is particularly favourable if you’re keen to see the sights and take in some culture on your way to Amsterdam.
However keep in mind that the city is only somewhat accommodating to cars. The city is overcrowded and quite narrow so it’s difficult to get around in a car particularly with bikes rushing passed every corner and you’ll also not want to have the burden of needing to find a space to park it. If you’re driving you’re likely going to need to park your car on the outskirts of the city at one of the Park & Ride locations and then use public transport to get into town. Check the locations and prices HERE.
Getting there by bus is undeniably slower than arriving by car but it’s a long way to drive, it may not be everyone’s cup of tea. Well, Europe has got just the thing…BlaBlaCar, it’s basically a professional hitchhiking service. You can book journeys across Europe with drivers who are travelling to or near your destination by car. You may need to fulfil parts of your trip using other methods of transport but on the other hand you may luck out and get someone who is going to exactly where you want to go!
Despite having all the above transport options Amsterdam still welcomes millions of visitors each year who reach the city by boat. If you’re in the mood for an adventure this could be a fun alternative. To find out more about different boat services to reach Amsterdam by water, ranging from cruise ships to sail boats, go HERE.