There is no need to rent a car in Amsterdam. Bicycles are the primary mode of transportation for locals, though most of the city center is easily walkable, and public transport is convenient and economical. The metro stretches out from Amsterdam Central Station across the city and into the suburban areas. The trams and buses are the best forms of public transportation within the city center. Free ferries located behind Amsterdam Central Station head to various locations in Amsterdam Noord (North).
Getting To And From Schiphol Airport
The airport is located about 10 miles south of Amsterdam Central Train Station and there are several options to get to and from the airport.
- The train from Schiphol Airport to Amsterdam Central Station costs €5.50 and takes 20 minutes.
- There are two Airport express buses. GVB 69 drops off at Amsterdam Sloterdijk (€3.20/40 mins) and Connexxion 397 drops off at Amsterdam Elandsgracht (€5/30 mins). Neither of these buses go to Amsterdam Central Station.
- There is also a Connexxion hotel shuttle bus, that will drop you off and pick you up at your city hotel (€18.50 one-way/€29.50 return).
- Airport taxis are the most expensive option, prices typically start from €39 to the city center.
- Uber is available in Amsterdam, with prices typically cheaper than a taxi.
Getting Around Amsterdam
GVB is Amsterdam’s primary public transportation provider within the city center. The metro moves from the city center to the outer suburbs. Most visitors primary use the tram or bus systems to get around to the attractions in Amsterdam. Use the free ferry system to get to north Amsterdam for attractions such as A’Dam Lookout.
The GVB site has pricing and a route planner online.
Getting Your Transportation Tickets
- Tickets must be purchased ahead of travel.
- All metro stations and some tram stations have ticket vending machines, but only main stations have manned ticket counters.
- Manned GVB Service Points are also available at Primera, AKO, Vivant, Techador, Cigo, and Bruna stores.
- It is very important to check-in before traveling and check-out at the end of each leg of your journey, even if you are transferring, for example, from one bus to another, or from a bus to a tram. Look for the card readers that say OV-Chipkaart. They are usually by the doors on the trams and buses.
Public transport is now cashless, and requires a chip and PIN card to purchase tickets.
American credit cards usually do not have a PIN, look for a manned counter, or use a debit card to pay.
Getting The Best Ticket Value
To determine which travel ticket is best value for you, estimate what you can reasonably do with your time. Keep in mind, many attractions can eat up a half a day or more and public transportation is relatively inexpensive.
The I amsterdam City Card includes public transport (bus, ferry, tram) and numerous attractions. It can be good value, especially if you plan to go to three or more attractions a day, or you buy the multi-day tickets.
- Includes admission to popular attractions such as the Rijksmuseum (€19) and a skip the line time slot ticket to the Van Gogh Museum (€19), plus a canal tour.
- Available as a 24-hour (€60), 48 hr (€80), 72 hr (€93), 96 hr (€105), or 120 hr (€115) ticket.
- It does not include transportation outside of the GVB network such as on the trains, nor to and from the airport.
The Amsterdam Travel Ticket is available for 1 (€17), 2 (€22.50) or 3 (€28) days of unlimited travel on the GVB public network (train, bus, trams).
- Valid for the day, not a 24-hour period.
- The pass includes the express bus or train between the airport and the city, and public transport around Amsterdam.
It is possible to buy a 1-hour (€3.20) or a 24-hour (€8) disposable ticket. As the city is easily walkable, the pay-as-you-go option usually works out as the best value for us.
Example: €3.20 (1-hour ticket from the hotel to DAM square) + €19 (Van Gogh Museum) + €19 (Rijksmuseum) + €3.20 (1-hour ticket back to the hotel) = €44.40 per person