As Amsterdam is Holland’s capital and biggest city, the infrastructure is managed well. The city is easily accessible by train, bus, plane or car. Compared to other capitals around in Europe Amsterdam is very small. In comparison to Amsterdam, London is eight times bigger in size and over ten times bigger in population. This results in a city where you can easily move around by either public transport (trams, subway and buses) by bicycle or even by foot. From Dam Square basically, ninety percent of the city’s highlights are reached within a thirty-minute walk or a fifteen-minute bike ride. Thus Amsterdam transport is easy and accessible.
Travelling within Amsterdam
As stated before, moving around in Amsterdam is simple as distances are fairly short. Most highlights are within walking distance, at least when you consider a fifteen-minute walk walking distance. If you don’t feel like walking, there’s usually a tram stop within reach. Most trams leave on a regular base, so we recommend using trams for travelling in Amsterdam.
When you plan on staying within the city centre, tram will be your first choice for transportation. Scattered across the city there are many tram stops with trams leaving on a regular base. If you have some more distance to cover the subway and buses will come in handy as well. If you plan on using public transport a lot, keep in mind that:
- Buying a loose ticket every time you get on the bus or in the tram is expensive. The tram will cost you €2,90 regardless of the distance, and the bus up to €5,-. If you take a tram more than two times a day there are cheaper options, such as buying day ticket or an anonymous card that you can charge with credit.
- If you have internet on your smartphone remember 9292. Bookmark the website or download the app to get real-time travel advice for public transport.
- Just like any other big city, public transport is popular with pickpockets. They have an extra eye out unaware tourists.
For more in-depth information on public transport also visit our page on public transport in Amsterdam.
In Amsterdam, you’ll find plenty of taxis on the streets. You can simply walk up to them at a taxi stand or stop them by waving at them. The regular taxi tariffs, however, are among the highest in Europe. As a cheap alternative, we strongly recommend using the ViaVan app, which allows you to get a shared or private taxi on-demand for a lot less.
Amsterdam is known for its many bikes. In fact, the city counts more bikes than residents. Cycling in Amsterdam can be a practical and enjoyable experience. But please be aware that the bicycle lanes are crowded as it is the first transport of choice for locals. For locals in their daily grind, inexperienced tourists on rental bikes can be a bit of a nuisance. So please take notice of the rules before getting on a bike. If you never rode a bike before, Amsterdam is just not the right city to learn. If you will rent a bike in Amsterdam please take notice of the following tips and beware that you are vulnerable on a bike:
- Obey the rules and watch out for traffic that doesn’t
- Sign when turning left or right
- Look behind your back before you make a stop
- Make way for other traffic, don’t block the streets
- Use the bicycle lanes
- Cross the streets at designated areas
- Watch out for tram tracks, they’ll easily make you fall when crossed at an angle less than 90 degrees
- Use the lights on your bike as soon as the sun sets
- Don’t rush, you’re on holiday
- Do not DUI (drive under influence) it’s illegal and dangerous, especially on a bike
- Lock your bike properly even if it’s just for a few minutes
- Make sure you have a city map in case you get lost
Keep these tips in mind and drive safe! For more info also see our bike rental Amsterdam page.
Getting to/from Amsterdam
Amsterdam is easy to reach by transportation of choice.
To/from Amsterdam by plane
Amsterdam’s main (and only) airport is ‘Amsterdam Schiphol Airport‘. It is the fifth largest airport in Europe with multiple daily flights to all major airports worldwide. Besides the major (expensive) airlines that fly from Amsterdam, there are also multiple low-cost airlines such as Easyjet and Transavia that fly to and from Amsterdam. A flight with to another capital in Europe is usually available for a within a price range of €50,- to €100,- when choosing a low-cost airline. If you prefer a major airline the same flight will cost you between €100,- to €250,-.
To reach Amsterdam you could also consider flying to:
- Rotterdam The Hague Airport (NL)
- Maastricht Airport (NL)
- Eindhoven Airport (NL)
Depending on which airport you choose it will take you between 1.5 to 3 hours to reach Amsterdam. Although these flights might cheaper, do keep in mind that you will need to spend between €35 to €80,- to get to Amsterdam and back to one of these airports.
To/from Amsterdam by car
The roads in the Netherlands are very well maintained and there are many highways that will lead you to Amsterdam. The city ring is the A10 from where you can easily reach any part of the city. The A10 does have a lot of traffic jams during rush hour so it’s best to avoid it between 8-10 a.m. and 4-6 p.m. Parking in Amsterdam inside the city ring can also be an issue as it is expensive (between €3,- and €5,- per hour) and it can be hard to find an appropriate parking spot. We strongly advise to use a park and ride location in Amsterdam.
To/from Amsterdam by train
Amsterdam Central Station is an impressive building to see dating from 1889 and has recently been restored. From Amsterdam Central Station there are trains to all cities in the Netherlands, but also international trains to for instance Paris, Berlin and Brussels. As the station is big and is being used by nearly 200.000 passengers daily, it is advisable to be there at least 15 minutes before departure. We also recommend checking your route upfront on the NS website, make sure to remember both departure time and the platform the train leaves from. Whenever using the train make sure to buy a ticket and checking in before getting on the train. Checking in is easily done by holding your ticket against one of the “check-in poles”
From Central Station there are connections to other forms of public transport:
Other train stations in Amsterdam are:
- Bijlmer ArenA
To/from Amsterdam by bus
From Amsterdam, there are international buses to all major cities across Europe. It’s a cheap way of travelling within Europe, but compared to flying fairly time-consuming. For instance, a bus ticket to Paris can be purchased for a fare as low as €20,- or under. There are several bus companies that offer these tickets, such as:
The buses depart from multiple locations outside the city centre but can be easily reached by either train, subway or tram.