Best Public Transport from Schiphol Airport to Amsterdam City
If you are travelling to Amsterdam by air, then you shall be arriving at Amsterdam Airport Schiphol (AMS), the city’s main airport. Informally known as Schiphol Airport, it is one of the busiest airports in the world, and the third busiest in Europe by passenger numbers. The airport is a base for KLM (Dutch flagship carrier) and its subsidiary, Transavia. Several European budget airlines use Schiphol Airport as well and you could travel easily to Amsterdam with some pretty cheap deals from within Europe for a weekend. Schiphol is also an important hub for Dutch rail network as you can get to anywhere in Netherlands by train travel. Free WiFi is available throughout the airport.
The airport is located at a stone’s throw of the Netherlands capital, at just 9 kilometres southwest of Amsterdam, in the municipality of Haarlemmermeer. Hence, the city is easily reached by its impressive network of public transport, trains and buses/shuttle. The best public transport from Schiphol Airport to Amsterdam City comes with several money saving ticket options available to public transport users upon arrival at Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam.
From Schiphol Airport to Amsterdam City
What to expect from this Guide on Best Public Transport from Schiphol Airport to Amsterdam City
This article on best public transport from Schiphol Airport to Amsterdam City aims to provide you with a complete guide to how you can navigate your journey from Schiphol Airport to Amsterdam city using primarily public transport and the alternate option of by car. This detail guide is particularly useful for first-timers to the city of Amsterdam as well as for repeat visitors.
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How to travel From Schiphol Airport to Amsterdam City
Travelling from Schiphol Airport to Amsterdam City could not be easier either by road or rail. Whether you are hiring a car to get around, arrange an airport pick-up for a ‘door-to-door’ service or opting for public transport – there are good connections to the city and great deals to have. The journey time varies from 20 minutes to 40 minutes, so is the costs for the journey, from €5.00 to €60.00 depending on the mode of transport selected.
If you elect to drive, the driving distance from Schiphol Airport to Amsterdam City varies depending on the route you take. Below is an approximation from Schiphol Airport to Amsterdam Centraal Station:
1 | The distance is 27.6 km (approximately 17 miles) via A10 or 18.3 km (approximately 11 miles) via A4. The journey time via A10 and A4 is estimated at 20 – 25 minutes depending on traffic.
2 | If you take the A5 route, then the journey is set for about 36.4 km (approximately 22 miles) and time taken is estimated at 40 minutes.
Best Ways to Travel From Schiphol Airport to Amsterdam City
There are 3 best ways to travel from Schiphol Airport to Amsterdam City – by car, train and bus/shuttle. The fastest way to travel from Schiphol Airport to your destination at Amsterdam City is by car and the longest journey will be by bus. The most convenient way to travel to Amsterdam city is by direct train and this is both cheap and fast. You could also opt for a combination of train and metro if you take the train to Amsterdam Zuid.
Public transport in Amsterdam
There are two main points to note about the public transport in Amsterdam:
1 | Contactless
The public transport in Amsterdam and wider Netherlands uses a contactless ticket system, the OV-Chipkaart which had replaced the old-style paper tickets (hence, you pay a surcharge for disposable tickets!). The OV-Chipkaart is in use in all public transport – trains, trams, buses and metros. Therefore, it is mandatory to check-in and out of your journeys using the yellow card readers that are located at entry and exit points.
2 | Cashless
Cash is no longer accepted in Amsterdam’s buses and tram. You could purchase your ticket using debit or credit cards only.
As for the metro and trains, you could purchase tickets from the ticket machines using cash in coins only. Notes are not accepted.
Best Public Transport from Schiphol Airport to Amsterdam City
The best public transport form Schiphol Airport to Amsterdam City will depend very much on your personal preference for comfort and convenience but taking the direct train from the airport to the city is the most favoured, and highly recommended option. The following are various choices available to you to support your decision-making:
1 | NS Train (Dutch Railways) – From Schiphol Airport to Amsterdam City
NS Trains run from Schiphol Airport to Amsterdam Centraal Station which is the main hub for Amsterdam city centre, located on the north side of the city. There are regular services and up to 10 trains per hour runs from Schiphol to Amsterdam Centraal from 6 a.m. right through to 1 a.m. Night services run every hour on the hour from 2 a.m. to 5 a.m.
It is relatively a short walk from the arrival points at Schiphol Airport to the NS Train station hall which is located directly below the main terminal building. The train platforms can be accessed by stairs, escalators and lifts.
At Schiphol Airport, the ticket barriers are located before going down to the platforms. Ensure you have your purchased ticket ready.
There are six platforms at Schiphol’s NS Train station and trains to Amsterdam departs from platforms 1 to 3.
1.1 Good to know when taking a train from Schiphol Airport to Amsterdam Centraal Station
The platforms are clearly signposted but can also be easily mistaken by first-timers to the station. Take note of the following:
i | Trains from Schiphol Airport to Amsterdam Centraal run via Amsterdam Lelylaan and Amsterdam Sloterdijk.
ii | If you need to travel to Amsterdam Zuid (business district), Amsterdam RAI (Convention + Exhibition area) or Bijlmer-ArenA (stadium events), then take the southern rail line.
1.2 | Cost of Train Tickets from Schiphol Airport to Amsterdam Centraal Station
Adult: The standard fare for adult one-way travel is €4.60 on the 2nd class or €7.59 for first class. Just so you are aware, there is €1.00 surcharge for disposable tickets, so your tickets will cost €5.60 and €8.59 respectively.
Child 4-11: Children age 4-11 can travel for €2.50, no surcharge, for the whole day. Children under 4 years old travel free.
Seniors: This is a little complicated – to be entitled for a seniors discount, you need to purchase a railcard and have proof of address – this is not cost-effective if you are travelling for a short while. Your best will be to purchase the adult ticket.
Best Deals: Some train networks release last minute train tickets to be purchased for travels in the following two or three days and these tickets come at significantly reduced price. As well, you could find significantly reduced prices when booked well in advance, for example two months ahead of time.
The Trainline is one such network and you may want to check the cost of your journey from Schiphol Airport to Amsterdam City (Centraal Station) offered by Trainline.
1.3 | Good to know when buying a NS Train ticket from Schiphol Airport to Amsterdam City
i | Do not buy a return ticket which costs twice the single journey unless you are returning to the airport on the same day.
ii | If your visit to Amsterdam is a short stay, then it is best to purchase the disposable single tickets or purchase one of the multi-day tickets for your journey.
iii | However, if you are a regular visitor to Amsterdam and intend to use public transport frequently, then the Anonymous OV-Chipkaart is something you may want to consider.
The Anonymous OV-Chipkaart costs €7.50 to purchase and lasts for up to five years. You can top it up regularly to suit your journeys and use it on all public transport but note that the card must retain €20.00 in credit for train journeys.
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1.4 | Where to buy train tickets at Schiphol Airport
Schiphol Airport to Amsterdam City
Train tickets can be conveniently purchased from either the Train Ticket and Service Desk or from the automatic ticket machines dotted around the concourse.
Ticket desk: The ticket desk accepts credit and debit cards along with cash in Euros.
The automatic ticket machine: The first screen of the ticket machine has an option for you to select either in Dutch or English. The machine accepts all major debit and credit cards – Maestro, Visa and Mastercard. The machine accepts coins in Euro but not notes.
1.5 | Which station at Amsterdam City — Schiphol Airport to Amsterdam Centraal
There are a number of stations you can exit at depending on where you want to go. Generally, Amsterdam Centraal station is the most popular one for visitors as it is convenient to get onto the tram or hire a bike to your accommodation.
If you have your disposable ticket or the Anonymous OV-Chipkaart with you, you could hop onto any of the domestic trains from Schiphol Airport to Amsterdam Centraal Station. The Sprinter and Intercity trains stops at Lelylaan and Amsterdam Sloterdijk before arriving at Amsterdam Centraal in twenty minutes.
The highly recommended route for the fastest journey would be to take the Intercity Direct train from Schiphol Airport to Amsterdam Centraal. This is a non-stop train and you arrive at Centraal in fifteen minutes. There are five Intercity Direct train departures hourly.
1.6 | Exiting Amsterdam Centraal Station
Schiphol Airport trains generally arrive and depart from platforms 13, 14 and 15. From the platforms, look out for exit signs for stairs, escalators and lift. Remember to tap your ticket at the barriers. Head towards the southern exit if you are heading for the city centre, the trams, metro or the Iamsterdam tourist office. You can find taxis and ferries on the waterfront side.
1.7 | Which station at Amsterdam City – Schiphol Airport to Amsterdam Zuid + Metro
There is a second alternative to reach Amsterdam city by train – take the NS Train from Schiphol Airport to Amsterdam city on the southern line via Amsterdam Zuid.
1.8 | NS Train tickets to Amsterdam Zuid
The journey is 7 minutes and costs:
Adult: 2nd Class travel – €3.10 + €1.00 for disposable ticket = €4.10
1st Class travel is €5.12 + €1.00 for disposable ticket = €6.12
There are twelve hourly services.
When at Zuid, connect easily to the North-South Metro line M52. The Metro runs north through the centre of Amsterdam city with stops at Rokin where you exit for Dam Square.
A LITTLE ABOUT THE METRO IN AMSTERDAM
The Metro in Amsterdam is operated by Gemeentelijk Vervoerbedrijf (GVB) and has five lines – M50/M51/M52/M53/M54 which includes 39 stations. The one you need when in Zuid is the M52 line.
The Metro is a fast and efficient network, connecting the business districts and the rail stations in Amsterdam city. If you are at Amsterdam Centraal, the Metro is the fastest mode to get to Waterlooplein or De Pijp.
>Amsterdam Metro Tickets
The OV-Chipkaart is in use on Amsterdam Metro. If you purchase the Anonymous OV-Chipkaart, you could use it on Metro journeys. However, if your visit to Amsterdam is only a few days, then the OV-Chipkaart is unnecessary. You may want to consider purchasing the public transport standard disposable tickets for Metro journeys including for Trams and buses or the best value public transport ticket for Amsterdam.
Prices below include surcharges.
Adult:GVB 1-hour > €3.20 | Bus Tram Metro (BTM) – 1.5 hour > €6.50
The GVB 1-7 day ticket – This is a multi-day ticket and is great value for money and ranges from one day €8.50 to 7 days at €37.00. One day is considered as 24 hours and you can plan your sightseeing schedule to suit.
Child: €4.00 per day
1.9 | Where to buy Metro and Public Transport tickets
GVB and public transport tickets can be purchased from GVB ticket machines at all Metro stations or at GVB Ticket and Service Desk at Amsterdam Centraal, Amsterdam Zuid, Amsterdam Sloterdijk and Station Noord.
It’s worth noting that although the ticket machines and the service desks are conveniently located, these are more often than not are busy with long queues. Moreover, the ticket machines only accept coins and card.
Therefore, it is convenient and highly recommended that you buy your GVB Public Transport tickets prior to arriving in Amsterdam and collect it from a GVB service point. You could also pick it up from Amsterdam Schiphol Airport at the Public Transport Service and Tickets Minibus, located just by the hotel shuttle bus-stops/platforms B15-B19.
2 | Amsterdam Airport Express Bus #397
The Amsterdam Airport Express Bus 397 is operated by Connexion/R-Net. You will find them just outside of the main station hall at Schiphol Plaza in Bus stop B15. There are 8 departures hourly to Amsterdam city centre with various stops including Olympic Stadium, Museumplein and Leidseplein and finally terminating at Amsterdam Elandsgracht station. The journey takes 35-40 minutes depending on traffic.
Opting for the Amsterdam Airport Express Bus 397 is particularly helpful for visitors staying around Leidseplein or the Museum Quarter. This bus does not go to Amsterdam Centraal Station.
The Amsterdam Airport Express Bus service runs from 5 a.m. to half-past midnight.
2.1 | Type of Tickets for Amsterdam Airport Express Bus 397
Adult: A single Bus Tram Metro (BTM) ticket costs €6.50 including surcharge.
An open-return ticket which can be used within 14 days is €11.25 (including surcharge).
Child: A child’s ticket, aged 4-11 is €1.00
2.2 | Where to buy Tickets for Amsterdam Airport Express Bus 397
There are three options available to you where you can buy tickets for Amsterdam Airport Express Bus 397:
i | You could purchase them on the day from the bus driver – card only payments;
ii | You could buy the ticket/s from the Public Transport Service and Tickets Minibus located by the hotel shuttle bus-stops;
iii | Plan ahead and buy your return ticket online and hassle free here
2.3 | Night Buses from Schiphol Airport to Amsterdam City
The night buses from Schiphol Airport to Amsterdam City is provided by Niteliner97. The buses run an hourly service from 0100 to 0500 between Schiphol Plaza and Amsterdam Elandsgracht station.
A single adult ticket cost €6.50
3 | GVB Airport Bus to Sloterdijk
Although GVB is the main transport company for Amsterdam, it only has one service connecting Schiphol Airport to Amsterdam city centre. GVB Bus 69 runs from Schiphol Plaza to Amsterdam Sloterdijk Station and costs €4.00 There is up to 4 services an hour and the journey takes 40 minutes. This bus does not go to Amsterdam Centraal Station.
Highly recommended that you take the train for 15 minutes journey – comfortable and fast.
Going beyond your travel from Schiphol Airport to Amsterdam city centre, you may want to consider what other public transport tickets that might be a good money saver for you. There are three options available depending on your itinerary in Amsterdam:
Value for money Amsterdam Public Transport Travel Tickets/Pass when Visiting Amsterdam
There are several value for money public transport travel tickets available when visiting Amsterdam but here are 3 that are relevant when visiting Amsterdam city.
1 | Best Value GVB Public Transport ticket for Amsterdam
The best value GVB public transport ticket for Amsterdam is a day pass offered by Gemeentelijk Vervoerbedrijf (GVB). This pass can be used, and gives you unlimited rides on GVB’s buses, trams, metros and ferries for the duration of validity of your pass. Passes are available from 1 to 7 days starting from €8.50 to €37.00. Child (age 4 – 11) ticket costs €4.00 per day. Highly recommended that you pre-order this ticket and collect it upon arrival in Amsterdam.
Important to know: The GVB day pass is not valid for use on airport trains or #397 airport bus.
However, if you would want to use the airport bus/shuttle to get you to Amsterdam upon arrival, you may want to consider the following combined ticket, offered exclusively by our trusted partners, GYG.
2 | GVB public transport ticket + bus/shuttle #397
With this combined ticket, you have the benefits as above on GVB public transportation – unlimited rides on GVB’s trams, buses and metro for the duration of the validity of your travel pass AND a return airport transfer on bus/shuttle #397.
With this combined ticket, there is no need to purchase your stand-alone Airport Express Bus #397 for €6.50 (single) or €11.25 (return) mentioned above. This combined ticket/pass is an exceptionally great value for money travel ticket as prices start from just €20.25. You must pre-order this ticket to be collected upon arrival at Schiphol Airport.
NB: This combined ticket – GVB + #397 bus/shuttle is not valid on Amsterdam trains.
However, if you would like to use the trains to get to Amsterdam city and wish to explore wider Amsterdam such as Keukenhof, Zaanse Schans, Volendam, the Amsterdam Regional Travel Ticket/Pass which also includes the use of all public transportation in Amsterdam City is the best option for you.
3 | Amsterdam City + Regional Public Transport Travel Pass (ARPTP)
The Amsterdam Regional Public Transport Travel Pass is One Ticket/Pass giving you unlimited travel within the region of Amsterdam and not just the city centre. This ticket/pass is valid on all of Amsterdam’s public transport – buses, metro, trams, trains and ferries. You could buy this ARPTP for 1 to 3 days depending on your schedule and prices start from € 19.50 per person.
IMPORTANT TO KNOW: The ARPTP is valid on the NS Trains from Schiphol Airport to Amsterdam Centraal as well as travel on the airport bus/shuttle #397 if you wish.
The alternate option to taking public transport or the train from Schiphol Airport to Amsterdam city is to travel by car. If you select this option, you could either hire a car, take an airport taxi or arrange a private transfer where you could arrive directly at your accommodation, fresh and ready to begin exploring the picturesque city of canals.
1 | If you elect to hire a car and drive:
If you elect to hire a car, you may want to pre-book your car and collect at the airport from the designated collection desk. You may already have a preferred rental car supplier in mind but it is always good to compare and select the best deal, saving money and time.
One of the best search and compare car hire engines is Travel Supermarket. Travel Supermarket compare hundreds of travel and dedicated car hire websites to bring to you unbiased information and real-time availability so you could save time and money. Give them a go, you never know how much you could save and what great deals awaits!
If you choose to drive, the driving distance from Schiphol Airport to Amsterdam Centraal Station is 27.6 km (approximately 17 miles) via A10 or 18.3 km (approximately 11 miles) via A4. The journey time via A10 and A4 is estimated at 20 – 25 minutes depending on traffic. If you take the A5 route, then the journey is set for about 36.4 km (approximately 22 miles) and time taken is estimated at 35 minutes.
2 | If you elect to take an airport taxi:
If you would like to take an airport taxi, then just beware of illegal taxis that operate in and around Schiphol Airport. Always use the official Schiphol Taxis but be prepared to wait your turn as sometimes, the queues can be long, especially at weekends and summer peak times. Licensed taxis have blue number plates and roof lights with the official logo and the name of their operator – see image above.
However, you could always save time and do away with the “wait-in-line” by pre-booking a Private Airport Transfer service.
3 | Private Airport Transfer
The Airport Transfer is tailored to your arrival/departure schedule where you can sit-back and enjoy a hassle-free journey to your accommodation or from your accommodation. There are a couple of options available to you:
From Schiphol Airport (AMS) to your accommodation in Amsterdam
Select from a range of vehicles to suit your taste and need from luxury Mercedes Sedan, Mercedes minivan or minibus that is fitted all the modern amenities, like airconditioning, WiFi. Arrange a pick-up time at the airport with your driver.
Private Transfer to/from Schiphol Airport (AMS)
Enjoy a safe, reliable, comfortable and convenient journey to/from Schiphol Airport to/from your accommodation in Amsterdam. Prices start from € 55.80 per group of up to three.
On a final note…
Amsterdam is a popular destination and anytime is a good time to visit this incredible city. When you do, ensure to get your travel insurance sorted — World Nomads offers good cover and you can do so on the go. Take a look at World Nomads here.
For ideas on what to do and places to stay, take a look at the following articles:
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Have a splendid time in Amsterdam!