Public Transit Into/Around Amsterdam

Getting to Amsterdam from Schiphol Airport

Train into Town from Schiphol

You’ve flown into Amsterdam via Schiphol Airport. Trains to the city are cheap, about  €3,80. You’ll find yellow train ticket kiosks both by baggage claim and in the main arrivals plaza/shopping area to purchase train tickets directly. However, kiosks only accept cards with a chip and PIN. If your card doesn’t have this, it may not work, and you’ll have to instead head to the large ticket counter to the right of the Burger King.

If your card IS accepted at one of Schiphol Plaza’s many yellow kiosks, avoid the “Easy Ticket to Amsterdam” option. Just say NO! It is a scheme to buy an unnecessary  1st class ticket, which costs a couple euros more than a normal 2nd class ticket.

Your selection should instead go like this on the touch screen: 2nd class travel –> full fare ticket –> valid today –> payment. There are no machines that take paper currency or coins, or they are rare.

You want the train to Amsterdam Centraal Station, departing from platforms 1 and 2 right beneath the airport’s arrivals plaza via escalators. Some trains stop along the way at places like Sloterdijk Station. Be wary at this stop, famous for pickpockets and thieves.

After about a 17 minute ride, the platform will say “Amsterdam Centraal Station.” You’re now in the middle of town!

Bus into Amsterdam from Schiphol

From outside the airport, take Bus 197 in the direction of Marnixstraat directly into Amsterdam for approximately €2,80 per person–payable to the driver without exact change needed. Bus 197 has several handy stops:

1) Museumplein (Concertgebouw area); 2) Hobbemastraat (Rijksmuseum area); 3) Leidseplein (canals of Amsterdam); and 4) Marnixstraat (Jordaan and center)

Taxi into Town from Schiphol

If public transportation isn’t your thing (but I highly encourage it), taxis waiting outside of Schiphol Plaza are happy take you into town for about €40-€50. Now, wouldn’t you rather spend that kind of money on an Amsterdamsel Tour?

Public Transportation in Amsterdam and the Netherlands

You won’t need a car at all while visiting the Netherlands. If you drove here, there are €8 per day parking options near the Olympic Stadium or the Arena and other spots outside of the old center. Otherwise, expect to pay over €4 per hour in the city until midnight. Go for public transport instead!

Trams in Amsterdam

At Centraal Station, you’ll notice an array of trams outside the main exit. There are two tram clusters:

The cluster on your right as you have left the station have handy Trams 1, 2, and 5 for getting to the back of Dam Square, Spui, the Flower Market, Leidseplein, the and Museum Quarter of Rijksmuseum and Van Gogh fame. Here you can also grab Tram 17 for the Anne Frankhuis and Osdorp, a town in the west where some stay in cheaper hotels.

The tram cluster on the left has Trams 16 and 24, which lead across Dam Square, past the Flower Market, Weteringcircuit, along the Heineken Brewery, and on to the Albert Cuypmarkt and beyond de Pijp.

Buy tickets from the conductor for about €2,80 per trip. The card you receive stays active for one hour. You can also pick up an OV travel card from inside the train station (which costs several euros to buy anyway) to tap in and out of busses and trams during a longer stay. (Compared to other European cities, public transport is not cheap and we mourn the loss of the paper strippenkart that afforded cheap trips for tourists and locals alike.)

There is also a taxi line in front of Centraal Station. You can WALK everywhere in Amsterdam’s small city center, as well!


Amsterdam has several metro lines running underground, but you largely don’t need to use them unless you want a shortcut to Waterlooplein, want to assemble some furniture at IKEA, attend a concert at the Heineken Music Hall, or see the Ajax football club in their stadium.