After sitting hours on a plane, you want to leave the airport as soon as possible. Planning how to get to your hotel, motel, and such is a must. Otherwise, you can spend more hours at the airport figuring out how to reach your destination.

There are many ways to get from Amsterdam airport (Schiphol) to city centre. Depending on your budget and patience you can travel by:

  • Taxi, Uber or private transfers
  • Airport shuttle
  • Train
  • Bus
  • Bike
  • Carshare
  • Car rental

In this article I will give more information about the options.

Comparison of the options

Taxi20 min24/7
Uber20 min24/7
Private 20 min24/7
Train20 min. 06:00 – 01:00
Bus35 min24/7
Bike (Flickbike)60 min24/7
Careshare20 min24/7
Car rental20 min24/7
Time can longer due to traffic jams

How to get from Amsterdam Airport to the city center by taxi, uber or private transfers

The most serviceable way to travel is by taxi. Right outside of Schiphol, you will find plenty of options when it comes to taking a taxi. You will recognize them by a blue license plate and taxi name light on the car roof.

For your safety never use a taxi without these signs. Most of the time these illegal taxi drivers will approach you at the airport.

There will be busy hours where you have to get in line for a taxi. I recommend ordering a taxi, or private transfer, in advance to save time and avoid headaches. Check the options for transfers below.

In the best-case scenario, your travel time will be approximately 20 minutes. During the day there will be traffic jams. In the worst case, it can take up to 45 minutes depending on your destination.

Most of the time your taxi driver is familiar with the area and is able to drive around the traffic jam. He should inform you about him or her taking a different route because it can increase the pricing.

Uber is also well-established in Amsterdam. It is cheaper than a normal taxi and convenient when it comes to payments. Payments go automatically within the app. If you don’t have the uber app, you can download the Uber app in the Apple store or Google play store. This will also be convenient after partying so you can be in your accommodation fast.

You can choose the standard UberX, a luxury Uber Black, or a van for a larger group of people. UberX is overall cheaper than standard taxis, but you’ll need internet on your phone to call Uber. The pricing is dynamic. If there is more demand than supply, Uber could be more expensive than regular cabs.

There is Wi-Fi at the airport so you should be able to call an Uber. Check with your mobile carrier about the fees when using mobile data in The Netherlands.

How do I get a sim-card in The Netherlands?

When you are in a foreign country, in some cases it is expensive to use mobile data from your mobile carrier. They may have special (data) packages for foreign countries but in my experience, they are always expensive.

I recommend getting Drimsim. Another option is to get an All-in Lebara prepaid sim-card. Of course, your data will be finished fast if you watch (YouTube) videos. Most places have free Wi-Fi so take advantage of that.

Public transportation in The Netherlands

Public transportation is well organized in the Netherlands. At every bus stop or train stop, you will find timetables about when the bus or train will leave and if applicable, which platform or track. You can also find this information online if you want to plan your trip in advance.

The options to use travel transportation are either to use an OV-chipcard, which you need to top-up, or to buy a ticket old-school out of the ticket machine. The price for this card is € 7,50. At some big stations, there are manned boots where you can buy tickets and also get travel information

The annoying thing about this card is that you need a balance of € 10 on top of the ticket price if you travel by train. At the end of your stay, this € 10 is not refundable.

You can also use this card on the bus, metro, or tram where the € 10 balance is not required. Keep in mind that it is beneficial if you use this balance for short trips, 3 – 4 stops.

If your trip is longer and you would return back in an hour, it is better to buy a ticket on the bus or tram. For the metro, you have to get a ticket out of the ticket machine. The ticket price is € 3,20 and is valid for one hour. Be sure to check in and out when leaving the bus or tram. Otherwise, you can’t check in anymore, if you would use it within the hour.

Can you buy a ticket on the tram or bus in Amsterdam?
You can buy a ticket on the bus or tram. This ticket is disposable and has a predetermined validity of an hour, a day or two days. Also, al the busses and trams (blue and white) are cashless. You can only pay with a debit or credit card. The card types that are accepted are:

  • V-pay
  • Maestro
  • VISA
  • Mastercard
  • JCB
  • Diners Club
  • Union Pay
  • American Express

How to get from Amsterdam airport to the city center by train

Conveniently the train system is connected with the airport. When you are in the central hall you will find the platforms below the floor. Every hour there are enough trains leaving Schiphol for Amsterdam.

Depending on the train you take, be sure to check whether you have to switch trains at a train stop. This will most likely be announced on the train. You can always ask the train conductor for information on how to get to a certain station.

The best way to see which train is leaving for Amsterdam Centraal on short notice is by looking in the Google maps app. Just type in Amsterdam Centraal, click on route and select the train icon. Then you will see all the options for upcoming trains.

Other ways to check or plan your trip is through the following apps:

How do I buy a train ticket at Schiphol?

  • Use an OV-Chipcard
  • Buy a ticket out of the ticket machine
  • Buy a ticket through the NS app

How much is a train ticket from Schiphol to Amsterdam Central? Depending on the options mentioned above, the prices vary. Check the table below for the pricing.

Ticket optionPrice
OV-Chipcard. € 4,50 (14,50*)
Ticket machine€ 4,50
NS app€ 3,50
*to pass through the train gate you need an extra balance of € 10

How to get from Amsterdam airport to city center by Bus

Another way to travel to Amsterdam city is to travel by bus. Amsterdam Airport Express Bus 397, run by Connexxion, is an easy way to travel to the city centre. The platform is right outside the central hall of Schiphol, bus stop B17. During the night, the Niteliner N97 drives the same route hourly between 01:00 and 05:00 AM.

The bus stops at popular places in the city centre and most of the hotels are in reach from these places. The buses depart every 7,5 minutes and the ride takes approximately 35 minutes.

The bus-stops of the airport express 397 bus are:

  • Museumplein
  • Rijksmuseum
  • Leidseplein
  • Elandsgracht

A one-way ticket is €6 and €10 for a return ticket. Keep in mind that you can not pay cash on the bus. It is advisable to buy your ticket in advance.

How to get from Amsterdam airport to the city centre by bike

The Netherlands, in general, is very bike-friendly and any place is reachable by bike. The bike tracks are safe and very well maintained. Schiphol airport is located around 17km from Amsterdam Centraal station. You can navigate your bike route via Google maps.

Alright, let’s get crazy. You have the energy and motivation to cycle to the city center. Unfortunately, at the airport, there are no companies that rent bikes in order for you to cycle to Amsterdam. There are some companies but the bikes are used to move between terminals.

Some hotels nearby rent out for bicycle tours nearby. But they don’t offer the option to rent a bike and cycle to your accommodation in the city and leave it.

In my opinion, I think that it would not be a good business opportunity because cycling to the city center takes up to one hour. If you had a long flight and you have a lot of luggage, cycling may not be an option. Therefore I don’t see many people choose this option.

But if you are that crazy person, the nearest rental shop is 2.6 miles from the airport. Another option is FlickBike, but there is no guarantee that there will be bikes available nearby.

Care sharing to the city center

Car sharing has many benefits for the environment and therefore very popular in The Netherlands. The most car-sharing company is car2go. Here is some information on how it works.

The cars they use are very little SMART cars which are 100% electric. If you have a lot of luggage or travelling with your family, this might not be the best option.

The electric Smarts has room for two persons and a small amount of luggage space. A ride from and to Schiphol Airport is € 0,31 per minute, plus a grant of € 8,90 per ride. To be able to use this car you must register online against a one-time administration fee of € 9.

These cars are parked in the parking garage at The World Trade Center (Schiphol Boulevard 329).

Car Rental at Schiphol Airport

Like any big or busy airport, there are enough options when it comes to renting a car. For pricing, you can search below.

If your accommodation is in the city center, renting a car would not be the best option. Through the years the government tries to discourage people to go to the city center by car. Not only did they make it more bicycle-friendly, but the parking costs are also expensive.

At the moment the hourly rate for parking in Amsterdam city center is € 7,50. The further you are from the center, the cheaper it gets. The cheapest is € 1,40 an hour. Only in Amsterdam South-East, there are some (living) areas where parking is free.

What is the best way to travel from Schiphol Airport to Amsterdam?

The fasted and arguably the best way to Amsterdam city center is by hiring a taxi. You will be in the city in approximately 15-20 minutes. Going by bus or train is cheaper but a matter of convenience. The train is just as quickly as a taxi but the fact that it has stops feels like forever plus it doesn’t put you at the doorstep of your accommodation.

What to do in Amsterdam

After arriving at your accommodation, I can imagine that you want to hit the road immediately and enjoy your stay to the fullest.

To explore the city, the best way is to take a canal cruise or rent a bicycle and tour around the city. There are many rental bike rental shops in the city. Then you have the infamous red-light district, a popular tourist attraction, with many pubs and coffee shops.