Amsterdam Schiphol (AMS) is a major international airport which lies 17km south-west of central Amsterdam. It offers excellent transport connections including a railway station directly under the airport.
For many passengers the train is the cheapest and most convenient way of getting to the city centre. Below we compare travel options by train, bus, shuttle and taxi.
Schiphol Airport to Amsterdam transport summary (2016 prices)
1. NS train from Schiphol Airport to Amsterdam Central (single €4.20 + €1 surcharge for disposable tickets, 15-20 mins).
2. Amsterdam Travel Ticket is a 1/2/3 day card (€15/€20/€25) combining airport train/197 bus travel and unlimited use of GVB public transport in Amsterdam. Only suitable for those on short visits arriving in the morning.
3. 197 bus to Amsterdam Marnixstraat with stops at Museumplein and Leidseplein (single €5, 30 mins). GVB bus 69 to Amsterdam Sloterdijk (single €2.90, 40 mins).
4. Hotel shuttle bus run by Connexxion takes you directly to your hotel (single €17, return €27, 30-45 mins). See listing of convenient hotels near Schiphol airport.
5. Schiphol airport taxi: standard metered fare will be €45-€50 to central Amsterdam; fixed fare discounts offered by some companies; or use taxi apps Tinker, Uber or Abel.
(1) Schiphol to Amsterdam by NS train
All Schiphol passenger arrival exits (1-4) are a short walk to the main station hall. Dutch railways (NS) runs trains to Amsterdam Central station up to 10 times per hour between 0600 and 0100. There are also night trains running once an hour on the hour between 0200 and 0500. There are 6 underground platforms at Schiphol with trains to Amsterdam normally departing from platforms 1-2 or 3.
How much does it cost? One-way tickets to Amsterdam Central cost €4.20 standard 2nd class or €7.10 in 1st class. On top of this there is a €1 surcharge for buying a disposable ticket. Do not buy a return ticket (2x single fare) unless you are coming back to the airport on the same day. Children aged 4-11 can travel on a "Railrunner" ticket which costs €2.50 (no surcharge) and is valid the whole day in 2nd class on the rail network. Children 0-3 travel free.
Which ticket to buy? The complex OV-chip card system is in use on Dutch railways and this means it is mandatory to check-in and check-out of your journey using the card readers near the platforms.
If on a short visit to Amsterdam it's probably best to stick with disposable tickets. For regular visitors or those wanting to use a lot of public transport you could consider buying an anonymous OV-chip card. This plastic card costs €7.50 to purchase and will last 4-5 years. It's possible to load travel credit onto the card which can be used on trains and all other public transportation in the Netherlands. Be aware that the cards always require a minimum of €20 credit for using the train.
For more tips and tricks on buying train tickets in Netherlands see our detailed guide: How To Buy A Dutch Train Ticket
Buying train tickets at Schiphol: You can buy disposable train tickets at either the Train tickets & Services desk or at the yellow/blue automatic ticket machines. The service desk accepts the following payments: euro cash (notes and coins), debit cards (Dutch PIN/Maestro/V-Pay) or credit cards (Mastercard/Visa only with chip and pin, €0.50 surcharge; American Express NOT accepted) .
The ticket machines can be found dotted around the station hall - plus a couple in the luggage reclaim area as well. The touch screen display is available in Dutch and English. The front page of the machines has a quick one-press option for tickets to Amsterdam Central. All machines accept payment by debit and credit cards (the same as at the desk). A limited number of machines also have a coin slot to accept euro coins (change given) - however, euro banknotes are NOT accepted.
Which train? Train departure information can be found on the blue LCD screens in the station hall and also on the platform displays. For timetables check the printed yellow boards or the ns.nl website - remember free WiFi is available at Schiphol.
If going to Amsterdam Central station (known as Amsterdam Centraal or Amsterdam CS) make sure you get on the correct train! Trains going to Amsterdam Zuid, Amsterdam RAI or Amsterdam Bijlmer ArenA use a different route and DO NOT go to Central station. Every day quite a number of people get on the wrong train and the odd lost soul ends up in Utrecht!
Not sure which station in Amsterdam? Then familiarise yourself with our Amsterdam Rail Network Map
With a checked-in OV-chip card or ticket, you can get on any domestic train between Schiphol and Amsterdam central. Sprinter and Intercity trains generally make stops at Amsterdam Lelylaan and Amsterdam Sloterdijk stations before reaching Amsterdam Central in just under 20 minutes.
The comfortable Intercity Direct trains run 2x hourly non-stop taking 15 minutes between Schiphol and Amsterdam - you no longer need a supplement for this journey. Intercity Direct supplements are only required if travelling from Schiphol to Rotterdam on the high speed track. If possible we recommend taking this train from Schiphol to Amsterdam.
Note that standard Dutch double decker Intercity trains which also serve Schiphol-Amsterdam are not very convenient if you are carrying large suitcases - you have to navigate stairs and the overhead racks are tiny! However you can find storage space between some opposing seats or just stay in the compartment near the doors.
On the journey to/from the airport please watch your belongings as opportunist thieves and pickpockets are known to occasionally operate along on the route.
At Amsterdam Centraal station the airport trains mainly arrive and depart from platforms 13, 14 and 15 at the northern waterfront side (IJzijde) of the station. Don't forget to check-out with your ticket or OV-chip card. From the platform go down the stairs or escalators - taxis and ferries are found on the waterfront side; head towards the southern exit for the city centre, trams, metro and the tourist office.
If you are travelling to other parts of Netherlands then check out our Dutch Airports - Transport Connections Map.
(2) Amsterdam Travel Ticket
If you are on a short visit to Amsterdam and also plan to use public transport in Amsterdam this relatively new ticket could be useful. This 1, 2 or 3 day ticket offers unlimited travel for NS train journeys between Schiphol Airport and any station in Amsterdam (Central, Amstel, Bijlmer-ArenA, Duivendrecht, Holendrecht, Lelylaan, Muiderpoort, RAI, Sciencepark, Sloterdijk or Zuid); plus unlimited GVB transport travel which can be used on all GVB trams, buses, metro and night buses in the Amsterdam metropolitan area.
It is also valid for travel on the 197 Amsterdam Airport Express bus - see (3) below.
Ticket costs are €15 (1 day), €20 (2 days) and €25 (3 days).
Note that validity of the card is on a 'day' basis, not '24 hours' and cards expire at 0400 the following morning of the last valid day. You must make the return journey back to the airport before expiry! This means the card is best suited to those who activate it in the morning and who return to the airport during the evening.
For example, if you activate the card anytime on a Wednesday (0000-2359) the card will expire on Thursday morning at 0400. So those activating in the morning could make good use of the card; those activating in the evening would get limited hours so it's frankly not worth it in that case - buy separate train and transport tickets instead. For more see our article on public transport tickets in Amsterdam.
The Amsterdam Travel Ticket works using the OV-chip system so you must check-in and check-out for every journey taken.
You can purchase this ticket at the following points at Schiphol: NS Tickets & Service desk, Holland Tourist Info (Schiphol Plaza Arrivals 2), Amsterdam Airport Express Tickets & Info (bus stop B9) or AKO newsagents. There is often a special Amsterdam Travel Ticket booth open selling the ticket in the main station hall. You can also buy this ticket at NS Tickets & Service (Amsterdam Central) and GVB Tickets & Info points.
(3) Bus 197 Schiphol to Amsterdam Museumplein/Leidseplein area
Connexxion's 197 bus service (now branded as the Amsterdam Airport Express) runs from bus stop B9 at Schiphol Plaza, just outside the main station hall.
These red buses depart every 15 minutes to Amsterdam city centre - with various stops including Stadionplein, Museumplein and Leidseplein - finally terminating at Marnixstraat. This bus option is convenient for visitors staying around the Museum quarter or Leidseplein. Please note, the bus does not go to Amsterdam Central station.
The journey takes just over 30 minutes and buses operate from 0500 to 0030. Screens at the airport bus stop will show the next departure. A single ticket costs €5 (open return ticket €10) and can be bought either from the driver or at the Amsterdam Airport Express Tickets & Info booth near the bus stop. A children's ticket (aged 4-12) is €1.
If you use credit on a personal or anonymous OV-chip card, the trip fare reduces to just over €3.
There is also the Amsterdam & Region Day Ticket (€13.50) which is valid for 24 hours on all Amsterdam transport and regional buses but not trains.
There is a small space for luggage on board the bus.
Night bus service N97 Niteliner runs hourly during the night (0100 to 0500) between Schiphol Plaza and Amsterdam Marnixstraat. A single tickets cost €5. If using a personal or anonymous OV-chip card the fare is €4.50.
Alternative GVB airport bus to Sloterdijk: GVB bus 69 operates between Schiphol Plaza and Amsterdam Sloterdijk station, 2-4x per hour. This journey takes 40 minutes compared to 11 minutes with the train.
Cheapskate's tip: The cheapest way to get from Schiphol to Amsterdam is to buy a 1 hour GVB ticket (€2.90) and take GVB bus 69 to Sloterdijk then immediately connect onto GVB bus 22 to Amsterdam Central. Bus 69 could also be of use to those with a GVB day ticket.
(4) Schiphol Hotel Shuttle Bus to Amsterdam
If you have a lot of luggage or are travelling in a group you may want to consider taking a shuttle bus directly to your hotel. Connexxion's Schiphol Hotel Shuttle departs every 30 minutes between 0600 and 2130 from bay A7 outside the main station hall. Journey time to Amsterdam will be around 30 to 45 minutes depending on traffic. The 8 seater buses offer free WiFi.
Tickets can be bought at the Connexxion desk at Arrivals Hall 4; they are also sold at tourist information offices and participating hotels.
Other services: Schiphol runs a "Travel Taxi" minibus service - basically a shared taxi minibus that can take you to any address in Netherlands. A typical fare to central Amsterdam is €23 one-way and €40 return. Higher fares apply for private hire.
(5) Taxi from Amsterdam Schiphol
Private taxi cabs in the Netherlands are not particularly cheap - the trip to the centre of Amsterdam will cost around €45 to €50. That said, the cars are usually very comfortable (Mercedes sedan or similar) so this may be a good choice for business travellers, older visitors and small groups. For more detailed info, see Amsterdam taxis.
There are a number of private firms which can offer fixed rates to travel to/from Amsterdam Schiphol. The largest taxi firm in Amsterdam is TCA taxi (+31(0)20 7777777).
The TAXI-E (+31(0)88-1004444) cab service uses Nissan and Tesla electric cars. It has fixed prices from Schiphol to the city - €40 to central Amsterdam, €30 to Amsterdam South/De Pijp and the cars have free WiFi. TAXI-E has a Schiphol last minute fare of €30 to central Amsterdam if you call from the airport and they have a car nearby.
Tinker (+31(0)20-290 0050) is an online booking service (tinker.travel) which offers discounts for taxi journeys by using logistical planning software. Note that sometimes the taxi can be shared by up to 3 passengers. Book in advance to secure the lowest rates.
Uber, the taxi app service (uber.com) is available in Amsterdam in the form of UberBlack (original service with VIP taxis), UberVan (minivan) and uberX (lower cost version). Users can order a car through the phone app and payment is automatically handled. Expect to pay €45 for UberBlack from airport to city centre; €28 for uberX.
Abel is an Amsterdam start-up shared taxi app service (rideabel.com) using electric cars. Prices are lower than Uber as rides can be shared with up to 3 people - a fare between Schiphol and central Amsterdam can be as low as €17. Note, the Abel app does not accept Amex cards.
For more top tips about public transport see our Getting Around Amsterdam section.