Getting to Amsterdam from Schiphol Airport
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 Amsterdam city centre. Below we compare all the possible travel and ticket options - by train, bus, shuttle and taxi.
Schiphol Airport to Amsterdam summary (2018 prices)
1. TRAIN: NS (Dutch Railways) train from Schiphol Airport to Amsterdam Central (single €5.30 including €1 surcharge for a disposable ticket, 15-20 mins).
2. BUS: Amsterdam Airport Express Bus 397 (Connexxion-RNet) from Schiphol Plaza to Amsterdam Elandsgracht (single €5, 30 mins). Also, GVB bus 69 Schiphol to Amsterdam Sloterdijk (single €3, 40 mins). Note neither bus goes to Amsterdam Central.
3. Amsterdam Travel Ticket: 1/2/3 day card (€16/€21/€26) combines airport train/397 bus journey with unlimited use of GVB transport in Amsterdam. Valid on a day (not 24 hours) basis.
4. Amsterdam & Region Travel Ticket: 1/2/3 day card (€18.50/€26/€33.50) offers unlimited travel in Amsterdam & entire region (including Waterland, beaches, Keukenhof etc). Valid on a day (not 24 hours) basis on NS trains (in region), regional buses and Amsterdam GVB transport.
5. Holland Travel Ticket: 1 day ticket (€55/€39 off-peak) valid on all Dutch public transport. Good for longer journeys around the Netherlands and/or if using multiple transport companies.
6. SHUTTLE BUS: Schiphol Hotel Shuttle bus (Connexxion) takes you directly to your hotel (single €17, return €28, 30-45 mins).
7. TAXI: Standard metered fare will be €45-€50 to central Amsterdam; fixed fare discounts offered by some companies; or use taxi app Uber.
1. Schiphol Airport 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 €5.30 standard 2nd class or €8.20 in 1st class - this includes 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.
Also see below for alternative ticket options which include the airport rail trip.
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 yellow card readers. At Schiphol the card readers are located around the station hall (before going down to the platforms).
If you are on a short visit to Amsterdam it's probably best to stick with disposable single tickets or buy one of the multi-day 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 the Netherlands see our detailed guide: How To Buy A Dutch Train Ticket
Buying train tickets at Schiphol Airport: You can buy disposable train tickets at either the Train tickets & Services desk or at the yellow/blue automatic ticket machines.
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 both Dutch and English.
The front page of the machines has a quick one-press option for tickets to Amsterdam Central - you do need to specify the date of your journey.
The ticket machines accept payment by debit and credit cards (V-Pay, Maestro, Mastercard, Visa and American Express) using pin and/or contactless. The machines also accept euro coins (change given) but euro banknotes are NOT accepted.
The ticket desk does accept euro cash payment by notes/coins and also accepts debit and credit cards as described above.
Which train? Train departure information can be found on the large screen above the ticket desk and on smaller triple screens around the staion hall and platforms. For timetables check the printed yellow boards or the ns.nl website - 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!
Which station in Amsterdam? 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. If possible we recommend taking this train from Schiphol to Amsterdam as it has good luggage racks.
Note, if travelling from Schiphol to Rotterdam on the Intercity Direct (which uses the high-speed track) you must pay an extra supplement of €2.40, although this can be occasionally waived for various reasons, check for announcements. No supplement is required between Schiphol and Amsterdam.
The 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 the route.
At Amsterdam Centraal station the airport trains mainly arrive and depart from platforms 13, 14 and 15 at the northern waterfront side (IJ-side) of the station. From the platform go down the stairs or escalators and don't forget to check-out with your ticket or OV-chip card at the gate barriers.
Taxis and ferries are found on the waterfront side; head towards the southern exit for the city centre, trams, metro and the Iamsterdam tourist office.
2. Amsterdam Airport Express Bus 397
The Amsterdam Airport Express 397 bus service (operated by Connexion/R-Net) runs from bus stop B15 at Schiphol Plaza, just outside the main station hall.
These red buses depart up to 8x hourly to Amsterdam city centre - with various stops including Olympic Stadium, Museumplein and Leidseplein - finally terminating at Amsterdam Elandsgracht bus station. 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 Public Transport Service & Tickets minibus near the bus stop B9. A children's day ticket (aged 4-11) is just €1.
If you use credit on a personal or anonymous OV-chip card, the trip fare reduces to just over €3. Also see below for other multi-day ticket options which include the airport bus trip.
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 Elandsgracht. 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 is the main transport company for Amsterdam including trams, metro and buses. Unfortunately GVB only has 1 service connecting to Schiphol - GVB bus 69 Schiphol Plaza to Amsterdam Sloterdijk station which runs 2-4x per hour. This bus does not go to Amsterdam Central station. This journey takes 40 minutes compared to 11 minutes with the train.
It is hoped that the new North-South metro line (due to open in mid-2018) will eventually be extended to Schiphol airport which would give airport passengers the choice of using GVB multi-day tickets.
Cheapskate's tip: The cheapest way to get from Schiphol to Amsterdam is to buy a 1 hour GVB ticket (€3) and take GVB bus 69 to Sloterdijk then immediately connect onto GVB bus 22 to Amsterdam Central; or tram 12 to the Museumplein area. Bus 69 could also be of use to those with a GVB day ticket. However we still recommend taking the much faster train!
GVB multi-day tickets are on a full 24 hour basis ranging from 1 day (€7.50) to 7 days (€34.50); children's 1 day ticket (€3.75). Book GVB multi-day tickets online here for pick-up at a GVB service point - unfortunately ticket collection is not possible at Schiphol Airport.
3. Amsterdam Travel Ticket
This 1, 2 or 3 day ticket combines the airport train or bus journey with an unlimited GVB travel around Amsterdam. If you are on a short visit and also plan to use public transport in Amsterdam this ticket could be useful.
It 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 travel on the Amsterdam Airport Express bus 397.
You also get unlimited GVB transport travel which can be used on all GVB trams, buses, metro and night buses in the Amsterdam metropolitan area.
Ticket costs are €16 (1 day), €21 (2 days) and €26 (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 earlier in the day and who will return to the airport during the late afternoon/evening.
For example, if you activate the 1 day card anytime on a Wednesday (0000-2359) the card will expire on Thursday morning at 0400. Likewise, a 2/3 day card activated on a Wednesday would expire on Friday/Saturday at 0400, respectively.
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, Iamsterdam Visitor Centre (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.
This ticket could be useful for those staying at Schiphol airport hotels wanting to visit the city each day. If staying longer than 3 days you could always consider buying 2 sets of tickets and using them consecutively.
4. Amsterdam & Region Travel Ticket
This is a (multi)day ticket which is valid on all public transport in the greater Amsterdam region. This includes NS trains, all regional buses (Connexxion, EBS and Arriva 858 Schiphol-Keukenhof service) and all GVB Amsterdam buses, metro and trams. It is valid for the airport train trip and the 397 bus.
Ticket costs are €18.50 (1 day), €26 (2 days) and €33.50 (3 days).
As with the Amsterdam Travel Ticket, it is valid on a "calendar day basis" only rather than 24 hours. The card is activated on first check-in and expires at 0400 in the morning after the last valid day. Once again, you must check-in and check-out for each journey taken.
Once again, you could consider buying more than 1 ticket if you are staying longer than 3 days/2 nights - or mix and match with the Amsterdam Travel Ticket or GVB multi-day tickets, depending on your itinerary.
This ticket is good if you are planning to take side trips outside of Amsterdam. The ticket region includes the Waterland fishing villages area, Zaanse Schans/Industrial Heritage area, Amsterdam beaches, Keukenhof flowers area, Castles/Garden area and the New Land area.
The ticket is available at Iamsterdam Visitor Centres plus Connexxion, EBS, GVB and NS ticket offices.
5. Holland Travel Ticket
This ticket was introduced to make it easier for visitors to navigate the Netherlands on one single ticket. It is valid for 1 day on all Dutch public transport in the country including trains (2nd class), buses, trams and metro. It can be bought at the desk or ticket machines at the train station and is a disposable OV-chip card. You must check-in and check-out for each journey leg.
The standard Holland Travel Ticket costs €55 and can be used anytime during the day. The off-peak Holland Travel Ticket costs €39 and is not valid for check-in during the 0630-0900 rush hour.
If you plan to do a lot of travelling in the Netherlands on a single day (either in terms of distance or using different forms of transport) then this ticket could offer good value and saves you having to buy separate tickets each time. Don't buy it if you just need to go to Amsterdam from Schiphol!
6. 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.
The shuttle costs €17 one-way and €28 return per person although variable discounts are offered for groups of 3-8 people. For example, a group of 8 will pay a total of €72 one way, €120 return (that's €9/€15 respectively per person). Children between 4 and 14 travel for €8.50 single, €14 return, under 4's free.
Tickets can be bought at the Connexxion desk at Arrivals Hall 4; they are also sold at Iamsterdam Visitor Centres 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 €24 one-way and €42 return. Higher fares apply for private hire.
7. Taxi Schiphol-Amsterdam
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
The taxi rank at Amsterdam Schiphol is located just outside the main station hall to the left. You can choose whichever taxi you want - you are not obliged to take the first car. The fare is calculated by meter and the journey should take between 25 and 45 minutes, depending on traffic. Please be aware that illegal taxi touts are known to operate inside Schiphol Plaza. Stick with the official rank or a pre-booked vehicle.
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-ELECTRIC (+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-ELECTRIC has a Schiphol last minute fare of €30 to central Amsterdam if you call from the airport and they have a car nearby.
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 €40-€60 for UberBlack from airport to city centre; €30 for UberX.