Amsterdam has a reasonable bus network which complements the coverage already provided by trams and the metro. The GVB city buses mainly serve the outer suburbs of Amsterdam whilst other companies provide bus services to various places around the region.
For visitors, the most useful bus services are probably the Schiphol airport lines, the night buses and the Waterland buses.
GVB Buses: Amsterdam city council transport company GVB runs 50 bus lines in Amsterdam - mainly serving the city and outer suburbs, especially Amsterdam North which has no rail, tram or metro connections. Disposable OV-chip card tickets can be bought from the driver on board - 1 hour tickets cost €2.90 and a 24 hour ticket costs €7.50. Those with a personal or anonymous OV-chip card can alternatively use credit on their e-purse which calculates the fare based on distance travelled. When travelling you must check-in and check-out of your journey using the installed card readers by the doors.
Which GVB ticket should I buy? Check out different public transport ticket options in Amsterdam including good value multi-day tickets.
Airport Buses: Connexxion runs the useful Amsterdam Airport Express service from Schiphol airport to the centre of Amsterdam. The red bus 197 departs from Schiphol Plaza (just outside the arrivals area) and goes to Marnixstraat including stops at Leidseplein and Museumplein - it does NOT go to Central station. The 197 departs every 15 minutes, a single costs €5 and the journey takes just over 30 minutes. There is also the N97 Niteliner service running hourly all night between Marnixstraat and Schiphol Plaza.
The GVB 69 bus service runs between Schiphol Plaza and Amsterdam Sloterdijk station. This trip takes about 40 minutes and singles cost €2.90 - it is much faster to use the train on this route.
See detailed info on travel from Amsterdam airport to the city
GVB Night Buses: There are 11 GVB night bus lines which run through the night from 0030 when the metros and trams cease operation. Night buses from Central station include the 348 (to Sloterdijk station), 353 (Osdorp), 354 (Amstelveen), 355 (Gein via Amstel and Bijlmer-ArenA), 357 (Bijlmermeer via Diemen) and 359 (IJburg). There is also the 369 service from Sloterdijk to Schiphol airport.
A single costs €4.50 (or buy 12 trips on an OV-chip card for €34, use within a year) - tickets are valid for 90 minutes including transfers. Note, a standard GVB 1 hour ticket and OV-chip card e-purse are not valid for travel on night buses.
Standard nightbus tickets for other carriers Connexxion and EBS cost €5 (disposable ticket) or €4.50 with an anonymous/personal OV-chip card. A nightbus regional ticket costs €8 (valid 2 hours) which allows transfers between GVB and other regional bus carriers.
Regional Buses: There are a number of regional bus services to various places beyond Amsterdam. Probably of most interest to visitors are the buses to the popular Waterland area - which includes the traditional fishing villages of Volendam, Edam and Monnickendam.
Waterland buses are run by EBS using either EBS branded buses (yellow) and R-Net branded buses (red and grey). These operate from the upper bus terminal behind central station on the IJ waterside past train platforms 14 and 15. The buses have free WiFi.
A Waterland day ticket for unlimited travel on Waterland region buses costs €10. This can be bought onboard from the driver, from the EBS booth or at the VVV tourist office. Alternatively there is the Amsterdam & Region Day Card for €13.50 which gives 24 hour unlimited travel on all GVB transport in Amsterdam plus any regional bus.
Waterland bus route numbers include Broek in Waterland (312/314/315/316), Edam (110/312/314/316), Marken and Monnickendam (315) and Volendam (316). Going further afield you can also reach Graft-De Rijp (301), Hoorn (314), Middenbeemster (306) and Purmereend (110/301/306).
Connexxion also runs some regional services - such as the Industrial Heritage line (391) from Amsterdam Central to Zaandam and Zaanse Schans windmills. It also operates buses from Amsterdam Marnixstraat (near Leidseplein) to Zandvoort beach (bus 80) and to the port of Ijmuiden (bus 82).