Amsterdam Rail Tips

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International Trains to/from Amsterdam


Amsterdam has a good number of international rail services which can connect you to Belgium, France, Germany and beyond. High speed rail travel in Europe is a good alternative to flying and gives a real feeling of travel.

Below we overview all international trains running to/from Amsterdam.

How To Book Tickets:

You can check timetables, prices and make bookings for all the international train services listed below at the NS International site

Amsterdam-Paris, Amsterdam-Lille: Thalys

The Amsterdam-Paris rail route is served by the Thalys, an international high speed train service owned by SNCF French railways in partnership with Belgian railways. In Netherlands the Thalys travels on the HSL-Zuid high speed line from near Amsterdam to the Belgian border reaching speeds of up to 250km/h.

The Thalys runs 10x daily between Amsterdam Central and Paris Nord and makes stops at Amsterdam Schiphol, Rotterdam, Antwerp and Brussels Zuid/Midi. From Amsterdam the journey times are 1h 12 to Antwerp, 1h 50 to Brussels and 3h 18 to Paris. Note there are 2 additional Thalys services each day operating between Amsterdam and Lille Europe via Rotterdam/Antwerp/Brussels which takes 2h 36.

thalys train amsterdam

Seats on the Thalys are sold in a similar way to airline tickets. Non-flexible, advance purchase fares are cheapest whilst prices rise significantly closer to the travel date or if buying flexible fares.

As of December 2017, the old Comfort 1 (1st) and Comfort 2 (2nd) classes have been rebranded by a 3 class service: Standard, Comfort and Premium - although the actual seating on the train remains the same. Note, all seats on the Thalys have individual electric power outlets.

Standard has 2nd class seating, free WiFi and food/drink can be purchased at the bar. Standard tickets can be changed for a €15 fee (plus price difference) and are 50% refundable. There are cheaper Standard Mini fares which are not changeable or refundable.

Comfort has 1st class seating, free WiFi (with more data) and food/drink can be purchased at the bar. Comfort tickets can be changed for a €15 fee (plus price difference) and are 50% refundable. Access is granted to the NS International lounges at Amsterdam, Schiphol airport or Rotterdam.

Premium is a proper 1st class ticket with 1st class seating, free WiFi (with more data), food/drink served at your seat and a selection of newspapers and magazines available. Premium ticket holders can access the Thalys lounges at Brussels and Paris as well as the NS International lounges. Tickets are freely changeable and 100% refundable.

The cheapest Standard Mini fares cost €29-€35 (Amsterdam-Brussels), €35-€65 (Amsterdam-Paris) and €29-€49 (Amsterdam-Lille). These are bookable up to 4 months out.

Standard fares range as follows: €44-€82 (Amsterdam-Brussels), €67-€135 (Amsterdam-Paris) and €50-€101 (Amsterdam-Lille). Comfort fares are €45-€95 (Amsterdam-Brussels), €72-€155 (Amsterdam-Paris) and €59-€110 (Amsterdam-Lille).

thalys train

The fully flex Premium fares are €97-€117 (Amsterdam-Brussels), €135-€205 (Amsterdam-Paris) and €100-€146 (Amsterdam-Lille).

From Paris Nord you can connect onto the French TGV network to destinations throughout France - but you will have to transfer to one of the other Paris stations using the Metro/RER or taxi. You can buy Paris Metro tickets in the Thalys bar.

Amsterdam-Brussels, Amsterdam-Antwerp: Thalys / Intercity

Amsterdam-Brussels passengers can either take the high speed Thalys train for direct trips from Amsterdam/Schiphol/Rotterdam to Antwerp and Brussels Zuid/Midi (14x daily), as described above. Or use the slower Intercity Brussels train which operates 16x daily between Amsterdam and Brussels Zuid/Midi.

The Intercity service was reintroduced (in December 2014) following the FYRA debacle - a high-speed Amsterdam-Brussels train which had to be permanently removed from service after just a few weeks due to damage caused by ice.

intercity brussels train

The Intercity Brussels train makes stops at Schiphol, Den Haag HS, Rotterdam, Dordrecht, Roosendaal, Antwerp Central, Antwerp Berchem, Mechelen, Brussels Airport, Brussels North and Brussels Central. The journey time from Amsterdam to Brussels is just over 3 hours 20 minutes.

There is also the option of using the high speed Intercity Direct train from Amsterdam to Rotterdam (via Schiphol) which can reduce the journey time by up to 30 minutes. Note the connection time at Rotterdam is very tight at just 5 minutes - however the train change is on the same set of platforms. International tickets are valid for the Intercity Direct - normally a supplement is payable for domestic travel between Schiphol and Rotterdam.

Intercity Brussels has 1st class (2-1 seating configuration) and 2nd class (2-2) tickets for sale. There is an onboard trolley service where you can buy drinks and snacks.

Standard fixed (distance based) prices are in effect with no reservation necessary for international intercity travel. Amsterdam-Brussels one-way costs €45.40 (2nd class) or €74.60 (1st class). Other cheaper fares are the super day return valid Mon-Fri after 0900: €58.20 (2nd class) or €95 (1st class). The Benelux weekend return costs €54.60 (2nd class) and €74.60 (1st class) and is valid Fri-Sun. These prices are valid up to December 2018. For Amsterdam-Antwerp info see here.

Discounted fares: Special offer fares for the Intercity Brussels can be as low as €19 one-way for Amsterdam-Brussels.

Those holding NS discount cards can receive a slight fare reduction calculated on the Netherlands segment of travel. Also, travellers aged under 26 get a 35% discount off international tickets for travel between Netherlands and Belgium using standard trains.

Other services of possible interest to travellers: there is an hourly Belgian stopping train service between the Dutch border town of Roosendaal and Antwerp central; those travelling Amsterdam-Brugge (Bruges) should change to a Belgian intercity at Antwerp.

Amsterdam-London (via Brussels): Eurostar + Thalys / Intercity

Train travel between Amsterdam and London is comprised of 2 components. The trip between Amsterdam and Brussels Zuid/Midi (as above) followed by a Eurostar train between Brussels and London St Pancras.

The Eurostar is a high speed train service via the channel tunnel which takes around 2 hours for London-Brussels. There are a minimum of 6x daily London-Brussels services with all trains stopping at Lille Europe and Ebbsfleet, some at Ashford. The train reaches speeds of up to 300km/h and the channel tunnel crossing takes 20 minutes.

eurostar train brussels london

There are 3 classes of travel on the Eurostar - Standard (effectively 2nd class with 2-2 config seating, food and drink can be bought at the bar coach); Standard Premier (a 1st class "lite" offering with 2-1 seating, a light meal and drinks served at your seat and magazines available); Business Premier (a full fare business product with 2-1 seating, lounge access, meal and drinks served plus newspapers and magazines). For more info see our detailed review of travel on the Eurostar between London and Brussels. Note the lack of WiFi on Eurostar trains.

The total journey time between Amsterdam and London depends whether you take the Thalys or Intercity trains for the Amsterdam-Brussels segment. With the Thalys, the quickest trip time is around 4 h 40 minutes. Using the various Intercity trains the trip can take 6 to 7 hours depending on connections.

If travelling from Netherlands to London by train, always allow plenty of connecting time in Brussels for transferring onto the Eurostar. We recommend arriving in Brussels at least 1 hour before your scheduled Eurostar departure. You will need to check-in through a gate barrier and then queue for a Belgium passport control, a security check and then a UK border control. Boarding starts around 20 minutes before departure.

The popular through-fares from any Dutch station to London have been restored by NS International. 2nd class fares for travel with Intercity Brussels+Eurostar can vary between €59 to €220 one-way. 1st class fares are priced between €130 and €274 each way.  Try to book ahead to get the lowest fares. Note that tickets to any station in Netherlands are not available for purchase from Eurostar's UK site at the moment.

Amsterdam-London one-way tickets with Thalys+Eurostar are priced from €59 (Comfort 2+Standard) or €109 (Comfort 1+Standard Premier). Purchasing ex-UK from Eurostar you can buy London-Amsterdam tickets (Eurostar+Thalys) for £49.50 one-way, £92 return in Standard+Comfort 2; or £99.50 one-way, £157 return in Standard Premier+Comfort 1.

Eurostar also sells a fare from London to any Belgian station - priced from £51 single, £70 return. If coming to the Netherlands you would then have to buy an additional ticket between Essen (Belgian border) to your destination.

Of interest to some could be the rail and ferry option which can offer reasonable prices between London and any station in Netherlands and includes the Stena Line ferry between Harwich and Hoek van Holland.

From mid-2018 we should see a 2x daily direct London-Amsterdam Eurostar service stopping in Brussels, Antwerp, Rotterdam and Schiphol. Journey time will be around 4 hours. The Amsterdam-London leg will not stop in Antwerp and will require a half-hour stop in Brussels for security and border checks.

Book your Eurostar trip at NS International

Thalys special seasonal services

ZonThalys is a special "Sun" Thalys service aimed at Dutch holidaymakers which runs weekly (on Saturdays) during July and August only. The train operates as a normal Thalys from Amsterdam to Brussels - but then continues on to Valence, Avignon, Aix-en-Provence and Marseille St Charles. Total journey time between Amsterdam and Marseille is just over 7 hours and one-way tickets cost from €122 in Standard class. This is a very popular service and the cheapest tickets sell out fast - so book early. Tickets normally go on sale around the end of February.

Alternatively there are TGV services originating from Brussels running year round which bypass Paris and serve many major destinations in the south of France - including Lyon, Marseilles, Nice and the French Riviera, Montpelier and Perpignan.

The Ski-Thalys runs every Saturday between mid-December and the end of March. From Amsterdam it makes stops in Rotterdam, Antwerp and Brussels before heading to Chambery, Albertville, Moutiers Salins, Aime La Plagne, Landry and finally Bourg St Maurice. Travel time between Amsterdam and Bourg St Maurice is 9 hours. Bus connections from these stations run to all the main French ski resorts. One-way prices start from €109 in Standard class.

Which station in Amsterdam? See our Amsterdam Rail Map which shows all Amsterdam train stations.

Amsterdam-Frankfurt via Düsseldorf, Cologne: ICE International

The modern ICE International trains run from Amsterdam Central to Frankfurt (Main) Hbf up to 7x daily. Jointly operated by DB Bahn (German Railways) and NS (Dutch Railways) the ICE train makes stops at Utrecht, Arnhem, Oberhausen, Duisburg, Düsseldorf, Cologne and Frankfurt airport. One train a day also continues on to Basel in Switzerland.

Journey times from Amsterdam are 2h 11 to Düsseldorf, 2h 38 to Cologne (Keulen / Köln), 3h 42 to Frankfurt airport and 3h 55 to Frankfurt Hbf. There is a high speed track between Cologne and Frankfurt where speeds can approach 300 km/h.

ice international train amsterdam

ICE one-way ticket prices between Amsterdam and Düsseldorf or Cologne start from €19 (2nd class) and €49 (1st class). Amsterdam to Frankfurt costs from €39 (2nd class) and €69 (1st class). Book in advance to secure the lowest "Europa Spezial" fares.

The Basel bound ICE train departs Amsterdam Central at 0804 - from Frankfurt airport it heads to Mannheim, Karlsruhe and Freiberg before arriving at Basel SBB at 1447. For the return leg, it departs Basel at 1513 arriving back in Amsterdam at 2156. Journey time both ways is 6h 43. Standard tickets are priced from around €82 one-way - do check fares to both Basel SBB and Basel Bad Bf stations.

A nice feature of the ICE train is if sitting at the front carriage you can see the driver's window. The ICE train has a bistro bar carriage in the middle of the train.

Book your ICE International trip at NS International

Amsterdam-Berlin: IC

DB Bahn (German railways) operates an IC (Intercity) train service 5x daily between Amsterdam Central and Berlin Ostbahnhof. The journey makes a good number of stops: in Netherlands at Hilversum, Amersfoort, Apeldoorn, Deventer, Almelo and Hengelo.

German stopping stations include Bad Bentheim, Rheine, Osnabrück, Hannover, Wolfsburg, Stendal, Berlin Spandau and Berlin Hauptbanhof, the main station of the city.

The journey takes around 6 hours 15 minutes with the lowest one-way prices (Europa Spezial) from €39 (2nd class) and €69 (1st class).

amsterdam berlin ic train

The IC train has an on board bistro bar carriage for drinks and snacks. 1st class passengers can order from their seat.

Onward connections from Germany: Passengers heading to other destinations can use the ICE or IC trains from Netherlands and then connect onto other German rail services. Connections are normally made at Hannover, Düsseldorf or Frankfurt Main - from here you could travel to the likes of Hamburg, Stuttgart and Munich. If travelling from Netherlands to beyond Germany it's best to buy 2 separate tickets - ie Netherlands-Germany and Germany-destination, as DB Bahn only offers special fares to/from Germany.

Book your IC trip at NS International


There are no direct services to Luxembourg. The quickest way to travel by train is to take the Thalys train to Brussels and then take an intercity service from Brussels to Luxembourg - this takes just under 5 1/2 hours and costs from about €70 one-way. You could also choose to take the conventional intercity services between Amsterdam and Brussels.

The trip can also be done in 6 hours by taking an intercity train from Amsterdam to Maastricht and then further intercity connections in Liege (Belgium) and Namur (Belgium).

Night Trains to/from Amsterdam

Since December 2016, the City Night Line trains have been discontinued from Amsterdam.

There is an OBB Nightjet service running nightly from Düsseldorf to Munich and Vienna. Fares start from €59 (couchette) to €129 (single sleeper). You would need to take the ICE International between Amsterdam and Düsseldorf to connect onto the OBB Nightjet.

rail map amsterdam

International Rail Map: For a visual overview of all international daytime rail services to/from Amsterdam please check out our map.

ns international counter

International train tickets can be easily bought at NS International counters at main stations including Amsterdam Central. They will charge you a €3.50 per person service fee (max €10.50 per booking) for tickets to any destination which doesn't need a mandatory reservation and that can be bought at a ticket machine - generally Belgium, western Germany, Lille and Luxembourg. All other destinations (including UK) are charged at €7.50 per person (max €22.50 per booking). Note that Belgian international rail desks also charge the €3.50 fee.

To save the desk booking fee, it is best to book online in advance at the NS International site

An alternative is Belgian Rail's international site B-Europe offers a wide range of international rail travel options.

Related articles: How to Buy a Dutch Train ticket and International Rail Borders in Netherlands

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