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 Amsterdam Buses
Amsterdam city transport company GVB runs a total of 44 bus lines in and around Amsterdam – serving the city centre and outer suburbs including some of the other train stations around Amsterdam.
This includes 32 day lines and 12 night bus lines and a fleet of 231 buses, some of which are electric.
The GVB 1 hour ticket costs €3.40 – this is not really great value if you are just going 1 or 2 stops. There is also a 1.5 hour Bus Tram Metro (BTM) ticket which costs €6.50 and is used for longer journeys in the region.
These tickets can be purchased in advance at the GVB ticket office or GVB ticket machines. It is possible to buy on-board from the driver but note cash is no longer accepted. The ticket is simply validated on first check-in.
You can also pay for your fare on a distance basis using either OVpay or an OV-chip card (public transport smart card).
Distance-based fares in Amsterdam are calculated as a fixed €1.08 boarding fee plus a variable distance fee of €0.196 per km – calculated every 50 metres on the tram. This means a 3km trip will cost approximately €1.67.
OVpay is a new system that allows you to check-in/out using a contactless debit/credit card or smartphone. Your account will be billed as a single transaction at the end of the day.
An anonymous OV-chip card costs €7.50 (non-refundable) and lasts 4-5 years. You then need to add some credit to the ‘e-purse’ – you will need a minimum of €4 credit to travel by tram. The card can be used for travel on all public tranpsort in the Netherlands (with sufficient credit).
Amsterdam Buses: unlimited travel multi-day tickets
There are a number of multi-day tickets for unlimited travel around Amsterdam. If you plan to use public transport more frequently then these can save you a significant sum of money.
|Best Value & Validity||Best for AMS airport||Best for Excursions|
|Unlimited GVB Day/Multi-Day tickets||Amsterdam Travel Ticket||Amsterdam & Region Travel Ticket|
|1-7 days||1/2/3 days||1/2/3 days|
|€9-€41, child €4.50/day||€18/€24/€30||€21/€31.50/€40.50|
|Valid on all GVB transport (trams/metro/buses) in Amsterdam||Valid on all GVB transport in Amsterdam + airport train/bus||Valid on all GVB transport in Amsterdam + regional train/bus|
|24 hour basis||Calendar day basis||Calendar day basis|
|Order here||Order here||Order here|
We highly recommend the GVB 1-7 day tickets as it can really improve your stay in Amsterdam giving you the flexibility to just hop-on and hop-off public transport as required.
Amsterdam Airport Buses – Connexxion 397 and GVB 369
Connexxion runs the useful Amsterdam Airport Express service from Schiphol airport to the centre of Amsterdam.
The red bus 397 (R-NET branded) departs from Schiphol Plaza just outside the arrivals area and goes to Amsterdam Elandsgracht bus station including stops at Leidseplein and Museumplein – it does NOT go to Central station.
The 397 departs every 15 minutes, a single (Bus Tram Metro ticket) costs €6.50 and the journey takes just over 30 minutes. You can also buy a return ticket for €11.75 online here
There is also the N97 Niteliner service running hourly all night between Elandsgracht and Nieuw Vennep via Schiphol Plaza.
The GVB 369 bus service (also R-NET branded) runs between Schiphol Airport/Plaza and Amsterdam Sloterdijk station. This trip takes about 40 minutes and singles cost €3.40 – it is much faster to use the train on this route.
Note, the Amsterdam & Region Travel Ticket is valid for all airport buses.
See detailed info on travel from Amsterdam Schiphol airport to the city
GVB Amsterdam Night Buses
There are 11 GVB night bus lines which run through the night from 0030 when the metros and trams cease operation:
N81 Central Station – Sloterdijk station
N82 Central Station – Geuzenveld
N83 Central Station – Osdorp de Aker
N84 Central Station – Amstelveen Busstation
N85 Central Station – Gein via Amstel
N86 Central Station – Bijlmer-ArenA
N87 Central Station – Bijlmer-ArenA via Diemen
N88 Central Station – Nieuw Sloten
N89 Central Station – IJburg
N91 Central Station – Nieuwendam
N93 Central Station – Molenwijk
N96 Sloterdijk station – IJburg via Central Station
A single costs €5.40 – 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.
Regional Buses – EBS / Connexxion / Arriva
There are a number of regional bus services to various places of interest 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 red and grey R-NET branded buses. The buses have free WiFi on board.
Some lines operate from the upper bus terminal at Amsterdam Central station on the IJ waterside (IJzijde) beyond the train platforms 14 and 15. Other EBS lines run from outside Amsterdam Noord metro station which can be easily reached from Amsterdam Central using metro line 52. See Amsterdam Metro map
Here are some Waterland lines of interest run by EBS:
|Amsterdam Central – De Rijp||305||Purmerend|
|Amsterdam Central – Purmerend||306|
|Amsterdam Central – Hoorn||314||Broek in Waterland, Monnickendam, Edam|
|Amsterdam Central – Edam||316||Broek in Waterland, Monnickendam, Volendam|
|Amsterdam Noord – Edam||301||Purmerend|
|Amsterdam Noord – Edam||312||Broek in Waterland, Monnickendam, Volendam|
|Amsterdam Noord – Marken||315||Monnickendam|
Connexxion also runs some services around the Amsterdam region. The R-NET branded Industrial Heritage line (391) runs from Amsterdam Central to Zaandam and Zaanse Schans windmills.
Connexxion also operates buses from Amsterdam Elandsgracht (near Leidseplein) to Zandvoort beach via Haarlem (bus 80) and from Amsterdam Sloterdijk to the port of Ijmuiden (R-NET bus 382).
Bus to Keukenhof Gardens: Arriva operates bus 852 from Amsterdam Europaplein to Keukenhof and bus 858 from Schiphol Airport to Keukenhof. These only run March to May when the spring flower garden is open.
The best ticket to have is the 1/2/3 day Amsterdam & Region Ticket as it is valid on all the above mentioned regional bus services around Amsterdam – as well as GVB transport within Amsterdam and some trains in the region. The 3 day ticket at €40.50 works out at just €13.50 per day.
Book the Amsterdam & Region Travel Tickets online here and pick-up in Amsterdam when you arrive.
Alternatively, a Waterland day ticket costs €12.50 for adults, €1 for children 4-11 and is valid the entire day (until 0100) on all EBS buses serving the Waterland area. This can be bought onboard from the driver (cards only, no cash) or from either the ‘OV Service & Tickets’ desk or ‘Public Transport Tickets’ machines at Amsterdam Central.
The Zaanstreek Day Ticket (for Amsterdam to Zaandam/Zaanse Schans Connexxion services only) costs €11.50.
This article was originally published in 2010 and has been regularly updated. Last update 31 December 2022.