Berlin (Berlijn in Dutch) is the capital of Germany and a principal political and tourist hub. It is located around 575km east of Amsterdam.
Let’s look at the options for travel between Amsterdam and Berlin by train, air and bus. Note that there have been some significant changes to service frequencies due to the ‘coronavirus’ measures.
1. Amsterdam-Berlin by Train
Deutsche Bahn (German Railways) runs a 5-6x daily direct train between Amsterdam and Berlin – this is a standard Intercity (IC) rail service, not a high-speed one – and the journey time is about 6 hours 20 minutes.
Travel by train will certainly be a more comfortable and relaxing experience compared to flying, as well as being relatively ‘greener’.
The Amsterdam-Berlin IC train runs from Amsterdam Central to Berlin Hauptbahnhof (Hbf), terminating at Berlin Ostbahnhof. The first train leaves Amsterdam at 0700 with a service every 2 hours – the last train is at 1500 (1700 on Sundays).
From Berlin Hbf, the first train leaves at 0634 (Mon-Sat) with departures every 2 hours until 1634.
This service makes a number of stops – in the Netherlands at Hilversum, Amersfoort, Apeldoorn, Deventer, Almelo and Hengelo.
It crosses into Germany at Bad Bentheim then makes further stops at (among others) Rheine, Osnabrück, Bünde, Minden, Hannover, Wolfsburg, Stendal and Berlin Spandau.
Onboard the train at your seat you will find a useful leaflet Ihr Reiseplan (Your Itinerary) which gives detailed arrival times and timetables of connecting services at each station.
An alternative Amsterdam-Berlin connection is also available by taking the above IC train to Hannover and then changing onto an ICE train to Berlin – this makes the trip faster by about 15 minutes.
The cheapest one-way fares are from €38 (2nd class) and €59.90 (1st class) – but book in advance to secure such prices. The most expensive 2nd class fare is €131 one way.
Seat reservations are an extra €4 per seat. Each seat has a small display showing whether or not the seat is reserved.
Most of the seating is in open carriage configuration although there are some closed 6 seat compartments on the train as well.
It is possible to bring a bike onboard the specially marked cycle carriage which has capacity for 16 bikes. You will require an international bike ticket (€12) plus mandatory cycle reservation fee (€4).
How to book online: Amsterdam-Berlin train tickets can easily be booked at the NS International site. By booking online you avoid any booking fees charged at the international service desks at stations.
The Intercity train has a bar bistro carriage selling drinks and snacks. 1st class passengers get access to the NS International lounge in Amsterdam and (possibly – depends on the fare) the DB Lounge in Berlin.
2. Amsterdam-Berlin by Air
Flying is the quickest way to travel between the 2 cities. Flights from Amsterdam Schiphol (AMS) to Berlin’s 2 airports Tegel (TXL) and Schönefeld (SXF) are scheduled to take around 1 hour 20 minutes.
A large new airport Berlin Brandenburg (BER) is finally due to open on 31 October 2020, after years of delays.
Dutch airline KLM (Skyteam alliance) has up 4-5x daily non-stop flights from Amsterdam to Berlin Tegel using a combination of Boeing 737 aircraft and the occasional Cityhopper branded Embraer 190. Return fares start from around the €110 mark not including checked luggage. KLM will move to Berlin Brandenburg on 8 November 2020.
No frills airline Easyjet flies 1-2x daily from Amsterdam to Berlin Schönefeld airport using Airbus A320 aircraft. If booking well in advance, expect prices from around €60 return not including fees for checked luggage and other extras. Easyjet will serve Berlin Brandenburg from the end of October.
German airline Lufthansa (Star Alliance) does NOT operate a direct service between Amsterdam and Berlin. Flying Lufthansa requires that you make a connection in either Frankfurt or Munich and prices are more expensive than KLM and Easyjet.
Germany and the Netherlands are both members of the Schengen Zone so it is (normally) not necessary to go through passport control when travelling between Amsterdam and Berlin.
3. Amsterdam-Berlin by Coach
German coach company Flixbus offers up to 6x daily services from Amsterdam Sloterdijk to Berlin bus station. Journey times are roughly 10-14 hours. Prices start at €26 one-way.
This article was originally published in 2010 and has continuously been updated. Last update 24 September 2020.