Berlin 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:
1. Amsterdam-Berlin by Train
Deutsche Bahn (German Railways) runs a direct train between Amsterdam and Berlin – this is a standard Intercity (IC) rail service, not a high-speed one – the journey time is about 6 hours 20 minutes.
Travel by train will certainly be a more comfortable and relaxing experience than flying, as well as being relatively greener.
The Amsterdam-Berlin IC train runs 6x daily from Amsterdam Central to Berlin Hauptbahnhof (Hbf), terminating at Berlin Ostbahnhof. The first train leaves Amsterdam early at 0502 (Mon-Sat) 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 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) has been under construction but is beset by problems and the official opening has been delayed to 31 October 2020.
Dutch airline KLM (Skyteam alliance) has up to 8x 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.
No frills airline Easyjet flies 3x 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.
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 – prices start from around €180 return.
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 hours though there is an express service taking just 8 hours. Prices start at €29 one-way.
Eurolines runs a daily overnight coach service from its Amsterdam Duivendrecht terminal to Berlin (Zentral Omnibus Bahnhof ZOB, am Funkturn). The trip takes around 10 hours and standard prices start at €30 one-way.