The port city of Hamburg is an important economic hub in northern in Germany – it lies some 380km north-east from Amsterdam.
Let’s look at the options for travel between Amsterdam and Hamburg by train, air or bus.
1. Amsterdam-Hamburg by Train (recommended)
Travel by rail can be done comfortably between Amsterdam and Hamburg in just over 5 hours with a change of train at Osnabrück. It can be easily booked via the NS International site with prices starting at €33 one-way.
The Amsterdam-Hamburg trip is done as follows:
1. Amsterdam-Osnabrück: Taking the Intercity Berlin service jointly run by Deutsche Bahn (DB German Railways) and NS International from Amsterdam Central to Osnabrück. This part of the trip takes just over 3 hours and runs 5x daily.
The Intercity Berlin carriages are from DB and are normally pulled by a Dutch locomotive.
The Intercity Berlin train makes stops in the Netherlands at Hilversum, Amersfoort, Apeldoorn, Deventer, Almelo and Hengelo. It crosses into Germany at Bad Bentheim, continues to Rheine and then to Osnabrück where you have to change for Hamburg.
2nd class seats on the Intercity Berlin are mainly an open 2-2 configurations though there are some mini compartments reserved for families with children. The windows on this train are large and offer good views.
The 1st class seats on the Intercity Berlin are very comfortable and are mainly 6 seat mini-compartments with some limited open seating.
Free WiFi is available to all passengers and there are some power outlets located under the seats.
The Intercity Berlin train has an on board bistro bar carriage for drinks and snacks. 1st class passengers can order from their seat.
2. Osnabrück-Hamburg: Take a domestic DB German ICE train service which runs from Osnabrück to Hamburg Hauptbahnhof and Hamburg Altona via Bremen. This sector takes just under 2 hours.
There are a number of ICE train variants but seats broadly look as follows – with 2nd class in an open 2-2 configuration and 1st class in a mix of open 2-1 configuration and smaller compartments.
Free WiFi is available to all passengers and there are power outlets accessible from each seat.
For example, take the 0910 Intercity Berlin train from Amsterdam Central which arrives at Osnabrück at 1206. Head to the platforms upstairs and take the 1225 ICE service (direction: Hamburg Altona) which arrives at Hamburg Hbf at 1414.
If travelling Hamburg-Amsterdam the trip is simply reversed. For example, take the 0945 ICE train (direction: München Hbf) from Hamburg which arrives in Osnabrück at 1135; then head downstairs and take the 1153 Intercity Berlin train which arrives at Amsterdam Central at 1500.
Amsterdam-Hamburg train ticket fares
The cheapest one-way ticket price for Amsterdam-Hamburg in 2nd class for the trip is €33. This is the Supersparpreis Europa fare which is only valid on the particular departure time selected and is non-changeable/non-refundable. It can be easily found if booking 2-6 months in advance.
There are more flexible fares available. The Sparpreis Europa fare from €40 one-way is changeable/refundable for a fee and includes a City ticket for Hamburg public transport. The fully-flexible Flexpreis fare is priced €124-€141 one-way and also includes the City ticket component.
1st class Amsterdam-Hamburg one-way fares start from €46 (the non-changeable Supersparpreis Europa 1st class), from €55 (Sparpreis Europa 1st class, changeable/refundable for a fee) and from €215 (Flexpreis full-flex fare).
Children 0-4 always travel free. In addition children ages 4-14 can travel free with any standard adult passenger – though you must add the child to your ticket when booking.
Seat reservations are an extra €4.90 per person in 2nd class for the entire journey but are included for 1st class fares. Each seat has a small display showing whether or not the seat is reserved. We always recommend reserving your seats.
All 1st class passengers get access to the NS International lounge at Amsterdam Centraal. Only those with a fully-flex 1st class ticket can access the DB Lounge at Hamburg Hbf.
How to book online: Amsterdam-Hamburg 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.
2. Amsterdam-Hamburg by Air
Air travel is the quickest point-to-point option with flights between Amsterdam Schiphol (AMS) and Hamburg Airport (HAM) taking around 1 hour. However, if you factor in travel to/from either airport and check-in/security controls the total time taken is probably similar to the train trip.
Dutch airline KLM (Skyteam) has up to 6 daily non-stop flights from Amsterdam to Hamburg. It uses Embraer 175/190 KLM Cityhopper-branded aircraft and the occasional Boeing737. Prices start from around €125 return not including checked luggage.
3. Amsterdam-Hamburg by Coach
German coach company Flixbus operates multiple daily direct coach services between Amsterdam Sloterdijk to Hamburg Central bus station (on Adenauerallee near Hamburg Hbf). The coach trip takes about 7 hours and singles start from around €20.
Looking for a convenient hotel near Amsterdam Central station? Check out the stylish Kimpton-De Witt which is a short walk from the station. For those on a budget the Ibis Amsterdam Centre is literally on top of the western edge of the station platforms.
The I Amsterdam City Card (1-5 days) offers free entry and discounts to numerous Amsterdam museums and attractions. It also includes a free public transport pass, a canal cruise and bike rental as well. You can order your I Amsterdam City Card online here
This article was originally published in 2013 and has continuously been updated. Last update 18 September 2023.
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