Amsterdam to Rotterdam

Last Updated: May 1, 2023
By: Gerrit

What are the best ways to travel from Amsterdam to Rotterdam? How far is Rotterdam from Amsterdam? I’ve written this extensive post for you to answer these questions and more.

In this post, I dive deeper into questions like what is the best way to travel between these two cities and what is the fastest way. What are alternative modes of transportation, and what is the distance and travel time between Amsterdam and Rotterdam?

Rotterdam Central Station entrance. This is where you arrive when you travel from Amsterdam to Rotterdam.
Rotterdam Central Station entrance – Photo: NS

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Why Travel To Rotterdam

Rotterdam is an anti-dote to the Dutch cute. As the 2nd largest city in the Netherlands, it’s the complete opposite of Amsterdam. And that is precisely why it’s such an exciting place to visit.

If you’re visiting the Netherlands for just canal houses and cute bridges only, Rotterdam is not your city. If you’re looking for a vibrant, modern, buzzing city instead, Rotterdam is your place.

The first thing you’ll notice when you arrive in Rotterdam is: “Oh, this is a ‘real’ city.” It’s modern, has a skyline, and is a bit rougher than Amsterdam (still safe). But above all, Rotterdam has a lot to offer.

Rotterdam has the largest harbor in Europe, which you can tour. You’ll also find excellent museums and an exciting mix of restaurants. Please find some of our tips for this city in this post: One-day itinerary for Rotterdam.

How Far Is Rotterdam From Amsterdam?

The distance between Amsterdam and Rotterdam is 78 kilometers (48 miles).

The journey time can vary greatly depending on the mode of transport you choose. If you travel by high-speed train, the journey time is just 41 minutes from city center to city center. But if you travel by regular train, that time doubles. If you travel by car, travel time can be between 75 minutes and two hours, depending on traffic.

What Is The Best Mode Of Transport Between Amsterdam And Rotterdam?

Choosing how to get from Amsterdam to Rotterdam is a bit harder. Because there are many options, you can travel by high-speed train, regular trains, long-distance buses, car, or even by taxi. 

For most people, the high-speed train will be the best choice because the train is faster and more comfortable for traveling between these two cities. Departures are frequent, and city center – city center.

Intercity train traveling over bridge in the Netherlands.
The train is the most convenient mode of travel for most visitors – Photo: NS

When I go to Rotterdam, I always travel by train. I prefer the high-speed train. There is a small surcharge, but it saves travel time. You get there twice as fast. I also prefer to travel in first class. This is a busy route, and I prefer the extra comfort of a larger seat and a relatively quieter area. If you opt for the same, sit in a red seat (1st class).

The bus can be an ok choice when you’re traveling on a budget or your hotel is closer to the bus terminal. But it’s not the preferred method of travel for most people.

If you travel by car, you have more flexibility, but the drawback is heavy traffic between these two cities, parking issues, and high parking rates. Trains are faster. Taxis will be expensive, but you travel in solitude, and deals can be found to reduce costs. Still, travel time is at least twice as long as a trip by train.

How To Get From Amsterdam To Rotterdam By Train

Usually, taking a train in the Netherlands is straightforward. You either take an intercity service for longer distances (with fewer stops) or a local train, which is slower due to more stops. Prices are always the same. That applies to all destinations in Holland except for the trip between Amsterdam and Rotterdam. 

This is because there is also a domestic high-speed option called IC direct, besides regular train services. The IC direct trains run over a separate track, making the journey much faster. I opt for this service when traveling between Amsterdam and Rotterdam. 

Then there are also international high speeds trains like Thalys and Eurostar, to Brussels, Paris, and London. They stop in Rotterdam, but these international trains are not meant for domestic travel.

So, which one to choose? I’ll walk you through each option below.

There are four kinds of train services between Amsterdam and Rotterdam:

  • The Intercity Direct trains – recommended
  • Regular Intercity trains
  • Thalys and Eurostar international high-speed trains
  • Sprinters

What Is The Fastest Way To Travel From Amsterdam To Rotterdam?

Intercity direct trains at Rotterdam Central station.
The Intercity Direct trains are the fasted way to travel to Rotterdam – Photo: NS

The fastest way to travel to Rotterdam from Amsterdam is by taking the Intercity Direct train. Travel time is just 41 minutes, 34 minutes faster than regular Intercity services. Trains leave every 15 minutes.

There is a small supplement of a few euros for using the Intercity Direct trains on top of the regular fare.

Other Train Options Available Between Amsterdam And Rotterdam

Regular Intercity trains run four times per hour between Amsterdam and Rotterdam and take 75 minutes. Two travel directly, and two options are via Utrecht with one transfer. The travel time is the same. 

The only reason you might want to use this option is when you want to save the small supplement for the Intercity Direct train. Or when the Intercity Direct trains are not running. But for most people, it won’t be worth the extra 30 minutes.

High-Speed Thalys And Eurostar Trains

Eurostar high speed train at Rotterdam Central Station.
Eurostar high-speed train at Rotterdam Central Station – Photo: NS

In theory, buying a ticket between Amsterdam and Rotterdam on the Thalys or Eurostar high-speed trains is possible. I don’t advise you to do this. It’s not worth the trouble.

Prices are 30% higher (at least) than the Intercity Direct option, while comfort and travel times are precisely the same. And you’re stuck with a specific train. You can’t change your booking, hence no flexibility. When you take an Intercity direct train, you travel on any train throughout the day. With the International high speed trains you can not.

International trains are meant to travel to Brussels, Paris, or London, not for the short domestic leg between Amsterdam and Rotterdam. Unless you’re a train aficionado and want to travel once on either the Thalys or Eurostar, you probably want to avoid these trains for regular trips. But if you want to travel on one, you can book your ticket here.

Sprinter Trains

Sprinters are local all-station stopping services. Funny enough, the travel time is the same as the regular intercity trains (1h15min). That seems odd, but it’s because they take a different (shorter) route.

However, they stop every few minutes and have less comfortable seating. We would not recommend them for travel between Amsterdam and Rotterdam. They’re meant for local short distances.

What Station To Use When I Travel To Rotterdam?

Passengers waiting at Rotterdam Central Station – Photo: NS

Rotterdam has several railway stations (Rotterdam Central, Blaak, Noord, Zuid, Lombardijen, and Alexander). Which one to choose?

For most travelers, I would recommend traveling to Rotterdam Central Station. It’s closest to most attractions and a central hub for other public transportation options like the metro, buses, and trams. 

Station Rotterdam Blaak is the best station to travel to if you want to get closest to the yellow cubical houses and the Market Hall. Rotterdam Blaak station is ideal because it’s right in front of these attractions.

In general, local commuters use the other stations in suburban areas. You won’t use them unless you stay in one of those areas.

How Much Does A Train Ticket Between Amsterdam and Rotterdam Cost?

Train ticket prices are updated regularly. It’s best to check current prices on the NS website. It’s intuitive to use and available in English. Just enter your departure station and arrival station and search. Prices are displayed on the next page. To give you an idea: tickets are between €20 and €35 depending on the class of travel and which train you take.

How To Buy A Ticket For Your Journey From Amsterdam To Rotterdam?

You can buy your train ticket in a few different ways:

  • From the ticket desk at the station (only major stations) +€1
  • Ticket machine – you’ll need a credit card with a pin, a Dutch bank card, or a lot of coins +€1
  • The NS Extra App – Smartest option – no surcharge
  • The NS Website – you’ll need a printer – no surcharge

The easiest way to get your train ticket from Amsterdam to Rotterdam is by buying your ticket through the NS mobile app. You pay no surcharge, can pay by credit card, and do not need a printer and use paper. Your ticket will be available as a QR code in the app (mobile ticket). 

You can open the gates at the station with this QR code and show it to the conductor as proof of payment. You can quickly pay by credit card. 

The one drawback is that you’re responsible for installing a working phone with the app. An empty battery is no excuse for being unable to show your ticket. If you want to avoid this, buy a ticket online and print your ticket, or bring a battery pack.

If you buy a ticket from the ticket desk or machine, you’ll pay a €1 surcharge per paper ticket.

NS App for train travel planning and tickets in the Netherlands.
NS App.

Things To Know About Train Tickets In the Netherlands:

  • Tickets are not train-specific but day-specific. You can take any departure you like*.
  • Unless you travel on international high-speed trains, seat reservations are not possible.
  • Prices stay the same. They do not fluctuate per departure*.
  • Purchased tickets can not be refunded. Only buy a ticket when you’re sure you’ll travel.
  • One-way tickets cost the same as a return. A return ticket is only valid for same-day travel.
  • You can get an e-ticket up to the moment before you enter the platform.
  • The supplement for the Intercity Direct must be bought separately from your train ticket.
  • Tickets purchased via the website must be printed. A digital PDF copy or screenshot is not valid. If you have no printer, always buy tickets inside the mobile app to avoid this requirement.

*Some restrictions may apply if you’ve purchased a discounted fare. Most discounted tickets, for example, won’t allow you to travel on rush-hour services. Please check the conditions of a ticket before you go. This only applies to special tickets. You can travel on any departure for regular tickets purchased in the app.

Save Money When You’re Not Traveling Alone

For a group of 2 or more people, the cheapest ticket from Amsterdam to Rotterdam is the group ticket from NS. 

A group ticket is a discounted one-way ticket for multiple people taking the same journey simultaneously. The price is fixed no matter the distance, which makes it very interesting for longer distances. But it already saves you money on the journey from Amsterdam to Rotterdam and back.

You can buy a group ticket online from the NS website. Or you can book a ticket directly inside the NS Xtra app.

A group ticket can be booked up to the departure time of your train of choice. But not after the train has left. 

There are a few restrictions to this ticket. It’s valid in the standard 2nd class only. You can not buy this ticket if you want to travel first class. You can only travel during off-peak hours with this ticket. Read the terms carefully on the NS website. You can also not use this ticket on Kingsday (April 27th).

How To Plan Your Journey From Amsterdam To Rotterdam By Train?

You can use the NS Xtra app on your phone or the NS website to plan your journey. Both are available in English. And either one is easy to use. It’s a great tool if you need to get around the country. Both planning tools can also show other modes of transport in addition to train services only. Handy if you want to plan door-to-door.

Another great option is to plan your journeys on Google Maps. It has a separate tab for directions by public transport. I also like using Google Maps when I am on a bus to follow my journey in real-time, so I see when my stop is approaching.

What Is The Cheapest Way To Travel Between Amsterdam and Rotterdam?

Flixbus is the cheapest mode of transport from Amsterdam to Rotterdam.

A long-distance bus is the cheapest way to travel between Amsterdam and Rotterdam. Flixbus or Eurolines (now one company) operates long-distance buses from Amsterdam to Rotterdam. Tickets can be very cheap, starting at only €3. 

Buses leave from Duivendrecht station or Amsterdam Sloterdijk station. Neither is in the city center of Amsterdam. Consider the extra time and costs you incur when departing from these locations compared to train tickets.

Buses leave about hourly. Remember that bus tickets are only valid for a specific departure. They’re not flexible, like a train ticket.

The bus could work if you’re traveling on a low budget or staying near one of these departure locations when it would make less sense to go to Amsterdam Central first. But in general, I would advise against this mode of transport. If you would like to check out the different ticket options Flixbus offers, you can click here.

Travel From Amsterdam to Rotterdam By Car

Rotterdam A16 ring road.
Rotterdam A16 ring road.

It’s easy to get from Amsterdam to Rotterdam by car. Just take the A4 and the A13 freeways. Please note that Rotterdam has paid parking in the city center.

There are Park and Ride locations all around Rotterdam (cheaper or free parking if you use public transport to the city center).

For most people, the train is the best option to travel between Amsterdam and Rotterdam.

Still, there could be many reasons a car would be more convenient.

If you need a rental car, I advise I find they always have the best rates. Plus, their interface is easy to use. Rental Cars is the company I use when renting a car anywhere in the world.

Travel Between Amsterdam And Rotterdam By Taxi

Taking a taxi between Amsterdam and Rotterdam is also possible. But it’s more costly. A one-way trip costs about €200 for a maximum of 4 people.

However, when you book in advance, you can find a much better deal with local firms. Google is your friend here.

Are You Traveling Between Amsterdam to Rotterdam Soon?

I’d love to hear your thoughts: Do you plan to use the IC Direct High-Speed rail link between Amsterdam to Rotterdam? Share your thoughts in the comments below, and let’s start a conversation 💬.

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Hi I'm Gerrit 👋, a Dutch native with a passion for my homeland that was inspired by my grandmother. I enjoy sharing my expertise in discovering hidden gems and connecting travelers with Dutch culture for an unforgettable experience. Let's explore the beauty of the Netherlands together!

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