How To Get From Amsterdam To Rotterdam

Last Updated: May 1, 2023

Gerrit Vandenberg

Gerrit shares his love for the Netherlands from his home near Amsterdam, helping thousands plan unforgettable trips to the lowlands. Discover his inspiring journey "From a critical health scare to celebrating Holland's charms". If you want to send Gerrit a quick message, you can contact him here.

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Hi, I'm Gerrit

I enjoy sharing useful tips about the beauty of this county.

Are you wondering about the best way to get from Amsterdam to Rotterdam?

You’re in the right spot. I’m a Dutch local. And I often travel between Amsterdam and Rotterdam.

I’ve written this extensive post for you to answer this question.

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 is the 2nd largest city in The Netherlands. And one of the most traveled routes.

As you might expect, there is more than one way to get there, but from my experience, going by high-speed train is the most comfortable way to travel.

If you’re looking for more information about travel within Rotterdam, you’ll like my post: Rotterdam Public Transport Simplified: In-Depth Guide 2023.

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

My Favorite Travel Books

My Favorite Travel Guide
Rick Steves Amsterdam & the Netherlands

I love how Rick Steves' guidebooks offer a traveler's perspective. This is my favorite Amsterdam guidebook by far! Rating 4.8/5 on Amazon.

03/03/2024 11:49 am GMT
03/03/2024 11:03 am GMT

Click here for more Netherlands book recommendations.
(travel books, art books, language books, and maps)

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.

Rotterdam is not your city if you visit the Netherlands for canal houses and cute bridges only. 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 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.

For more things to do in Rotterdam, then I have this post for your: Great Things To Do In Rotterdam For A First Time Visit ๐Ÿ™๏ธ

How To Travel From Amsterdam to Rotterdam, what is the best way?

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 Amsterdam to Rotterdam train will be the best choice because the train is faster and more comfortable than any other mode of transport. Period. Departures are frequent, and city center to 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. This has a small surcharge, but it saves you a lot of travel time. You get there twice as fast.

I also prefer to travel in first class. This is a busy route, and I like the extra comfort of a larger seat and a relatively quieter area. If you opt for this too, like me, sit in the compartment with only red seats; this is the 1st class section.

The bus can be an okay choice when 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.

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.

Sprinters serve mainly as feeder trains to the leading Intercity network. But they’re also convenient for wheelchair-bound people because these slower trains have no barrier entrances.

Prices for both types of trains are always the same. That applies to all destinations in Holland except for the trip between Amsterdam and Rotterdam. 

That is because the domestic high-speed option, IC Direct, has a supplement of a few euros for time-saving. Regular train services have the standard tariff structure.

IC direct trains run over a separate track at higher speeds, making the journey much faster. I always take the IC Direct train between Amsterdam and Rotterdam

Then there are also international high-speeds trains like Thalys and Eurostar (now one company called 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:

  1. The Intercity Direct trains – recommended
  2. Regular Intercity trains
  3. Thalys and Eurostar international high-speed trains
  4. Sprinters

The Fastest Way From Amsterdam To Rotterdam

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

The fastest way to travel to Rotterdam from Amsterdam is by taking the Intercity Direct train.

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

Booking Train Tickets at the Official NS Website

NS Netherlands Train Tickets

Buy your train tickets online. You avoid the โ‚ฌ1 surcharge at the machine. you can print your tickets or download them to your phone.

If you book at least 4 days in advance and travel during off-peak hours you save 10% or 20%.

Other Train Options Available Between Amsterdam And Rotterdam

Regular Intercity trains run twice per hour between Amsterdam and Rotterdam and take 75 minutes.

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 it won’t be worth the extra 30 minutes for most people.

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.

While the IC Direct trains give you full flexibility on the same travel day. When you take an Intercity Direct train, you can travel on any train throughout the day. With 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.

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. They can be of use, though, for passengers with mobility issues.

Find A Place To Stay In Rotterdam

Find accommodation in Rotterdam for the lowest prices on your favorite platform. What's great about this map is that it shows both Hotels, as VRBO rentals (AirBNB but then cheaper).

Update your (intended) travel dates for accurate prices. TIP: Zoom out on the map (-) in the bottom right corner. This will show more options and availability.

What Station To Use When Traveling 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. 

I also like to stop at Station Rotterdam Blaak because it is the best station to travel to if you want to get closest to the yellow cubical houses and the Market Hall. Literially when you exit the station, you see the iconic yellow cubical houses and the Rotterdam Market Hall.

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: one-way tickets are between โ‚ฌ20 and โ‚ฌ35 depending on the class of travel and which train you take.

Booking Train Tickets at the Official NS Website

NS Netherlands Train Tickets

Buy your train tickets online. You avoid the โ‚ฌ1 surcharge at the machine. you can print your tickets or download them to your phone.

If you book at least 4 days in advance and travel during off-peak hours you save 10% or 20%.

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 are fixed, but if you book through the NS website, you can get a 10 to 20% discount for off-peak departures (between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. and after 6:30 p.m. and all day all weekend.
  • Purchased tickets can not be refunded. Only buy a ticket when you’re sure you’ll travel.
  • Since pricing for one-way is precisely half of a return fare, itโ€™s better to buy separate tickets.
  • 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 or added to the app. A digital PDF copy or screenshot is not valid. If you have no printer available, you can add it easily (instructions are in the booking confirmation email) to the NS app on your phone.

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Stop searching for WI-FI; get an affordable eSIM for the Netherlands. From just $4.50 for 1GB, but I recommend at least 10GB. TIP: Get the App for easy top-up.

*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.

Here are more Netherlands train tips. I answer questions like how to board a train (like how to open the doors), how to find your correct class of travel, what silence zones are, and much more.

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

You can use the NS App on your phone or the NS website to plan your journey. Both are available in English. The app is more complete, but it takes a little time to get used to because it has so many options. I find the regular website the quickest for looking up departure times..

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 on a bus to follow my journey in real-time, so I see when my stop is approaching. Apple maps now cover some transit options, but Google is still more complete.

The Cheapest Way To Travel Between Amsterdam and Rotterdam

A Coach 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 โ‚ฌ5. 

Buses leave from the Amsterdam Sloterdijk station, which isn’t in the city center of Amsterdam. Consider the extra time and costs you incur when departing from this location 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 not make a lot of sense to go to Amsterdam Central first. But in general, I would advise against this mode of transport. This is where you find Coach ticket prices.

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 and it’s not cheap. Prices change, so look for current Rotterdam parking rates here (use Google Translate).

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

How far is Amsterdam from Rotterdam?

The distance by road is 48 miles (78 kilometers), which is relative here because travel speed is much more important. It can vary from 40 minutes to 90 minutes, depending on the mode of transportation.

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.

Find the lowest price for Car rental in the Netherlands

For the best car rental rates, I suggest checking both Rental Cars and Discover Cars. I often go with Rental Cars, but it’s worth comparing both.

Travel Between Amsterdam And Rotterdam By Taxi

Taking a taxi or Uber between Amsterdam and Rotterdam is also possible. But it’s more costly. A one-way trip costs about โ‚ฌ200 for a maximum of 4 people.

However, you can find a much better deal with local firms when you book in advance. I like Get Transfer for this. You can book a private driver from just over โ‚ฌ100.

My Favorite Private Driver Booking Tool

Get Transfer City to City

Book affordable transfers between cities with a private driver. You'll save significantly over regular taxi fares. Plus, it's pre-booked and door-to-door.

Frequently Asked Questions About 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. It’s fastest by the high-speed IC Direct train connection.

What is the travel time to Rotterdam from Amsterdam

It depends. If you travel by high-speed train, the journey time is only 41 minutes from the city center to the city center. This is the fastest way to get to Rotterdam.

If you travel by regular train, that time doubles to 1h and 15 minutes. If you travel by car, travel time can be between 75 minutes and two hours, depending on traffic.

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

The fastest way to travel from Amsterdam to Rotterdam is, hands down, the high-speed IC Direct train. These trains require a supplement of just a few euros, a separate purchase.

How long is the train from Amsterdam to Rotterdam?

The travel time between Amsterdam and Rotterdam is just 41 minutes with the IC Direct trains, 34 minutes faster than regular Intercity services. And at least twice as fast as traveling by car. Trains leave every 15 minutes at most times of the day.

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Does All Of This Feel Overwhelming?

Planning a trip well is a lot of work and can feel overwhelming. Know I’m here to help when you need assistance with your Netherlands vacation.

I offer Itinerary Consultations where I help you with ideas to improve your itinerary and make your trip planning much faster and less stressful. I also have local insights you don’t get from a guidebook.

Did This Post Help You Make A Choice?

Iโ€™d love your thoughts: Do you plan to use the IC Direct High-Speed rail link between Amsterdam to Rotterdam?. Please share your thoughts in the comments below, and let’s start a conversation ๐Ÿ’ฌ.

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Cheap Mobile Phone Data

Mobile Data can be expensive when you travel to the Netherlands, but it doesn’t have to be. Read my article to learn more: SIM cards in The Netherlands.

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Hotels in Rotterdam

The Best Flights Deals

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Save Money Paying Abroad

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Enter your email below & I'll send it straight to your inbox!

And each week, I'll send you new tips to plan your Netherlands vacation. If you decide it's not for you (any longer), unsubscribing is always just a click away.

Gerrit shares his love for the Netherlands from his home near Amsterdam, helping thousands plan unforgettable trips to the lowlands. Discover his inspiring journey "From a critical health scare to celebrating Holland's charms". If you want to send Gerrit a quick message, you can contact him here.

7 thoughts on “How To Get From Amsterdam To Rotterdam”

  1. I could not find any mention of travelling with luggage. What is the most convenient way to travel from Amsterdam to Rotterdam with luggage. Where does one store the luggage on the train or bus? Are there porter services?
    Appreciate all your tips and information

    • Hi Al, thank you for your comment and great questions. In general Europe is not the place to travel to with a lot of luggage. It’s the old world, with uneven streets everywhere, thus you will be uncomfortable very soon if you travel with too much. So start there, try not to bring too much.

      To your specific questions: For the train, there are no limits what you can take as long as you block no other seats. There is a baggage rack above the seat (like above an airplane seat but then open), and there is space under your seat. Large pieces of luggage can be left in the hallway, but there is a risk of theft since it’s right next to the doors. There are “jump” seats in the hallway so you could stay there with your suitcases (that’s a 2nd class seat). Many travellers do that on this route, since it’s a popular stretch with tourists.

      Long Distance Bus Companies have similar luggage rules as airlines. Usually you can take 1 suitcase of 50lbs/20kg per person for free, it will go in the hold. You can find this in the terms if you click through to the bus reservation site and select a departure. City buses have no rules and there is a larger open space in the middle where you can usually park your luggage just fine.

      Porters are not available. Europe, is very much a do it your self place.

      If you want all the comfort and not deal with luggage on public transportation you could consider a private driver. Here is a company I recommend that charges less than a regular taxi, and you have a choice in vehicles. I hope’ll have a wonderful time visiting.

  2. Hello! The website says the train ticket price shown is based on having an OV card. Confused why you’d need to buy a card for an eticket! Would love insider insight! Thanks!

    • Hi Dana, I understand that is confusing. I assume you refer to this line “The price is based on travelling with an OV-chipcard. If you do not have your own OV-chipcard, click here. Buying a single-use chipcard from the ticket machine at stations costs โ‚ฌ1.00 extra.” in the fare information section.

      I think the NS forgot to update this when they introduced e-tickets and OVpay. Because it is true, but incomplete.

      You can completely ignore that. Let me explain:

      As a visitor you do NOT need an OV-chipcard. You can either travel with a OV-chipcard (locals) or E-ticket (visitors) prices are exactly the same for both options. An E-ticket is an alternative for the OV-chipcard. The โ‚ฌ1 does apply when you buy a ticket from a ticket machine. So it’s always better to buy an e-ticket.

      And if you do so at least 4 days in advance and you travel in the off-peak hours you get a 10-20% off discount when you purchase an e-ticket through the website. More information in my post on Train tickets, where I have video walk-through of the purchasing process.

      To answer your question: No, you do not need a ov chipcard to load your e-ticket. You can print it if you have access to a printer, or you can download the NS app, and download the ticket to the app from your confirmation email (open the email on your mobile device, then click the button load to app). Those are the two options.

      Never follow the link “Price with Flex Dal Voordeel” where the button says Order Dal Voordeel, these 40% off prices are for a paid subscription that is local. You’d need a home Dutch address and a Dutch bank account for that. And that subscription can only be loaded to a OV-chipcard, but irrelevant if you’re visiting.

      Hope that helps!

  3. Hi Gerrit!
    What can you say from your experience as an impression of overcrowding on the trains Rotterdam – Amsterdam? Are usually all seats taken or only at peak times? Are standing people allowed?

    • Hi Rumen, my experience is this a busy route but the frequency is also high, and trains are long! Standing might be neccesary during peak hours especially for the leg between Amsterdam and the airport. But you should be able to find a seat most of the time or after the airport. High speed trains go so often, up to every 10 minutes. The main issue is luggage. If you have too much (more than 1 suitcase) you need to stay in the little hallways (2nd class) and those get full quick with fellow passengers with luggage. Standing is allowed. Safe travels!


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