In this post, you will learn all about the transportation options available from Amsterdam Schiphol Airport to Amsterdam. We’ll give you all the pros and cons for every choice.
Our goal is to make it easy for you to choose what transportation option is best for you.
Amsterdam Schiphol Airport is one of the most convenient airports in Europe. The main advantage is that the building is a one-terminal concept. Once you get off the plane and through immigration and customs you can connect with ground transportation within minutes.
The train station is right below the terminal building at the arrivals level. You can find all other transportation options directly in front of the terminal building on the arrivals level as well. Finding your way around is easy; everything is well signposted.
Did you know Amsterdam Schiphol Airport is just 20 minutes away from Amsterdam? It doesn’t take a lot of time to reach the city after you’ve arrived.
You have multiple options to travel to Amsterdam.
The best option for you? It depends on where your accommodation is. What price point you’re comfortable with. How mobile you are. And if you travel with (a lot of) luggage.
These are the transportation options available from Schiphol Airport to Amsterdam: (continue reading for a detailed explanation for each, or click on any of the links below to go directly to the option you like most) :
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TIP: If you have a flight departing from Schiphol or you transfer at Amsterdam Airport Schiphol than make sure to download this €5 off coupon from the Tax-Free shops. When you spend € 25 or more on perfumes, cosmetics, sunglasses, liquor or chocolate (after security) you get €5 off your purchase.
Train from Amsterdam Schiphol Airport to Amsterdam
The train station is conveniently located inside the terminal building. After you cleared customs, follow the yellow signs for trains. It’s a short distance away and easy to find.
From the airport, you can travel to Amsterdam Central Station but also to a few other Amsterdam railways stations. Which can be very helpful, depending on your final destination.
Which Amsterdam Railway station is best for you?
Five stations in Amsterdam are particularly useful for visitors:
1. Amsterdam Central Station: Perfect if you go to the city for a day. Or if your accommodation is around Central station, Amsterdam North or the NDSM wharf. (Amsterdam North and NDSM are a just a short free ferry ride away from Central station). Travel time is 13-18 minutes, 8x an hour.
2. Amsterdam Sloterdijk: Around Sloterdijk station, there are multiple hotels. Amsterdam Sloterdijk station has excellent connections to the Airport (10 minutes), 6x times an hour. And to Amsterdam Central station (5-6 minutes), these trains depart every few minutes.
Make sure if you travel to Amsterdam Sloterdijk that you travel on a train that stops there! Some trains go non-stop to Central Station (Intercity trains), skip these, travel on a “Sprinter” train to “Amsterdam Centraal” or “Hoorn Kersenboogerd” from the airport, and it'll stop at Sloterdijk. Always doublecheck the departure screens.
3. Amsterdam RAI: The Rai is the Amsterdam Exhibition center. If you attend a show here, this station is perfect. There are also multiple big hotels nearby.
With the new metro line, you can very easily reach the city center from the Rai station, thus a hotel here might be more cost effective and more comfortable compared to city center hotels.
Take a “Sprinter” train in the direction of “Almere Oostvaarders” or to “Utrecht Centraal” from the airport- (NOT the Intercity trains to Utrecht), check the screens on the platform for RAI. Travel time is 11 minutes, 4x an hour.
4. Amsterdam Zuid (South): Amsterdam South is close to the airport and very convenient if you're traveling to one of the major businesses on the “Zuidas.”
Travel time is just 7 minutes, and trains leave every couple of minutes. Be careful to board the right train. Amsterdam Zuid is on the train lines to Utrecht, Amersfoort, Lelystad and beyond, NOT to Amsterdam Central Station.
5. Amsterdam Bijlmer Arena: Just like Sloterdijk, this station is outside the city but has excellent connections to the city center by train or metro and again some larger hotels are located close to this station.
This station is also perfect for the famous Johan Cruijf Arena football stadion (you can take a 75-minute tour of the stadium, just click the link), the Ziggo Dome (large concert venue), or the AFAS Live concert hall. All “Intercity” trains to Utrecht stop here, 4x an hour.
Why or why not use the train from Amsterdam Schiphol Airport to Amsterdam:
The train is the most reliable, cheapest, and fastest way to travel to your destination if that destination is near a train station. If it’s not, then the train might not be the best option.
Pros for the train
Cons for the train
Pickpockets are a problem on trains between the airport and the city. Mainly because tourists are off-guard, they’ve just arrived, are in a vacation mood and people generally don’t pay much attention to their belongings. Trains can also become crowded. Pickpockets have noticed this and take advantage of it.
Don’t confuse this with trains not being safe. That is not true. We feel perfectly safe on a train between the airport and the city around the clock. But you have to observe your belongings. Don’t use the luggage racks! Keep your valuables into view and into reach.
Use common sense and don’t get distracted. Then you’re absolutely fine!
A few more notes on the trains:
Ticket machines are easy to use, BUT, it’s far easier to buy your ticket in the NS Extra app on your phone. There is always a line at the ticket machines. And you’ll pay more at these machines (+€1 per ticket), compared to buying an e-ticket in the app. You also skip the wait, you can travel with an e-ticket on your device and you can pay by credit card.
Download the NS app on your phone. It's available in English, you can use it for planning your journey and for buying your tickets (it accepts credit cards (the machines do not) and you avoid the €1 surcharge for paper tickets.
Always buy a one-way ticket! This is important because a roundtrip is only valid for same-day travel. There is no difference in fare between two one-way tickets and a roundtrip. Unless you’re in Amsterdam for just the day, never buy a roundtrip ticket.
You can plan your journey easily online with the NS travel planner or in the NS Xtra App. Both will show you ticket prices. Look for the full fare price. Discounts are only available locally with a paid subscription.
Traveling from Amsterdam Airport Schiphol to any station in Amsterdam costs just a few Euro.
Should you travel 1st Class (Comfort) or 2nd Class (Standard) Between Schiphol and Amsterdam?
Dutch trains have two travel classes: 2nd (standard) class and 1st (comfort) class. For journeys longer then 30 minutes, we think 1st class is worth it, especially on “Intercity” services. But NOT on the short trip between the airport and the city.
We travel first class on most journeys over 30 minutes ourselves. Seats are wider and more comfortable, there is more legroom, and on newer trains, there are power outlets. Free Wifi is available on many trains in both classes.
For shorter distances, including all Amsterdam stations from the airport, it’s not worth it. Before you've found a seat, you’ve reached your destination. Ignore the comfort (1st class) option on the ticket machine screen and buy a standard (2nd class) ticket instead.
Bus - The Airport Express from Amsterdam Airport Schiphol to Amsterdam
The bus can also be a convenient way to travel from Amsterdam Schiphol Airport to Amsterdam Specifically, if you’re staying near Museumplein, Leidseplein, the Rijksmuseum or Olympisch Stadion.
One of the most useful, and popular buses for visitors is the Amsterdam Airport Express, line 397. The 397 bus has WIFI onboard and charging points for your mobile phone. Plus, low entry access (easy when you travel with luggage).
Buses depart from platform B15-19 (make a right when exiting the terminal), every 8 minutes. The Amsterdam Airport Express provides a quick and easy transfer from Amsterdam Schiphol Airport to the city center of Amsterdam in the areas we’ve described above.
Many hotels are in this area, and therefore the bus is a good option if you stay in one of them. This bus service is NOT convenient if you need to travel to Central Station or Amsterdam Noord.
The bus is inexpensive at just €11,25 for a return. Your return ticket is valid for up to 14 days. You can also buy a combination ticket for this bus service, that includes a day ticket for regular public transport in Amsterdam as well. Check out the options by clicking the link below.
Buying your tickets here via our link will not only help to support us at no extra cost to you, but you’ll also enjoy the following benefits:
Below is a full list of all stops on this bus service from Amsterdam Schiphol Airport:
Buses are red and will show the text Amsterdam Airport Express. The number is 397 or N97 (during the night).
Other public transport Buses from Schiphol:
Other buses, like Bus 69, are, in general, not useful for visitors. If you need to use any of the other bus services, you most likely already know, because you’re traveling to a specific destination.
The debit Mastercard® we use ourselves on every trip
You can easily add Euro's to this card before you leave, at incredible low rates. There are no sneaky fees. This card is perfect if you want to pay for online reservations in Euro, plus once you arrive anywhere you can pay by MasterCard. It even supports Apple Pay. Say good-bye to high fees and bad rates from your regular credit card company. This is the card we use ourselves on all our travel. Learn more in our post.
Buses from Amsterdam Schiphol Airport to the Keukenhof
If you are lucky enough to be in Holland during the flower season (late March - Early May), you most likely want to visit the Keukenhof. It’s effortless to visit the Keukenhof directly from the airport by public transport. There is NO need to go on an expensive tour.
Take bus 858, 8x an hour. Journey time: 30 minutes. It’s that simple. If you take a tour company, you get limited time at the park, and they’ll take you to souvenir shops and other tourist traps.
Please do not do that and travel by public transportation. It’s so easy and convenient, plus you’re in charge of your own time.
You can buy a combination ticket for entrance to the park (a skip-the-line ticket) and the bus 858 from Schiphol Amsterdam Airport. You can buy yours here. It's a bargain and it will save you a lot of time! When we would travel ourselves from the airport this is the ticket we would buy.
Regular Taxi - Why we think this is not a good idea
Taxi’s in Amsterdam are among the most expensive in the world. The short one way trip to Amsterdam can easily cost you between €35,00 and €50.
You might be thinking, well, that’s worth it to me because it’s direct and no strangers around me.
Still, it’s usually not a good idea to take a taxi for a few reasons. One: official cabs are metered, prices are not fixed. The result is that drivers often take detours to rack up the costs.
Also, many unofficial taxi drivers are roaming the arrivals area, trying to get you in their taxi. Often the rates they offer is hardly ever the price you pay and they can become aggressive. They might not let you out of the car or will not give your luggage back if you don’t pay the highly inflated prices, sometimes several hundred Euro. Yikes, we know! Don’t let this be you.
If you still decide to take a taxi, please do this:
Money tip #2: the best way to use Google Maps on the go, including in your taxi, is to have an affordable data bundle for Europe on your phone. Read our post about the best SIM card for Europe here to find the best deals!
Taking an Uber from Amsterdam Airport Schiphol to Amsterdam
After a lengthy legal battle, Uber is now officially legal in Amsterdam. Depending on the time of day and how busy it is, Uber is significantly cheaper than a taxi. But even better, you can order a ride from your phone, and you know what you’ll pay upfront.
You always know the driver will take the shortest route because the driver will lose money if they don’t, the total opposite to a metered taxi.
The stop for Uber pickups at the airport is to the far right (if you stand in front of the terminal building with your back facing the terminal building). Use exit B. If you have trouble finding it, ask official Airport personnel only, or you might risk running into an un-offical taxi scammer .
A quick tip is to go to the pickup location first and then order your Uber. This way, you’ll avoid the Uber waiting time charge if they have to wait more then two minutes for you.
It’s challenging to predict how much time you’ll need from landing to the pickup location. If you're unlucky and you land on the “Polderbaan” runway, taxi time to the gate can be up to 20 minutes. Walking from the arrival gate to immigration varies greatly, as does the waiting time for immigration and customs itself.
If you travel with luggage, there can be another wait that is pretty unpredictable to collect it. Therefore it’s much better not to book an Uber before you arrive at the pickup location.
A Private Transfer is another excellent option from Schiphol Airport to the city
Many travelers prefer to avoid all the hassle of public transportation, taxi ripoffs, and waiting times for an Uber. If this is you, then pre-booking a private transfer is the best way to go. Service levels will be higher.
You don’t need to search for the right pick up location or stand outside the terminal building either. A driver will meet you in the Arrivals Hall or at the meeting point with your name on a sign. Easy as that. Your transfer is prepaid, and the driver will help you with your luggage.
Check our partner site Get Your Guide for options. You can read reviews and find differences between them as do drivers track your flight. And where they will wait either at the Arrival doors or at the Meeting point inside the Railway station. You can select the service that fits best with your needs.
Hotel Shuttles from Amsterdam Airport Schiphol to Amsterdam
The Connexxion Schiphol Hotel Shuttle is something between public transport and a taxi. Rates are also about in the middle. The benefit of the Hotel shuttle service is that you can pre-book to over 100 hotels in Amsterdam. No transfers, no luggage to haul around.
But do note, this is shared transportation, your hotel might not be its first stop. A shared service will affect your travel times. Hotel shuttles also need to be pre-booked in advance, so you'll have less flexibility.
You are allowed to travel with one piece of hold luggage and one piece of hand luggage. If you have more then one suitcase per person, you can’t use this service.
Where do the Connexxion Hotel Shuttle Buses depart?
Go to bus stop A7 just in front of the terminal building, follow the signs to Taxis & Buses. Buses leave every 30 minutes.
You can confirm the return trip from Amsterdam back to the airport at your hotel’s reception desk at least two hours before you depart.
Rent a Car at Amsterdam Schiphol Airport
If you visit Amsterdam only, renting a car is NOT a good idea. Amsterdam is a small city with narrow streets and a trazillion bikes on its streets. This combination doesn’t exactly make for comfortable driving. Not even for us Dutch. And to top it all off, parking fees in Amsterdam are astronomically high.
That said if your accommodation is outside the city. Or you’re traveling to different appointments in the area. And especially if you’re going to explore the rest of the country then renting a car can be an excellent idea!
Roads (outside of old city centers) are excellent, and traffic rules are not very different from other countries. Dutch are very structured in their driving, most people find Dutch roads busy but drivers predictable. It's the city centers of old towns that can get you in trouble. Avoid those if you can. Otherwise driving is a breeze in this country.
If you need to rent a car, we recommend Rentalcars.com. This is the company we use for all our car rentals no matter where we are in the world. Prices are always low, transparent, and we never had any issues.
Rental Cars has:
In Holland (and other European countries), car rental companies are far stricter when it comes to damages then the same companies, for example, in the US. So be sure to check the car for EVERY damage no matter how minor and report this to staff (have them note it down and give you a copy of the note).
Also, take pictures of the car from all angles before you leave the premises. If a dispute arises upon returning your vehicle, you can prove with these photos it wasn’t you.
Another smart option is to book with the full insurance option. You’re then covered for all damages with no deductible. You can also bring your deductible to 0 at the car rental desk, but this can be more expensive (and include less other coverages) than the full insurance option from Rentalcars.com.
Did this post help you?
We hope this post helped you making a decision about which transport option to choose from Schiphol Amsterdam Airport to Amsterdam.
Join the conversation below if this information has helped you in any way. Also, let us know when you're (planning on) coming to Holland and what transport option you're going to use! We'd love to know.
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