How to get from Amsterdam to Rotterdam

Are you looking for the best and the fastest way to travel from Amsterdam to Rotterdam? Then this post is written for you. In this post, you will learn:

Entrance Rotterdam Central Station.

Entrance Rotterdam Central Station - © NS

Click on any of the links above to go directly to each section or read the whole post below.

Why travel to Rotterdam?

Rotterdam is 2nd largest city in The Netherlands and it's the total opposite of Amsterdam. And that is precisely why it's such an exciting place to visit. If you come just for canal houses and cute bridges, Rotterdam is not your city. If you're looking for a vibrant buzzing city, Rotterdam is your place to be.

The first thing you'll notice when you arrive in Rotterdam is: "oh, this is a 'real' city." It's modern, it has a skyline, and it's 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. Find some our tips for this city in this post: One-day itinerary for Rotterdam.

What is the best mode of transport between Amsterdam and Rotterdam?

Choosing how to get from Amsterdam to Rotterdam is a bit harder to do. Simply because there are many options to choose from. You can travel by (high-speed) train, long-distance bus, car or taxi.

Both long-distance buses and the train can be good choices. However, for most people, the train will be the best choice because the train is faster. Departures are more, (way more) frequent, and city center - city center. If we go to Rotterdam we always travel by train. It's fast, frequent, and we have no parking issues.

The bus can be an ok choice if your hotel is near the bus terminal or when you're traveling on a budget.

How to get from Amsterdam to Rotterdam by train

Usually, taking a train in the Netherlands is straight forward. 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 for all destinations in Holland. Except for the trip between Amsterdam and Rotterdam.

The reason is there is also is a domestic high-speed option called IC direct, besides regular train services. The IC direct trains run over a separate track and it makes the journey a whole lot faster. We 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 do stop in Rotterdam but these international trains are not meant for domestic travel.

So, which one to choose? We'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?

NS Intercity Direct Train.

NS Intercity Direct Train - © NS

The fastest way to travel to Rotterdam from Amsterdam is by taking the Intercity Direct train. Travel time is just 41 minutes, which is 34 minutes faster than regular Intercity services. Trains leave every 15 minutes. There is a supplement of €2.60 (one-way) to use the Intercity Direct trains on top of the regular fare.

Other train options available between Amsterdam and Rotterdam:

Regular InterCity trains between Amsterdam and Rotterdam:
Regular Intercity Train between Amsterdam and Rotterdam.

Regular Intercity Train between Amsterdam and Rotterdam - © NS

Regular Intercity trains run also four times per hour between Amsterdam and Rotterdam and take 1h15 minutes. Two of them travel direct, 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 €2.60 supplement for the Intercity Direct train. Or when the Intercity Direct trains are not running.

High-speed Thalys and Eurostar trains to Rotterdam from Amsterdam
Eurostar High Speed Train at Rotterdam Central Station.

Eurostar High Speed Train at Rotterdam Central Station - © NS

In theory, it's possible to buy a ticket between Amsterdam and Rotterdam on the Thalys or Eurostar high-speed trains. We 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 exactly the same. And you're stuck with a specific train. You can't change your booking, hence no flexibility.

With Intercity Direct, you are flexible. You can take any train on the same day with Intercity Direct. 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 on either the Thalys or Eurostar you probably want to avoid these options.

4. Sprinter trains
NS Sprinter train at Amsterdam Central Station.

NS Sprinter train at Amsterdam Central Station - © NS

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, have less comfortable seating, and sometimes these trains have no toilet. We would not recommend them for travel between Amsterdam and Rotterdam. They're meant for local short distances.

How much does a train ticket between Amsterdam and Rotterdam cost?

A regular one-way ticket costs €16.50 for 2nd class and €27.23 for a 1st class ticket in 2021 from Amsterdam Central Station to Rotterdam Central Station. We advise a 1st class ticket for extra comfort.

What station to use when I travel to Rotterdam?

Rotterdam has quite a few railway stations (Rotterdam Central, Blaak, Noord, Zuid, Lombardijen, and Alexander. Which one to choose?

For most travelers, we would recommend traveling to Rotterdam Central station. It's closest to most attractions, and it's a major hub for other public transportation options like the metro, buses, and trams.

Station Rotterdam Blaak is the only exception. If you go to Rotterdam to see the yellow cubical houses or the market hall only, Rotterdam Blaak station is ideal because it's located right in front of these attractions.

In general local commuters use the other stations which are in suburban areas. Unless you're staying in one of those areas, you won't use them.

How to buy a ticket for your travel between Amsterdam and 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 via the NS mobile app. You pay no surcharge, and you 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 a working phone with the app installed. An empty battery is no excuse for not being able to show your ticket. If you want to avoid this, then 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 ticket.

Good to know about train tickets in the Netherlands:

  • Tickets are not train specific, but day-specific*
  • Prices stay the same they do not fluctuate per departure
  • Purchased tickets can not be refunded, only buy when you're sure you'll 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

*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.

 Are you traveling with a group between Amsterdam and Rotterdam?

For a group of 3 or more people, the cheapest ticket from Amsterdam to Rotterdam is the group ticket from NS. 

A group ticket is a one-way ticket and costs €32 for four people, just €8 each. It's valid between any two stations in the country. 

For every person extra you'll pay €1.50. Up to 7 people can travel on one ticket. If your group is larger, get multiple group tickets.

You can also use a group ticket with fewer people. But book for four, and fill in a fake name or double names for the "travelers" that you do not use. From Amsterdam to Rotterdam, a group ticket is cost-effective from 3 people or more traveling together. 

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. 

You can only travel during off-peak hours with this ticket and in standard (2nd) class, not in 1st class. You can also not use this ticket on Kingsday (April 27th). Full conditions are available on the NS website or in the app.

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.

How to get from Amsterdam to Rotterdam safely

How to get from Amsterdam to Rotterdam safely is mostly about being smart and aware. Traveling on public transport in the Netherlands is, in general, very safe. The most significant risk is theft.

Often people are too busy with their surroundings to watch their belongings. Just act as you usually would in any big city at home, and you'll be fine.

Being smart means not leaving your luggage unattended in the hallways or aisles. Don't let strangers distract you, especially if you've put your luggage on the upper racks.

When you leave your luggage in the hallway (larger luggage like a suitcase) stay there yourself as well (if so, don't buy a 1st class ticket but a standard 2nd class ticket). On the extremely rare occasion, you witness a crime, try to take a photo and call 112. Never get personally involved.

What is the cheapest way to travel between Amsterdam and Rotterdam?

Passengers boarding a Flixbus.

Passengers boarding a Flixbus - © Flixbus

A long-distance bus is the cheapest way to travel between Amsterdam and Rotterdam. Flixbus or Eurolines (now one company) operate 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. Take into account the extra time and costs you incur when departing from these locations.

Buses leave multiple times a day (about hourly). Something to keep in mind is 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 you're staying near one of these departure locations when it would make less sense to go to Amsterdam Central first.

Travel to Rotterdam by car

The distance between Amsterdam and Rotterdam is 78 kilometers (48 miles). The journey takes just under an hour.

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. The fee is around €4 per hour.

There are Park and Ride locations all around Rotterdam (cheaper or free parking if you use public transport to the city center). In Rotterdam, the catch is that you need an OV chipcard before you travel. Those costs €7,50 and are not easy to manage for visitors.

Unless you have an OV chip card, we do not recommend visitors to park at a park and ride location around Rotterdam.

For most people, the train or a long-distance bus 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, we do advice We find they always have the best rates. Plus, their interface is easy to use. Rental cars is the company we use ourselves when we rent a car anywhere in the world.

Travel to Rotterdam by taxi

Taking a taxi between Amsterdam and Rotterdam is also possible. But it's more costly. The cost of a one-way trip is 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.

Did this post help you?

We hope we've answered your question: "How to get from Amsterdam to Rotterdam?"

Join the conversation: If this information is useful for you, then please let us know in the comments below. We would love to hear about your experience and how our blog has helped you.

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