Save on Amsterdam public transportation by using a travel card or special regional ticket passes that include trains, buses, metro, trams, and Schiphol Airport transfers.
Travelers to Amsterdam may save on transportation tickets by using a multiple-day travel pass that includes buses, metros, trams, and ferries. Further travel card options include transfers from Schiphol Airport to Amsterdam or all public transportation including trains in the larger Amsterdam region. A more expensive option is the I Amsterdam Card, which also adds free admission to top sights and discounts on many experiences. Buy passes online, or from vending machines and many hotels or tourist shops.
Save with Amsterdam Transportation Cards and Passes
Travelers to Amsterdam may save on public transportation costs by using a variety of transportation travel cards or regional day tickets.
The basic Amsterdam tourist and visitor transportation deals are similarly named but cover different parts of the network. The basic options in order of increasing coverage are:
- The Amsterdam GVB City Multi-Day Ticket (24 hours to 7 days) — includes only Amsterdam GVB network buses, trams, and metros, i.e. basically transportation inside the city itself.
- The Amsterdam Travel Ticket (1 to 3 days) — covers the same area plus some transfers to Schiphol Airport.
- The Amsterdam & Region Travel Ticket (1 to 3 days) — includes the above plus non-GVB transportation in the region to amongst others Haarlem, Zaanse Schans, Keukenhof, Aalsmeer (FloraHolland), and Almere (Floriade).
The I Amsterdam City Card is a traditional sightseeing pass that includes an Amsterdam City GVB transportation ticket and free (or discounted) admission to top sights — it works best as a mobile ticket.
Buying Amsterdam Transportation Passes Online
It is easy to buy the GVB City Ticket, Travel Ticket, or Amsterdam & Region Travel Ticket online but the voucher (paper or mobile QR code) must be exchanged in Amsterdam for an actual paper ticket. This paper ticket must be used to check in and out on each journey.
The collection points of the tickets are different. The easiest is the Amsterdam & Region Ticket that may be exchanged upon arrival at Schiphol Airport — simply scan the QR code at the white GVB public transportation ticket machine at the baggage reclaim area or in the plaza area. This option is available 24/7 and no need to find the correct shop and opening hours downtown. Alternatively, it is also possible at most stations in the Amsterdam region. Use the white GVB public transportation vending machines, not the yellow ones that are part of the railway network!
The Amsterdam Travel Ticket may also be exchanged at Schiphol Airport but the Amsterdam GVB City Day Tickets may only be picked up at a GVB office — usually in front of Central Station. It is easier to simply buy the GVB City Day Ticket from any white public transportation vending machine in Amsterdam. The one-day ticket is also sold on most buses and trams while multiple-day tickets are also available from many hotels and souvenir shops.
Prices of the Amsterdam Transportation Passes
The prices of the Amsterdam transportation passes are as follows in 2022 — prices may increase but the relative differences generally remain the same for years:
|Pass ↓ Validity →→||1 day||2 days||3 days||96 h||120 h|
|GVB City Multi-Day Ticket*||€8.50||€14.50||€20||€22.50||€29.50|
|Amsterdam Travel Ticket||€17||€22.50||€28||–||–|
|Amsterdam & Region Travel Ticket||€19.50||€28||€36.50||–||–|
|I Amsterdam City Card*||€65||€90||€110||€125||€135|
Note: *24, 48, 72 hours rather than a calendar day, GVB card also available for 144 (€34) and 168 (€37) hours.
A €1 surcharge is added to many single-use paper tickets. A GVB 1-hour ticket is €3.20 and a transfer from Schiphol Airport to Amsterdam by train or bus is around €5 one-way.
Using the Transportation Passes in Amsterdam
The transportation passes are automatically activated on first use — it is thus possible to pick up the ticket or retrieve it from a vending machine and only start using it on a different day. It is essential to check in before every journey and check out at the end of each trip, also when transferring to a different vehicle. The scanners are usually at gates for the metro and some train stations, on railway platforms, and inside buses and trams.
The Amsterdam & Region Travel Ticket and Amsterdam Travel Tickets are valid for 1, 2, or 3 days and expire at 4 am the morning after the last calendar day. The GVB City Ticket is valid for 1 to 168 hours (in 24-hour intervals) and should still be valid at the end of the last journey (only a real problem with the metro gates).
Which Amsterdam Transportation Pass to Buy?
Several factors should be considered in deciding which Amsterdam transportation pass to buy. All travel cards give convenient access to public transportation but they not only differ in price and coverage but also in the ease of getting the actual paper ticket. Furthermore, while the GVB City Ticket is valid for a specific number of hours, tickets that include transportation to Schiphol Airport, all expire at 4 am on the morning after the final calendar day of validity irrespective of when it was first used. In many cases, it may be sensible to simply buy a train or bus ticket at a vending machine for the transportation between Schiphol Airport and Amsterdam — around €5.
On longer trips, it is useful to combine tickets. For example, buy a single Schiphol Airport to Amsterdam ticket on arrival, a GVB City Ticket for days only traveling in Amsterdam, and an Amsterdam & Region Travel Ticket for day trips and the return to the airport.
Amsterdam & Region Transportation Ticket
The Amsterdam & Region Transportation Ticket is the more expensive travel pass. However, it not only covers a larger area but also includes regular trains and buses in addition to the Amsterdam GVB buses, trams, metros, and ferries. Trains covered include trains from amongst others Hoofddorp and Schiphol, Zandvoort and Haarlem, Zaandijk Zaanse Schans and Zaandam, Naarden, Almere, Lelystadt, Hilversum, and all further trains in the suburbs of Amsterdam.
Notable buses included outside Amsterdam include amongst other the popular Connexxion Airport Express Bus 397 (Schiphol, Museumplein, Leidseplein), buses to Haarlem, Zaanse Schans, Edam, Voldendam, Marken, Monnickedam, Muiden, Aalsmeer (FloraHolland), and the Keukenhof Express buses (in Keukenhof spring season only).
Amsterdam Travel Ticket
The Amsterdam Travel Ticket includes all the Amsterdam GVB buses, metros, trams, and ferries inside Amsterdam city (similar to the GVB City Ticket) but also a transfer from / to Schiphol Airport and Amsterdam via either NS railways to any station inside Amsterdam or on the Connexxion Airport Express Bus 397 or Niteliner N97.
Generally, a single trip outside Amsterdam (other than to Schiphol Aiport) usually makes the Amsterdam & Region Travel Ticket better value than a similar Amsterdam Travel Ticket.
GVB City Day Ticket
The Amsterdam GVB City Day Tickets cover only buses of the GVB public transportation network, as well as all trams, ferries, and metros in the Amsterdam city area. It does not include transportation to Schiphol Airport, Connexxion buses (even inside Amsterdam), or regular NS trains other than the metro network.
A GVB 24-hour ticket is cheaper than three single tickets while a 168-hour (7-days) ticket is priced similarly to ten single tickets. Especially on longer trips, it is sensible to combine this cheap ticket either with a regional transportation pass at the end of a trip, or separate tickets for Schiphol Airport and other destinations near Amsterdam.
The I Amsterdam City Card is a traditional sightseeing and public transportation pass — it includes admission to many top sights and large discounts on private museums and experiences. It is significantly more expensive than the stand-alone transportation passes but is easy to make work, especially on a first visit to Amsterdam.