Getting to Schiphol Airport from Amsterdam is usually fastest by train but buses are good public transportation options too while airport shuttle vans and taxis are convenient, if pricy, to travel to downtown hotels.
Schiphol Airport (AMS) is only 15 minutes by train from central Amsterdam but buses can also be a good and cheaper option for travelers heading to hotels and destinations to the south of the canal circle. Shared taxi services and airport shuttle minivan transit services are not cheap but may be of some value to travelers with luggage or small groups and families traveling together. Taxis are fairly expensive given the short distances. Suntransfers give online quotations for private airport transfers without first requiring personal details or flight numbers. Multi-day public transportation passes are a good option too but not all include the fare from Schiphol to Amsterdam.
By Train from Schiphol Airport to Amsterdam
Trains are generally the recommended way of traveling between Schiphol Airport and downtown Amsterdam. Trains from Schiphol Airport depart from directly underneath the airport terminal building. From Amsterdam stations Centraal (central main station), Zuid (south), and RAI (congress and exhibition center), trams and buses provide transportation to all parts of the city.
For travelers heading to central Amsterdam, especially the historic old town area inside the canal section, it is usually best to head to the main train station – Centraal Station. Travelers to destinations to the south of the canal circle can often save time (and money) by taking the train from Schiphol Airport to Amsterdam Zuid or RAI stations before transferring to trams, buses, or the metro.
Buy tickets at the yellow vending machines on the ground floor of the Airport Plaza terminal building. Transportation passes are a good option too. The Amsterdam Travel Ticket (1 to 3 days) covers the journey from the airport but the Amsterdam GVB Multi-Day City Ticket with a separate ticket for transportation to and from the airport often works out better for many travelers as it uses a full 24-hour cycle rather than calendar day. Both versions as well as the Amsterdam & Region Travel Ticket are available online but vouchers need to be exchanged for paper tickets in Amsterdam.
See also Save with an Amsterdam Public Transportation Travel Card Ticket Pass for an explanation of the various passes available — the GVB multi-day ticket is only valid inside Amsterdam but also the only ticket that is not linked to a calendar day.
Train tickets bought at the vending machine must be validated before travel – tap the OV-chipcard reader before going down to the train platform. (Keep tickets at all times as a similar tapping is required to exit many stations in Amsterdam!)
The trains connecting Schiphol Airport and Amsterdam stations are regular trains and thus have no Airport Express or similar name. The price on this section is the same for all trains whether a fast Fyra train or a regular commuter. (Note that faster Fyra and some other high-speed trains require surcharges when traveling outside the Schiphol-Amsterdam boundaries.)
- Train travel tickets must be bought AND validated before boarding any train in The Netherlands.
Use the 9292 Dutch public transportation travel site to find the best options – sometimes faster connections are available through even smaller stations but if the time difference is minimal, it is generally better to travel through Centraal or Zuid.
By Train from Schiphol to Amsterdam Centraal
Direct trains connect Schiphol Airport and Amsterdam Centraal up to six times per hour. Traveling time depends on the number of stops and range from 14 to 19 minutes. Further services are available but require transfers – it is generally better to simply wait a few minutes for the next direct train rather than using a transfer that could lead to missing connections, finding another train, and schlepping luggage.
The current price for traveling by train from Schiphol Airport to Amsterdam Centraal station is around €5 in Second Class and €8 in First Class — a single-use ticket adds €1 to the journey. (For visitors on only a short trip to Amsterdam, it is not worth acquiring a more permanent OV-Chipcard, as it requires the maintenance of a large balance to use on trains.) Children 4 to 11 pay €3 irrespective of class of travel. Day-return tickets are simply twice the single fare.
Trains between Schiphol Airport and Amsterdam run throughout the day. The frequency can be as high as six per hour falling to one per hour between 1 and 5 am.
By Train from Schiphol to Amsterdam Zuid & RAI
Traveling from Schiphol to Amsterdam Centraal station by train and then continuing by tram or bus is often the simplest way to get to Amsterdam. However, for travelers heading to hotels and destinations to the south of the central canal circle, it may often be faster to travel by train from Schiphol Airport to Amsterdam Zuid (South) station or Amsterdam RAI and then continue from here by tram, bus, or metro.
Trains from Schiphol Airport to Amsterdam Zuid can be as frequent as ten per hour. Traveling time is usually less than 8 minutes to Amsterdam Zuid and 11 minutes to Amsterdam RAI, which is one stop further. The fare is only €3.10 (€5.20 First Class) plus €1 for the single-use ticket.
From Amsterdam Zuid, tram 5 provides an easy connection to Museumplein, Leidseplein and eventually Centraal Station. From Amsterdam RAI, tram 4 connects to Amsterdam Centraal via the left bank of the Amstel River. Both Amsterdam Zuid and RAI are connected to the Metro system.
Travelers with an Amsterdam GVB Multi-Day City Ticket could save by taking the metro or tram to Zuid and buy the train ticket from here to Schiphol.
By Airport Express Bus 397 from Schiphol Airport to Amsterdam
A large number of bus services are available from Schiphol Airport. However, only one is of significance to most travelers heading from Schiphol Airport to Amsterdam: Connexxion R-Net bus lijn 397, often referred to as the Airport Express.
Connexxion bus 397 connects Schiphol with Amsterdam Elandsgracht around five times per hour (less frequently as bus N97 at night). The bus stops amongst others at Museumplein, Hobbemastraat (Rijksmuseum) and Leidseplein. Bus 397 stops several times at Schiphol – Airport / Plaza is the stop for the terminal building.
Traveling time from Schiphol to Leidseplein is around half an hour – although it is often slower than a train and tram combination, the time difference is not much and of course, does not require transfers. The bus fare is around €5 when bought from the driver – slightly cheaper for online purchases. The Amsterdam Travel Ticket (1 to 3 days) is accepted on bus 397 and N97 (but not on any other Connexxion bus) but the Amsterdam GVB City Ticket is not (but often still a better deal when buying tickets separately).
Schiphol Airport Transfer Shuttle Van Services
Airport transfer shuttle vans offer a good alternative to regular public transportation from Schiphol Airport to Amsterdam for families, small groups, and travelers with bulky luggage. Advance reservations are usually a good idea and may be cheaper than booking at the airport on arrival.
Several services are available. Regular taxis charge by the meter and could easily exceed €50 on any trip between Schiphol Airport and Amsterdam. Shuttle bus minivans are around €60-80 for a group.
Public transportation, whether by train or bus, is the cheapest way to travel between Schiphol Airport and Amsterdam but shuttle vans are a good alternative when traveling in a group as family, or with luggage. Advance reservations are advisable and it is worth comparing the prices and conditions of several shuttle bus service providers.