It's not the most thrilling part of planning a trip, but deciding on how best to get from the airport to your accommodations (and back again) is usually a detail worth researching. Thankfully, transportation to and from Amsterdam Schiphol Airport is relatively easy, quick, and can be inexpensive.
Figure out beforehand if it makes the most sense for you take a bus, train, or car, as each method of transportation has its own pros and cons based on your individual trip. The train is the cheapest and fastest way to get to the city center, shuttling passengers to Amsterdam Centraal Station in 15 minutes. Even though the bus takes longer, it has more stops throughout the city, so depending on where your hotel is it could be a more convenient option. Taxis are the most expensive option, and the airport shuttle can also take you to your hotel door at a much lower price.
How to Get from Schiphol Airport to Amsterdam City Center
- Train: 15 minutes, from $5
- Bus: 30 minutes, from $7
- Taxi: 20 minutes, from $50
- Hotel Shuttle: 30 minutes, from $20 (for single rider)
The train from Schiphol Airport to Amsterdam Centraal Station is the fastest and cheapest way to the city center. The train runs 24 hours a day, with departures scheduled for every 10–15 minutes between the hours of 6 a.m. and 1 a.m. (they depart every hour during other times). The trip takes only 15 minutes, leaving passengers in one of Amsterdam's most central and best-connected locations.
Tickets are only 4.50 euros, or about $5, and you can buy them at the ticket desk on the arrivals level or at the yellow machines using euro coins or a credit card. To catch the train, walk down one level to the floor below the ticket machines.
The train is one of the best ways to get into the city, and avoids any risk of getting stuck in busy Amsterdam traffic. However, you'll need to continue your trip from the train station after arriving, either by foot, tram, bus, or taxi, which can be a hassle, especially if you're carrying lots of luggage.
Tip: Especially if you plan to arrive after 12 a.m. or on the weekend, check the NS (Dutch Railways) website to see if any maintenance works will interrupt your journey.
The Amsterdam Airport Express, or Bus 397, departs from the airport several times an hour between the hours of 5 a.m. and 12:30 a.m. You can catch this big red bus right outside the main airport hall, and the trip takes about 30 minutes to arrive in central Amsterdam.
The bus does not go to Amsterdam Centraal Station, but it does have stops near Olympic Stadium, Museumplein, and Leidseplein, so it may be an even more convenient option for travelers with accommodations near these popular areas. Check the address of your lodging or ask before arrival to see if the bus is the best option for you.
You'll find plenty of private taxis for hire in the taxi line just outside the main entrance to the arrivals and train station level at Schiphol Airport. Be sure to choose a taxi from this line and not from individuals walking around soliciting their services. Note that taxis run on a strict meter basis and there is no set flat airport rate.
Uber is also available from the airport in Amsterdam, and you can choose the standard UberX, a luxury Uber Black, or a van for a larger group of people. UberX is sometimes a little cheaper than standard taxis, but you'll need internet on your phone to call the Uber.
Although getting a car directly to your hotel is much more convenient, traffic can cause serious delays and run up the meter. If you want door-to-door service, the airport shuttle may be a more affordable option.
By Schiphol Hotel Shuttle
The Schiphol Hotel Shuttle, run by Connexxion, offers service to more than 100 Amsterdam hotels. Shuttles run every 30 minutes between 6 a.m. and 9:30 p.m. from platform A7, just outside the main entrance to the arrivals and train station level. The shuttle is a shared vehicle that holds up to eight passengers, so the total journey time varies based on the number of stops. If you are the last one dropped off, then the total travel time can be significantly higher.
The price of the shuttle starts at about $20 per person, but if you're traveling with a family or group, then there are discounts for each additional traveler. For example, a large family will save money by using the shuttle instead of hiring two separate taxis. Buy tickets at the Connexxion service desk at Arrivals 4 (opposite Starbucks), or online.
Be sure to ask your hotel first if they offer a complimentary airport shuttle before reserving the Connexxion shuttle.
What to See in Amsterdam
Amsterdam is easily one of Europe's most charming cities, especially if you visit in the warm summer months when the sun is shining and the tulips are in bloom. A cruise through the canals is one of the best ways to get a tour of the city, or hop on a bicycle and make your own tour in this über-bike-friendly capital. The infamous red-light district and the deceivingly-named coffeeshops are an exciting part of Amsterdam culture to experience for foreigners, but remember they are geared toward tourists. For a more authentic cultural experience, try one of the city's prestigious museums, such as the Rijksmuseum, the Van Gogh Museum, or the Anne Frank House.