Paris and Amsterdam are two of the most visited cities in Europe and anyone planning a Eurotrip more likely than not has both of these capital cities on their itinerary. Since they're so close together—just 260 miles apart as the crow flies—it makes sense to visit them back to back before exploring parts of the continent. A flight may seem like the fastest method of travel, but removing all of the airport hassles means the train is likely to get you there faster. The bus is the transport of choice for students and budget travelers, although it's also the slowest. If you want to rent a car, driving through Belgium is a nice way to break up the trip.
|How to Get From Amsterdam to Paris|
|Train||3 hours, 20 minutes||from $42||A relaxing journey|
|Bus||7 hours||from $23||Traveling on a budget|
|Flight||1 hour, 15 minutes||from $44||Arriving quickly|
|Car||6–8 hours||320 miles (515 kilometers)||Making pitstops|
What Is the Cheapest Way to Get From Amsterdam to Paris?
Although prices between buses, trains, and flights vary, the bus is usually the cheapest option with tickets starting as low as $23. It's also the slowest option, taking about seven hours if you book a non-stop journey (and potentially much longer if you have to transfer).
Even though buses are usually the most affordable, they aren't always. If you're on a tight budget, don't assume that trains or flights are too expensive since they're often around the same price as the bus—and sometimes cheaper, especially if you're booking early. Even if they are a bit more expensive, the extra cost may be worth the several hours of time you'll save by not taking the bus.
What Is the Fastest Way to Get From Amsterdam to Paris?
Even though a flight technically has the shortest transit time, once you add in the time it takes to travel to the airport, check in for your flight, pass through security, and wait at your gate, going by train is actually faster. The train ride is three hours and 20 minutes, but the Amsterdam Centraal Station and Paris Gare du Nord are both located right in their respective city centers. Plus, you can essentially arrive at a train station 15 minutes before your train departs and just hop on the train, skipping all of the headache of being at the airport.
With tickets starting at just $42, the train can be one of the more affordable options, as well. The caveat, however, is that you have to book your tickets in advance. Train prices go up quickly as seats sell out, so last-minute tickets or popular holiday periods can shoot up to over $150 for a one-way trip.
All in all, the train is the fastest, most comfortable, and—if you plan your trip right—also one of the most affordable methods of travel.
How Long Does It Take to Drive?
A road trip from Amsterdam to Paris has a lot of perks to it. The trip takes under six hours in ideal conditions, but it's easy to break up with stops in major Belgian cities like Antwerp, Brussels, or Ghent. And if you're interested in exploring smaller towns that a train or bus would just pass through, taking your own vehicle is the only way to fully have control over the journey.
But driving comes with some significant drawbacks, as well. The route from Amsterdam to Paris is one of the busiest commuter ways in all of Europe and rush hour congestion can easily add a couple of hours to the trip. Even if you avoid the worst of traffic on the highways, trying to drive and park in Paris is a nightmare on a good day. If you're renting a car and not returning to Amsterdam, be aware that there are usually hefty fees for one-way car rentals.
How Long Is the Flight?
The time in the air is just an hour and 15 minutes, although the total travel time is much more. Even though the train ends up being faster than taking a flight, train tickets can potentially go up several times in price, especially for last-minute reservations. Flight deals, on the other hand, are easier to come by. Even in the popular summer months, there are so many flights between the two cities—many of them on low-cost airlines—that if you're flexible with your travel dates it's usually not difficult to find a cheap flight.
You should also pay attention to which airport you're flying into. The only airport in Amsterdam is Amsterdam Schiphol, but there are three major airports around Paris, some of them closer than others. Charles de Gaulle and Orly airports are the most convenient, but some low-cost airlines fly to Paris Beauvais, which is 75 minutes outside of the city via a bus that costs about $20.
When Is the Best Time to Travel to Paris?
The busiest travel times are summer vacation, the winter holidays, and the week before Easter. Flights and trains will be the most expensive during all of these periods, so be sure to arrange all of your travel plans as early as possible.
The shoulder season of May or September is one of the best times to travel to Paris. Not only is it fully outside of the busy summer period, but the weather in spring and fall is the most comfortable of the entire year. Paris in December is very cold and filled with tourists, but there's something undeniably magical about spending the holidays in the City of Lights.
Do I Need a Visa to Travel to Paris?
Even though you are crossing an international border, France and the Netherlands are both in the Schengen Area which allows for visa-free travel between countries. If you have a U.S. passport, you can enter any country in the Schengen Area and stay for up to 90 days without a visa, as long as you're traveling for pleasure.
Can I Use Public Transportation to Travel From the Airport?
Passengers that arrive at Charles de Gaulle Airport can easily get to the city center via train or bus. The RER train is the cheapest method—and fastest if you arrive during rush hour—taking about 35 minutes and costing roughly $11 for a one-way trip. There are also bus options that usually take longer and cost more, but with more destination options inside the city, potentially getting you closer to your hotel. Taxis from Charles de Gaulle have a fixed cost depending on the part of Paris you're headed to, but fares start at 53 euros, or about $63.
Orly Airport is even closer to the city center than Charles de Gaulle, but there are no direct train lines into Paris. You can either take a train with a transfer or use the Orly Bus, which takes about 30 minutes and leaves passengers at Denfert-Rochereau Station. Since Orly is closer to the city center, taxis cost less. The fare is also fixed based on your final destination and starts at 32 euros, or about $38.
What Is There to Do in Paris?
Paris is one of the most desirable cities to visit in the world and the list of things to do is practically endless. The city is renowned for art, fashion, history, food, architecture, and just about everything else. Iconic landmarks like the Eiffel Tower and Arc de Triomphe are obligatory stops for any first-time visitor, and even repeat travelers return to these stunning monuments. Art lovers could spend a lifetime walking around the Louvre, but don't miss out on other museums like the Musée d'Orsay or the Pompidou. Splurging on some haute cuisine at a Parisian bistro is an elegant way to try the food, but there's nothing wrong with picking up some quality street food to enjoy in a park.