How to get from Schiphol Airport to Amsterdam City Centre

How to get from Schiphol Airport to Amsterdam City Centre

After months of planning, you are finally ready to go. Your bags are packed. Airplane tickets have been purchased. Your hotel is booked, and your passport is ready. You are all set. Suddenly, you realize that one last detail has not been planned. You have no idea how you are getting from Schiphol Airport to Amsterdam.

The good news is, the airport is very close to the city center. If you are staying in the Amsterdam Centraal train station area, the trip from the airport will be about 20 minutes, depending on your mode of transportation.

With the well-planned infrastructure of this popular country, you will have several excellent transportation options to choose from. Making the right decision will depend on how much luggage you are carrying, your overall travel budget, and your sightseeing plans.

Read on, for a review of the different options, and make the right choice for you.

How to get from Schiphol Airport to Amsterdam City Centre

1. Train, the cheapest way to get from Schiphol to Amsterdam City Centre

For the least expensive option, take the Dutch Railways Nederlandse Spoorwegen (NS) train from Schiphol to the Centraal Station in the heart of the city. 

You’ll find the airport train station by following the signs to the stairs, escalator, or lift that takes you to the platforms underneath the airport. 

Taking luggage on the train is free, and relatively easy. It’s best if you don’t have a lot of baggage, as you’ll have to carry it onboard yourself and keep it with you.

You can buy a single, 2nd class, one-way ticket for €4.90. Purchase tickets at one of the blue-gray ticket vending machines outside the Arrivals 3 area or online. 

If you only plan to take the train this one time, then a single ticket is your best option.

If you are taking public transportation more than once in Amsterdam, a couple of better options are available to save you money.

Purchase an Amsterdam Travel Ticket available for 1-3 days. With this ticket, you can take the train from Schiphol to the Centraal Station, and also have access to the metro, trams, ferries, and buses. 

Purchase the tickets from one of the NS ticket vending machines or at the NS Tickets & Service counters at the Schiphol Plaza outside the airport or online.

To use the ticket on the train or metro, you will check-in at the gate inside the station. To use it on a bus or tram, check-in by holding the card against the scanner at the door.

The Travel Ticket is valid from the first time you check in until 4:00 am the next day. Amsterdam Travel Tickets are available for 1-day €18, 2-day €24, 3-day €30.

2. Express Bus Service, the best option if your accommodation is around Museumplein or Leidseplein 

Taking the Amsterdam Airport Express bus service is an inexpensive way to get into the city. The journey is quick because it goes directly from the airport to the main stops used by travelers at Museumplein or Leidseplein. 

From there, you connect with public transportation options that are closer to your hotel.

Tickets are just €6.50 and can be purchased several ways:

  • As an e-ticket downloaded to your Smartphone.
  • At the ticket office located at the Schiphol Plaza just outside the airport.
  • From the bus driver using a debit or credit card. The drivers no longer accept cash.

Catch the bus from stop B17 at Schipol. During the day, it will be bus number 397, which departs every 7.5 minutes. At night, you will take the Niteliner N97 bus. The trip into town is about 30 minutes.

  • Cost: €6.50 one-way or €11.75 roundtrip
  • Travel time: 30 minutes to the city center
  • Frequency: every 7.5 minutes during the day, every 30 minutes at night
  • Web: Amsterdam Express Bus Service

3. Taxi, the most comfortable way to get from Schiphol Airport to Amsterdam City Center

One of the easiest, and most expensive ways to get into the city center, is by taxi. If you have been flying all day, have heavy luggage, or just want to keep it simple, take a taxi.

Airport signs will direct you to the taxi pickup location in front of the airport at Schiphol Plaza. Taxi rates from Schipol to the city center will range between €50-€60 one way.

Only get into a licensed taxi. Licensed taxis will have a blue number plate, lights on the roof and the official company logo. The driver’s name and license will be clearly posted inside the taxi.

Here are a few good reminders:

  • Always make sure the driver starts the meter when you enter the cab.
  • If the driver says the meter is “broken,” get out and find another one.
  • If you ever want to dispute the price, make sure you get your luggage out of the vehicle first.
  • Extra charges may apply, for heavy luggage, driving late at night and traveling on public holidays.

There are currently five licensed taxi operators at Amsterdam airport: Schiphol Taxi, TCS, Taxi2Airport, TAT and Taxicentrale.

4. Private Car Transfers, for those looking for a premium service 

Imagine landing at the airport with peace of mind, knowing that a driver is waiting for you. You grab your luggage and walk through the arrivals hall, to be met by a driver holding a sign with your name on it. 

The driver walks with you to the waiting car, loads your bags, and you ride in a luxury car. You would definitely be traveling in style!

Having a private car transfer will significantly reduce your travel stress. Knowing that you don’t have to worry about taxi scams, or taking your luggage on public transportation, is one less thing to worry over. 

The driver will take you directly to your accommodations. You can sit back, relax, and enjoy the view outside your window.

5. Car Rental, from Schiphol to Amsterdam and elsewhere in the Netherlands

If you are planning to travel outside of the city, perhaps to places like Rotterdam, The Hague, or Delft, you may prefer to rent a car. This is the most expensive option to get into the city, but it‘s good when you plan to see more of the Netherlands.

If you are staying in Amsterdam overnight first, consider waiting to pick up your hire car. Otherwise, you will start your trip as a stressed-out mess playing road Jenga with the 100’s of bikes on the road. 

Parking is nearly impossible to find, and hotels charge €25-€75 per day. Instead, reserve your car to be picked up on the day you plan to depart the city, and take public transit to pick it up.

At Schipol, you will find the car rental counter just outside of the airport at the Schiphol Plaza. Arrows inside the airport will direct you towards ground transportation. Most major brands are represented here.

Here are the basic instructions to get from Schiphol into the city center.

  • Get on the A4 motorway
  • The A4 will merge into A10
  • The A10 motorway is a ring road around the city
  • Follow signs for E22/A10 west toward Ring Amsterdam Centrum

Driving in the Netherlands is on the right-hand side of the road.

  • Price: varies
  • Frequency: 24 hours
  • Travel time: 30 minutes or more depending on traffic
  • Web: Car rental in Schiphol

6. Uber or Lyft, cheaper than taxi  

Rideshare enthusiasts will be glad to know that Uber and Lyft are available in Amsterdam.

The waiting area is on the arrivals level. Search for the exact pickup area by using your Lyft or Uber app. There are also rideshare pickup signs posted.

 Rates vary depending on where you are going and demand, but you will usually pay between €30-€60.

  • Price: €30-€60 
  • Frequency: 24 hours
  • Travel time: 30 minutes or more depending on traffic

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