Home FAQ How To Get From Amsterdam Airport To The City Center?

How To Get From Amsterdam Airport To The City Center?

by Rafal Sulowski

Amsterdam airport, informally called ‘Schiphol’ is one of the busiest airports in Europe. It has more than 65 million travellers per year. The distance between the airport and the city center is around 22 kilometres. People visiting Amsterdam by plane often wonder how to get from Amsterdam airport to the city center most conveniently.

There are three transportation option from Amsterdam Schiphol Airport to the city center: train, bus and taxi. The fastest, and at the same time, most comfortable is taxi. However, it is the most expensive one – it costs 39 Euro. A train ticket costs 5.40 Euro and a bus ticket 5 Euro.

Three totally different modes of transportation between the airport and the city center give you a chance to choose the one that suits your budget and requirements best. In the article you will find some more information about each option, as well as some handy tips.

Train, Bus, Taxi – A Quick Comparison

Train5,40 Euro20 minutes6:00 – 1:00
Bus5 Euro20 minutes5:00 – 0:30
Taxi39 Euro30 minutes24/7


Most passengers consider the train to be the most convenient and the cheapest mean of transport if you want to move from the airport to the city center.

Photo Courtesy of Andrew Nash

The main train operator in the Netherlands is called the NS – Nederlandse Spoorwegen. Getting to the station directly from the arrival gate is a snap. You just need to follow the signs for trains until you reach the train ticket kiosk.

Dutch trains normally operate between 6:00 am and 1:00 am but there are also night trains running between 2:00 am and 5:00 am. Signs above the escalators show when the next train departs and where it is headed. The travel time usually is around 15 – 20 minutes. The most popular ‘destination’ is, of course, the Amsterdam Central Station but the NS trains also head to the outskirts of the city (like Amsterdam Amstel and Amsterdam Sloterdijk). There are different types of trains: Sprinter, Intercity and Intercity Direct (the last one only stops at Central Station).

How much does it cost?

A 1st class ticket costs 8.40 Euro – the price includes a surcharge for buying a disposable ticket (1 Euro). On average, a one-way 2nd class ticket from the Airport to Amsterdam Central Station costs 5.40 Euro.

Where to get a ticket?

You can buy a ticket at the ticket desk or at the ticket machine – there are many of them in the arrivals hall. Not only are they dotted around the hall, but there are also some machines in the luggage reclaim area.

Ticket machines have touch screen displays in both Dutch and English. The front page of each machine has a quick one-press option for tickets to the Amsterdam Central Station. You just need to choose the date. You can pay with euro coins (banknotes are not accepted) or with a credit or debit card (Maestro, MasterCard, Visa, American Express, V-Pay).

How to get to the platform?

As mentioned above, the best option is just to follow the signs. Once you pass the train ticket kiosk, you should go to one of the platforms.

There are six platforms in total, all located one floor below the airport terminal. However, trains to Amsterdam usually depart from platforms 1 – 3.


As each of the transportations methods, trains have both advantages and disadvantages. In my opinion, the following pros are the most important:

  • Traveling by train is one of the cheapest options.
  • Speed is crucial – trains are the most convenient if you want to reach the city center fast.
  • No traffic on your way.

However, there are also cons:

  • There are not many trains running late at night and early in the morning.
  • Once you get to the Amsterdam Central Station you still need to get to your hotel or the place you will be staying at.
  • Trains are not very convenient for those traveling with large luggage.

Some Useful Tips and Information

1. Most of the trains offer WiFi
2. If you travel with a child, be aware that children under 3 years of age travel for free. Children aged 4 – 11 need a ‘Railrunner’ ticket – it costs 2.50 Euro
3. Buying a ticket at a desk or a machine are not the only options. You can also book tickets online in advance
4. If you plan to arrive to Amsterdam after 12:00 am (or on the weekend) make sure you check the NS website. There are many maintenance works in the city and it can interrupt your journey.
5. Buy a return ticket (2 x single fare) only if you plan to come back to the airport on the same day
6. For train departure information, take a look at the large screen above the ticket desk. There are also small triple screens around both the station hall and platforms. Timetables are on the printed yellow boards. 
7. The Amsterdam’s train network is quite extensive. This is why it’s good to have a railway map. 
8. There are many pickpockets in Amsterdam. Make sure you watch your belongings all the time.


 Photo by Jos @ FPS-Groningen || Flickr

For sure, taxi is the most convenient option if you want to get from the Amsterdam airport to the city center. If there is no traffic, the ride to the city center takes approximately 20 minutes.

Amsterdam taxis run 24 hours 7 days a week. The biggest disadvantage of taking a taxi is the price – travelling to the city center by taxi is quite expensive. There are many different companies offering transportation services, but all line cabs have the same flat price. The cars are usually very comfortable and high-class so they are mostly used by business travellers, groups and older tourists.

How much does it cost?

In some cases, you can expect some extra charges. This usually occurs if you have more luggage or travel on public holidays, as well as during the late night. Taxis in Amsterdam accept both cash and credit/debit cards.

There is a flat fee for a taxi from the airport to the city center – 39 Euro. However, the service is a bit more expensive if you use online reservation – then it costs up to 55 Euro

How to get a taxi at the airport?

You can find a taxi waiting outside of the arrivals hall at the airport. You will also find some private taxis waiting in the line outside the main entrance. It is important that you choose a taxi from the line. If you take one of the individuals offering their services, you may pay a higher fee.

Pros and cons


  • The most convenient way to get to the city center. Nothing is more convenient than a door-to-door service.
  • Except for during rush hours, the ride takes as little as 20 minutes.
  • You will get some help with your luggage.


  • Taxi is probably the most expensive option for those who want to get from the airport to the city center.
  • Travelling by taxi during the rush hours can be a nightmare.

Some Useful Tips and Information

1. Not all taxis in Amsterdam look the same. You can recognize a licensed taxi by its roof light and a blue number plate.
2. Avoid rogue cabs – there are still some individuals offering their services. There were some new legal measures introduced in May 2017, and individuals are not licensed to operate at the airport, however, some rogue cabs are trying to accost tourists. Remember to choose a taxi only at the official taxi rank.
3. You are not obligated to select the first taxi in line. You can select any of the cabs you see there
4. There is always a queue for the taxis during rush hours. Then, you have to wait in line to get one. It is recommended to book your taxi in advance if you are in a hurry.
5. Amsterdam’s taxis usually can take up to 4 people with 3 pieces of luggage. If your group is bigger, should book a taxi bus.
6. Once you get on a taxi, confirm the rate with the driver, just in case. This way the driver will know that you are aware of the average cost.


Photo by Alfenaar

Bus (Amsterdam Airport Express) is a cheap, yet quite time-consuming option to get from the airport to the city center. The ride usually takes around 30 – 35 minutes and buses depart every 15 minutes between 05:00 am and 0:30 am (Connexxion’s 397 American Airport Express).

There are also night buses (N97 and 358 Niteliner) that run every 60 minutes between 1:00 am and 5:00 am. Be aware that the bus ride does not end at Amsterdam Central Station but at Amsterdam Elandsgracht.

How much does it cost?

You can buy a single or an open return ticket. A single one costs 5 Euro and a return ticket costs 10 Euro

Where to get a ticket?

Tickets can be purchased at info booths (right near the bus stop), at the Amsterdam Airport Express ticket desk and also directly from the bus driver.

Remember that cash is not accepted on board bus 397. The most convenient option is to buy a ticket beforehand. Nightbus N97 Niteliner tickets cost exactly the same – 5 Euro for a single ticket. You can also consider buying an OV-chip card for 4.50 Euro.

Where is the platform?

In order to go to the city center, you should take bus 397 from one of the following platforms: B9, B11 or B13. The Schiphol Plaza bus stop is located just outside the main station hall. In order to get to the platform, go to Schiphol Plaza located in front of the arrivals and departures terminal.

Pros and cons


  • This is probably the cheapest option.
  • If you want to get anywhere close to one of the bus stops, traveling by bus can be more direct than traveling by train.


  • Buses are usually crowded.
  • Service is quite limited on weekends and late and night / early in the morning.

Some Useful Tips and Information

1. Taking a bus from the airport is the cheapest option if you want to go to the city center. However, it is less convenient than e.g. a train. There are multiple stops on your way to the city center (among the others: Leidseplein, Museumplein and Stadionplein).
2. Buses are often very crowded which means the luggage space is limited
3. If you travel with a child (aged 4 – 11), you can buy a children’s day ticket for them. It costs 1 Euro.
4. Amsterdam Airport Express buses provide free WiFi and plugs so that you can quick-charge your phone. You can also follow bus stops on the screens on a bus.
5. Tickets are valid 14 days. If you plan to stay in Amsterdam for more than a day or two, you should consider buying return tickets as an add-on to the Amsterdam Public Tickets. This will cover your transport within the city, as well as your return transport to the airport.

My Recommendation

Schiphol Hotel Shuttle

If you want to get to one of the most popular Amsterdam’s hotels, you can consider using the Schiphol Hotel Shuttle, run by Connexxion. The service includes more than 100 hotels in Amsterdam. Buses run between 6:00 am and 9:30 pm from the platform A7.

The platform is situated right outside the main entrance to the train station level. Just follow the signs to Taxis and Buses to get there. You can buy a ticket online or at the Connexxion service desk. There are usually 8 seats on each bus. The service provides free WiFi. The shuttle costs 17.50 Euro per person (one-way). The return ticket costs 28 Euro. However, if you travel in a group of 3 – 8 people, you can expect a discount. Children aged 4 – 14 travel for 8.50 Euro one-way. You can book tickets online or at a desk – VISA and MasterCard are accepted.

The biggest plus of Schiphol Hotel Shuttle is that it is a door-to-door service. It is also much cheaper than taxi. This is why it is a good option for those with a lot of luggage or travelling in a group. However, it is still more expensive than a regular bus or a train. What is more, the journey time varies depending on which stop you get off – it can even take around an hour. Schiphol Hotel Shuttle buses depart approximately every 30 minutes. You can take one piece of hold luggage with you, as well as one piece of hand luggage.

Welcome Pickups transfers

In Amsterdam there is an option to book an English-speaking taxi driver who will pick you up from the airport. The driver will be waiting for you at the terminal of your arrival. They will help you with your luggage and then drive you to the place you will be staying at. The cool thing is that the price is just the same as a regular cab from the line.


For those who want to travel conveniently but cheap, Uber launched a new service. It is a cheaper extension of UberBlack called UberX. It is cheaper because of the cars you use – customers are transported in middle-class vehicles. Drivers have all necessary permits though, so the service is fully legal. UberX is even 35% cheaper than a regular taxi. You can travel from the airport to Amsterdam Central Station for a little bit above 30 Euro.

Of course, you can also travel with UberBlack (VIP taxis) but the cost will be much higher – between 40 and 60 Euro. There is also UberVan for groups. All Uber options can be order via the Uber app for both iOS and Android. Be aware that UberPOP is not available in the Netherlands. In order to get on to an Uber car, go to the pickup spot located across exit B on the arrivals level. Keep in mind that Exit B is not in the main hall.


It only depends on your preferences which mode of transportation you will use. If you travel in a small group, the best option is taking a taxi – you will get to the city center fast and relatively cheap (per person). If you travel alone, you may consider train – it is quite convenient and affordable. Personally, I like bus the least. It is a little but cheaper than train, but the speed is limited during the rush hours. What is more, to me there is not enough space to keep your belongings.

While choosing the best option for you, on top of your budget and the duration you should also take your final destination into consideration. If you are staying near Central Station, all 3 means of transport will be quite convenient. If you plan to stay far from the city center, remember that public transportation will probably leave you quite close to the Station.

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