Amsterdam is a major European portal and can be reached via plane, bus, train, car, and ferry (if you are prepared to drive from one of the ports) making it extremely accessible.
We have provided an quick Expedia widget on every page of this site so it is as easy for you as possible to find out the prices of a trip in about 5 clicks! Feel free to use that (which to be fair is one of the cheapest places we have found for Amsterdam breaks) or browse the rest of this section to find out more info on all the ways to get to this great city.
Driving to Amsterdam
Driving to Amsterdam is pretty straight forward, however when you enter the city itself prepare to find driving and parking a challenge. We would strongly advise against it but if you do chose to drive into and around the city you will find yourself in narrow winding streets, expensive parking, and construction issues. Here are some essential tips to make your driving excursion and enjoyable and safe as possible:
Look out for bikers and pedestrians. They are everywhere in Amsterdam. They always have the right of way and they know it.
Always drive on the right side of the canal. All streets in the canal ring are one-way on the right side.
Use caution when approaching intersections, especially at canal bridges where there may not be any traffic signs whatsoever. Treat them as a four-way stop.
Be prepared to wait behind unloading trucks. You should not have to wait longer than 5 minutes but this is the way it works in Amsterdam.
Parking in Amsterdam
This is a very expensive place to park and if you looking to snag a free parking space you might want to reconsider unless you have a deal with the hotel you are staying with. Blue ticket machines for street parking are readily available throughout the city at a rate of €2.60 per hour between the hours of 9:00 and 23:00.
Ferry to Amsterdam
If you have your ‘sea legs’ then this can be a fun way to go but in our opinion the least favoured mode unless you have plenty of time to travel. Typically a boat/train route involving time, money, and possibly seasickness, if at all possible we would advise holding out for cheap flights and saving your cash to enjoy the city. However, if do want to go by ferry here are some ideas:
Scandinavian Seaways DFDS (Newcastle to Amsterdam)
Ferry service from Newcastle to Amsterdam. Journey with DFDS Seaways takes 15-16 hours. Sailing at 5:00pm arriving next morning in Amsterdam 9:30am. You may opt for a romantic cruise break, 2 nights accommodation in cabin, with a coach transfer to the Amsterdam city center and a sightseeing tour included. This line now offers themed cruises, for example a Comedy cruise with 3 comedians, whilst taking this route. Check out the website for more fun options.
Port address in Amsterdam:
DFDS Seaways, Felison Terminal, Sluisplein 33, NL 1975 AG, IJmuiden, The Netherlands
Tel: +31 255 546650
Harwich to Hook of Holland with easy rail and road connection to Amsterdam.
Daytime sailings from Harwich to Hook of Holland aboard the Stena Line Superferry ‘Stena Britannica’. Sailing at 09:00 daily and arriving at Hook of Holland at 16:15 Dutch time. There are bars, two restaurants, children’s play area & WiFi. Cabins are optional and are half price on the day crossing.
Sail overnight from Harwich to Hook of Holland aboard the Stena Line Superferry ‘Stena Hollandica’. Sailing at 23:45 daily (though you can board well before this and retire to bed early) and arrive at Hook of Holland at 07:45 Dutch time. All passengers get a private cabin with en suite toilet & shower, soap, shampoo, towels and all bedding provided. A bar & two restaurants are available, as well as WiFi.
P&O North Sea Ferries
Hull to Rotterdam with easy rail and road connection to Amsterdam.
With night sailings on two luxury cruise ferries, you can enjoy great onboard entertainment and delicious food choices on board the P & O ferry from Hull to Rotterdam. Comfortable ensuite cabins ensure a restful crossing . Check in 90 minutes before the 9pm departure (either way).
London to Amsterdam by train + ferry
This is the cheapest & most leisurely way to go, with combined train+ferry fares from as little as £29 one-way from central London to central Amsterdam or any station in the Netherlands. You take an early morning train from London to Harwich, Stena Line’s daytime ferry to Hook of Holland, then Dutch trains to Amsterdam, arriving early evening. It means an early start from London, not everyone can get into London in time to catch it. Eastbound, it runs Monday-Saturdays only.
Train (Amsterdam Central Station)
Amsterdam has a fantastic international train service operating in and out Central Station in the heart of the city. Our advice would be to book in advance to enjoy the best rates, and if you live in Britain why not go on the Eurostar. This option also means you could drive your car however, you won’t need it when you arrive due to the size of the city. Once in Amsterdam all other destinations in Holland are located no more than 2.5 hours from Amsterdam by rail. Rail passes and other discounts are widely available and reservations are highly recommended.
Train from London to Amsterdam by Eurostar
If you are in the UK and want to visit Amsterdam this is the high-speed daytime option taking just 5 hours 36 minutes city centre to city centre (compare this with around 4½ hours by air in total) with a wide choice of departures and no sea crossing involved. A comfortable & relaxed way to travel, especially when compared to flying. Book early for the cheapest prices which start around £69 one way.
For full details go to www.eurostar.com
Once you reach Amsterdam you reach the real heart of the city Centraal Station which is also as the biggest public transport transfer spot, serving not only visitors to Amsterdam, but also city inhabitants. Every day 250 0000 people go through the Amsterdam Centraal Station.
Trains to Brussels, Paris, Cologne
Amsterdam has convenient fast train connections with other European cities as Brussels, Paris and Cologne. None of leaving from Amsterdam trains is fully High Speed yet, but the line to Brussels is presently under construction, and beyond Brussels Thalys trains travel as High Speed at max. speed of 300km/h (190 miles/h), reaching Paris in only 1h 22 min. Even now, it takes only ca. 2h30 to get by train from Amsterdam to Brussels, thus you may with ease visit Brussels during your stay in Amsterdam.
Trains to Amsterdam Airport Schiphol
Local trains to the Amsterdam Schiphol Airport during the day depart each ten minutes from platform 14a or platform 15. Night trains to the Airport depart from other platforms – please check the airport train schedule for the correct departure time and the platform number.
Fly (Amsterdam Airport Schiphol)
The easiest way to get to Amsterdam is undoubtedly by plane into the main airport, Schiphol. This airport is serviced by all main operators worldwide but our advice would be to watch out for bargains from one of the budget airlines such as Ryan Air and Easy Jet.
Schiphol Airport just 14km outside Amsterdam is the biggest and busiest airport in Holland. It is also one of the major European airport transit hubs efficiently handling over 40 million business and tourist passengers per year. The Dutch national airline, KLM, is based there and is the largest airline group in the world. Over 100 other airlines fly into Schiphol too, among them over twenty budget airlines offering cheap flights from many European countries.
Amsterdam Airport train station
Once you have flown into Schiphol Airport the best way to get into Amsterdam is train which departs from platforms located underneath the Schiphol Plaza and can be reached by either escalators or lifts. As well as a fast and efficient train schedule into Amsterdam Central Station, there are also direct trains from the airport to other parts of the country. The International trains, including the Thalys, south to Brussels and Paris also stop at Schiphol station.
Amsterdam Airport for visitors
If you have a few hours to kill before a flight you are in the right place as Schiphol is not just an international airport; it can be classed as a tourist attraction all by itself. This commercial centre is open seven days a week and offers a great shopping experience, as well plenty of food and beverage outlets. There is also a huge open-air observation deck on top of the passenger terminal building with fantastic views of this busy airport. You can even visit the national aviation museum Aviodome signposted on the approach to the airport.