The means of transport par excellence in Amsterdam is the bicycle, you will see thousands of them whizzing around and they are the undisputed masters of the streets. You will see very few cars, mainly due to high maintenance costs and parking difficulties.
Amsterdam’s transport network, including metro, trams, buses, ferries and trains, on the other hand, is simply excellent, punctual and very efficient.
Amsterdam’s public transport service is mostly run by the company GVB (Gemeentelijk Vervoers Bedrijf). Only a few bus lines are operated by EBS and Connexxion.
There are many tickets and day passes to use the transport network, designed for both the inhabitants and the many tourists who visit every day.
Single tickets can be bought on board trams and buses from the driver and are valid on the entire GVB network from the first validation until expiry time without limit. Beware, however, that cash is no longer accepted on Amsterdam buses and trams, you can only pay by card.
However, the best solution if you are visiting Amsterdam for a few days is to buy a day pass that allows unlimited travel on all means of transport. There are different types, which we will explain in detail below.
The Amsterdam Airport Express is a fast bus that connects Amsterdam-Schiphol Airport with the centre of Amsterdam offered by the Connexxion company. During the daytime, the service is provided by the 397 bus and departs every 8 minutes from the B17 terminal, while at night, between 1:00 a.m. and 5:00 a.m., the service is provided by the N97 bus, which covers the same route with departures every half hour.
The bus takes about 25 minutes to reach the centre.
With the GVB 1h single ticket you can use all GVB lines within one hour of first validation. This ticket allows you to use several means of transport within 60 minutes, but you must stamp your ticket each time you use it. It is not valid to travel to Amsterdam Airport and on night buses.
You can buy the GVB 1 hour at vending machines in all metro stations, on board buses and trams and at tourist information kiosks. It is unfortunately not possible to buy it online in advance.
The current price is €3.20 for adults.
The GVB also offers multi-day passes with which you can travel on the entire urban transport network, both day and night.
There are passes valid from 1 to 7 days with prices starting at €8.50 for the 24-hour pass up to €36.50 for the 7-day pass. The pass is activated the first time it is validated on board any means of transport.
Each ticket is valid from the first validation until 04.00 on the day following the last day of validity.
It is important to note that these passes are also valid on GVB night buses and on bus 69, which connects Schiphol Plaza to Amsterdam Sloterdijk station.
Only the 24-hour ticket can also be purchased on trams and buses, while all others can be purchased at the GVB Tickets & Info centre at the central station or conveniently online.
Basic GVB day passes do not include a connection to Amsterdam Airport. However, it is possible to purchase a GVB day pass that also includes roundtrip transfer on the Airport Express (bus 397 Connexxion and the night bus No. 97), which connects Schiphol Airport with the centre of Amsterdam (with stops at Museumplein, Rijksmuseum, Leidseplein and other strategic stops) for an additional fee.
All children under the age of 4 travel free of charge on all GVB means of transport and therefore do not need to purchase a ticket for them.
On the other hand, children between the ages of 4 and 11 are entitled to a 24h ticket at a cost of €4. Please note, the 24h ticket is the only one available for children, there are no multi-day denominations, so if you intend to travel several days with children in tow, you will need to buy several 24h tickets.
The I Amsterdam Card is the official city card designed especially for tourists, including not only the GVB day pass for unlimited use of the public transport network for 24, 48, 72 or 96 hours, but also free admission to over 60 museums and attractions in the city.
It is especially recommended for those who intend to visit more than one attraction or museum, including, for example, admission to the Van Gogh Museum and the Rijksmuseum and a range of activities such as the unmissable canal cruise.
Amsterdam Travel Ticket is an all-inclusive ticket valid for 1, 2 or 3 days which includes
The ticket is valid from the first validation until 4 a.m. on the day after the last day of validity. The ticket is not valid on the buses of the Connexxion company (with the exception of buses 397 and N97 to the airport), EBS and Arriva.
This ticket offers the advantage of including unlimited travel on any means of transport in the Amsterdam city network as well as connections to the airport. However, it is not valid on Connexxion and EBS buses.
As the name suggests, the Amsterdam & Region Travel Ticket offers unlimited travel, both day and night, on buses, trams, trains and metros in the entire Amsterdam region. Valid on all GVB, Connexxion, Arriva, EBS and NS means of transport, it can be valid for one, two or three days.
This ticket is suitable for those who also want to visit other locations around Amsterdam, allowing unlimited travel:
The OV-chipkaart is a rechargeable electronic card that allows you to travel on all Dutch public transport regardless of the transport company. It can be nominative (basically for residents) or ‘anonymous’ (suitable for people staying in Amsterdam for an extended period).
It is basically used like a prepaid card. You top up any amount to be used for travel.
For each ride you pay a basic fixed price plus a surcharge per kilometre, so you pay according to the distance travelled.
Before starting any ride, the card credit must be at least EUR 4. The card can also be used for children from the age of 4.
It is important to remember to check in when you board a vehicle, but also to check out when you get off. Otherwise, the end of the journey will not be recorded and credit will continue to be deducted from the card.
The OV/E- Purse system is frankly not very easy, especially for tourists, and frankly we don’t recommend it if you are only in Amsterdam for a few days. It makes sense instead if you are staying for a long time.
As you will have seen, the solutions for travelling on Amsterdam’s transport network are numerous and which one is best depends of course on your needs.
Assuming that you are a tourist who wants to visit Amsterdam for a few days, we think you should choose one of these solutions:
If, in addition to the city of Amsterdam, you also want to visit a few places in the surrounding area, consider the Amsterdam & Region Travel Ticket.
Generally speaking, unless you are a big walker and minimise your use of transport, you will hardly find yourself buying a single GVB ticket.