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Public transport in Amsterdam consists of an extensive and reliable network of bus, metro, and streetcar lines, as well as ferries. According to an April, 2023 Time Out ranking, Amsterdam has the 10th-best public transport system in the world.1
Public transportation tickets are easy to obtain and use. They must be bought in advance.
How to Choose: Amsterdam Public Transport Ticket Options
The most popular option for tourists is the first one listed in the table below: Amsterdam Public Transport Ticket (1-7 days), plus Amsterdam Airport Express (Bus 397). This is a good deal, since it provides you with:
- comfortable bus transfer between Amsterdam Airport Schiphol and the city center, and
- carefree, unlimited travel on all GVB trams, buses and metro lines throughout Amsterdam
Meanwhile, the Amsterdam Travel Ticket (1-3 days) has the added benefit of unlimited travel on all trains between Amsterdam Airport Schiphol and Amsterdam Central Station (plus any other train stations in the city). Central Station is the city’s main public transport hub.
The Amsterdam & Region Travel Ticket (1-3 days) is the only other ticket that includes the use of trains.
|Amsterdam Public Transport|
DutchAmsterdam.nl, 2022 Amsterdam Tickets, Tours, Excursions
|Amsterdam Public Transport Ticket (1-7 days), plus Amsterdam Airport Express (Bus 397)|
|Unlimited GVB Bus, Tram, Metro travel in Amsterdam, plus roundtrip bus from and to Schiphol Airport. No trains.||Bus 397 has stops close to many popular hotels.|
|Amsterdam Public Transport Ticket (1-7 days)|
|Unlimited GVB Bus, Tram, Metro travel in Amsterdam. No trains.||Note: only Schiphol Airport option is Bus 369 between Sloterdijk station (Amsterdam West) and the airport. Not ideal unless you stay near Sloterdijk.|
|Amsterdam Airport Express|
Good if you only want Schiphol Airport to and from City. Want transfer to or from Central Station? Take the train instead.
|Roundtrip Airport City center Airport. Operated by Connexxion.||Ticket valid up to 14 days|
|Amsterdam Travel Ticket (1-3 days)|
Great for short city break. [Details] More than 3 days? Choose plus bus 397 instead (top choice above). Also want museums, excursions, et cetera? Consider I amsterdam City Card (below)
|Unlimited GVB Bus, Tram, Metro travel in Amsterdam + unlimited travel on NS trains between Amsterdam Airport Schiphol and all train stations in Amsterdam. Not valid on buses operated by other transport companies such as EBS, Arriva and Connexxion (Except Connexxion buses 397 and N97).||Includes transfer between Schiphol Airport and Amsterdam Central Station, by train or Amsterdam Airport Express bus.|
|Amsterdam & Region Travel Ticket (1-3 days)|
Excellent choice, especially in combo with the I amsterdam card (below)
|Travel without limits across Amsterdam and region. Valid on all trams, buses, night buses, metros and ferries run by the Amsterdam Transport company GVB, EBS and Connexxion in Amsterdam and the Amsterdam Region including the Amsterdam Airport Express Bus 397 and N97, as well as trains operated by NS.||Also valid for transfer from and to Schiphol Airport (train or bus). Many excursion destinations, e.g. Zandvoort beach, Muiderslot castle, Edam & Volendam fishing villages, windmills at Zaanse Schans, Keukenhof, and much more|
|I amsterdam City Card|
Discount city pass details.
|Unlimited GVB Bus, Tram, Metro in Amsterdam. No trains. Airport only via Bus 369 from Sloterdijk.||Includes free museums, free canal boat tour, free bike rental, and other discounts in Amsterdam and region|
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How to use Amsterdam public transport tickets
How to buy and use Amsterdam bus-, metro-, and tram tickets
- Buy your ticket
There is a confusing array of ticket options that cater mostly to citizens of Amsterdam and beyond.
Most tourists buy 1-7 day(s) ticket for travel on Amsterdam’s primary public transport network. This ticket gives you unlimited access to all buses, metros, and trams operated by GVB.
Consider these other ticket options as well.
- Check-in each time you travel
Your ticket, referred to as an OV-chipkaart, has an embedded smart chip. Hold your ticket against the screen on a card reader (bus or tram) or a gate (at metro or train stations). A ‘beep’ tone confirms that you did so correctly.
The card readers are found at the entrances and exits inside buses and trams, or at the entrances and exits of metro- and train stations.
The ferries are always free, so you do not need to check-in or check-out.
- Check-out at the end of your journey, or if you intend to transfer
Again touch the card reader with your ticket at the end of your journey. Listen for the ‘beep’ tone.
If you are transferring to another bus-, tram, or metro line you first check-out from the current vehicle, and then check-in at the new one.
Note: If you forget to check in or out, your ticket may no longer function the next time you need it. In that case you need to make your way to the GVB service desk in front of Central Station.
Public Transport Coronavirus Protocol: Discontinued
This section still current on May 27, 2023.
All basic Coronavirus rules in the Netherlands are currently not in effect.
You do not have to wear a face mask while using public transport. However, if you wish to wear a mask, you are free to do so.
All About Public Transport Services in Amsterdam
Amsterdam’s primary public transport service is the GVB — Gemeentelijk Vervoerbedrijf (Municipal Transportation Company). It is an independent corporation owned by the city of Amsterdam.
All trams (trolleys), metros (underground or subway trains), and most buses you see in Amsterdam are owned and operated by GVB. So are the free ferries that sail across the river IJ.
District bus lines
District bus lines Connexxion, EBS and Syntus also operate in Amsterdam, but to a much lesser extent.
GVB tickets are not accepted on these bus lines. Exceptions are noted in the Amsterdam Public Transport Ticket Options table.
There are 11 train stations in Amsterdam. But except where noted, travel on trains is not included in your GVB public transport tickets.
OV-chipkaart: Public Transport Smart Card
Use of the GVB ferries connecting Amsterdam-North with the rest of the city is free.
For all other public transport, an OV-chipkaart is required (OV stands for ‘Openbaar Vervoer’ = public transport. Chipkaart = smart card, includes a RFID memory chip). The OV-chipkaart is an electronic payment system similar to Oyster in London, Passe Navigo in Paris, Pass Roma in Rome, or Hola Barcelona.
The OV-chipkaart consists of a credit card-sized paper or plastic credit card-size ticket with an embedded memory chip that can be read by ticket readers on board public transport vehicles.
The card must be swiped across the front of the ticket reader both when boarding and when disembarking.
There are three types of cards: anonymous, personalized, and disposable. Each traveler needs his or her own card.
For tourists, it is better to use one of these Amsterdam Public Transport ticket options.
Most expensive option: Single Use, 1-Hour Ticket
A single-use ticket is available in the tram or bus at a cost of €3.20. It is valid for up to one hour, during which you can change to another GVB bus or streetcar line.
Single Use Tickets are not valid for travel on Arriva, Connexxion, or EBS buses. In most cases, tourists will not need to use buses of these companies anyway.
This is the most expensive way to travel by bus, tram (streetcar), or metro in Amsterdam.
Public Transport in Amsterdam: Cash-free Only
All public transport in Amsterdam is cash-free. That means you cannot buy a ticket on board using cash.
If you still want to purchase a single ticket on board, you can pay with a debit- or credit card (as long at it has the Maestro emblem).
Buy your GVB Day- or Multiple Day passes online
GVB Day Ticket Child
Children up to — and including — age 3 travel free. Children age 4 through 11 can travel on a 24-hour child ticket, which costs € 4.00.
These tickets are not sold on board buses and trams. They can be bought only at the GVB Tickets & Info kiosk across at Amsterdam Central Station, at GVB service points, or at tobacconists such as Primera or Techador. You can also buy them at the service desk of the Albert Heijn supermarket.
Major inconvenience: available in the 1-day version only.
Alternative: I amsterdam City Card
The I amsterdam City Card provides free or discounted access to many of the city’s museums and attractions.
Conveniently, this popular 1-5 days pass also allows you to freely travel on all of Amsterdam’s GVB-operated trams, buses, and metros.
A free, one-hour canal cruise by boat is included as well. So is a free, 24-hour bicycle rental. There are countless other benefits as well.
Tourists who intend to visit museums and other attractions consider the I amsterdam City Card an excellent choice.
Amsterdam Travel Ticket
The Amsterdam Travel Ticket provides unlimited travel across Amsterdam — including 2nd class travel by train to and from Schiphol Amsterdam Airport to and from any railway station in the city.
Alternatively you can travel to and from the airport by bus, using the Amsterdam Airport Express (bus 197) or Niteliner (bus N97), operated by Connexxion.
The ticket allows for
- unlimited travel in all buses, trams, metros and ferries operated by GVB. (Most buses, as well as all trams, metros and ferries you see in Amsterdam are operated by GVB).
- unlimited travel in all trains operated by NS (Nederlandse Spoorwegen, the main public transport railway company in the Netherlands) from and to Amsterdam Airport Schiphol and any of the following stations in Amsterdam: Amstel, Bijlmer Arena, Central Station, Holendrecht, Lelylaan, Muiderpoort, RAI, Sciencepark, Sloterdijk, Zuid and Duivendrecht.
Note: If your will visit museums, attractions, and other tourist activities, consider the I amsterdam City Pass instead.
|Amsterdam Travel Ticket|
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|1 day||Buy ticket: € 17|
|2 days||Buy ticket: € 22.50|
|3 days||Buy ticket: €28|
Amsterdam Public Transport Tickets FAQ
More Amsterdam Tourist Information
- Amsterdam King’s Day 2024: All-Day Citywide Street Party!
- Gedogen — illegal but not illegal
- Keukenhof 2024: seven million tulips and other flowers
- I amsterdam City Card – Worth It!
- Sold Out: Once in a Lifetime Vermeer Exhibition at Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam
- Van Gogh Museum — Plan Your Visit
- 19 cities with the best public transport in the world – according to locals, Time Out, April 3, 2023. The company surveyed more than 20,000 city-dwellers around the world, in more than 50 cities. In the featured cities, at least four out of five locals had good things to say about their city’s public transportation network. ↩
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