Public transport in Amsterdam

by Tanja
Amsterdam tram network

For public transport in Amsterdam, the tram is the best way to get around in Amsterdam. Most of the trams ride to Central Station, either via Leidseplein/Leidsestraat or via Rozengracht/Marnixstraat.

On the Amsterdam canals, in the Jordaan District and in the Red Light District, there are no buses or trams. Walking or seeing the sight by a canal cruise is the best way to get around in Amsterdam.

The Amsterdam metro system is only needed when you are staying in the outermost ring of Amsterdam, West or Southeast. Trains are perfect when you want to visit other places outside Amsterdam.


Best way to get around in Amsterdam? Take the tram!

The extensive Amsterdam tram network make the trams the best public transport in Amsterdam. Trams go on all main roads, they stop everywhere, are fast and pleasant. Trams 17 and 13 start at Amsterdam Central Station and travel Westward via Rozengracht. Trams 1,2,5 take the south direction  via Leidseplein and pass by Museum Square (Museumplein). Trams 7, 10  and 14 go from West to East (and back).


Metro and buses in Amsterdam

There are only 4 metro lines in Amsterdam. Metro 53 and 54 leave from Central Station and stop at Nieuwmarkt, Waterlooplein and Weesperplein before heading out in the Southeast direction.

Metro 50 goes to Amsterdam RAI and Amsterdam South train station before going to neighbouring city of Amstelveen. Metro 50 leaves at Sloterdijk station and rides in the SouthEast direction, never really entering near the city centre.

There is a new metro on its way that stops in the centre (planned to open in 2018). Buses are also best used to travel outside the city.

Amsterdam public transport map

Find the map with public transport routes. 

Amsterdam public transport tickets

public transport Amsterdam

People waiting in line to get a train ticket at Schiphol Airport.

An 1-hour tram, bus or metro ticket in 2018 in Amsterdam is €3,00 (centre zone). This is a disposable chip card. Only valid during the day.  If you need to travel by public transport to get to and from your hotel, it may be a better idea to buy a day card. A disposable day card lets you use bus, metro and tram in Amsterdam and costs €7,50.

Other options are: 48-hour: 12,50; 72-hours/3 days: 17,00; 4-days: 22,-; or more.  These cards are available at the GVB service desk, for example at Amsterdam Central Station. The 1-day and 2-card are also available in the tram.

The Amsterdam public transport day cards are only to be used in the tram and metro and local buses in Amsterdam.

To get from Amsterdam Airport Schiphol to Amsterdam city centre you need a separate train ticket or an OV-chip card activated for use of the train. It might be easier and cheaper to buy an Amsterdam Travel Ticket online so you can hop into the train and all public transport hassle-free.

The easy way: the Amsterdam Travel Ticket

Amsterdam travel ticket

The Amsterdam Travel Ticket is an easier way to travel around Amsterdam.

The all-in-one Amsterdam Travel Ticket includes unlimited travel between Schiphol Amsterdam Airport and any station in Amsterdam on NS trains and by bus (the Amsterdam Airport Express, bus 197).

You can also use the Travel Ticket in Amsterdam: by tram, bus, night bus and metro. The Amsterdam Travel Ticket is a paper smart card. Use it to check in at the start, and to check out at the end of every trip with NS, Amsterdam Airport Express, Niteline N97 and GVB. This is the perfect ticket for exploring Amsterdam.

The 1-day Amsterdam Travel Ticket is €15. 2-days is €20, 3-days is €25

How to use the Amsterdam transport system

OV-chip card travel card

OV-chip card

Always check in and check out with the OV-Chipcard

The Netherlands uses one single OV-chip travel card system to pay for all buses, trams, metro and trains.

There are two types of cards: the anonymous and the personal OV-chipkaart. For temporary use, it’s best to buy an anonymous card. This card costs €7,50 and all family members need a separate card if they want to travel together. You then need to load money on the card.

When you use the bus or tram, check in when you enter and check out when you leave so the amount is debited from the card.

You can buy the card and load money at most stations, but also at tobacco/souvenir shops and Albert Heijn supermarkets using cash, bankcard and credit card.


How to use the OV-chip travel card with the train

You can use the same card in the trains in the Netherlands, but you need to prepare the card first! At the train station take your card to the yellow NS card machine, hold your card in front of the pink chip card logo and choose (Language: English): other products. Choose the option ‘pre-paid travel without NS-subscription’ and choose whether you wish to travel in first or second class. Follow further instructions on the device.

Now you need at least €20 euros on the card to be able to travel with the OV-chip travel card!

If you park your car at a P&R Amsterdam, the return ticket for bus, tram or metro is included.


Netherlands Trains

The Netherlands has one of the most dense railway systems in the world. To get to other cities like Utrecht, Leiden, Haarlem, The Hague or Rotterdam, it’s best to take a train.

To all these cities, trains run every 15 minutes. Train tickets can be bought at the vending machines at the stations or at the desk (extra €0,50). Trains have started to use the new Chipcard as well (see below), but old school tickets are still available.


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Leave a Comment


Mike January 2, 2012 - 19:19

How much is a monthly ticket fro tram, you know, if you use tram everyday?
Cheers mate

Federico September 11, 2016 - 16:16

I’m really confused about Amsterdam and neighbourhood cities around. Because hotels in Amsterdam are extremely expensive, I’m planing to stay in Almere. Do you know whether there is a discount to travel Amsterdam-Almere by train daily?. Thank you!…Your site is really useful

Tanja September 12, 2016 - 09:28

Hi, Discount travel is only possible if you are going to travel the same route for a month or longer. If I were you, I’d get an anonymous OV-chipcard, that will make travel easier. One way ticket Amsterdam-Almere is 6 euros. Enjoy your trip!

Stephanie June 13, 2018 - 10:15

i will stay in Zaandam, what ist the best best ticket to buy when i want to go for Amsterdam during the day and move around there?