amsterdam

Moving around in Amsterdam using public transport

Amsterdam public transport network including metros, buses, trams and ferries to help you get around the capital. Public transport within the city is operated by the GVB. The tram is the main form of public transport and there is a metro and many bus routes.

Amsterdam Tram
Amsterdam Tram
NS (Dutch Railways)

Regional buses are operated by Connexxion and EBS. In addition, there are trains operated by NS (Dutch Railways) which connect Amsterdam to Schiphol Airport and the rest of the Netherlands. Amsterdam’s city center itself is quite compact, pretty flat, and walkable. You can easily get to most tourist destinations around city center by walking.

Tickets and Pass

Amsterdam public transport system offers a bunch of ticket products and passes which you can choose depending on your specific requirement. For your itinerary you can buy a single product or mix and match depending on your travel requirements.

All of GVB public transport is cashless. You can buy a ticket in the tram, (night) bus or on the Noordzeekanaal ferries only by using a credit card. Here is the summary of all transport ticket products available and how they work;

GVB 1 hour ticket

GVB 1 hour ticket cost €3.20, valid only on GVB trams/metro/buses including connections, NOT on trains. There is also a 1.5 hour Bus/Tram/Metro ticket which costs €6.50 and is valid on GVB, Connexxion and EBS services.

GVB Day ticket and Multi day ticket

These are valid for a set period of time and allow you unlimited travel on the GVB network in Amsterdam day and night (GVB buses, metro and trams). There are a number of different periods available for purchase (1day to 7 days) depending on how long you visit the city. The longer the ticket, the better value it becomes. There is also a cheap 24-hour ticket for kids as well.

GVB Pass
GVB 48 hours pass for Adult and 24 hours pass for child

This is not valid on Airport train and Airport Express bus (397 and N97).

These tickets are valid for 24 hours from the time of first check in.

Unlimited GVB Travel Tickets – 2019 prices are;

24 hours (1 day) €8.00

48 hours (2 days) €13.50

72 hours (3 days) €19.00

96 hours (4 days) €24.50

120 hours (5 days) €29.50

144 hours (6 days) €33.50

168 hours (7 days) €36.50

Children’s 24 hour ticket cost € 4.00 (4-11 years, accompanied by an adult with a valid ticket). Children less than 4 years travel free.

For current prices of all the tickets and pass check the GVB official website.

Amsterdam Travel Ticket

Allow you unlimited travel on the GVB network in Amsterdam day and night along with unlimited travel on the train (NS railway) between Schiphol airport and Amsterdam city and the Amsterdam Airport Express (bus 397 and N97 only) operated by Connexxion.

Amsterdam Travel Ticket
Amsterdam Travel Ticket

The ticket is valid for 1, 2, or 3 calendar days from first check in. Ticket cost € 17.00 for 1 day, € 22.50 for 2 days and € 28.00 for 3 days. A day in this context begins at 0:00 AM and ends the next day at 4:00 AM. Calendar day tickets are poor value if activating the ticket in the evening.

Amsterdam & Region Travel Ticket

Amsterdam and region travel ticket entitles you to unlimited travel in Amsterdam and its whole region, Day and night on bus from Metro and train. The region include Zaanse Schans, Volendam, Marken and Keukenhof.

Amsterdam and region travel ticket
Amsterdam and region travel ticket

The ticket is valid for 1, 2, or 3 calendar days (€ 19.50, € 28.00 or € 36.50) from first check in. A day begins at 0:00 AM and ends the next day at 4:00 AM.

Holland Travel Ticket

Holland Travel Ticket entitles you to unlimited travel for 1 day on all Dutch public transport in the country including trains (2nd class), buses, trams and metro. The standard Holland Travel Ticket costs € 61 which can be used anytime during the day. The off-peak Holland Travel Ticket costs € 41, which cannot be used during peak hours. Peak hours are 06:30 AM – 09:00 AM. With the off-peak ticket, you can travel during this time if you check in before 6:30 AM, though the system will not allow you to change or check in another transport until 9:00 AM.

This is a good option if you plan to do a lot of travelling in the Netherlands on a single day using multiple transport companies.

Ticket can be purchased at NS Ticket & Service desk at most train stations or the NS ticket machines.

These tickets are valid from the time of check in for the first time until 04:00 AM the next morning.

Waterland Day Ticket

Waterland Day Ticket allows you unlimited travel for 1 day to the Waterland area (fishing villages) valid on EBS regional buses. The buses depart from Amsterdam central station (IJ-side). This ticket is not valid on GVB transport or Connexxion buses.

These tickets are considerably cheaper (€ 10 for adults, € 3 for children 4-11 years) than the Amsterdam & Region ticket but they are valid only to Waterland villages area – not to Zaanse Schans. This EBS ticket is good if you plan just to visit the Waterland area for the day.

Iamsterdam City Card

Like most other cities in Europe Amsterdam is providing the official city tourist pass, I Amsterdam. This product is made for and heavily marketed for tourist. This pass is valid for 24/48/72/96/120 hour which includes a GVB multi-day transport ticket, one free canal cruise as well as free admission to 70 museums and attractions in Amsterdam. Cards cost €60, €80, €95, €105 & €115 for 24/48/72/96/120 hours.

Card is valid for 24 hours and multiple (not calendar day) from the time of first use. This card is not valid for Schiphol airport to Amsterdam transfer by bus or train, though you can do. From Schiphol airport catch GVB bus no 69 to Antwerpenbaan tram stop and from there Tram no 2 to Amsterdam Central. This will take less than 1 hour.

This card may or may not be useful for everyone. This card is only worth if you are doing a lot, visiting a lot of Museum. If you like to explore things with slow pace then this card is not worth. Museums like Van Gogh required advance time slot booking which can be done only if you have the physical card. During peak season, till the time you get the card, time slots may not be available. Anne Frank house not included.

If you are interested in visiting museums in Amsterdam then Museumkaart is the best option. The Museumkaart costs €64,90 (so only €4,90 more than a 24-hour Iamsterdam City Card) and will give you one year’s free access to nearly all of Amsterdam’s museums.

OV-Chipkaart

The OV-chipkaart (OV-chip card) is the public transport contactless ticket system in the Netherlands which has replaced cash and paper ticket. “OV” stands for Openbaar Vervoer which means “public transport” in Dutch. OV-chipkaart is used on all forms of public transport including trains, trams, buses and metros.

OV-chipkaart
OV-chipkaart, Image ©: Moeerd, Creative commons

There are 3 types of OV-chipkaart available:

Disposable OV-chipkaart

This is a single use ticket or multiple use with fixed number of days after that it can be disposed. This include the standard 1 hour ticket and multi day tickets from 1 to 7 days. For train travel in NS Dutch Railways, disposable ticket carries a €1 surcharge over the standard fare.

If you are on a short visit to Amsterdam, it’s best to stick with disposable tickets.

Anonymous OV-chipkaart

This is a plastic card which has a printed expiry date valid for 5 years. It costs €7.50 (non-refundable) to purchase an empty card and then top up with the required credit. The anonymous OV-chipcard can be used on any public transport in the country as long as you have sufficient credit on the card.

For short distance trips anonymous card is cheaper than buying a 1-hour ticket in Amsterdam public transport.

Anonymous card balance money refund is only possible when you have balance of more than € 30.

Personal OV-chipkaart

This is a personalized OV-chipkaart available to anyone who is a resident of Netherlands or people with a physical address in Netherland. This card needs your address and bank details to be registered with the OV-chip card operating company. Personal card contains the holder’s name, date of birth and photo. It costs €7.50 and lasts for 5 years. Other than the residents of Netherland, those who live or have an address in Belgium, Germany or Luxembourg can also buy a personal OV-chipkaart.

Where to buy

A 1-hour disposable tickets can be purchased on board Tram or bus. Multi day ticket or travel pass and an anonymous OV-chip can be purchased at any of the following locations:

  • NS (Dutch Railways) stations – OV Servicewinkel shops/ticket desks or ticket machines
  • GVB (Amsterdam public transport) – Tickets & Info offices or ticket machines
  • Supermarket service desks – such as Albert Heijn, Dirk, Jumbo (anonymous card only)

Using the OV-chipkaart on public transport

Passengers must “check-in” and “check-out” at the start and end of their journey. This is done by placing the OV-chip card onto the special free-standing card readers – these are found either at station platforms/halls, gate barriers or near the doors on board trams and buses. Without check in you will be considered as travelling without ticket and you have to pay fine.

OV-chipkaart scanner on bus

When using your OV-chipkaart on bus, metro or Tram an amount of € 4 is blocked on your card. So, you must always have at least € 4 credit in addition to the fare.

The OV-chipkaart is also mandatory for train travel with NS. For train travel a minimum check-in deposit of €20 is blocked on your card. So, for travelling by train you should always have a card balance of € 20 in addition to the destination fare.

Anonymous OV-chipkaart really needed?

  • An anonymous OV chipkaart is not valuable for you if you are a tourist and staying in Amsterdam for a few days. You can consider disposable tickets available for 1 to 7 days.
  • If your itinerary requires travelling by Train to nearby places like Rotterdam or Utrecht by NS Train, you can buy disposable OV chipkaart train tickets. These tickets carry a €1 surcharge in addition to the standard fare.
  • For children between 4 to 11 years there is a RailRunner ticket which cost €2.50. This ticket allows a child to travel unlimited by NS train for one day.

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