How to use Amsterdam’s Public Transportation? All Tips & Tricks

Getting around in Amsterdam with Public Transportation like a local

Amsterdam’s Public Transportation is undoubtedly an important tool for exploring the city. With bus, tram, ferry, metro, and even train options, you can visit the city’s main tourist attractions easily and conveniently.

In addition to the city’s highlights, Amsterdam’s public transportation also takes you to various cities and towns in the region.

How is Amsterdam’s public transport?

Efficient and well-structured. Amsterdam Public Transport is the main form of transportation for tourists in the city. In fact, Amsterdam is one of the cities in which we clearly discourage tourists from traveling by rental car inside of the Amsterdam City. There are numerous streets and areas where car traffic is prohibited. Another difficulty is parking. The number of public parking spaces is not only very limited but also very expensive.

Consisting of trams, buses, subways, ferries, and night buses, Amsterdam’s public transportation runs (almost) 24 hours a day. Trams, subways, and buses run from 6 a.m. to 00:30 a.m. At night and in the early hours of the morning (00:30 a.m. until 7 a.m.), the night buses allow you to get around the city.

How to buy Amsterdam’s Public Transportation Tickets?

Amsterdam GVB, the company that operates Amsterdam’s public transport system, officially wants to make payment for public transport 100% digital.  As a result, there are now few cash payment options. Among the payment methods, you have those options:

  • Buy tickets online for 1 day up to 7 days: An Amsterdam GVB Ticket with or without airport transfer and even with or without Regional Trains.
  • Pay with your bank card: Tap in and out and pay for the distance that you use in public transportation.
  • Buy from GVB Vending Machine: Pay with a card or cash and buy a paper ticket for a single ride or day ticket.
  • Buy through the GVB App: After the download and registration, you can use your GVB App to purchase your chosen Amsterdam Ticket

Amsterdam Public Transportation

Amsterdam GVB Tickets

The Amsterdam GVB Ticket offers you unlimited travel on the city’s public transport. This is an option that offers multiple days. You can choose the duration of your GVB Ticket from 1 to 7 days. You also need to choose whether you want to include a round trip to the Schiphol Airport in your GVB Ticket, as well as whether you want to have access to the trains in the Amsterdam region that allow you to make day trips from Amsterdam to surrounding towns and cities.

You buy the Amsterdam GVB Ticket online and have to pick it up in Amsterdam at one of the numerous pick-up points. Check out the advantages and disadvantages of the Amsterdam GVb Ticket below:

  • Great value for money.
  • Great flexibility as it works with all types of public transport in the city.
  • Unlimited use.
  • The Amsterdam GVB Ticket must be picked up at one of the pick-up points.

Amsterdam GVB Multiple-Day-Ticket Prices

Still not sure which Amsterdam GVB Ticket to choose? Here you can compare all the options.

My Favorite
GVB Public Transport Ticket
Amsterdam Public Transport and Airport Bus-Shuttle
Amsterdam Travel Ticket
Amsterdam & Region Travel Ticket

Amsterdam Travel Ticket

GVB Amsterdam

Amsterdam Travel Ticket

Amsterdam Regional Travel Ticket

Unlimited Metro, Bus and Tram in Amsterdam
Unlimited Metro, Bus and Tram in Amsterdam


Transfer to and from Schiphol Airport Express (Bus 397 and N97)
Transfer to and from Schiphol Airport Express (Bus 397 and N97)

Transfer to and from Amsterdam Schiphol Airport on the regional NS train
Transfer to and from Amsterdam Schiphol Airport on the regional NS train

Buses and trains run by the company EBS and Connexxion in Region
Buses and trains run by the company EBS and Connexxion in Region

GVB 1 Day Ticket
GVB 1 Day Ticket

20 EUR

18 EUR

21 EUR

GVB 2 Days Ticket
GVB 2 Days Ticket
15 EUR

27 EUR

24 EUR

32 EUR

GVB 3 Days Ticket
GVB 3 Days Ticket
21 EUR

33 EUR

30 EUR

40 EUR

GVB 4 Days Ticket
GVB 4 Days Ticket
26,50 EUR

39 EUR



GVB 5 Days Ticket
GVB 5 Days Ticket
33 EUR

45 EUR



GVB 6 Days Ticket
GVB 6 Days Ticket
37,50 EUR

50 EUR



GVB 7 Days Ticket
GVB 7 Days Ticket
41 EUR

53 EUR




Amsterdam Public Transportation + Airport Transfer

If you’re arriving and departing from Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam and still want to buy a 1, 2, or 3-day GVB-Ticket, then opt for the Amsterdam Travel Ticket. In addition to unlimited access to the city’s public transport, you also have access to the buses and trains that depart from and arrive at the airport. This option is cheaper than buying the airport ticket separately from the Amsterdam public transport ticket.


Pay for Public Transport in Amsterdam with your Bank Card (OV Pay):

GVB Amsterdam’s new OV-Pay System allows you to use any transport in Amsterdam and pay individually for the time/service used without having to buy any tickets in advance. Simply check in using a bank card (or payment app) and check out using the same form of payment. Payment takes place automatically. The most important thing is that this option doesn’t require any registration in advance and is cheaper than buying a paper transport ticket, which still happens at some of the few machines scattered around Amsterdam. Check out the advantages and disadvantages of paying with your bank card.

  • Great flexibility and works on all types of public transport.
  • Convenience, as no registration or physical card is required.
  • Low-cost visibility. Payment for the use of transport is made automatically.
  • Individual payment for each use of transport.
  • Individual use of public transport. You can’t buy for two people with the same form of payment.

Prices of GVB Amsterdam Single Tickets by distance

Base rate € 1.08 EUR +  Per kilometer € 0.19

Buy Amsterdam’s Public Transportation Ticket in GVB Vending Machines:

Since 2020 Amsterdam has been betting on public transport with 100% digital payment with contactless debit card (or credit card). In large stations such as Central Station, you can still find some GVB vending machines where paper tickets are sold with cash or credit cards. However, paper tickets can be more expensive as they are calculated per hour/day. Paper tickets are not sold on trams and night buses. Check out the advantages and disadvantages of buying public transport tickets in cash:

  • Great cost visibility. You pay in advance and know exactly how much public transport will cost during your trip.
  • No smartphone required
  • You can buy separate tickets
  • Accept cash payments
  • Little cost benefit. You pay in advance per hour/day and don’t know if you’ll use the amount you’ve already paid.
  • Only sold through GVB Ticket machines. They only exist in the main stations.
  • Not very flexible as day tickets are not valid for night buses. Tram and bus operators do not sell tickets on board.

How to buy?

GVB Single Ticket 1 hour

GVB Single Ticket 1 hour

3,40 EUR
Trams, Buses & Metros
This ticket is not valid for the night buses.
In the App or at the vending machine

GVB Night bus 1 ride

GVB Night bus 1 ride

5,40 EUR
Night Buses
Only 1 Ride
In the App or OVpay

GVB 1.5 hour (BTM)

GVB 1.5 hour (BTM)

6,50 EUR
Trams, Buses & Metros
This ticket is not valid for the night buses.
In the App or at the vending machine

Buy Transport Ticket with the Amsterdam GVB App

With the GVB Amsterdam App, you can buy individual and group tickets. In the case of a group ticket, up to 5 people can use Amsterdam’s public transport together. In this case, 5 barcodes are generated which must be used when checking in and out of the transport. The barcodes cannot be separated, which means that the group cannot split up. However, this is a more economical option if you are traveling in a group or as a family. Check out the advantages and disadvantages of using the Amsterdam GVB App:

  • Possibility to buy Single or Group Ticket
  • Flexibility to buy tickets by the hour or day
  • Convenience of using on mobile
  • Digital card only, use of smartphone mandatory

How to use public transport in Amsterdam?

The most important thing when using public transport in Amsterdam is that you must have a valid ticket to use it. Whether it’s a paper or digital day ticket, or even paying separately with your bank card, choose your way of buying the public transport ticket before you get on a station or bus.

How to use the trams in Amsterdam?

The trams are part of Amsterdam’s public transportation and run through the most touristy areas of the city. When using a tram, be aware that there are specific doors for getting on and off the tram. In general, the first door (where the driver sits) and the second-to-last door of the tram are the doors for passengers getting on, while the others are for passengers getting off. The number of doors can vary depending on how many tram cars are used. However, the doors are marked with green arrows on the outside for the entry doors and green arrows on the inside for the exit doors. The system is very intuitive and avoids jams and the confusion of passengers getting on and off, even at rush hour.

When getting on and off the tram, don’t forget to check in and out using your GVB physical or digital card or your bank card to indicate the beginning and end of your use of the tram.

You have to press the green button inside the tram to open the door where you want to get off at the station where the tram stopped. Not all doors open automatically at all stations, so the buttons are there to make sure you open the door you have chosen to get off.

Amsterdam Tram

How to use the bus in Amsterdam?

Normally you board near to the driver, but the other doors also open for passengers positioned in the middle or near the end of the bus. Like the tram, you need to use your GVB Ticket (physical or digital) or your bank card when getting on or off the bus for check-in and out.

To indicate that you want to get off at the next announced stop, just ring the bell and the bus will stop.

Bus in Amsterdam

How do I use the metro in Amsterdam?

It may not be the most touristy form of transportation, but it’s certainly the most efficient and fastest in Amsterdam. The Amsterdam Metro consists of 5 lines (M50, M51, M52, M53, M54 and M55). All lines pass through Amsterdam Central Station. The metro lines in Amsterdam connect the city well and are very easy to use even for first-time travelers. The ticket turnstiles at the station entrances indicate which stations are for incoming or outgoing passengers. Simply pull over your GVB Ticket (digital or physical) or your bank card to enter or exit the station. The Metros in Amsterdam stop at all the stations and you just have to remember to press the green button to get off at the chosen door.

Metro in Amsterdam
The 5 Metro lines in Amsterdam connect the city’s main districts well.

How to use the ferries in Amsterdam?

The Amsterdam ferries (F1 to F7) are completely free of charge. There are several routes, but in general, the ferries connect the center of Amsterdam with the Amsterdam North area, which is separated by the river IJ. Inside the ferry, you have a pedestrian area and areas for passengers with bicycles, motorcycles, strollers, etc.

How to use the trains in Amsterdam?

Amsterdam’s trains are operated by NS and not by GVB (the transport company responsible for public transport). There are two main types of trains: The Sprinter train which stops at every station along the way and the long-distance train which stops only at the central stations. These trains connect Amsterdam with various cities in the region, within the Netherlands, and also within Europe.

Admissions and Public Transportation Tickets in Amsterdam

I Amsterdam CardThe I Amsterdam Card is a Sightseeing Pass that offers not only entry to the main activities and museums in Amsterdam but also unlimited access to the city’s public transport.
We’ve already written a full article about the I Amsterdam Card with all the information on how to use it, the list of attractions (over 70 admissions), the limitations, and also a detailed calculation to see whether or not it’s worth buying the I Amsterdam Card for your trip.

Regarding the use of the I Amsterdam Card for public transport, it should be noted that use is unlimited for the number of days that your I Amsterdam Card is valid. However, the I Amsterdam Card does not offer any transfer options to and from Schiphol Airport (neither bus nor train) and neither does it give you access to Amsterdam’s regional trains. You have unlimited access to trams, day and night buses and the metro throughout Amsterdam.

The combination of tickets and public transport makes the I Amsterdam Card an attractive option for first and second-time visitors who want to take advantage of the main things to do in the city.


Getting to and from Schiphol Airport with Amsterdam Public Transportation

Getting to or from Schiphol Amsterdam Airport using the city’s public transportation system is both convenient and efficient. Here are the best options:

  • Train: The train is the fastest way to reach the city center from Schiphol. The NS Dutch Railways offers regular services to Amsterdam Central Station, with departures every 10-15 minutes. The journey takes approximately 15-20 minutes. Trains also connect you to other major Dutch cities. Book the train to Schiphol Airport.
  • Bus: GVB operates the Airport Express Bus 397, providing a direct link between Schiphol and Amsterdam’s city center. Buses run frequently, and the journey takes around 35-40 minutes. This option is great if your destination isn’t close to the train station. Book the train to Schiphol Airport.
  • Metro: While there’s no direct metro line from the airport to the city center, you can take the train to a nearby metro station like Zuid or Sloterdijk and then transfer to the metro system.
  • Tram: Although trams don’t directly serve the airport, you can reach tram lines by taking the train to Amsterdam Central Station or other stations and then transferring.

For most travelers, the train and Airport Express Bus are the top choices due to their efficiency and cost-effectiveness. The train is especially recommended for its speed and frequency. Depending on your destination and preferences, you can choose the mode of public transportation that best suits your needs when traveling to or from Schiphol Amsterdam Airport.

Amsterdam & Region Travel Ticket

The Amsterdam & Region Travel Ticket is an excellent choice for travelers looking to explore not just Amsterdam but also its surrounding regions. Here’s a breakdown of how it works, what it offers, pricing, and how to make the most of it:

How does the Amsterdam & Region Travel Ticket work?

Amsterdam Regional Travel TicketThe ticket provides unlimited travel on public transportation in Amsterdam and its neighboring regions. It covers buses, trams, metros, and even regional trains operated by GVB, Connexxion, EBS, and NS within Amsterdam and the surrounding areas.

 Buy Amsterdam & Region Travel Ticket

What does the Amsterdam & Region Travel Ticket offer?

  • Convenience: With a single ticket, you can hop on and off various modes of public transport without the need to buy separate tickets.
  • Flexibility: It’s valid for 1, 2, or 3 consecutive days, allowing you to choose the duration that suits your trip.
  • Wide Coverage: Beyond Amsterdam, it extends to areas like Zaanse Schans, Haarlem, Keukenhof Gardens, and more, making it perfect for day trips.
  • Easy Transfers: You can switch between trams, buses, and metros seamlessly within the validity period.

Amsterdam & Region Travel Ticket Prices

  • The ticket’s price depends on the duration: 1 day, 2 days, or 3 days.
  • The prices are 28€, 32€ and 40€ respectively for adults, with discounts for children.
  • It’s worth the investment if you plan to use public transport multiple times in and around Amsterdam.

How to get the most out of the Amsterdam & Region Travel Ticket

  1. Plan Ahead: Identify the places you want to visit within the ticket’s coverage area and plan your itinerary.
  2. Check Validity: Ensure you activate the ticket on your first journey, as it’s valid for consecutive days.
  3. Avoid Rush Hour: If possible, travel outside peak hours to have a more relaxed experience.
  4. Use it for Day Trips: Make the most of its regional coverage by exploring attractions beyond Amsterdam. Our 13 Ideas for Day Trips from Amsterdam.
  5. Public Transport App: Download apps like ‘9292’ or ‘NS Reisplanner’ to access real-time schedules and plan routes efficiently.

In summary, the Amsterdam & Region Travel Ticket simplifies and enhances your travel experience in and around Amsterdam. It offers great value, convenience, and flexibility for exploring the city and its neighboring regions. To get the most out of it, plan your journey in advance, activate it correctly, and use it for both city exploration and exciting day trips.

The most asked questions about Public Transportation in Amsterdam

How can I pay for public transportation in Amsterdam?

As a tourist, you can buy the Amsterdam GVB Ticket online with a credit card and use it as an all-inclusive card for the duration you choose, or you can use a bank card (debit and credit) and pay per single ride depending on the distance you use. In cash, you can only buy tickets from the few GVB machines in the city.

What's the cost of public transportation in Amsterdam?

Prices vary based on the type of ticket you choose. A single-use ticket typically costs around €3-€4, while a GVB Amsterdam Travel Ticket for one day costs €8.50. If you choose to pay with your bank card (credit or debit), the cost of the ride depends on the distance: 1.08 (flat rate) plus 0.20 per kilometer.

Can I use public transportation to get to and from Schiphol Airport?

Yes, the airport is well-connected by train (NS) and bus (GVB). A train ride to the city center takes about 15-20 minutes, while buses offer alternative options. Using the GVB Day Ticket, the ride between the airport and the center of Amsterdam is included. The I Amsterdam Card, which includes public transport, does not include this route.

Profilbild Larissa
About the author

Das Reisen ist meine große Leidenschaft. Ich liebe es, die Wanderwege in Rio de Janeiro zu erkunden, die besten Strände in Miami zu entdecken, die ältesten Museen in Rom zu besuchen und noch die besten Gerichte in Paris zu verkosten.

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