Getting Around Amsterdam by Public Transport: Tips & Tricks

Amsterdam is a world-class destination visited by millions of tourists each year. The city is a hub of culture and excitement for the Netherlands. Large in size, it is easier (and cheaper) to get around this bustling metropolis by public transit. This article explores the ways you can see the entire city via various public transportation methods as well as advice and important tips including ticket prices.

A word about public transit in Amsterdam

When visiting the city, you will see that the entire public transit system is operated by a transport company called GVB. GVB has trams as well as metro buses.

Additionally, there are trains that connect Greater Amsterdam to Schiphol as well as other cities in the Netherlands. These are run by NS (Dutch Railways). Furthermore, if you have a desire to see tourist attractions within an hour or so of Amsterdam, Connexxion, EBS, and Arriva operate regional buses that will take you to your destination of choice.

OV-chip card

Depending on the length of time you will spend in Amsterdam, it is worth purchasing an OV-chip card (known in Dutch as OV-chipkaart). With this smart card system in hand, you can travel not only within Amsterdam but around the entire country. It can be used on all modes of transportation. The OV-trip smartcard costs 7.50 euros.

How much do tickets cost?

There are different types of tickets. If you only want a GVB one – hour ticket which is valid on trams and metro buses, you will pay three euros. For those who will be doing a lot of sightseeing, it is recommended to purchase an unlimited GVB day/multiday ticket, which lasts from one to seven days. At thirty-four euros, it’s more expensive, but definitely worth it in the long run. It must be noted that this class of ticket is not valid on the airport train or 397 airport bus. These tickets can be purchased at GVB Services and Tickets offices throughout Amsterdam, or online before you arrive.

In all GVB stations throughout Amsterdam, you will find automatic ticket machines that accept cash (coins and notes) as well as debit and credit cards. There are also GVB vending machines in many of the tram 2 stops, except that these accept credit cards only.

Other options include the Amsterdam Travel Ticket, a pass good for one to three days that gives you unlimited public transit around the city as well as to and from the airport. It costs 26 euros. If you are considering outside the boundaries of the city, you are advised to purchase the Amsterdam and Region Travel Ticket. This ticket costs 33.50 euros and is valid on all forms of public transportation.

With the Amsterdam Travel Ticket, you can travel between any of the main stations in the city such as Central, Amstel, Bijlmer-ArenA, Duivendrecht, Holendrecht, Lelylaan, Muiderpoort, RAI, Sciencepark, Sloterdijk and Zuid. Furthermore, you can use it for unlimited travel on the 397 Amsterdam Airport Express bus. Just make sure your card doesn’t expire.

The Subway system

If you prefer fast, inexpensive transportation, the Amsterdam Metro is a great way to get around the city. The underground system had four lines that connect with 52 stations. The rail network is 25 miles. A one-hour ticket costs only three euros.


For those who are more athletically – inclined, why not join the tens of thousands of locals and tourists who cycle around the city every day. As long as the weather is good, this is an excellent way of seeing Amsterdam up close and personal.

Some final advice

Like other European cities, Amsterdam has narrow streets, unfenced canals and is rather densely populated. For those unfamiliar with the layout of the city or have never driven there, it is advised not to drive a car or motorcycle. Your best bet when it comes to public transit is to use either trams, trains, buses or subway. Those who perhaps use taxis to get around in other parts of the world should be warned that taxis in Amsterdam are very expensive.