Public transport in Amsterdam:
Info, tips, plans for metro, tram, buses and ferry.

In our travel guide, we show you how to discover Amsterdam by public transport. Tips on how to save time and money when buying tickets can be found below.

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Local transport – ideal for discovering Amsterdam

Amsterdam has a well-developed public transport system. The narrow streets and canals of the historic city centre are not designed for the cars of residents, commuters and visitors. That is why the city makes great efforts to provide efficient and affordable local transport.

Amsterdam has a very good local transport system – ideal for discovering the city (Image: travelguide.amsterdam)

Why are we writing about local transport in Amsterdam?

We love to travel and we love Amsterdam.  We would like to share our knowledge about public transport in Amsterdam with this travel guide.

Public transport is a good way to explore Amsterdam

If you want to discover the city on your own, public transport is the key.
We would like to share information and tips about public transport in Amsterdam. Our tips on buying tickets can save you time and money. The city is too beautiful to waste your holiday time buying tickets and understanding fare systems.

Of course, you can also download route maps, current ticket prices from 2023 and much more.

Tickets for public transport in Amsterdam:
Which ticket option is best for me?

Whether single ride via e-purse, also referred to as OV-card, all-day ticket, “I Amsterdam Card”, or “Amsterdam Travel Card”, you will find detailed information for all, as well as current fares here.

It allows you to quickly and easily find the right ticket option for your stay in Amsterdam. Researching all options upfront and knowing which ticket option works best for you, will save you money and time after arrival and prevent stressful situations.

Our advice – when you don’t want to deal with the tariff system and ticket machines:

The single-day or multi-day tickets that are available for the public transport system in Amsterdam are typically the best choices for visitors.

These tickets allow unlimited use of the Metro (subway), GVB bus system, trams, as well as ferries for the entire period of validity (1 – 7 days).

These tickets are rather inexpensive for a European metropolitan city. For 2023 fares range between €5.85 and €9 a day, depending on period of validity.

Convenience:

You can purchase these tickets online before your trip without additional fees via the website of the authorised GVB ticket seller – click here –. You will not have to deal with ticket machines or the tariff system upon your arrival.

That saves time and nerves – after all, you will have better things to do in Amsterdam…

Discover Amsterdam by car?

Parking spaces in the city centre are expensive and all sights and museums are easily accessible by metro, tram or bus.

Therefore, many tourists and visitors use public transport to discover Amsterdam.

A typical street in Amsterdam’s canal belt. Driving a car and looking for a parking space is no fun here. By public transport, you can reach your destination faster and easier.

Driving is no fun in the canal belt …

Amsterdam’s old town, where most of the sights are located, consists of a system of canals. A lot of the original buildings are still there. The streets and alleys are narrow, and were not planned for car traffic in the 17th century.

Because Amsterdam and car traffic do not go together, the city relied on bicycles and modern local transport early on. With the metro, trams and buses, you can get around the city quickly and easily.

Local transport in Amsterdam: metro, bus, ferry, tram …

Public transport in Amsterdam is operated by the municipal public transport company GVB. 2023 Amsterdam has 5 metro lines, 15 tram lines, 34 bus lines and 9 ferry lines.

Overview: When to use which public transport mode?

We show you here in a short overview for which purposes you can best use metro, tram, bus or ferry. Details such as route maps or timetables for the individual means of transport can be found on the respective page on this topic.

Metro / underground in Amsterdam

The metro in Amsterdam is relatively new and therefore modern and efficient. The first two metro lines were opened in 1977. Today, 5 metro lines are operated by the municipal public transport company GVB.

A major step in 2018 was the construction of the new metro line 52, which involved tunneling under the IJ estuary for the first time. This connects the north of Amsterdam to the metro network.

When to use the metro in Amsterdam?

If you want to cover a long distance quickly, the metro is a good means of transport. In the city centre, most of the lines are underground. Therefore, it is not suitable for sightseeing.

  More information in this travel guide:
Metro / Subway in Amsterdam. Route map, map and practical tips

Nahverkehr Amsterdam Metro

The metro takes you quickly through the city – in the city centre underground – in the outer districts mostly above ground (Image: M. Coghlan, CC 2.0 licence)

City buses – backbone of local transport

In 2023, 33 GVB bus lines will be operating in Amsterdam. They form the backbone of the local transport system and serve the areas that are not served by the tram.

The blue and white GVB buses form the backbone of Amsterdam’s public transport system.

Amsterdam Central Station – central bus station

Amsterdam Centraal station is also a central hub for local transport. The new central bus station is attached directly to the station building.  The central bus station is a stop for many city and regional bus lines. All bus stops that were previously distributed around the station have been brought together here. The bus station has a distinctive glass roof with the word “Amsterdam” in coloured glass panes.  This is why the bus station is also a popular photo motif.

The central hub for local transport is Amsterdam Centraal station. The city’s central bus station is attached directly to the station. The glass roof with the “Amsterdam” lettering is a landmark of the city.

Regional bus services in Amsterdam

Bus services to the surrounding towns and cities are not operated by the city’s public transport company, GVB. Private bus operators such as Connexxion, Keolis /Syntus or EBS are active here. Many of the GVB local transport tickets are not valid on these buses.

More information in this guide:
Local transport tickets Amsterdam: How to find the right ticket

Local transport connections to surrounding towns and cities are provided by buses operated by private operators.

Shuttle bus to the airport

The popular shuttle bus 397 to Schiphol Airport is not operated by the municipal public transport company GVB, but by Connexxion.

More information in this guide:
Airport bus 397 – info, tickets, route, stops

Tram / tramway in Amsterdam

There are currently 15 tram lines in Amsterdam. The tram lines also run through the narrow streets of the canal belt. The tram is popular with tourists. It allows you to move quickly through the old town and see a lot of the city.

Sightseeing by local transport. As the tram in Amsterdam also travels in the canal belt, it is popular with visitors to the city.


Sightseeing by local transport

The tram line 2 is popular for sightseeing. The line takes you to the Flower Market, the Palace on the Dam, the Rijksmuseum, the Van Gogh Museum, the Stedelijk Museum and passes all the canals of Amsterdam’s famous canal belt.

More information in this travel guide:
Tram / Tramway in Amsterdam. Route map, map and practical tips

Ferries in Amsterdam

Amsterdam is situated on a former inlet of the Zuiderzee (IJ). Therefore, the 8 ferry lines are an important part of the local transport system.

The ferries are an important part of the local transport system in Amsterdam.

Free harbour tour

The use of the GVB ferries is free for pedestrians, cyclists and moped riders. That’s why the ferries are also popular for a free harbour tour.

  More information in this travel guide:
Ferries in Amsterdam. Route map, map, sightseeing tour and practical tips.

Tickets for public transport in Amsterdam:
Which ticket option is best for me?

Whether single ride via e-purse, also referred to as OV-card, all-day ticket, “I Amsterdam Card”, or “Amsterdam Travel Card”, you will find detailed information for all, as well as current fares here.

It allows you to quickly and easily find the right ticket option for your stay in Amsterdam. Researching all options upfront and knowing which ticket option works best for you, will save you money and time after arrival and prevent stressful situations.

Our advice – when you don’t want to deal with the tariff system and ticket machines:

The single-day or multi-day tickets that are available for the public transport system in Amsterdam are typically the best choices for visitors.

These tickets allow unlimited use of the Metro (subway), GVB bus system, trams, as well as ferries for the entire period of validity (1 – 7 days).

These tickets are rather inexpensive for a European metropolitan city. For 2023 fares range between €5.85 and €9 a day, depending on period of validity.

You can purchase these tickets online before your trip without additional fees via the website of the authorised GVB ticket seller – click here –. You will not have to deal with ticket machines or the tariff system upon your arrival.

That saves time and nerves – after all, you will have better things to do in Amsterdam…

Frequently asked questions in this travel guide – FAQ 2023

Amsterdam has a modern and well-developed public transport system. The narrow streets and canals of the historic city centre, which is well worth seeing, are not made for the cars of residents and visitors. Parking spaces are very expensive and rare. Therefore, the city makes great efforts to provide efficient and cheap local transport.

There are tram lines and ferries that are popular for sightseeing. More information in our travel guide

Amsterdam wants to be as car-free as possible.  That’s why Amsterdam has a well-functioning and modern public transport system.  With the right ticket, using local transport is easy and cheap.
In our travel guide you will find tips and information on how to discover Amsterdam by public transport. You can save time and money with our tips on buying tickets.

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