Travel to Amsterdam
Flying to Amsterdam
Airlines offering direct flights to Amsterdam from the UK include British Airways, CityJet, easyJet, Flybe, Air France, Etihad and KLM. Delta, Jet Airways, KLM and United operate direct flights from the USA. No-frills airlines provide cheap flights to Amsterdam year-round.
Travel by road
The Netherlands is connected to the rest of Europe by an excellent network of motorways. Driving is on the right. Speed limits are between 100kph (62mph) and 130kph (81mph) on motorways, 80kph (50mph) on major roads and 50kph (30mph) in towns. Children under 12 years should not travel in the front seat. The minimum age for unsupervised driving in the Netherlands is 18 years. An International Driving Permit is not required, as long as the driver holds a valid foreign driving licence. A Green Card is advisable but not compulsory.
The Royal Dutch Touring Club, ANWB (tel: +31 88 269 2222; www.anwb.nl), patrols major roads 24 hours a day, with qualified mechanics equipped to handle routine repairs.
Emergency breakdown services
ANWB Wegenwacht (tel: +31 88 269 2222).
Schiphol lies on the E19, from where it's an easy 18km (11-mile) drive into Amsterdam. The A10 is the Amsterdam ring road. The main route out of Amsterdam, towards Brussels, is the A2, heading south to join the A27 and finally the A16/E19 at Breda, which continues across the border to Antwerp. The A2 also connects with Utrecht, from where the A12/E35 travels directly through the Duisburg-Essen conurbation, passing Düsseldorf, Cologne and continuing southeast until Frankfurt. Hanover is best reached by taking the E231 out of the city to connect with the A1/E30, becoming the A30/E30, which continues east to Hanover.
Flixbus (www.flixbus.nl) and Eurolines (tel: +31 88 076 1700; www.eurolines.nl) operate coach services, sometimes in conjunction with other national companies, to major cities throughout Europe, including London, Paris, Brussels and Frankfurt.
Time to city
Travel by Rail
Amsterdam Centraal Station, Stationsplein, is one of the largest railway terminals in Europe. The station has an impressive array of facilities, from showers and restaurants to hotel and travel-booking services. The Netherlands has an efficient rail network with frequent services covering destinations all over the Netherlands and further afield into the rest of Europe.
The national rail provider is NS (tel: +31 30 300 1111; www.ns.nl). There are regular Eurostar trains (tel: +44 1233 617 575; www.eurostar.com) from London to Brussels, where you can catch a direct connection to Amsterdam after a short wait. There is also a direct Eurostar service from London to Amsterdam. THALYS (tel: +31 30 233 1676; www.thalys.com) runs high-speed services connecting Amsterdam with Brussels. There are frequent daytime services from many large western European cities as well as night services (www.ns.nl/en/travel-information/special-routes/night-trains.html).
From Rotterdam – 40 minutes, The Hague – 50 minutes, Eindhoven - 1 hour 20 minutes, Utrecht – 30 minutes, Brussels - 2 hour, Paris - 3 hours 15 minutes, London - 4 hours 45 minutes (including transfer time) or 3 hours 40 minutes (direct).
Travel by boat
Amsterdam is a busy port city and one of the most important cruise ship harbours in Europe. Amsterdam's business ports are run by Haven Amsterdam (tel: +31 20 523 4500; www.portofamsterdam.com). Information on cruise ship services is available from Amsterdamcruise (tel: +31 20 723 5170; www.amsterdamcruise.com).
The main cruise hubs are based at the elegant Passenger Terminal Amsterdam (PTA), at Oostelijke Handelskade on the edge of the city centre (tel: +31 020 509 1000; www.ptamsterdam.com), and the Felison Terminal, on the IJmeer (www.felisonterminal.nl). The main ferry terminal for services around Europe is situated further south, at the Hook of Holland (tel: +31 174 519 570; hoekvanholland.nl).
Cross-channel ferries are run by StenaLine (tel: +31 174 315 811; www.stenaline.co.uk), which operates a rail/ferry service from London (Liverpool Street) to Amsterdam (Centraal Station), via Harwich and the Hook of Holland. There are two services daily, one in the morning and one in the evening.
Although within walking distance, trains and buses connect the new cruise terminals with Amsterdam city centre. The Hook of Holland is connected by an express rail link with Centraal Station.