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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.

Flight times

From London - 1 hour 15 minutes; New York - 7 hours 20 minutes; Los Angeles - 10 hours 15 minutes; Toronto - 7 hours 15 minutes; Sydney - 22 hours 50 minutes (including stopover).

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).

Routes

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.

Coaches

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

From Rotterdam – 1 hour 20 minutes; The Hague – 1 hour; Eindhoven - 1 hour 30 minutes; Utrecht – 50 minutes; Brussels - 2 hour 50 minutes; Paris - 5 hours 30 minutes.

Travel by Rail

Services

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.

Operators

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).

Journey times

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).

Ferry operators

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.

Transfer

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.

Book Accommodation

Featured Hotels

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The Hoxton

The Hoxton flung its decorative doors open in 2015, shaking up the city’s mid-range hotel scene in the process. Occupying a former mayoral residence on Herengracht, the hip and handsome Hoxton is an establishment of effortless cool. Rooms retain a 17th century charm (embroidered rugs, paneled walls, wooden floors, etc.), but with mod cons (digital radios, power showers and the like). There’s a fine bar and restaurant downstairs and checkout is a hangover-friendly 1200.

ClinkNOORD

When Amsterdam’s shipbuilding industry went to the wall, the Noord district became a ghost of past glories. Happily, the area is in the process of regeneration, which ClinkNOORD is helping pioneer. The hostel opened to much fanfare in 2015, taking over a former Royal Dutch Shell testing lab. Rooms are a bit bland, but the hostel is good value, affable and only a short (and free) ferry ride from Central Station.

Hotel Prinsenhof

About the finest budget option available, the Prinsenhof is a homey establishment in an 18th-century canal house. Overlooking a picture-postcard section of the Prinsengracht, it stands in the pleasant southern canal belt, a quick bike ride from the nightlife centre of Rembrandtplein. Simply furnished with painted ceiling beams, the 11 guest rooms are quite cosy, though only nine are equipped with bathrooms. At these prices, they're booked far in advance.

The Dylan

Located in the western canal belt this small boutique hotel is the epitome of style and sophistication. It's housed in a former 17th-century theatre which in its heyday staged concerts conducted by Antonio Vivaldi. Today the minimalist east-meets-west designer décor of the 40 individually designed guest rooms combined with an intimate courtyard garden spectacular canal views efficient staff and an excellent restaurant ensures a luxurious stay.

Hotel de l'Europe

Standing majestically on the banks of the River Amstel, this grand old dame is still the address in town for lavish Old World luxury. From the 19th-century paintings adorning the public areas to the plush appointed guest rooms, this modern hotel maintains an old-fashioned charm. Hotel de l'Europe features the restaurant Bord'Eau which was awarded two Michelin stars, two bars, a brasserie, a café, meeting rooms and a spa.

Grand Hotel Amrâth Amsterdam

As a former shipping house, this five-star hotel still showcases its maritime heritage with its nautical themed stained-glass windows, original ship lanterns, and statues depicting Poseidon and Fortuna overlooking the hotel entrance. With 165 plush rooms, a wellness centre boasting two saunas, a steam room, heated swimming pool and fitness room, plus a stunningly decorated bar overlooking the charming Amsterdam canals, the Amrâth offers its guests a luxurious stay in historical surroundings.