Mastering Public Transport in Amsterdam: Your Complete Guide

Wondering how to use public transport in Amsterdam? In this article you'll find everything you need to know on how to get around in Amsterdam.

We will break down all the essential information you need for getting around Amsterdam with public transport, ensuring you make the most of your travels. The cities extensive network of trams, buses, ferries and trains can be a bit overwhelming sometimes. As locals, we share all the ins and outs with you from purchasing tickets to understanding the various modes of transport ensuring your journey is smooth and enjoyable.

1. The GVB App

Before you embark on your Amsterdam adventure, download the GVB app called ‘’9292’’. This app provides all the information you need. The GVB manages the city’s trams, buses, ferries and metro system, making it a one-stop source for all your travel needs. The app offers real-time departure times, route planning and ticket purchases, ensuring you have everything you need.

2. Ticketing and Payment Methods

We’ve been frequently asked if public transport in Amsterdam is free? The answer is no. You have several ticketing and payment options:

  • Day and Multi-Day Tickets: For unlimited travels including day and night journeys on buses, trams and metros. The cheapest option is to go for a day-ticket or multi-day ticket, available from GVB. You can purchase a one-day ticket or a multi-day ticket here
  • Single Tickets: Single tickets are available for purchase at tram and bus stops or onboard trams and buses (card payments only)
  • Contactless Payment: For a hassle-free travel experience, you can opt for contactless payment. Simply tap your contactless payment method on the check-in machine when boarding and remember to check out when you leave
  • I Amsterdam City Card: If you plan to visit many museums and attractions in the city, the I Amsterdam City Card is worth considering. It offers free entry to many attractions and includes unlimited use of public transport. Read our full article about the I Amsterdam City Card to determine if it’s the right option for you and where to buy it.

3. Trams in Amsterdam

Trams are the beating heart of Amsterdam’s transport system. These iconic vehicles effortlessly weave through the city’s picturesque streets. They are very easy to access and offer a scenic way to explore. Each tram line is color-coded and stops are well-marked. Here you can find an interactive map of the trams.

Trams have a unique boarding system: they stop first to let passengers disembark, then they proceed to the next stop, allowing new passengers to board. It’s a simple yet effective process that ensures smooth travel. Consider entering the tram from the back to avoid the crowd.

TIP >> Take tram 2, known as one of the world’s most beautiful tram rides according to National Geographic Traveler. It will guide you through almost all the highlights of the city like the canals, Dam Square, flower market, Rijksmuseum and so on. Start the route from Amsterdam Central Station and it will end at Hoofddorpplein.

4. Metro

Amsterdam’s metro system consists of four lines, providing fast and efficient transportation throughout the city. This is especially beneficial if you’re traveling longer distances or exploring the outskirts. Metro services operate from early morning until midnight, with a frequency ranging from five to ten minutes during peak hours. Use your ‘’9292’’ app for the details about the different lines. 

TIP >> When you enter the metro station at Rokin, you’ll discover 10,000 archaeological finds unearthed during the station’s construction. Some pieces date back over hundreds of years and you can find them next to the escalator.

5. Buses

Complementing the tram network, Amsterdam’s bus system covers even more ground. Buses serve routes that trams and metros do not, ensuring you can reach every corner of the city. Many bus stops provide real-time information on arrivals, making planning your journey easy. Here you can find an interactive map of the buses. 

6. Ferries

Amsterdam’s network of ferries not only connects different parts of the city but also provides a unique and picturesque experience. The free ferries are particularly popular among tourists, offering scenic views of the city’s canals and waterways. One of the highlights is the ferry to Amsterdam Noord, a must-visit destination. You will find the ferries directly behind Central Station. Here you can find an interactive map of the ferry routes.

skyline of amsterdam with ferries crossing the IJ river

7. Trains

With the city’s well-connected train network  you can easily travel to nearby cities and picturesque landscapes. Consider hopping on a train when planning day trips to charming Dutch towns, visiting iconic windmills, or experiencing the cultural richness of the Netherlands beyond Amsterdam. 

With efficient schedules and comfortable rides, Amsterdam’s trains provide a seamless and enjoyable way to discover more places outside Amsterdam. Use the NS travel planner to find the right route and schedule for your journey. Note that since the train service is not owned by GVB, your GVB travel card cannot be used. Instead, opt for contactless payment. Simply tap your contactless payment method on the gates when entering the station and remember to check out when you leave

8. Night Buses

Night buses, marked with an ‘N’ before the line number, ensure that you can safely return to your accommodation after enjoying the city’s vibrant nightlife. These services run from midnight until early morning, providing a convenient way to get home. Use your ‘’9292’’ app to find the right bus. 

9. Accessibility public transport

Amsterdam’s public transport system is designed to be inclusive, with provisions for travelers with different mobility needs. Most trams and buses are wheelchair-accessible, making it easier for everyone to explore the city. The GVB app also provides information on accessible routes and stops, ensuring a comfortable experience for all passengers.

The bottom line

With this guide, you’ll be well-prepared to navigate Amsterdam’s public transport system efficiently. Download the GVB app called ‘’9292’’, purchase your tickets and get ready to explore the charming streets and vibrant neighborhoods of our beautiful city. Enjoy your journey!

Check out our 11 X Must-Know Tips for Your Trip and our tips on 10 X the best areas to stay & visit.

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