If you’re visiting Amsterdam, you might be flying out of Schiphol Airport. I have taken the train between Amsterdam and Schiphol countless time and the train is the best way to get to Schiphol from Amsterdam. I include some tips with some photos and step-by-step instructions to make it easy to catch your flight!
How long you need to get to Schiphol Airport from Amsterdam
The train to Schiphol Airport runs every ~15 minutes from Amsterdam Centraal at minimum. It runs more frequently during the day, but you should be able to find a train easily until around midnight. If you have an early flight from Schiphol Airport, check the train schedule to see which train to take. I usually check Google Maps, which updates more regularly than Ns.nl (the official Dutch train website).
The train trip itself between Schiphol and Amsterdam depends on the trip as you sometimes need to transfer. It should take about 20 minutes on a good day. I usually give myself about an hour for the journey if I’m coming from elsewhere in Amsterdam Centre and need to buy a ticket for the airport. (Thirty minutes is cutting it too close with finding the track in my opinion.)
If I’m flying within the EU Schengen area, I usually give myself more than two hours from a location about ten minutes by tram/bus from Amsterdam Centraal to depart, catch the tram, buy a ticket, catch the train, drop off my stuff, go through security, and get my flight. I like to build in extra time if I intend to stop off at the Albert Heijn in Schiphol for buying lunch or some snacks for the plane. Everyone is different, but I’d give yourself three hours, at a minimum, if you are flying internationally as immigration lines can be long.
How to get to Schiphol Airport from Amsterdam Centre step-by-step
I generally stay clear of the taxis after having some bad experiences,
A train ticket from Amsterdam Centraal to Schiphol Airport typically costs 4.50 although you may need to pay an extra euro for a disposable ticket (5.50) per person! Buying tickets usually takes 3-5 minutes.
If you have the iAmsterdam pass and you’re close to Leidseplein, you can also take bus 397. It can take longer if there is traffic. (The bus number might change if you’re traveling at night.)
Get to Amsterdam Centraal (or another train station in Amsterdam*)
Depending on where your hotel is located in Amsterdam, you will want to look up if Amsterdam Centraal makes sense or you should take the train from elsewhere. I apologize, but the iAmsterdam card (no matter how handy) does not work on the Dutch trains! It does work on the bus, but I find the train is the best way to get to Schiphol Airport.
Find a ticket machine
You can see above what the ticket machines at Amsterdam Centraal look like. Look for one that clearly states Train Tickets as it will be in English by default!
Tap “I want to go to Schiphol Airport”
It can’t be easier. From here, you’ll need to pay one euro on top of the ticket fee. (You can also buy your ticket using the NS app in advance and just scan your phone at the machine!) A round-trip is not worth it as it’s only valid the same day. Tap “I want to go to Schiphol Airport”.
Specify the number of tickets needed
If you’re traveling with kids, you can save a bit with younger children, but children over 12 need their own ticket. You can buy your ticket in advance if you don’t want to worry about it later! Anyways, specify how many tickets you need.
If you usually require a seat, be sure to pay a little extra for first class, which usually means that you get a seat on a crowded train when those in second class will have to stand en route to Schiphol airport. (Handicap people always get a seat.)
Pay on the right with a card with a chip
On the right, you’ll see a blue screen and a place where you can slip your card into the card reader. You’ll need to push it in a fair amount. Most Visa, Mastercards, and Maestro cards with a chip should work. You will need to enter your pin and press okay.
Pick up your ticket
The ticket is at the bottom. Don’t take your receipt by mistake and leave your ticket in the machine! I’ve seen this happen a few times…
Tap your ticket by the gates to “activate” your ticket
You can see above what the gates at Amsterdam Centraal look like. You’ll want to tap your card onto the clear bit above the green arrow. Once you do, the gates will open and you’ll pass through. It’s only one person through with one ticket and if you have a stroller (or luggage), I recommend using the larger gate to make it easier for you.
Check the train schedule for Schiphol Airport and walk to the track
As soon as you enter the station, you’ll see a small information booth if you’re unsure of anything.
Get onto the train
I recommend looking to see where savvy Dutchies stand as the train is quite long–and you might need to walk further when the train arrives. In order to open the doors, you’ll need to press the button on the side of the train.
Get off at Schiphol Airport and tap out
When you hear Schiphol Airport announced, you’ve arrived. From here, you might need to hit the button and head upstairs. If you have a one-way ticket, you don’t need to tap out (for now).
If you have extra time at Schiphol Airport or need some tips for finding some good food at Schiphol Airport? Read this insider guide to Schiphol Airport!