Amsterdam Central Station main train station is the real heart of the city: central not only by the name, but also as the biggest public transport transfer spot. Every day 250,000 people go through the Amsterdam Central Station (Dutch: Amsterdam Centraal or shortly: CS).
Final stops of several lines of city trams and buses are here, as well as waterfront stations of free city ferry lines to Amsterdam North (Amsterdam Noord). It is also here, that a main Amsterdam Tourist Office is based, as well as departure quays for the tourist boats cruising around the city canals.
Trains from Amsterdam Airport Schiphol
A Direct Rail Link connects from Schiphol International Airport to Amsterdam Central Station and is the fastest and most convenient way to get to the city center and/or vice versa!
- You find the train timetable here.
- Train journey from Schiphol Airport to Amsterdam Central Station takes ±17 minutes.
- Ticket price is ±€9,50 one way.
- Train tickets can be bought at yellow vending machines, at the box office or online here.
Hotels near Amsterdam Central Station
There are several hotels based in front of the Amsterdam Central Station and in its direct vicinity. You do not need any mean of transportation to get there – all you need is roll your luggage to the hotel lobby.
Good nearby budget hotels:
- Ibis Amsterdam Centre - closest nearby hotel, established on the Station Island
- A-Train Hotel
- Multatuli Hotel
- Ibis Styles Amsterdam Central Station
Nearby five are star hotels:
Amsterdam Central Station services
An effort has been made to serve the traveler well. The station luggage lockers are open daily 24 hours, 7 days a week. If you want to use a cheaper option, there is an independent luggage storage 5 minutes walk from the station building. There are convenient Information desks at the entry and numerous vending machines sell train tickets to other stations in the Netherlands. Service Centre sells international train tickets (open: 6 am - 11 pm). Lost luggage desk is directly at the lockers vault.
Central Station is also an active open shopping centre with some shops open 7 am – 1 am and bureaux de change. It has several cafés and fast food restaurants. There is also a vast bicycle storage, bicycle repair shop and bicycle rental places. Big underground car park facilities are in the direct vicinity of the station.
Arriving at the Amsterdam Central Station
The station has three tunnels under all of its platforms, leading you in two directions: to the city centre side or to the Amsterdam North side which is located behind the Ij Lake now called the Ij-zijde (The Ij side). These tunnels are called Eastern, Main and Western and each of the leads to all railway platforms. There is also a new tunnel under the station, centrally located Ij-passage which is more of a shopping area because it does not lead to the train platforms but is a convenient way of getting to the lake side of the station.
Unless you plan to travel by city ferry to the north of Amsterdam or by bus to the cities you should exit into the Centre side of the station. All city busses, trams and metro to all areas of Amsterdam are there, including the bus lines to the north of the city. Only the taxis stand is now also located at the Ij-side to the left from the Western tunnel.
Buying train tickets
All the locals do not use paper tickets on trains and public transport but they use the public transport charge card called Chip-card or OV-card valid on all means of transport everywhere in the Netherlands.
However if you are a visitor for a short stay in the Netherlands, you are advised to buy a specific ticket for one trip. You still have to validate this ticket at the entry to the platforms area on each train station (chip-in) and signal the end of your trip leaving the platforms area of the station (chip-out). Through the deregulation of the public transport there are many possibilities to travel on the same train, busses and trams. Compare the prices and terms and choose the option most convenient for you.
Taxis and public transport at the Amsterdam Central Station
The taxis are waiting on the Ij-zijde (waterside) to the left from the Western tunnel thus behind the station looking from the city centre side. Other means of transport, busses and trams are at hand on both sides of the station building but most of them depart on the city side. The entry to the metro is in front of the station Main Entry on the city centre side. Also the tourist boats sailing through canals depart on the City side.
The city ferry boat lines linking the city with Amsterdam North are behind the station at the waterfront (Ij-zijde). Also busses departing to other cities in the Netherlands depart from the terminal on the waterfront.
Departures from the Amsterdam Central Station – accessing the station
There is no easy access by the car to the Amsterdam Central Station. The only access by car is from the Ij-zijde (Ij-Lake side) of the station, but there is no parking possibility there: you may only stop to drop off passengers and luggage. Taxis and city busses will bring you closely to the station, but the most convenient are city trams, which stop just in front of the station building.
The main entry tunnel as well as the two other tunnels lead you to the station platforms. The station has 15 platforms, additionally often divided into “a” and “b” parts. Entering the station, you may inquire about the number of the platform you need at the Information desks set inside at the entries to the station.
Trains to Brussels, Paris, Cologne
In front of the station Main Entry, in a traditional wooden white Dutch coffee house you will find the main Amsterdam Tourist Office, nemed I Amsterdam. Open daily: 9 am – 5 pm, Sunday: 9 am – 4 pm, closed 25 Dec.
To the left in the same building you may find an Information Service of the public transport GVB (open: Monday through Friday 7 am – 9 pm, Saturday-Sunday 8 am - 6 pm; they also sell public transport tickets).