Amsterdam Central Station has one of the greatest train and bus networks in our country. With 15 train platforms and more than 20 lines for the bus, it is the country’s 2nd largest station. Daily 186.000 people pass trough.
You can purchase a so called Anonymous OV chip card. The price of purchase is 7.50 euro and the advantage is that you can travel (anonymous) with all types of public transport.
When you achieved this card, you first need to load it with euros before you use public transport. Uploading can be done at many places, but the best is to do this in the railway station at the yellow ticket vending machines, because there you can also load it with a credit card.
After loading, you can check in and out for every trip you make. With checking out you pay for the ride, if you forget to do so, 5 euro will be charged on your card. It remains valid so it will only cost you more money. So remember to check out after each ride.
To purchase a card, go to a service desk, book- or tobacco shop, or try to get one at a yellow ticket vending machine in the station. The card is valid for 5 years, so it’s re-usable.
Do realise that you cannot travel with a negative amount. For the train you’ll have to charge it with at least 20 euro and for the busses with at least 4 euro. There is no refund for the unused amount on the card after finishing travelling.
Depending on you’re travelling schedule, it might not be the cheapest way to achieve a card like this and many handlings has to done before you can start. It takes a moment to figure out how it works, once you know how it works, it’s easy. For more details, click here.
All of the great cities located within a 1 hour reach from Amsterdam Central station can be reached with a direct train. Trains depart between every 10 to 30 minutes, so you don’t need to wait that long.
Also there are night trains that run every night towards some larger destinations like; Den Haag, Leiden, Schiphol Airport, Amsterdam Centraal and Utrecht. They depart once per hour, till de morning trains start again.
For the exact time schedules of the trains, use the English version of the NS railway planner.
You can purchase a single or return ticket in the railway station (also with creditcard!) at the yellow ticket vending machines, service desks or even online. Avoiding a queue at the ticket vending machines is easily done by purchased online train tickets. Maybe an OV chip card (like locals have) or even a Amsterdam and region ticket could be interesting, depending on your travelling schedule. Notice that on short tracks a simple return ticket by train might be the cheapest.
It is possible to bring your bicycle aboard the trains, there are compartments where you can put your bike (locked) during the ride. Meanwhile you can have a seat nearby, to keep an eye onto your bike, this makes it a little more comfortable. Do notice that at certain times on a day it is not allowed to bring your bike aboard, so for that, you must know these regulations in English, first before you go. You also need to purchase a day ticket for the bicycle. This way of travelling is not very easy, please keep that in mind. Some experience or knowing how to handle a bike in the train is sometimes necessary. If you want to keep it easy, you’d better rent a bike at your destination.
Smaller cities or villages are mainly connected by bus. Almost all villages that lie within a 1 hour reach from Amsterdam central station, have good connections by bus. Mostly every 15 to 40 minutes a bus departs.
There are a few bus companies and although it’s easy to separate one from the other, to get the right ticket, is slightly different.
For the outgoing bus services you’d better buy a ticket on the bus. Keep in mind that you can only pay with (credit)cards. No cash in the bus. Prices vary between 3 to 6 euro for a single ticket. Connexion and Rnet (regio net) are companies witch do the outgoing bus lines from Amsterdam. The GVB company is only in Amsterdam.
Depending on the schedule and budget you have, it might also be worth to look for the “Amsterdam and region travel ticket”. It gives you freedom in every type of transport for a day, in the region and as well in Amsterdam for a fixed price.
The outgoing bus lines from Amsterdam do not have a night schedule and bikes are not able to go in the bus.
For actual departure times for busses and other type of public transport use this: 9292 OV. It is in English also. Or check at the cabin of a bus stop for the scheduled departure times.