Making their way around the Netherlands can sometimes frustrate foreigners, simply because of the number of different modes of transportation they have available. Here we have collected some information on the best tickets you can use to get around, including when you are on one of your Amsterdam private tours.
Generally, travelling inside the country via public transit is easy, relatively clean, and safe. There are a few different forms of transit to pick from, including the national train railway system, and then the public transit systems which are run in the individual regions. In Amsterdam you have the GVB running everything, while in Hague it is the HTM that runs public transit.
There is no real need to plan far in advance, although checking the schedule is recommended because sometimes on the weekends, you have work going on over the train tracks. You will, of course, need to get a ticket before boarding the train. It’s generally best to carry a debit or credit card so that you can make payments through a machine for your tickets. After that, you tap the ticket to activate it. When you get on the trains, especially the domestic ones, you see non assigned seats mostly. If you really wish to sit, the best bet is to pay extra for a first-class ticket. As in most cities you are unfamiliar with, it works in your favor if you arrive 10 minutes or so in advance. You will also need to carry a card that has a chip in it.
In Amsterdam and for public transit, you can get a GVB pass or an iAmsterdam card beforehand, and then come and collect it at a kiosk. What you need to know is the public transit in Amsterdam is going cashless, so you will need to carry a card that has a chip if you wish to buy a day pass (which lets you make upward of one journey) at Amsterdam Centraal or the Schipol Airport.
Google Maps lets you check the schedules for public transit and trains, and brings regular updates. Just remember to pay attention to any transfer on your route, because if you move from train to bus, it is a whole other PT system that you would be dealing with. The main Dutch train station at each city has “Centraal” at the end of the city’s name.
When your journey is meant to be inside Amsterdam, you can benefit from having a GVB unlimited pass, which would last you 24 hours or more, depending on what you choose. The ticket is applicable for metros, trams, and buses. Even though it is possible to buy individual tickets, an unlimited transport pass can often be cheaper because you get to use Amsterdam’s PT for a whole day or up to a week. Amsterdam’s public transit is very good, it has to be said.
In case you cannot get a hold of the GVB pass, you are looking at having to pay individually for every bus, metro, and tram journey at a maximum of over 3 euros per hour, which adds up quickly. Look for a GVB machine at Schipol Airport or Amsterdam Centraal, and make sure that it is in fact a GVB machine that you are using, instead of a NS (which is for train tickets). You can get a day pass for around the same money as two rides would cost you.
Some buses which are included inside the Amsterdam transit pass can take you to other cities nearby including Zaanse Schans and Haarlem. The buses also take you to the striking Muiderslotcastle. You get all this, but it bears knowing that not all day trips from the city can be accessed by bus. In spite of that, the GVB pass happens to be a good option, especially if you are staying within walking distance from the center of the city.
This card is good if you plan on visiting plenty of museums and using public transit to and fro. It includes the GVB pass we talked about, as well as admission to a number of museums in the city, plus a canal cruise you can take for free. The iAmsterdam Card can be bought for 24 hours or more based on how long you are staying in the city. Your plans here can determine how much value you squeeze out of this card—art and history lovers usually get the best deal on this. If, however, you are keeping the museum visits to a minimum, then the GVB pass works better and it’s a lot cheaper.
That was some information on the different passes and tickets you need to use public transit and trains while in the Netherlands. It helps to check out beforehand which of the places have converted to a completely cashless system.
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