By Plane -- Amsterdam Airport Schiphol (tel 0900/0141 for general and flight information, 31-20/794-0800 from outside Holland; www.schiphol.nl; airport code AMS), 14km (9 miles) southwest of Amsterdam is pronounced Skhip-ol and is universally regarded as one of the best airports in the world for its ease of use, its massive duty-free shopping center, and its outpost of the Rijksmuseum. Located southwest of the city center, it is the main airport in The Netherlands, handling the country’s international arrivals and departures.
There are three terminals close together and imaginatively numbered 1, 2, and 3. Moving walkways connect passengers with the Arrivals Hall and Passport Control, Baggage Reclaim, and Customs. Conveniences like free luggage carts, currency exchange, ATMs, restaurants, bars, shops, baby rooms, restrooms, and showers are all on tap. Beyond Customs is Schiphol Plaza, a one-stop destination that combines tourist office, transport ticket office, rail station access, Hotel Schiphol Airport and Mercure Hotel Schiphol Terminal for transit passengers, a shopping mall, bars and restaurants, restrooms, baggage lockers, airport and tourist information desks, car-rental, and hotel-reservation desks all in the one location. Bus and shuttle stops plus a taxi stand are just outside the terminal.
For tourist information and to make hotel reservations, go to Iamsterdam’s Visitor Information Center in Schiphol Plaza (tel 020/702-6000); it is open daily 7am to 10pm.
By Car -- A network of major international highways crisscrosses The Netherlands. European expressways E19, E35, and E231 converge on Amsterdam from France and Belgium to the south and from Germany to the north and east. These roads also have Dutch designations; as you approach the city they are, respectively: A4, A2, and A1. Amsterdam’s ring road is A10. Distances between destinations are relatively short. Traffic is invariably heavy and delays are frequent but road conditions are otherwise pretty good, service stations are plentiful, and highways are plainly signposted.
By cruise ship -- Cruise-ship passengers arrive in Amsterdam at the Passenger Terminal Amsterdam, Piet Heinkade 27 (tel 020/509-1000; www.ptamsterdam.nl; tram 26), on the IJ waterway within easy walking distance of Centraal Station, where all modes of transport can be picked up to travel anywhere in the city.
By ferry -- DFDS Seaways (tel 0871/522-9955 in Britain, 44/330-333-0245 outside the UK; www.dfdsseaways.co.uk) has daily car-ferry services between Newcastle in northeast England and Ijmuiden, west of Amsterdam on the North Sea coast. The overnight travel time is 15.5 hours. From IJmuiden, you can go by bus to Amsterdam Centraal Station.
P&O Ferries (tel 08716/642121 in Britain, 020/200-8333 in Holland; www.poferries.com) has daily car-ferry service between Hull in northeast England and Rotterdam Europoort. The overnight travel time is 10 to 11 hours. Ferry-company buses shuttle passengers between the Europoort terminal and Rotterdam Centraal Station, from where there are frequent trains to Amsterdam Centraal Station.
Stena Line (tel 08447/707-070 in Britain; www.stenaline.co.uk) has a twice-daily car-ferry service between Harwich in southeast England and Hoek van Holland (Hook of Holland) near Rotterdam. The travel time is 6 hours, 45 minutes for the daytime crossing, and 7 1/2 hours overnight. Frequent trains depart from Hoek van Holland to Amsterdam Centraal Station.
By Train -- Rail services to Amsterdam from other cities in the Netherlands and elsewhere in Europe are frequent and fast. International trains arrive at Centraal Station from Brussels, Paris, Berlin, Cologne, and other German cities, and from the main cities in Austria, Switzerland, Italy, and Eastern Europe. Nederlandse Spoorwegen (Netherlands Railways; www.ns.nl) trains arrive in Amsterdam from towns and cities all over The Netherlands. Service is frequent to many places around the country and trains are modern, clean, and punctual. Schedule and fare information on travel by train is available by calling tel 0900/9292 (0.70€ per minute) for national service, and 0900/9296 for high-speed international services (0.35€ per minute); or by visiting www.ns.nl.
The burgundy-colored Thalys high-speed train, with a top speed of 300kmph (186 mph), connects Paris, Brussels, Amsterdam, and (via Brussels) Cologne. Travel time from Paris to Amsterdam is 3 hours, 20 minutes, and from Brussels 1 hour, 50 minutes. For Thalys information and reservations, call tel 32-070/667-788, 0.17€ per minute, or visit www.thalys.com. Tickets are also available from railway stations and travel agents.
On Eurostar high-speed trains (top speed 300kmph/186 mph), the travel time between London St. Pancras Station and Brussels’s Bruxelles-Midi Station (the closest connecting point for Amsterdam) is around 2 hours. Departures from London to Brussels are approximately every 2 hours at peak times. For Eurostar reservations, call tel 08432/186186 in Britain; tel 44/1233-617-575 from outside the UK; www.eurostar.com.
By Bus -- International coaches arrive at the bus terminal opposite the Amstel rail station (Metro: Amstel) in the south of the city. Eurolines operates coach services between London Victoria Bus Station and Amstel Station (via ferry), with up to five departures daily in the summer. Travel time is just over 12 hours. For reservations, contact Eurolines (tel 08717/818-178 in Britain or 31/88-076-1700 in Holland; www.eurolines.com). From here, you can go by train or Metro to Centraal Station, or by tram no. 12 to the Museumplein area and to connecting points for trams to the center city. For the Leidseplein, take the Metro toward Centraal Station, get out at Weesperplein, and take tram 7 or 10.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.