Our guide to using Amsterdam public transportation with kids and strollers in tow: from airport connections to inner city travel, this is how to get around Amsterdam with children.
Amsterdam is a very easy city to explore without a car. The city centre area, where most attractions are located, is compact and easy to negotiate on foot and if you have kids, you will soon notice that most of the streets are stroller friendly, thanks to well kept surfaces and, often, good pavement.
However, depending on the location of your hotel or in case of rain, it is handy to occasionally use the very efficient Amsterdam public transportation system.
This is made of trains, trams, buses and metro. It criss-crosses the city and is managed via an integrated ticketing system that, once mastered, make movement around the city a breeze.
This is our guide to using Amsterdam public transportation with kids and strollers in tow.
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How to get from Schiphol to Amsterdam city centre with kids
There are three main ways to get from Schipol airport to Amsterdam city centre and these are the train, bus and taxi.
Schiphol to Amsterdam by train
The first mean of transport you encounter in Amsterdam is likely to be the train.
The main station in the city is Centraal (large and, like the name suggests, central, as well as close to the canal ring) and regular trains connect it to both Schiphol airport, locations in the wider Amsterdam area and many international destination.
If arriving by plane to Schiphol, making your way into the city centre is easy.
The train station is inside the airport, in the main Schiphol plaza and there are several trains connecting the airport to the city at regular intervals. During the day the trains are frequent but they rarefy after 10 pm so make sure you keep an eye on their schedule should you arrive late in the evening.
Tickets are available at the ticket kiosk or at the ticketing machines in Schiphol plaza. Some accept card and cash and others card only (pin number needed) and they are usually fast and efficient.
At present, a second class ticket is 5.50 Euro, children under 3 go free and children 4 to 11 can get a ‘rail-runner’ ticket that allows them on trains for the whole day (currently 2.50 Euro).
Amsterdam Travel Cards
If you arrive in the morning and foresee a full day of sightseeing, rather than a single ticket you may want to consider a day one.
In Amsterdam you have 3 day or multi day tickets valid on transport to and from Schiphol as well as on local trams, buses and metro.
At present, you can get:
- 1 day Amsterdam Travel Ticket : 16 Euro
- 2 days Amsterdam Travel Ticket : 21 Euro
- 3 days Amsterdam Travel Ticket : 26 Euro
- The day for this ticket starts at midnight so make sure you only get it if you know you will make use of it.
Otherwise, many other options are available.
Schiphol to Amsterdam central by bus
If staying near Museum Plein, in the museum area, you may want to consider the bus.
The Amsterdam Airport Express 397 bus stops just outside Schiphol plaza and the journey takes about 30 minutes. A single ticket costs €5 and can be bought either from the driver or at the Public Transport Service & Tickets minibus near the bus stop B9. Children tickets (age 4-11) are 1 Euro.
Schiphol to Amsterdam city centre by taxi
Taxis line up just outside Schiphol airport and can bring you and the kids into the city centre in about 20 minutes or so.
They are quite a pricey option (we spent almost 60 euro for a ride into the edges of the canal ring) but indeed a comfortable one. If travelling with kids, be aware that they don’t carry not require car seats so if your child needs one, make sure you bring your own. You can find our selection of the best car seats for travel here
Amsterdam public transportation ticket types
Once you have made your way into the city centre, the mean of transportation you will find yourself using most of all is the tram.
You have several ticket option which you can buy on the tram itself or at the GVB offices (an easy to find one is just in front of the central station, you can’t miss it as you walk out).
- Single journey: this is a ticket valid for 1h and it is handy if you only plan on taking the tram once.
- GVB 1 day or multi day (child and adult fares). The GVB day or multi day ticket give you access to GVB trams, buses, metros as well ferries, for the number of days that best suit your plans. This ticket is convenient if you take the tram 3 or more times in one day. Children have a a very convenient fare of 3.75 Euro, which makes this ticket the one to get with little ones in tow.
- OV card: the OV rechargeable car is a handy one to have as allows savings on tram and train rides around Amsterdam. You can get it at the public transport ticket office or on the tram.
You can find additional info a book you tickets online from the official Amsterdam public transportation site here
The Iamsterdam card
Depending on the size of your party and the age of your children, the Iamsterdam card can come in handy. This is a city card, prepaid, that allows you to use the city public transport and give significant discounts on many museums and city attraction.
The card is valid for either 24h, 48h, 72h or 96h and can be bought online in advance. The card is useful for adults and older kids especially and really comes into its own if you have several museum visit planned.
How to use Amsterdam public transportation with kids and strollers
Trams are super handy in Amsterdam: they bring you almost anywhere in the city and they are clean and efficient.
They have special areas for strollers and kids up to 4 years of age go free.
Strollers must board the tram from the back and, should the area already be occupied by other parents, you may have to wait for the next tram. Also, wheelchair users have precedence over strollers.
The good news is that trams tend to be quite frequent so you are usually not stranded for too long.
Trams are equipped with a ticket teller and vendor. Make sure you head their way to get your ticket if you don’t have one and don’t forget to check in and check out at the start at the end of your journey.
Please note: trams do not accept cash payment but cards only.
Additional resources if visiting Amsterdam with family
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I hope you found our guide to using public transportation in Amsterdam useful. Safe family travels!