Taking the bus, tram, or metro
The bus, tram, and metro are great ways to travel in Dutch cities. They are highly affordable, and Holland’s excellent infrastructure allows you to get from A to B easily and comfortably.
- Explore Amsterdam, Rotterdam and The Hague quickly and affordable by tram.
- Read about the advantages of travelling by bus, tram, and metro.
- Use an anonymous OV-chipkaart to travel by bus, tram, and metro.
There are extensive city and regional bus lines in Holland. This means that, wherever you are in Holland, there are bus services that will take you to most places, quickly and affordably. While bus companies vary per region, the connections are generally excellent, so you can reach your destination quickly. You will need a valid ticket to travel by bus: a single-use chip card or an anonymous OV-chipkaart (smart card). Single-use chip cards can also be bought on the bus, but that usually costs more.
The tram is a perfect means of transport in big cities. It is easy to get on and off and takes you to your destination quickly and affordably. Another advantage is that you can do some sightseeing on the way. Did you know that tram line 2 in Amsterdam is one of the world’s best tram rides? With 16 tram lines, Amsterdam is also the city with the greatest number of trams in Holland, but Rotterdam, Utrecht and The Hague also offer excellent tram connections. The ride from The Hague Central Station to Scheveningen boulevard, for instance, takes just 15 minutes! Tram services usually start at 6 AM and run until midnight; check the service schedules at the tram stop for precise times. You will need a valid ticket to travel by tram: a single-use chip card or an anonymous OV-chipkaart. Single-use chip cards can also be bought on the tram, but that usually costs more.
In addition to trams and buses, the cities of Amsterdam and Rotterdam also offer a metro service. These are usually affordable as well and generally faster than trams. The metro takes you from Duivendrecht railway station to the very centre of Amsterdam within minutes, for instance. In Rotterdam, you can travel to Blijdorp Zoo or the port of Rotterdam. The Randstadrail network (a combination of metro, train and tram) even takes you to The Hague Central Station. You will need a valid ticket to travel by metro: a single-use chip card or an anonymous OV-chipkaart. You can also buy a single-use chip card from a ticket machine at the metro stations.
Using the OV-chipkaart
All means of public transport in Holland require a so-called OV-chipkaart, a smart card that is valid on the bus, tram, metro and train. Since there is no specific OV-chipkaart for tourists, we recommend using an ‘anonymous’ OV-chipkaart. This smart card costs 7.50 euros but comes without travel credit, so you must charge credit to the card at a service desk or (NS) ticket machine with the pink OV-chipkaart logo. You must have at least 4 euros worth of travel credit on your anonymous OV-chipkaart to use the bus, tram or metro. Once charged, you can use your anonymous OV-chipkaart on the bus, tram and metro right away! Always make sure to check in when boarding your bus, train or metro and don’t forget to check out on arrival.
Day tickets and single-use chip card
Amsterdam, Rotterdam and a few other cities offer special one to seven-day tickets for tourists. A perfect way to travel throughout the city without limitations at a special rate. If you don’t have an anonymous OV-chipkaart, you can also buy a single-use chip card, which is suitable for short trips and offers limited-time validity for bus, tram or metro in a city. Single-use chip cards are suitable for the incidental traveller. If you plan to use public transport services in Holland more than once, an anonymous OV-chipkaart is more practical and usually the cheaper option.
Payment for public transport
The most common way to travel by public transport is with an OV chipcard. An OV chipcard can be bought at stations or tobacco shops. In trams and buses, you can buy a day ticket or disposable chipcard. Please note: you cannot pay cash in many buses and trams. From 1 January 2018 onwards, you will be able to pay in buses and trams using the PIN or no contact method only.
Travel on public transport throughout the Netherlands with an OV-chipkaart.
You'll have unlimited travel by tram, bus, metro or ferry in Amsterdam using the Amsterdam Travel Ticket. Includes train travel from Schiphol Airport to any station in Amsterdam.