Amsterdam's public transport is both a simple and complex system. Regardless of the goals set, each traveler uses the transport network services. Amsterdam's main municipal transportation company is GVB.
The transport system of Amsterdam has a zonal structure.
Tram Of Amsterdam's 15 tram lines, 10 stop at Centraal Station, and then fan out to the rest of the city. For trams 4, 9, 16, 24 and 26, head far to the left (east) when you come out the station's main entrance; look for the 'A' sign. For trams 1, 2, 5, 13 and 17, head to the right (west) and look for the 'B' sign.
Most public transport within the city is by tram. The vehicles are fast, frequent and ubiquitous, operating between 6am and 12.30am.
Tickets are not sold on board. Buy a disposable OV-chipkaart (www.ov-chipkaart.nl; 1hr €2.90) or a day pass (one to seven days €7.50 to €34) from the GVB information office.
When you enter and exit, wave your card at the pink machine to 'check in' and 'check out'.
Most tram lines start at Centraal Station and then fan out into the neighbourhoods.
Amsterdam has two large transport hubs, it is the Central Railway Station and Dam Square. From the Central station you can get anywhere in the city, and a huge number of attractions and city transport are concentrated on Dam Square.
Most visitors arrive by air at Schiphol International Airport or by train at Centraal Station.
Schiphol is among Europe's busiest airports and has copious air links worldwide, including many on low-cost European airlines. It's the hub of Dutch passenger carrier KLM.
National and international trains arrive at Centraal Station. There are good links with several European cities. The high-speed Thalys (www.thalys.com) runs from Paris (3¼ hours direct, 3¾ hours via Brussels) nearly every hour between 6.18am and 8.18pm. Eurostar (www.eurostar.com) runs from London (around five hours); it stops in Brussels, where you transfer onward via Thalys. A direct London–Amsterdam route is slated to be in regular service from spring 2018, and will cut travel time to four hours. German ICE trains run six times a day between Amsterdam and Cologne (2¾ hours); many continue on to Frankfurt (four hours). For more information on international trains (including ICE), see NS International (www.nsinternational.nl).
Bus travel is typically the cheapest way to get to Amsterdam; major bus companies Eurolines and FlixBus both serve the city.
Situated 18km southwest of the city centre, Schiphol International Airport (www.schiphol.nl) has ATMs, currency exchanges, tourist information, car hire, train-ticket sales counters, luggage storage, food and free wi-fi. It's easy to reach the city from Schiphol.
Trains run to Amsterdam's Centraal Station (€5.20 one way, 15 minutes) 24 hours a day. From 6am to 12.30am they go every 10 minutes or so; hourly in the wee hours. The rail platform is inside the terminal, down the escalator.
A shuttle van is run by Connexxion (www.schipholhotelshuttle.nl; one way/return €17/27), every 30 minutes from 7am to 9pm, from the airport to several hotels. Look for the Connexxion desk by Arrivals 4.
Bus 197/Amsterdam Airport Express (€5 one way, 25 minutes) is the quickest way to places by the Museumplein, Leidseplein or Vondelpark. It departs outside the arrivals hall door. Buy a ticket from the driver.
Centraal Station is in the city centre, with easy onward connections. The station has ATMs, currency exchanges, tourist information, restaurants, shops, luggage storage (€6 to €11.50 per day), and national and international train ticket sales.
Buses operated by Eurolines and FlixBus connect Amsterdam with all major European capitals and numerous smaller destinations. Eurolines buses use Duivendrecht station Stationsplein 3, Duivendrecht), south of the centre, which has an easy metro link to Centraal Station (about a 20-minute trip via metro numbers 50 or 54). The Eurolines Ticket Office (www.eurolines.nl; Rokin 38a; h9am-5pm Mon-Sat; j4/9/14/16/24 Dam) is near the Dam. FlixBus (www.flixbus.com) runs to/from Sloterdijk train station (mSloterdijk), west of the centre, linked to Centraal Station by metro number 50 (a six-minute trip). There's no ticket office; book online.