The Netherlands is a relatively small country, which makes it easy to travel around. The distance from the most northern city Groningen to the most southern Maastricht is less than 270km from a bird’s eye view. And if we look at big cities in the east and west, it’s 110km from The Hague to Arnhem.
I’ve always preferred to travel around the country by public transport. The network is very good and no matter what the Dutch say, I always found it pretty reliable. I say this as a former daily commuter. 🙂
There are a few sites and apps that are very useful to plan your trip. Click on what's relevant to you to find out more:
- 9292 Travels With You
This journey planner takes all different modes and operators of public transport in account.
- Plan Your Journey with NS
The NS is the main rail operator in Holland. This journey planner focusses on train journeys, and includes other operators (in the far north and east of the country).
- Planning Something Bigger To Do by Train?
Even though you can look up international journeys on the regular NS page, this subdomain might be better. It specialises in international trips and you can use it to book your trips.
- Rotterdam Public Transport with RET
RET is the main public transport operator in Rotterdam. You can use this page to look up local trips. Although, I would use 9292 Travels With You, because it covers everything.
- Amsterdam Public Transport with GVB
GVB is the main public transport operator in Amsterdam, and similarly to the RET page, you can use their planner for local journeys.
When you want to use public transport, the OV-chipkaart is your friend in Holland. It’s the equivalent to Sydney’s Oyster card or the MYKI in Melbourne. Find out all you need to know on the OV-chipkaart website.
You can buy an anonymous OV-chipkaart or top your card up at any of the service points across the country. Use this webpage to find one near you.
The NS often has deals on for cheap day tickets that you can use throughout the country. I will keep an eye out for these deals and keep you all informed.
If you’re planning to explore Rotterdam, The Hague or Amsterdam, a (multiple) day ticket might be your best option. The local operators have several options available that you can use on the local network (so not on the NS trains):
- Tourist day ticket for South Holland €14,50
This ticket lets you travel around the South Holland province using any of the following operators: Arriva, Connexxion, HTM, HTMbuzz, RET, QBuzz, EBS and Waterbus. It’s a good option if you want to visit several sights or cities in one day. You can purchase this ticket online and have it delivered at your hotel, or you can purchase it at any of the subway stations.
Some cities or sights you can visit with this pass:
There are day tickets available that will allow you to travel on to and from Schiphol Airport as well as within Amsterdam., or cheaper ones that will only allow you to use the GVB network in Amsterdam. You can purchase them at any of the GVB service points, metro stations and some hotels.
These day tickets will let you travel around Rotterdam using the RET network. You can purchase them at the RET servicepoints, metro stations and some hotels.
These day tickets will let you travel around The Hague using the HTM network. You can purchase them at the HTM servicepoints, on HTM buses and trams and in some hotels.
Besides normal taxis, Uber is also available in the Netherlands. It's active in the Randstad area and in the cities of Amsterdam, Rotterdam, The Hague, Utrecht, Eindhoven, Haarlem and ‘t Gooi.
Visit this website to find out where Uber operates.