Netherlands: Local Travel Info
Bustling liberal cities, Windmills, flowers, fish, cafés, cheese - and tall people
Internal Flights and Major International Airports in the Netherlands
There are two major international airports in the Netherlands, Schiphol and Rotterdam, although Schiphol is by far the larger, being one of Europe's major hubs. Schiphol connects many destinations worldwide, including North America, South America, Asia, Africa and throughout Europe. Several British airports connect directly to Schiphol, including London (Gatwick and Heathrow), Liverpool and Birmingham. Rotterdam Airport connects to London, Birmingham and Manchester.
Getting to and from the Airport at Schiphol (Amsterdam)
Getting to and from the airport at Schiphol is very straightforward. There are fast, frequent and efficient trains to and from all parts of the Netherlands that run directly into Schiphol airport's railway station, which is situated in Schiphol Plaza, adjacent to the arrivals lounge. Trains from Schiphol to Amsterdam Centraal Station leave every 15 minutes, take between 15 and 20 minutes and cost about £3.15. A taxi from Schiphol to central Amsterdam will cost you about £36. Some Amsterdam hotels run free shuttle buses to and from the airport. If you have hired a car, you need to take the A4 motorway to the A10 Amsterdam orbital motorway. Car rental offices are near the central exits of Schiphol Plaza.
Travel Costs in the Netherlands
Generally speaking, the costs of travel in the Netherlands are relatively low compared to the United Kingdom. The one exception to this is travel by taxi. Travel by any form of public transport, if you buy a Strippenkaart (strip card) which is valid for all forms of public transport, is charged by the number of hours that you travel and usually works out at less than £1 for each hour. Cycle hire is cheap and there are numerous cycle hire shops, both at railway stations and elsewhere. Hiring a bike can cost as little as £3.60 per day. A typical rail journey from Amsterdam to Groningen, a journey of 116 miles, would cost about £26 for a single 2nd class full fare and £15.50 for a discounted fare. A return discounted fare for the same journey could cost as little as £22 and £37.00 for the full fare.
Renting Cars in the Netherlands
With about 80,000 miles (126,000 kilometres) of road in the Netherlands the opportunities for road travel are considerable. Moreover, there is no shortage of places from which you can hire a car in the Netherlands. However, car rental offices tend to be located in the suburbs of many Dutch towns and cities, with the exception of Amsterdam, making them sometimes difficult to find and get to by public transport. Hiring a car in the Netherlands will cost upwards of £36 per day. Some car hire companies may request additional requirements of younger drivers, or those considered to be in a higher risk category by the hire company's insurance agent.
To book car rental in Netherlands online, view our Car Hire section for Netherlands . We offer Ok Alpha users the latest special offers and best rates available for car hire in Netherlands . We advise you book your Netherlands hire car in advance so you can pick it up and drop it off directly at the airport.
Drivers License Requirements in the Netherlands
Vehicles are driven on the right-hand side of the road in the Netherlands. All car
drivers and motorcyclists (for motorcycles over 125 cc) must be at least 18 to drive or ride legally, but mopeds can be ridden by people aged 16 and over. It is compulsory to carry a driving licence, car registration papers and insurance documents with you in the car, A
a valid driving licence from another EU country as well as an International Driving Licence is accepted for tourists' visits. Children below the age of 12 are forbidden to sit in the front seat unless strapped in a baby seat. Children must travel in an age appropriate seat until the age of 5. Drivers must stop for pedestrians on (zebra) or pedestrian crossings.
There are various speed limits in force in the Netherlands, depending upon the type of road. Speed limits range from: 19mph (30 kmph) in a residential area, to 30mph (50 kmph) in a built up area, to 50mph (80 kmph) on provincial roads and 62mph (100kmph) and 75mph (120kmph) on motorways. Be sure to check the small circular signs on the side of the road, on the top half will indicate what the speed limit is. Where a number/limit is absent, a 75mph (120kmph) speed limit is observed. Cameras operate on main roads, motorways and traffic lights in the Netherlands. Fines can be quite hefty if you break the speed limit. You need to be especially careful observing the speed limit in “Control Zones”. You must give way or yield to cars approaching from the right unless they are indicated otherwise. "Give Way" is indicated by a series of triangles on the road at the junction point. "Stop" is indicated by a row of squares at the junction point.
Netherlands by Bus
There are bus services in most parts of the Netherlands and especially in the north and east, where train services are less common. Buses tend to be used for local
journeys and those within regions and provinces as trains are the preferred mode of transport for long distance travel. In Dutch towns, bus stations and bus stops are usually next to station, making for easy transfers from one mode of transport to another. In the Netherlands there is a national fare system that covers buses, trains and trams throughout the country. All you have to do is to buy a Strippenkaart (strip card) and each hour you spend travelling uses up one strip on your card. You can buy Strippenkaarten with different numbers of strips on them, depending on how much you want to travel. A Strippenkaart with 8 strips on it will cost you about £6.
Hitch Hiking in the Netherlands
Hitch hiking is not recommended in the Netherlands. Even though the risks may be low, you would be putting yourself in great potential danger. If you do decide to go hitch hiking, it is perhaps best to do so in pairs thereby minimising those risks.
Netherlands by Taxi
Taxis in the Netherlands are usually booked over the 'phone, rather than hailing them in the street as there is no equivalent of the British hackney carriage. Travel by taxi in the Netherlands can be relatively expensive. For example, a typical taxi journey of 7.26 miles (11.6 kilometres) would cost over £25. A far cheaper option for travel by taxi is the Treintaxi (train taxi). These special taxis will take you to and from railway stations easily and comfortably. The reason they are a lot cheaper is that you share the taxi with other passengers. Tickets can be bought at railway stations and cost about £3.70, or you can buy them from the taxi driver for £4.50. You need to remember that train taxis only serve specific areas and you cannot just tell the driver where you want to go. Destinations for the train taxis are listed on the taxi stand at each station where they operate. A train taxi tickets can be used in each of the 59 cities in the Netherlands where they are available. Train taxi stands are located in a different place from the normal taxi rank outside railway stations and are always coloured blue and yellow. Train taxi drivers can wait up to 15 minutes before starting a journey in order to wait for other passengers. If you want to travel to a railway station, provided you are in a train taxi area, you can call the Train Taxi office about half an hour before you want to reach the station and a car will pick you up.
Cycling in the Netherlands
The Netherlands has more than 6,250 miles (10,000 kilometres) of dedicated cycle paths and virtually all major roads have cycle lanes running in parallel with the carriageways and pavements. With some 16 million bicycles in the Netherlands – more than the population – the Netherlands is an excellent country for cycling. Although the flat terrain makes cycling relatively effortless in most places, some of the strong and biting winds on the coast can be quite challenging for all but the strongest cyclists. Cycling is a perfect way to explore the Netherlands and you can buy many tourist maps that plot wonderful and scenic journeys, of all lengths, by bicycle throughout the Dutch countryside. Cycling is very much part of the Dutch way of life and you will find that the transport infrastructure has been designed to accommodate cyclists. Bike lanes on major roads have their own road signs and traffic lights and you will be expected to observe them, although prosecutions for cycling offences are rare. You need to pay attention when using roundabouts in the Netherlands, because traffic approaching the roundabout has priority. There is an abundance of cycles for rental in the Netherlands and rent bikes from private hire shops, or cycle hire shops in railway stations (called Rijwiel), from as little as £3.60 to £6.30 per day, and £22.50 to £32 per week.
Water Transport in the Netherlands
With its plethora of canals and low lying countryside, the Netherlands is an ideal location for travel by boat. The canal system in the Netherlands, coupled with the many navigable rivers and lakes, means that you can reach most Dutch provinces by boat, taking a leisurely journey through the countryside and travelling into the heart of cities such as Rotterdam and Amsterdam. You will be spoilt for choice by the range of boats available for hire too, with boats for hire to suit every taste and pocket. For example, a two berth narrow boat booked in May for seven nights would cost about £540 (larger berth narrow boats would cost slightly more), whereas a 6 berth cruiser for the same number of nights at the same time of year would cost over £1,100. Travel by boat in the Netherlands is relatively free of rules and regulations for those in charge of boats. For example, every adult is allowed to navigate without a boating licence any motorboat with a length of up to 15 meters and with a cruising speed of less than 12.5 mph (20 kmph). The only exceptions to this are boats on the major lakes of the Waddenzee and the IJsselmeer, or if you intend to travel on major rivers such as the Maas, the Rijn (Rhein), or the IJssel.
Train Travel in the Netherlands
Dutch railways are fast, efficient, clean, reliable and punctual. The small size of the country means that journeys are seldom more than 2.5 to 3 hours long (for example from Rotterdam to Groningen, or Maastricht to Amsterdam) and they operate to most major destinations at 30 minute intervals. The rail network covers most of the country and you could see nearly all that you may want to see of the Netherlands through travelling by rail alone. The vast majority of the Dutch railway system is owned by the state, apart from some of the outlying areas in the north, where bus operators run co-ordinated bus and rail services. There is both first and second-class rail travel available, but the difference between accommodation in each is not great and it is hardly worth paying the extra for first class, as most journeys are not very long. A typical train fare from Amsterdam to Rotterdam, a journey of 45 miles, would cost £12.24 full fare and £7.38 discounted fare. A day-return journey between Amsterdam and Maastricht, a journey of 132 miles, would take about 3 hours and cost £37 full-fare and £22 for a discounted fare.