Flying from London to Amsterdam is the easiest and potentially cheapest way to reach the Dutch capital, with the journey taking just 1 hour. Amsterdam Schiphol is an important hub for many of the world’s major carriers, making it one of the busiest airports in Europe. British Airways flies the popular routes from London Heathrow and Gatwick, while CityJet caters for business class from London City. Low-cost champions EasyJet depart from Gatwick, Luton and Stansted, and also offer a handy service from London Southend. Dutch carrier KLM is another option that flies the 220-mile route from Heathrow.
Amsterdam built its wealth on trade, so it has no historical precedent for high and low seasons, preferring to keep busy all year round. The rules of supply and demand apply to today’s airlines just as they did to the merchants of the city’s Golden Age. If your travel dates are flexible and you book well in advance, you can net yourself a healthy bargain. Prices for London-Amsterdam flights tend to hike up during the spring tulip season when demand for group bookings is at its peak.
Gatwick, Heathrow and Stansted all have direct express services from central London, while the best way to reach Luton Airport is on the Thameslink from St Pancras International. London City, just a few miles out of central London in the redeveloped docklands, is served by the Docklands Light Railway (DLR). For residents of north and east London, Southend is an option worth considering – this small but well-appointed airport is under 1 hour by train from Liverpool Street and just 45 minutes from Stratford. The train stops right outside the terminal.
Before you land, don’t forget to check the local time – Amsterdam is 1 hour ahead of London. Once you’re safely through customs, you’ll find plenty of transport options to whisk you efficiently into the city centre. There’s a direct train with frequent departures which takes around 20 minutes to reach the central station, while buses are slower but slightly cheaper. Many hotels offer door-to-door shuttles for guests, so ask when you book your room. Taxis are plentiful, but Amsterdam’s heavy traffic can make this a costly luxury – expect to pay around €40 outside of rush hour.
Amsterdam has been catering for travellers since it became one of the world’s richest and most important ports back in the Golden Age of the 17th century, and today’s city is just as cosmopolitan. Students feel at home in its cheap’n’cheerful hostels, hipsters find soulmates in its achingly cool bars, lovers cosy up over candlelit dinner cruises along its romantic canals, fashionistas stock up on the latest trends in its lively markets, and culture vultures delight in its world-class orchestras and opera. Going Dutch has never been so rewarding.
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