Amsterdam is the perfect base for exploring the Netherlands by train. Its key position on the European rail network also makes it a popular first stop for travellers from Britain setting off to explore the continent by train.
The city’s celebrated canals and traditional housing give the centre of Amsterdam a remarkable small town feel. Its compact size makes the city ideal for exploring on foot or by bike. The city is notably gay-friendly and laid back. Whether you just want to take the pulse of local life in backstreet cafés or sample Amsterdam’s world-class art galleries, the city is first and foremost a place to chill.
The main rail hub is Centraal Station (often just called CS). It is at the northern edge of the city centre. From London, the usual route is with Eurostar to Brussels, connecting there onto either a Thalys or IC train for the onward journey to Amsterdam. In 2017, Eurostar will launch a direct London to Amsterdam service.
Amsterdam already has an excellent range of direct international connections. These include regular Thalys services to Brussels and Paris. A new hourly InterCity (IC) service from Amsterdam to Antwerp and Brussels started in December 2014. There are six daily ICE departures to Cologne and Frankfurt. IC trains leave every two hours for Hannover and Berlin. There is a useful direct daytime train to Basel in Switzerland and overnight services leave Amsterdam every evening for both Munich and Zurich. Amsterdam is a key hub in the Dutch national rail network with departures at least hourly to most major cities across the Netherlands.
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