Did you know that you could travel inexpensively by train throughout the Netherlands? There is so much more to see than just Amsterdam and Den Haag, although those are fun too! But with the train you can take day trips to the huge outlet mall in Roermond, the museums and boutiques of Eindhoven, and the historic center of Maastricht.
If you just go to the train station and purchase the ticket, a trip from Amsterdam to any of these locations can cost you 26 euro each way. Not exactly a cheap trip. But, I’ll share with you the tips used by locals to consistently get less expensive travel within the Netherlands.
This guide to travel inexpensively by train in the Netherlands will show you how to get a discount of 50% or more. With these tips, a 2nd class one-day unlimited travel ticket is €17, and two one-way tickets can be purchased for €25. You can also get a one-way first class ticket for €16.40. As you can see, these prices make train travel in the Netherlands inexpensive, and even easy to explore spontaneously!
How to Travel Inexpensively By Train in the Netherlands (Cheap European Train Tickets!)
- 1 Step by Step Guide to Travel Inexpensively By Train in the Netherlands
- 2 Ideas of day trips when you travel by train in the Netherlands
- 3 Long-term train options
- 4 International train travel
- 5 Travel Inexpensively By Train in the Netherlands: Conclusion
Step by Step Guide to Travel Inexpensively By Train in the Netherlands
Here are the steps to book inexpensive train tickets:
- Check this website where you can see a summary of all the current Netherlands train deals available. This includes shops such as Hema, Kruidivat, Albert Heijn supermarket, and other local shops. There are also options to purchase tickets online, which makes it even simpler. You will need to use the Google browser to translate the information from Dutch, or some other translation software.
- Check this website directly for details directly of some of the best travel deals to be booked online. Again, use Google chrome to translate and navigate more easily.
- Download the Dutch train app, called the NS app, on your phone. This is the easiest way to show your train ticket. You can download the NS app here.
- Purchase your tickets. This can be done through whichever store is having a special, in person, or online. Once you have the coupon code, you will need to enter it and purchase your ticket (for a cost of €0).
- Load your ticket into the app. When you finalize your ticket, you have the opportunity to just add it to the app directly.
- Once your ticket if loaded, you are ready to travel. If you are leaving from a large station, you will need to scan the barcode on your ticket to enter the train area. In smaller train stations, you can just enter the train, and a conductor may come through and ask to scan your ticket.
- Enjoy exploring the Netherlands!
Ideas of day trips when you travel by train in the Netherlands
Now that you are ready to book your Netherlands train tickets, where will you go? Here is a list of some of my favorite destinations in the Netherlands:
Den Haag is where the parliament meets in the Netherlands. It is also home to the famous international “Peace Palace”. Den Haag is filled with museums, cafes, an open, cosmopolitan feeling, and some of the most famous beaches in the Netherlands. See my full recap and be sure to walk along the historic Scheveningen Beach.
In the far southern coastal area of the Netherlands, Goes is a quiet coastal town offering a beautiful classic downtown, quiet, mostly empty beaches, and even a large steam-engine that train lovers can ride on!
Roermond houses the famous designer outlet mall of the Netherlands. You can get major discounts on designer clothing. Be sure to check out the Ralph Lauren outlet, as opposed to their other stores in the outlet mall, for one-off incredible sales! Roermond also has a small walking mall, and a Wednesday afternoon organic outdoor market.
Eindhoven features some of the Netherlands most unique museums, boutiques and cafes. Get into the heart of the funky and open culture of the Netherlands in Eindhoven, as well as visiting the historical park. Eindhoven has a small airport, so if you are flying from within Europe you can start or end your trip here.
Maastricht is the southern-most city of the Netherlands. Featuring the historic University of Maastricht, a large, lively walking mall, and a peaceful cultural center along the Maas River. Maastricht also has a small airport, so if you are flying from within Europe you can start or end your trip here.
Although Amsterdam is the most famous city in the Netherlands, it is not to be missed. Whether you are starting your trip here or just visiting for the day, there are world-class museums, beautiful canals, cute cafes, and lots of great places to bike! Amsterdam is so much more than just the red-light district!
North of Amsterdam, featuring beautiful beaches, a historic central town filled with beautiful, flower-lined canals, and plenty of bicycle paths, Haarlem is a classic Dutch village that makes a wonderful day trip.
This beautiful, picturesque town is called the “Venice of the Netherlands” for its canals, often overflowing with flowers and adorable houses with thatched roofs.
This is the place to come for classic Dutch windmills set in fields, next to canals. My grandfather still asks me every time I speak to him if I’ve seen any windmills. If that is important to you, visit Kinderdijk! It is also a UNESCO world heritage site and worth the visit for the beautiful, historic views.
If you will be in the Netherlands in the spring, especially in April, then be sure to head to Lisse where you can visit Keukenhof Gardens, perhaps the most famous flower gardens in the world. The fields of tulips are not to be missed!
Long-term train options
If you plan to stay in the Netherlands for some months, or even move here, then it is worth considering one of the NS “seasonal” cards, which are annual subscription cards that give you discounted train travel for a set fee.
Options include a set rate between 2 stations, if you will be traveling that route regularly, a weekend free card, and a card that gives you 40% off all standard ticket prices.
I recommend that you just do the math. Compare how much the subscription will cost you, versus the other ways to book tickets I mentioned above, and choose which will cost less for your needs.
I am currently signed up for the weekend free option, which means that for €32 per month, I can travel from Friday night to early Monday morning for free anywhere in the Netherlands. This gives great options to explore on the weekends, and pays for itself if I just take an average of two trips (even day trips) per month.
International train travel
If you plan to travel outside of the Netherlands by train as a part of your trip, the tips above will still give you the best prices and timing for tickets within the Netherlands. You can see my full post for booking train tickets around Europe.
Another option for International travel within Europe is to look into bus tickets, as comfortable buses travel between many larger European cities and offer very reasonable prices.
For example, a ticket for a bus that takes 2 hours to travel from Roermond to Brussels costs €10 or less. Similarly, you can purchase a bus ticket from Brussels to Paris that takes 4.5 hours and costs €17 or less. If you have time and don’t mind relaxing, the bus is also worth considering for International travel.
Travel Inexpensively By Train in the Netherlands: Conclusion
In conclusion, the train can be a fun, simple, inexpensive and efficient way to see the Netherlands. You get to see the picturesque countryside, visit new cities, and enjoy all that the beautiful country of the Netherlands has to offer!
I’d love to hear: have you traveled by train in the Netherlands? Are you planning a trip?
Cheers and safe travels!
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