Travel to Amsterdam without flying.
There are three different ways to get to Amsterdam in the Netherlands which don’t involve going anywhere near an airport:
- The direct Eurostar train between London and Amsterdam – which takes around 4 hours on a direct train (there are other Eurostar trains that require a change in Brussels Midi, these take a bit longer).
If you are arriving in London by train from other parts of the UK and need to travel across London first, see the Getting To London St.Pancras International From Other Major London Railway Stations article;
- A FlixBus coach from London to Amsterdam (12-14 hours). This is NOT an accessible option though (yes, some coaches are accessible, but until coaches have accessible toilets too, they’re to be avoided – 14 hours is a long time to cross your legs).
Option 1: Accessible Eurostar Train to Amsterdam from London
The direct London to Amsterdam Eurostar train takes just under 4 hours (just under 5 hours to Amsterdam when you include the time difference).
However, you’ll need to be at London St.Pancras Station by around 6pm at the latest, to catch the last London to Amsterdam train. Otherwise, you’ll have to spend the night in a London hotel, and travel on to Amsterdam the following morning.
So, if you live much north of Birmingham, there’s a good chance that you’ll either be arriving in your Amsterdam hotel just in time to go to bed; or you will be spending the night in an expensive London hotel (so the further north and west you are starting from, the more-attractive the DFDS ferry option becomes (unless you live anywhere near the East Coast Mainline, as the LNER trains arrive in London at London King’s Cross railway station – which is right beside London St.Pancras International railway station, where all Eurostar trains depart London from).
There’s a real benefit for wheelchair travellers travelling on Eurostar trains though:
Wheelchair spaces are available – but these spaces are only available in the pricier Standard Premier and Business Premier class carriages.
However. They are sold to wheelchair using passengers at a discounted Standard Class rate.
And, although your companion/assistant also has to buy a ticket too (no free companion tickets here I’m afraid), they also travel at this same reduced rate.
For full details of the accessibility of the London to Amsterdam train, see the Accessible Eurostar Train from London to Amsterdam guide.
Option 2: Accessible Ferry to Amsterdam from Newcastle
The biggest advantage of taking the DFDS ferry between Newcastle and Amsterdam, is that the crossing is overnight (so you arrive in Amsterdam ready to go on your first day).
It may seem like a more expensive option, but it also saves you on a night’s hotel accommodation (which will be the best part of £100 – even more so if you decide to overnight in a London hotel).
The ferry actually docks a bit outside both Newcastle (“North Shields”) and Amsterdam (“Ijmuiden”). DFDS runs shuttle buses at either end though (from Newcastle train station to North Shields; and from Ijmuiden to Amsterdam Centraal train station).
The DFDS ferry is very accessible. And accessible cabins (which have accessible toilets/showers) are available.
The shuttle bus from Newcastle to North Shields is accessible too. However, the coach used to transfer passengers between Ijmuiden and Amsterdam Centraal train station on the Netherlands side, is not – but DFDS do take accessibility seriously, so a wheelchair accessible taxi from Ijmuiden to central Amsterdam is included in the price of your accessible cabin.
For full details of the accessibility of the ferry from Newcastle to Amsterdam, see the Accessible Newcastle Amsterdam Ferry guide.
Option 3: Flixbus Coach to Amsterdam from London (NOT Accessible)
This is the budget option. You’ll be sitting on a coach for 12-14 hours though.
FlixBus coaches leave London from London Victoria Coach Station, and arrive in Amsterdam at Amsterdam-Sloterdijk Bus Station.
The coach is NOT an accessible option for getting to Amsterdam though.
Yes, some coaches are accessible, but until coaches have accessible toilets too, they’re to be avoided (unless you’re happy crossing your legs for up to 14 hours).
Public Transport in Amsterdam
All metro, tram and buses within central Amsterdam are operated by GVB.
There are three options for buying tickets for the metro, trams and buses:
- Buy separate tickets (before each journey – and validate the ticket as you enter the Amsterdam metro station, or board an Amsterdam tram or bus).
This is probably going to be the cheapest option if you only intend to use Amsterdam’s public transport one or two times during your Amsterdam visit;
- Buy a day, or multi-day travel pass, and just swipe it (to validate it) whenever you travel on either the metro, the trams, or the buses in Amsterdam;
Buy an “I amsterdam City Card“. As well as being valid on all public transport in central Amsterdam, the I amsterdam City Card also gives you free/discounted entry to over 70 museums and attractions, a canal cruise, bicycle rental – plus discounts at a variety of restaurants and shops throughout Amsterdam.
This is the easiest and most practical option (it’s also the most expensive option too though – but depending on how much of Amsterdam you plan to see during your visit, it might actually make financial sense as well).
Amsterdam Hotels / Amsterdam Hostels / Amsterdam Apartments
DoubleTree by Hilton
Amsterdam Centraal Station
Location, Location, Location….
Just a few minutes WALK from Amsterdam Centraal Station – THE Metro, Tram & Bus hub in central Amsterdam
Accessible Rooms Also Available
ibis Amsterdam Centre
Amsterdam Centraal Station
The perfect Amsterdam hotel if you are arriving on the Eurostar train from London
Any closer to Amsterdam Centraal Station – and you’d be on the tracks!
Accessible Rooms Also Available
The Flying Pig Downtown
Amsterdam City Centre
Situated in the real heart of Amsterdam
Just a few minutes WALK from Amsterdam Centraal Station in one direction, and a few minutes walk to Dam Square in the other
Dorms & Private Rooms Available
Accessible Amsterdam Hotels, Hostels & Apartments:
Finding a truly accessible hotel, hostel or apartment anywhere can be a bit of a nightmare.
But the accessibility filters on the Booking.com Amsterdam Hotel search (simply scroll down on the left), make it much easier.
There’s a wee trick though:
By default, the filters are a bit limited. So, ignore the filters initially, simply enter your desired dates, and make an initial search. You will then be presented with ALL properties that are available on your desired dates – and much more detailed filters (on the left – keep scrolling down until you see the “Property accessibility” and “Room accessibility” filters). NOW, filter the results as required. As I need step-free access & a roll-in shower as a minimum, I select BOTH of the “Wheelchair accessible” Property and “Roll-in shower” Room filters.
IMPORTANT: Always specify that you MUST have an accessible room, in the “Comments” during the hotel booking process.
DIY Walking Tours of Amsterdam
There are currently two different DIY Walking Tours of Amsterdam:
- Amsterdam Centraal DIY Walking Tour (circular walking route).
Points of Interest: Amsterdam Centraal Station > NEMO Science Museum > National Maritime Museum > Wertheimpark > Hortus Botanicus > Museum Rembrandthuis > Dam Square > Koninklijk Paleis (The Royal Palace) > Damrak > and back to Amsterdam Centraal Station;
- Amsterdam Museums DIY Walking Tour
Points of Interest: Heineken Experience > Rijksmuseum > Van Gogh Museum > Stedilijk Museum > Vondelpark > Blue Boat (Accessible Canal Cruise).
Both DIY Walking Tours of Amsterdam are completely accessible/step-free.
However, you may still experience some (a lot?) of obstacles.
Not the bikes speeding along the Amsterdam cycle paths though – but the multitude of bikes parked on pavements/all over the place in Amsterdam.
For full details of accessibility in Amsterdam, including an in-depth explanation of all accessible public transport in Amsterdam, see the Accessible Amsterdam Guide here.