Rotterdam, NL 🇳🇱 to Le Havre, FR 🇫🇷 – 01 June 2019

Since we have been coming to Europe, we have found that the best way to get between the Netherlands and France, or vice versa, is to take the Thalys train. thalysEven though flight times between Amsterdam’s Schiphol airport and Paris’ Charles de Gaulle airport average about an hour, the extra time required for security, airport transfers between the cities and the airports, and the added cost of transportation make train travel our preferred method of travel. There is also a restaurant car on Thalys trains if you happen to get hungry during the trip.

From the time we left Rotterdam Centraal Station, 2 hours and 40 minutes later we reached Paris Gare du Nord, which is conveniently situated in downtown Paris and allows for easy transfers to the metro, RER, and commuter train service. Since we had a connecting train leaving from Paris Saint-Lazare station, we took the RER E one stop. We find that the RER network is better equipped to deal with people with luggage since there are elevators at each station, unlike the metro system with its endless winding staircases that have become the bane of tourists with luggage.

Rotterdam NL to Le Havre FR

While we waited for our connecting train at Paris Saint-Lazare station to Le Havre, we stopped for a drink at Starbucks. The train ride to Le Havre that day was marred by the lack of air conditioning in the train on an unseasonably hot day and by the extra hour of travel time due to weekend construction work on the rails. But after 3 hours of sitting in a hot, uncomfortable train, we made it to Le Havre, our home for the next 6 weeks.





Public Transportation in the Netherlands

Public Transportation in the Netherlands

In addition to the trains, many people use trams and buses to get around the Netherlands. Trams can be found in the main cities, and buses travel all over the country. This post covers the public transportation options in the cities we have visited over the past 2 years.

In Amsterdam, a company called GVB is responsible for tram, metro, and bus tickets. There are four ticket offices located at main stations in Amsterdam—Amsterdam Centraal, Bijlmer ArenA, Lelylaan, and Zuid—where you can purchase tickets and get route maps and timetables. Be advised that GVB’s website states there is a 0,50 charge for counter transactions. You can also purchase tickets at many shops throughout the city; check the GVB website for a full listing. In addition, some, but not all, tickets can be bought on the tram or bus itself. Another option for travel in and around Amsterdam on GVB-operated transport is the I Amsterdam city card, which allows unlimited travel for 24, 48, or 72 hours.

Tickets for public transportation in Amsterdam come in a variety of forms to meet the needs of residents and tourists alike. You can get a ticket that is valid for 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, or 7 consecutive days. GVB ticket offices and service centers sell all variations, including children’s day tickets. The GVB webshop and automatic ticket machines sell 1, 2, 3, or 4 day tickets. If you wait to purchase your tickets on the tram, tram personnel only sell 1 or 2 day tickets and children’s day tickets. If you happen to have an OV-chip card (discussed here), these are also valid on Amsterdam’s trams, buses, and metros. As for the ferries that leave from behind Amsterdam Centraal, these are free to all.

In Rotterdam, the trams, buses, and metros are run by a company called RET (Rotterdamse Elektrische Tram). RET sells 1, 2, or 3 day travel cards, valid for all three methods of transport. These are only available at metro stations, RET sales points, and information desks. Rotterdam also has its own Rotterdam Welcome Card which gives you unlimited public transportation for 1, 2, or 3 days, as well as savings on local attractions, museums, restaurants, and clubs. If you wait to buy your ticket on the tram or bus, you can only purchase a 1-hour ticket from the driver.

In Den Haag, HTM runs the public transportation for the city and the surrounding suburbs, including Delft. Like in other cities, if you have an OV-chip card, this is the easiest way to travel in Den Haag. HTM also sells 1-hour and 1 day passes for adults and children.

There are, of course, single tickets available from all of these companies. If you are renting a car or a bicycle, these may be the best option for you if you aren’t using public transport often. All day tickets in the Netherlands end at the end of the day, usually around 12:30am, and are not valid for any nighttime bus service.

If you don’t want to take the train between the main cities or if you want to travel to a city not serviced by trams, metros, or city buses, there are other bus companies that will get you where you’re going. Arriva, Connexxion, and Veolia Transport are other bus companies that service small towns and offer city to city transport.