With a journey time of little over 3 hours, the Paris to Amsterdam direct rail route provides travellers with an easy way of visiting two of Europe’s most iconic cities in quick succession. Popular with everyone from young interailers embarking on a tour of the continent to business travellers, the route is extremely well served in terms of frequency, reliability and amenities. If you’re planning to make the trip, we’ve analysed the best train options below.
Direct trains from Paris to Amsterdam start at Gare du Nord railway station and terminate at Central Station in the heart of the Dutch capital, while there are also options to change in Brussels. The only train service that runs between the two cities is Thalys, a high-speed, cross-border train operator originally built around the LGV Nord line between Paris and Brussels. It runs several services throughout the day, ensuring that travellers are always likely to find one that meets their preferences.
Fitted with angular noses, Thalys trains have a futuristic appearance and while the on-board amenities aren’t quite out of a Sci-Fi movie, plenty of effort has been made to provide passengers with a comfortable ride. There’s a cafe-bar serving a range of drinks and snacks, plus free WiFi in all classes and power sockets for laptops and mobiles at all seats. 3G or 4G mobile data reception tends to work fine for the majority of the route. For parents with babies, there are changing facilities and designated family seating areas. Luggage can be stored on large racks near the train entrance doors, in the spaces between the seat backs, or on the overhead rack above your seat.
There are three classes of service to pick from: Standard, Comfort & Premium. The Standard service is essentially 2nd class while Comfort & Premium class are two versions of 1st class. The main differences between Comfort and Premium and that the latter comes with a meal and drink (acoholic or soft) included in the fare and served at your seat, as well as access to the Thalys lounge at Gare du Nord where you can relax ahead of your journey. Premium tickets are also 100% refundable, and changes to your booking can be made with no fee. In terms of seating configurations, both Comfort and Premium carriages include face-to-face tables-for-two, known as Club Duo.
Currently Thalys is running a reduced service between Paris and Amsterdam. We will update this section when services return to normal.
Rates & How to book tickets
Tickets can be usually be booked up to 120 days ahead of your travel dates, although this window is sometimes reduced depending on the time of year. It’s always recommended to buy tickets in advance, as this is invariably cheaper than purchasing them at the station. Rates start at around €60 ($73) for Standard seating, rising up to €155 ($202) for Comfort seating.
We recommend booking tickets through Omio, a leading European train ticket comparison website guaranteed to find the cheapest available rate. The booking process is easy and takes just a couple of minutes, and you don’t even have to create an account either. Book your tickets at Omio.com.
Where to stay in Amsterdam on a budget
There are a huge amount of accommodation options in Amsterdam, with a large number of them situated within easy reach of Central Station. If you’re planning on arriving into Amsterdam by rail and would like to find a cheap place to stay that you can get to on foot from the station, we’ve picked out three that we’d recommend.
Located on the popular shopping street of Nieuwendijk, and under 5 minutes’ walk from Central Station, The Flying Pig Downtown youth hostel is an ideal choice for those seeking cheap but sociable accommodation in the city centre. The hostel has a choice of shared dormitories or private rooms, the latter equipped with a TV, fridge and en-suite bathroom. Elsewhere in the property there’s a bar and 24-hour front desk.
If you’re keen to save the pennies but would rather stay in a hotel than a hostel, then the two-star Budget Hotel Tourist Inn combines cheap rates with basic but convenient amenities. Situated a 9-minute walk from the station, the hotel features air-conditioned rooms with TVS and free WiFi spread across two adjoining buildings. A complimentary continental breakfast buffet is served each morning and there are also 4 internet-enabled computers available for use in the lobby area.
For a quirky mid-range option, the 3-star A-Train Hotel may well fit the bill. Positioned directly across the street from the station, you won’t need to worry about dragging your luggage too far at all, and there’s even a cosy breakfast lounge featuring train carriage-themed seating where guests can start the day with a hearty Dutch breakfast buffet. The hotel has a range of guest rooms, including business and family rooms, each decorated in bright colours and offering cable TV and free WiFi.