How to get a cheap Dutch train ticket: 7 handy tips

Choo choo — all aboard for some fabulous deals! 🚆

We can hear you asking this question from all the way over there: do cheap Dutch train tickets exist? Well, yes! There are plenty of options, you just need to know where to look.

The NS might have a bad reputation for hiking train prices, but there are surefire ways to find great train ticket deals. And the cherry on top? You’ll often know the price of our journey well in advance.

If you’re keen as a been to start saving some serious cash on your rail journeys, this cheap Dutch train ticket guide will have you snatching up those handy deals right away! 🤑

1. Opt for day tickets (dagkaarten)

Something that I have always done is buy NS day tickets from supermarkets and other high street shops. A few times a year, shops such as Kruidvat, Xenos, Blokker, Hema, and Albert Heijn sell discounted train tickets.

The best thing to do is to check their websites every once in a while, or in the shop window if you happen to be walking past. Found one you like? Hoera, it’s time to buy these tickets in bulk!

However, do remember to read the terms and conditions, as I’ve found that discounted day tickets are often restricted to off-peak hours or on the weekends.

Do you need a bit of extra help sourcing some great deals? This useful website offers an overview of all running discounted train tickets offered by different shops and stores! 🙌

Unfortunately, the information is only offered in Dutch, but if you scroll down you can see the discounted prices per person on the right-hand side.

2. Check out an advantage card (AKA Dal Voordeel)

This is available to people who have an OV chipkaart, which you can get online or at any NS info counter for €7.50.

Tip: Owning an OV chipkaart is cheaper if you use public transport regularly in the Netherlands because you don’t need to pay a euro every time for the print-out tickets.

To get this ‘advantage card’ deal, you can pay €67.20 per year or €5.60 per month for a subscription. In return, you get a generous 40% off train prices to any destination in the Netherlands.

Of course, it’s important to read the fine print, as this deal is only valid at off-peak times, so you cannot travel with the discount between 6:30 AM to 9:00 AM, and 4:00 PM to 6:30 PM.

If you want a peak-times discount card (20% off during rush hour), you’ll have to pay a little more per month: €26.70. However, it’s still much cheaper than without a discount!

personal-and-anonymous-ov-chip-cards-make-getting-a-cheap-dutch-train-ticket-even-easier
They come in not one, but two colours! Image: Samantha Dixon/Supplied

Another great thing with the advantage card is that you can take up to three friends with you. You just load the discount onto their OV chipkaarten and they all get the same discount! How kind of you, NS.

3. Grab a group ticket (Groepsticket)

For only €7.15 per person, up to seven passengers travelling together to the same destination off-peak can get a ticket to anywhere in the Netherlands.

Basically, the more people that you gather to travel with you (or the more friends you have! 😉), the cheaper it becomes.

Here’s a breakdown of the prices as an example, so you can easily see how cheap it really is:

  • Four people = € 9.50 per person
  • Five people = €8.40 per person
  • Six people = €7.67 per person
  • Seven people = €7.15 per person

You can easily order the Groepsticket online, and each person will receive their own personalised ticket. Easy, right?

4. Scour discount websites for cheap Dutch train ticket deals

Another way to get cheap ticket deals is to check the Spoordeelwinkel section of the NS website, which contains new deals every month. These Dutch train ticket deals are linked to specific destinations, such as cities, hotels, or amusement parks.

They also have great tickets for you tourists out there. 🧳

woman-boarding-yellow-and-blue-ns-train-with-cheap-dutch-train-ticket
And off we go to bigger and better things. Or, in the case of the Netherlands, smaller and flatter things. Image: Depositphotos.

Occasionally, you can get deals for tourist attractions where you can get transport bundled with a hotel, entry fee, or meal fee paid for in one — so remember to keep checking the site!

5. Buy tickets for your kids, pets — and even your bike

Forget about leaving little Fluffy, your 3 screaming children, or your beloved Dutch bike at home. The NS offers special tickets for all three! 👇

Doggy day ticket

You can buy a day dog ticket for just €3.30 but small dogs and other small animals get to travel for free (wat mooi!). So it’s probably best not to overfeed your pet if you want a free ride. 😂

You can load this onto your OV chipkaart or with a disposable single-use card.

Children’s ticket

If your kids are tagging along with you, the fab news is that they can travel for free — provided they have their own OV chip cards (€7.50).

Oh, and what if their friends are joining in on the fun? Well, the price stays the same: free!

Of course, some requirements do apply, such as the children involved being between the ages of 4 to 11 and accompanied by someone over the age of 12.

If that sounds like something beneficial for you and your nearest and dearest, don’t forget to purchase the Kids Vrij discount! (You “purchase” it for €0.)

Bike ticket

Ja hoor, you can even take your beloved fiets on the train for €7.50 per day.

Close-up-of-bike-wheels-lined-up-in-racks-in-the-netherlands
With the bike train ticket, you don’t have to leave your favourite omafiets behind. Image: Depositphotos.

This ticket is only valid during off-peak hours, but it doesn’t matter how long your journey is, it’s still the same price. That way you will never have to part with your bike ever again.

READ MORE | Don’t pay full price! Buy train tickets the Dutch way.

Just load this onto your OV chipkaart or buy a disposable single-use card.

6. Snap up some international discount cards

So, maybe you want a change of scenery from the Netherlands and are looking to explore something new for the day. The good news is, if you have an OV chipkaart, you can travel to Germany, Belgium, and beyond with a handy discount. 🗺️

With an Interrail ticket, for example, you can get a discount of up to 25% on European rail travel.

If you’re determined to do a round trip of Europe during the summer, opting for a €185 Global Pass will give you access to a whopping 33 European countries for a flexible time period that you can set.

Meanwhile, the €51 One Country Pass will give you unlimited access to the rail network to a European country of your choice. Prima!

7. Browse the NS site

Admittedly, the NS deals aren’t always as good as some of the other deals out there. However, from time to time, the NS does advertise some pretty cool deals on their site.

These are mainly city trip deals to other countries, but who wouldn’t like a little day trip to Brussels or Paris this summer? ⛲️

In addition to this, buying a ticket at least four days before your trip will score you a generous 20% discount for rail journeys between Monday and Thursday — and a 10% discount on weekends. It really does ‘pay’ to be an early bird! 😉

What’s the best deal you’ve got on Dutch transport? Let us know in the comments!

Feature Image:Freepik
Emma Brown
Emma Brown
A familiar face at DutchRevew. Emma arrived in Holland in 2016 for a few weeks, fell in love with the place and never left. Here she rekindled her love of writing and travelling. Now you'll find her eating stroopwafels in the DutchReview office since 2017.

Liked it? Try these on for size:

What do you think?

12 COMMENTS

  1. The author forgets to mention that most if not all ns train tickets are etickets and can only be paid for using the iDEAL payment option. This is only available for people with a Dutch bank account.
    The ns is very unfriendly for foreigners without a dutch bank account, and I always feel robbed.

  2. You’d need a Dutch bank account for most (if not all) deals indeed. And a Dutch postal code (well, you can solve that one, of course). And if a local buys the ticket for you, they cannot send it to you (for example, by e-mail – you cannot put it in an attachment or forward via WhatsApp). So it only works if you have a local friend travelling with you (unless I missed something important). The local transportation system is really unkind to foreigners, but it’s a lovely country nevertheless 🙂

  3. In #6 you say “The good news is, if you have an advantage card (the card I mentioned at 1.)”
    The advantage card is in #2, not #1

    • Thanks for that – all changed! I didn’t notice and you’re the first person to bring it up, so cheers. 😀

  4. The bike ticket is only valid off-peak-hours and not as you claim all day. Hence during peak hours (07.30-09.00 and 16.30-18.30 weekdays) you are NOT allowed to take a non-foldable bike (folded completely) with you in the train with this ticket and you risk a fine.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Related posts

Latest posts

5 times The Simpsons made the Dutch say “d’oh!”

Oh, The Simpsons. The animated sitcom with its quirky yellow characters has been running since 1989 and is still going strong. Naturally, at various...

Why does everything in the Netherlands look the same?

Visitors to the Netherlands will probably be struck by a very specific element about this country. Things tend to look, well, quite the same. By...

The Dutch integration (inburgering) exam: the ultimate guide

If you need to take the Dutch inburgering (integration) exams, congrats! You’re about to go on a whirlwind adventure.  But fear not, young Dutchie-to-be: the...

It's happening

Upcoming events

The latest Dutch news.
In your inbox.