Thalys is the railway company connecting four European countries – France, Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany. Thalys trains run at a speed of up to 300km/h and have three comfort classes on all services called – Standard, Comfort and Premium (equivalent to the First Class, with access to the Thalys Lounge). All Thalys trains have a car restaurant (called Thalys Welcome Bar) and a free WiFi connection.
Most of the train companies across Europe release their tickets around three to six months in advance, many of which can be cheaper the earlier you book. If you know the dates you want to travel, you may be able to find some cheaper train tickets from Paris to Amsterdam by booking early.§
Many of the train services in Europe are also popular commuter services, lots of train companies increase ticket prices during “peak hours” (generally between 06:00 – 10:00 and 15:00 – 19:00 on weekdays). If you can, consider travelling outside of peak hours to find lower priced tickets.
On some of the busier routes, you might also have the option to take a slower or connecting train. It may take a little longer than some high-speed or direct services, but if you have a little extra time on your hands, you might find a cheaper fare. Plus, you'll have more time to enjoy the view of the countryside!
For specific information about how to get your hands on cheap tickets, check out our European train tickets hub.
The average journey time between Paris and Amsterdam is 4 hours and 20 minutes and the fastest journey time is 3 hours and 17 minutes. On an average weekday, there are 31 trains per day travelling from Paris to Amsterdam. The journey time may be longer on weekends and holidays; use our journey planner on this page to search for a specific travel date.
The first train from Paris to Amsterdam departs at 06:08. The last train from Paris to Amsterdam departs at 21:19. Trains that depart in the early morning hours or very late evening may be sleeper services. Alternatively, some popular routes may run throughout the night at a reduced frequency. There may also be less services on weekends and holidays; use our journey planner on this page to search for a specific travel date.
Yes, it is possible to travel from Paris to Amsterdam without having to change trains. There are 9 direct trains from Paris to Amsterdam. Though there may be fewer direct services available depending on your exact departure date.
Travelling from Paris to Amsterdam is much easier and faster than we first thought it would be. Planning for a week in Europe starting in Paris and then heading further afield, Amsterdam became a serious option with Thalys high-speed trains taking around 3 hours 20 minutes to whisk us from Gare du Nord to Amsterdam Centraal. It seemed like a no-brainer, so off we went.
Thalys have 3 classes of travel onboard and we found out reservations were mandatory as this will guarantee a seat at time of booking. Whilst each class includes things such as WiFi, for a 3-hour trip we opted for the “Premium” ticket (or First Class to most travellers). Included in the price of the ticket is an at-seat hot meal service and drinks. Deciding to get two good full days in Amsterdam we opted for one of the early morning services and enjoyed breakfast on the train.
Gare du Nord is a hive of activity and there’s plenty at the station to keep you occupied, from cafes, shops or people watching. There’s always something going on here. We found the platform information easy to find as its displayed on the large screens around the station. Thalys trains are easy to spot as well, their deep red colour and slick styling means they stand out among all the other trains.
Before boarding at Gare du Nord its worth noting that there’s a small security check, although not long I’d recommend arriving at least 20 minutes before departure to give yourself enough time to pass security, board and get settled.
Once on-board the time begins to fly and as you gaze out the window as Paris passes you by before the countryside begins to surround you, and everything turns green.
As a direct train service to Amsterdam Centraal there was no need to change trains and only a few stops along the way. As you head north of Paris the first calling point was Lille, a brief stop and then on to Belgium and the capital, Brussels. Again, we’re soon flying along and heading into the Netherlands via Antwerp and Rotterdam. Rotterdam is a great place to see something a little unusual out of a train window. Just outside the station, Rotterdam Zoo straddles the railway on either side. Here we caught a glimpse of some of the animals living there and lots of storks nesting on top of telegraph poles.
In just over 3 hours 20 minutes we’re arriving at Amsterdam Centraal and you can’t help but notice the stunning Gothic meets Renaissance Revival architecture – look up as you walk out through the ticket hall, the ceilings are impressive! Before you head off down the canals and towards the heart of the city, consider heading across the lake on one of the free ferries. You will head across the IJ where you can get a truly panoramic view of Amsterdam and its surroundings from the viewing platform on top of A’DAM lookout.
Amsterdam is a terrific city and one we’ll return to in the future, hopefully by train!
Richard is one of our trusted, hand-picked travel writers. The information for this article was recorded first-hand, based on his own genuine experience of the journey.