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Travel tip: Not everybody in the Netherlands wears clogs and smokes weed.

Flights from South Africa to Amsterdam

Cheap Flights to Amsterdam, Netherlands

A KLM flight from Johannesburg to Amsterdam takes about 11 hours, and Cape Town to Amsterdam about 12 hours. KLM is the only airline operateing direct flights between South Africa & the Netherlands, but often the 1-stop flights with other airlines are cheaper.

Use the flight price comparison tool on the left to compare airline prices and book the cheapest flight to Amsterdam. Then use our travel vouchers to further discount your airfare! We give away travel vouchers to anybody who emails us a write-up of their trip to Amsterdam (or anywhere else).

Visa Requirements

The Netherlands is a Schengen country, as such a Schengen visa will be required to visit it for short stays.


May 2013. Passengers vote Amsterdam Schipol Airport as being the best in the Europe, and the 3rd best in the world (after Singapore Changi and Incheon International Airport).

Flight routes & airlines

Johannesburg to Amsterdam
Cape Town to Amsterdam

Depart from O.R. Tambo International Airport
Arrive in Amsterdam Schipol Airport

Depart from Cape Town International Airport
Arrive in Amsterdam Schipol Airport

Direct flights to Amsterdam with KLM

Direct flights to Amsterdam with KLM

Indirect flights to Amsterdam with Emirates , British Airways, Air France, Egyptair, Kenya Airways, Lufthansa Johannesburg, Qatar Airways, SAA, Swiss, Turkish Airlines & Virgin Atlantic Airways.

Indirect flights to Amsterdam with Emirates , British Airways, Air France, Egyptair, Lufthansa, Qatar Airways, SAA, Turkish Airlines & Virgin Atlantic.

11 hours travel time for direct flights
13 to 18 hours travel time for 1-stop flights

12 hours travel time for direct flights
16 to 20 hours travel time for indirect flights

8986km as the crow flies

9652km as the crow flies

Johannesburg to Amsterdam flight path

Flights specials

Unless it's the morning of the date of the special, it's likely to have changed.

  • 15 May 2013. We surveyed flights to Amsterdam, and as part of an Emirates sale you could fly from Johannesburg to Amsterdam from R6107*, and Cape Town to Amsterdam from R7327*

*very limited availability.

Amsterdam hotels

If you're looking for alcohol fueled parties, then try the Flying Pig Hostel. For good value try the Amsterdam Cribs or the Eelhouse B&B. For pure luxury try the Banks Mansion. For family accommodation try the Hotel Fita.

Top 5 things to do in Amsterdam

  1. Canal cruise, e.g. on The Canal Bus

  2. Visit the churches - Oude Kerk, Nieuwe Kerk, Noorderkerk, Westerkerk & Zuiderkerk

  3. Museums - Anne Frank House, Rijksmuseum & Van Gogh Museum

  4. See the Tulips at Keukenhof

  5. Rent a bicycle & explore the city the way the locals do

Transport in Amsterdam

Use the trams, trains (get a Public Transport chip card, available from vending machines in metro stations, most useful are the tickets which allow unlimited travel over a selected number of hours), walk or cycle like most of the Dutch do.

Difference between the Netherlands and Holland

The Netherlands is divided into 12 provinces: Friesland, Groningen, Drenthe, Flevoland, Overijssel, Gelderland, Utrecht, Limburg, North Brabant, Zeeland, South Holland and North Holland (hence the confusion with Holland).

Amsterdam weather

Here's the historic weather patterns in Amsterdam:














Average °C













Rainfall mm













If you don't like rainfall, then April's historically been the best month to visit Amsterdam. If you like it warm, then July and August are best.

Map of Amsterdam with airport pinpointed


Schipol Amsterdam Airport

A frequent traveller told us that the three things she likes most about Schiphol Amsterdam Airport are that (1) it is easy to “navigate” – the buildings and layout are designed with Dutch practicality and efficiency, (2) it is easy to connect to trains, taxis, buses and even bicycles, and (3) – an unexpected attribute – the chairs are great to sleep on at 3am in the morning! But there’s more.   Schiphol Amsterdam Airport is built to make the traveller’s life easy in every way it can, despite the fact that it has one of the highest throughputs of passengers and cargo in the world.   The many modern self-service features are a huge plus, as is the service supplied by airport officials and contractors.

  • Getting to and from the Airport

By car: The route to and from the airport is easy - clearly signposted on the A4 and A9 freeways. The airport is about 20 minutes away from the centre of Amsterdam, and lies to the southwest of the city.

  • Car rental:  Most large car rental companies are available in the Schiphol Plaza at the airport and include Budget, Avis, Hertz, National Car Rental, Sixt and Europcar

  • By train:  There are six railway platforms just below the airport – so convenient! You can travel quickly on Nederlandse Spoorwegen from here into the heart of Amsterdam in 15 minutes, or catch trains to other centres in the Netherlands, or connect to express trains to destinations in Europe.  You can book in advance, either on the Schiphol Amsterdam Airport website or at the yellow ticket vending machines at the airport.  There is also a night train which leaves every hour throughout the night to local destinations, and the express Fyra  or NS Highspeed which will rocket you to the city centres of Amsterdam, Rotterdam and Breda.

  • By taxi: You can book a taxi for a group, an individual or a business person via the Airport’s Travel Taxis.  There is also an e-business Taxi, which is electrically operated and offers wifi connections.  Good for short trips! Book online via the airport website:

  • By bus: There is a wide network of bus services to and from Schiphol Airport.  Most of them are run by Schiphol Sternet and include express services (such as Zuidtangent and Interliner), services to other parts of Holland and services further abroad.  You will find all buses in front of the Schiphol Plaza, in front of the Arrival and Departure halls   For further information on public transport, call +31 (0)900 – 9292.

  • By Bicycle:  There are special cycle tracks to and from Schiphol Airport, and a scenic circuit around the terminal buildings.  So if you want to try the healthy way to get in and out of the airport...
Airport Layout

The hub of the airport is the Schiphol Plaza, from which the three Departure and four Arrivals terminals branch out.  “Piers” or walkways are attached to all these halls, and you can walk between the various piers, except for the economy “M” pier, which is separate from the other areas once you have passed through security.  Departure Hall 1 is a “Shengen” hall, containing Piers B and C.   Departure Hall 2 contains Piers D and E.  Pier D is divided to cater for Schengen and non-Schengen flights, and Pier E is for non-Schengen destinations.    Departure Hall 3 is for Piers F, G and H (non-Shengen) and M (Shengen).

Schiphol Plaza contains all the shops, banks, restaurants etc that you could want, and is open as a shopping centre for both travellers and the general public.  There are several viewing platforms, one of the most popular being the Panoramaterras  (Panorama Terrace) located on the top of the building.  Both travellers (except those in transit) and the public can enter this area free of charge.

Drop off/Pick up zones

If you just want to drop off or pick up a traveller without parking, you can do so just outside the Arrivals and Departures halls.   If you are dropping someone off, take exit from the A4 highway, and follow the signs to one of the three departure terminals.   There are clear signs which tell you which airline is departing from which terminal.   If you are picking someone up, follow the signs to the Arrivals Halls and collect your visitor at once.  No parking is allowed in either of these zones – expect a big fine if you do!

  • Parking:  There are several types of parking available, to suit your duration of stay.  

  • Short-Stop Parking (P6): You might just want to stop briefly and not enter the Arrivals Hall, in which case use the short-term parking area (P6) right in front of the Arrivals Hall under the big video screen. The first 15 minutes are free and you pay €2 for every 13 minutes thereafter. (Note that if you come into the short-stop parking area twice on one day, the 15 minutes free parking falls away on the second trip).  

  • Visitors Parking (P1 and P2): Here you can park a bit longer – there is no free parking and each batch of 13 minutes costs €1. 

  • Park and Travel 3 (P3 and P4)/Smart Parking (P3 and P4):  If you are going away for 3 days or longer, you can park in Schiphol’s long-term parking area. You can book ahead (at least 24 hours before your flight) but it isn’t essential as there is plenty of space. However, you do get a small discount if you book in advance.   The parking areas are fully secured at all times, there are convenient places to wait until you can catch the free shuttle which will take you to and from the airport terminals.  The shuttle runs at 10 minute intervals, night and day, and when you arrive back at Schiphol, it can be found in front of the Plaza at Bus Stop P3/P4.  For Smart Parking, book a week in advance to be sure to get cheaper rates and assured parking in the area.

  • Valet Parking

Stop at the Deprature Hall and then drop off your keys at the Valet Parking counter between Departure Halls 2 and 3.  Your car will be moved to a secure parking facility.

  • Holiday Valet Parking (P6) – this is a temporary service only available for the May holidays, and only if you are going away for 4 days or more.  Go into P6 (Short-term parking) and almost immediately you will see the Holiday Valet Parking counter, where you can hand in your car keys and collect your ticket. Your car will be delivered to you when you return.

  • Excellence Parking (Next to Departure Hall 3): This is a prestige parking area where access is only by credit card or by a parking pass, obtained by booking ahead or via a subscription.

  • Privium Plus Parking:  Privium Plus members get specially reserved parking spots in P1,P2, P3 and P4.

  • Meeting Point:  There is a large, Lego-like construction of red and white bricks in the middle of the Schiphol Plaza, near the railway stations.  This construction provides a conspicuous place to meet and you can sit on one of the blocks while you wait!  

  • Sms display:  You can send an sms to the person you are meeting – just text Meet + the person’s name to 5030 and the text will appear on a big screen at the Meeting Point.  You can also leave messages here if you wish.

  • Communications:  There is one hour’s free WiFi access at the airport, and you can find internet and telephone access at all times.  Assistance is on hand if there are any problems with connectivity.

  • Shopping:  Think of Schiphol Airport as a large mall with almost every shop you can choose from.  The shops are open to the public and include all the large retail chains as well as boutique stores.   All shops are open 7 days a week from an hour and a half before the first flight of the day leaves, until half an hour before the last flight departs.  A great shopping experience for both travellers and the public!   If you are travelling within the EU, you can make use of the “shop and collect” service – i.e. you can let the teller in the store where you buy your goods that you wish to leave your purchases at the airport.  The goods will be packed and kept for you until your return, and can be collected at the Shop and Collect counter at any time of the day or night.  The collections counter is between Arrival Halls 1 and 2, clearly marked from Kelderplein.

  • Wining and Dining:   There are nearly 30 food and beverage outlets both before and after passport control, from easy burger dens, coffee shops, sandwich and juice bars to fine dining establishments and purveyors of local cuisine.  Restaurants are open at different times – some 24/7, but others not, so it’s best to check whether your preferred eating place is open before you plan a day or evening out!

  • Departures and Arrivals

  • When you leave:  Make sure you arrive well in time for your flight.   You should be there at least 2 hours before your flight is called for destinations in Europe and at least 3 hours before your flight is called for international flights. You can check in online beforehand or you can do a self-service check in at the computer terminals near the airline counters, or you can check in at your carrier’s desk at the airport.  Make sure you have your ticket and boarding pass handy.   You and your luggage will then undergo a security check.  Make sure you comply with the rules regarding liquids, sprays, sharp items, medicines, etc in your hand luggage.  There is an “odd-size” baggage counter in all departure halls for those bubble-wrapped giraffes, bicycles, cellos, surfboards etc.

  • When you arrive:  Follow the signs either to “Baggage Hall” or “Arrivals Hall” where you will find passport control.  After passport control you will go to the baggage hall on the ground floor to collect your luggage, and then through customs and a security check.  If you have nothing to declare you can go down the green passage to the arrivals hall.  Here you will find the main way out and the railway platforms.

  • Transfer desks

You can make use of the transfer desks to arrange your next flight or to find other forms of transport.

  • Baggage

  • You can buy a bicycle package to pack your bike in at the airport.  The packaging can be used more than once, they say.

  • Lost luggage: If you lose your luggage before you go through passport control, you can let an information desk know, and fill in a form to describe the contents of your luggage.  If you lose it after passport control, you can contact the customer contact centre on +31-207940800.  Every effort will be made to find your belongings.

  • Storing luggage: There are luggage lockers available to store baggage up to 7 days.

  • Wrapping service: You can have your baggage sealed in foil.

  • People with disabilities

  • You can use an airport wheelchair from P1 or P2 for a small refundable deposit

  • People with hearing problems can use the hearing loops at the info and transfer counters – hearing aids should be used on the T setting.

  • Axxicom Airport Caddy will assist you to get you from your car/bus/taxi/train to your flight.  Give them 24 hours notice if you need them.

  • There are lifts between the various floors at the airport, particularly from the trains to the Schiphol Plaza.

  • Parking for the disabled is available in P1, P2 and P3.

  • A travel clinic (in Departure Hall 2) and pharmacies are available.

  • Business facilities

  • There are conference facilities, business lounges, money services and guest assistance available to business people at Schiphol.  For information see the business services section of the Schipol Amsterdam Airport website.

  • Hotels

The following hotels are right at the airport, and can be booked directly from the Schiphol Amsterdam Airport website:

  • Hilton Amsterdam Airport Schiphol

  • CitizenM Amsterdam Airport Schiphol

  • Sheraton Amsterdam Airport Schiphol

There are several other hotels very close to the airport.


  • Schiphol is a no-smoking airport

  • Schiphol loosely means “ships’ cemetery”!

  • Did you know that you can arrange to get married at Schiphol – should be all “plane” sailing after that!

  • In April this year, Schiphol Amsterdam Airport was named (for the second time) as Europe’s best airport for passenger experiences and it has gone up to No. 3 in the world rankings!

  • Did you know that Schiphol has an aviation museum, a library and a mortuary!

Road trip

Forgetting about the difficulty of getting visas, and the dangers that lurk on this route, here's a map for a road trip from Cape Town to Amsterdam.

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