At The Station

The bigger stations like Amsterdam Centraal and Utrecht Centraal will have the facilities listed below. Remember not all stations will have these facilities:

1. Toilets: WC or Toiletten. You will typically have to pay 50 cents. In many stations there is a bathroom attendant who can give you change but many of the newer stations have a coin operated entry - correct change only! You may also find a 2theloo stop if you are lucky!

2. Lockers: I wrote a full post on prices and availability here. Usually self-service.

3. Banking. You can usually find at the least an ATM (Geldautomaat in Dutch) in or near the station. Bigger stations will have a GWK Travelex which offers currency  exchange, money withdrawal (using credit card, cheque or debit card) and in some cases advance ticket sales for big events.

4. Photo Booths and Vending Machines
Not a whole lot I can say to this expect if you are lucky you will find a phone recharging vending machine - but usually just photos and snacks!

5.Shops. I mentioned a few shops in my post shops at the stations, but they can vary depending on the station. Larger stations are likely to always have a flower shop, shoe repair, book store, stationary/card store, a tobacco shop and sometimes clothes shops such as this underwear store called Jambelle. The typical chains such as HEMALa Place , KIOSK  will appear form time to time . Of course there are plenty of opportunities to get food at New York Pizza or the Doner Company or a coffee . The happiness station is always popular in summer too!

6. OV Service Points also known as the public transport service shop is a location where travelers can go if they have questions about trains, buses, trams subway or ferry travel. If you have a problem with your OV-card this is the place to go! The new point in Amsterdam central station is quite nice!To find the nearest service point to your location check the OV service point location finder here.

7.  Ticket Desks
Besides the train ticket desk and the international train ticket desk you can usually find ticket points for the bus/metro company

8. NS Information Booth
Can be seen by their yellow and blue NS colours - the staff there DO NOT SELL tickets just give advice. They can be very helpful as they have the NS train timetable APP with them to look up all the departures and can help you find your platform if you are lost! You can also see timetables on the walls 

9. Bike Rental/Bike shed/Parking
Many stations now offer the OV rental bike. I will write a full post on these soon it is cheap but there are a few conditions worth knowking about! 

As I was checking out the facilities I kept an eye out for phone chargers and/or phone booths. I see a lack of both - or they may be well hidden but this is something that travellers need a lot and I think these services should be readily available!


ULTIMATE Station Coffee Taste Test

There is nothing better than chilling with a coffee when on the train. If I have to go to work then it is my little reward for being up so early in winter keeps me nice and warm on the platform and if I am going on a long trip it’s purely to keep me alert and my usual happy self! Most main train stations in Holland have these 6 main coffee shops...... So here are the results of the ULTIMATE station coffee taste test:

Kiosk €2.00
Kiosk Coffee
The price is quite high for what I find is a bitter and scorching hot coffee. The plus side is it is quite a large coffee so you get a lot of coffee for your €2.00. Better as a hand warmer in the colder days by the platform! You can get an extra strong version for €2.70. Result:4/10

Burger King €1.75
Burger King CoffeeMy god how does Burger King still survive? It takes so long to get served there. Can't they just use the McDonalds system? Anyway I eventually got my coffee and it was not as bad as I expected. It came from a machine but I didn't taste real bean coffee '100% Arabica' taste. I actually think it was more drinkable than the kiosk coffee. Don't go there for a coffee if you are in a rush! Result: 5/10

Starbucks Filter Coffee (€2.35) Americano (€2.65)
My usual purchase at Starbucks is a Cappuccino/Latte or Flat white. I do think their Flat whites are the nice. Their Cappuccuino/latte are a little weak and sometimes it feels like drinking warm milk. But for comparison reasons I tried the Americano for the taste test challenge. Nice flavour, bold rich and a lovely warm smell. If the queue is not too big then worth the extra cost.  If you want to sit and relax it might not be the best atmosphere at the station as it can be somewhat busy.  Result: 6.5/10

De Broodzaak €2.70
De Broodzaak Koffie
Not a bad way to start your day and the coffee is strong enough to wake you up in the morning. I found the quality varies day to day - sometimes a bitter burnt taste and sometimes it's too weak in the same way that a Starbucks coffee can be too weak. Considering there are many other options at the station it is a bit expensive for the quality. Result: 6/10

Albert Heijn to Go €1.50
Albert Heijn2Go

The good thing about this is its super-fast. You make it yourself from the machine and can pay at the automatic terminal or simply insert a coin for the coffee. You can choose Soya or regular milk if adding milk so be careful to choose correct coffee machine! The have loyalty cards but as it is self-service it is difficult to know how that is supposed to be stamped? The flavour is not great and the coffee is a bit weak- slightly better than the Kiosk and a lot cheaper. If you are in a hurry it is the best option due to ease of preparation.  Result: 6.5/10

Julias €2.50

Julia's Cafe
This cafe is popular and always looks busy - but in my experience the queue moves so fast and the staff are very efficient. The price is a little high but not the most expensive at the station and if you get a deal (like the morning deal - coffee and croissant for €2,95) its cheapest at station! In my opinion they have the best coffee. It's the perfect temperature it smells so good and it has a very smooth taste that makes you want more - only one size but it is the perfect cuppa to get you on your way! Result: 8/10