Travelling to Groningen
If you are flying to the Netherlands then Amsterdam Airport (Schiphol) is probably the easiest option. From here you can easily catch a train directly from the Airport to Groningen. Ticket purchase and information on the train schedule can be found at www.ns.nl. In order to check the schedule look for a ticket from “Amsterdam Airport” (or "Schiphol") to "Groningen”. Be sure to buy a single journey ticket, as return tickets are only valid on the same day!
The travel time on the train is around 2.5 hrs from the airport to Groningen. Did you know that on your train ride between Schiphol and Groningen the train passes a unique nature reserve called the 'Oostvaardersplassen'? You can simply watch it from the train when you are travelling between Almere and Lelystad. Click here (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oostvaardersplassen) for more info. We recommend checking out the train schedule before you book your flight, because at night there are no trains driving from Amsterdam to Groningen. Similarly you should check the availability of trains to get you back to Amsterdam for your return flight. Furthermore, it is important to buy your train ticket before getting on the train. In the Netherlands paper train tickets are replaced by ov-chipcards. When you buy a ticket from the ticket machine, you will receive a paper ov-chipcard (there is a € 1 supplement charged).
The OV-chipcard is the public transport smartcard that is used as a ticket for all public transport in the Netherlands. With this card you must check in with each train operator through the gates or posts before getting on the train, and check out after leaving the train. Otherwise you will receive a fine. More information on the ov-chipcard can be found here.
In addition, it is important to know that not all ticket machines accept credit cards (though more and more do), but only cash or a debit card. Alternatively you can buy an e-ticket online from http://www.ns.nl/en/travellers/home and bring it with you. Either way please be aware that trains in the Netherlands do not have assigned seating. If you are unsure that you are on the right platform or the right train, please ask the ticket collector or people around you, they generally understand and speak English very well and will be happy to help you out.
Once you arrive at Groningen Central station there are buses available that can take you around the city, as well as a taxi stand. However Groningen is an extremely walkable city and you are likely also to be within easy walking distance of your accommodation. We recommend checking Google Maps before you come (search for the “Groningen Centraal Station” as a starting point) to get an idea of where you are headed, and if you want information on public transport options you can also use: www.9292ov.nl.
Some flights are available to Eindhoven Airport in the south of the Netherlands. In that case it is also relatively easy to get a train to Groningen, although a short bus ride to the Eindhoven train station is needed. Again 9292ov and the ns can help you plan these trips.
Another option is to fly into Bremen or Dusseldorf airport in Germany and then get a bus (3 hours) to Groningen. Flixbus offers bus connections from Germany to Groningen.
If you are coming from within Europe it is also usually possible to get an international train service to Groningen. In that case we recommend you check with your local international train provider, and be sure that you take into account the significant travel time that will be required.
Interior of the main railway station © Maarten de Waard