Our guide to the best time to visit Amsterdam, including travel and packing tips for all seasons.
Amsterdam is a dynamic city with stunning indoors and outdoors areas. As such, it is a pleasure to visit any time of the year. However, Amsterdam knows four very distinctive seasons and depending on the experience of the city you would like to have, picking the correct one for your taste is important.
The best time to visit Amsterdam are the spring (April to June) and the fall (September and early October in particular).At this time, the temperatures tend to be mild, city life is is full swing and, in spring, you can enjoy the famous Dutch tulips, making their appearance as a colourful patchwork blanket over the city.
The best time to go to Amsterdam for cheap flights and accommodation is the winter and in particular the months between November and February, with the exception of Christmas and new years holidays.
The best time to visit Amsterdam for good weather is the summer, especially the month of July.
Here is more in details our guide to the best time to go to Amsterdam and what to expect each season.
Our guide to the best time to go to Amsterdam
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Best time to go to Amsterdam for tulips: spring
Spring is well known as one of the best times to visit Amsterdam. Spring officially starts in Amsterdam on the 21st of March and over the course of the three months of the season you can expect temperatures to grow steadily and go from wintery and gray to increasingly pleasant and dry.
Weather in the North of Europe is never guaranteed and you should always make contingency plans in case temperatures drop suddenly or rain strikes. However, as a general rule, spring usually explodes in Amsterdam at this time and you can expect a reasonable share of sunny days.
Spring is the time when the famous Dutch tulips are in bloom. During the month of April, blossoms permitting, the city celebrates the tulip festival and the city turns into an extravaganza of colours and flowers swaying in the breeze.
If you are visiting Amsterdam in spring, remember to:
Bring versatile clothes and choose layers: it is not unusual to find yourself in short sleeves at lunchtime and reach for a coat in the evening. If travelling light, we recommend a jumper, a mid season jacket and a scarf. Do bring an umbrella in case of rain.
Avoid King/Queen day: spring is the best time to visit Amsterdam under many respects but it is also the time when the city celebrates Kings’ day /Queens’ day. The day is a great celebration in the city and it is fun to attend: locals and tourists alike, weather permitting, take to the canals and you can expect music and drinking parties everywhere.
While this day can be fun, it can also be a bit of a nightmare in terms of crowds and accommodation often comes at a premium. If you are planning on going at this time, make sure you book well in advance. These are some of our favourite addresses:
Prinsenhuis (apartments): in a perfect location and with very reasonable prices, this is a rare find in Amsterdam and one to snatch if you have the option!
The bridge hotel Lovely and family friendly hotel in my favourite area of Amsterdam, central but not overcrowded.
Erik Vokel boutique apartments Beautiful, design apartments located in a quiet street close to the central station. While I usually avoid this area due to the crowds, it is exceptionally convenient for transport and access to some of Amsterdam’s main attractions. Family friendly.
t Hotel beautiful hotel in a great location with attentively decorated rooms, family friendly. Some room have an extra sitting area
Hotel Dwars Great little hotel with 9 well designed rooms in a fantastic location. Family friendly.
For a more comprehensive list, read also our guide to where to stay in Amsterdam.
Plan a trip to see the tulips: tulips can be seen in several locations both in Amsterdam and surrounding areas. In the city, they come in the form of potted plants and flowerbeds while outside of the city you have the iconic tulip fields you may have seen in so many photos.
A trip to see the flower fields can be easily done even with a short time in the city.
Buy skip the line tickets if visiting museums: Amsterdam is home to some of the most amazing museums in the world but they are very popular and the crowds can be insane. Do book tickets in advance especially for the Rijksmuseum and the Van Gogh museum.
Best time to go to Amsterdam for local feel: autumn
The months of September and October tend to be really pleasant in Amsterdam. At this time of the year the always unreliable Dutch weather has already turned to being chillier and wetter than during the summer but the city makes up for it with lots of events, great interiors and a great local vibe.
At this time of the year the city belongs mostly to the locals, you have thinner crowds and you can still be lucky and get some sunny days. This is a great time of the year to take a canal cruise (choose a closed roof one!), visit museums and take a bike ride in Amsterdam’s parks.
If visiting Amsterdam in the fall:
Dress for changeable weather, choose waterproof shoes and embrace layers.
Take the time to take a stroll or bike ride in Amsterdam’s parks: Amsterdam dresses in wonderful foliage in autumn and the reflection on the canals is magical
Keep an eye out for Museum Night and the several Film Festivals around town: Amsterdam has a busy cultural agenda that truly comes to life this time of the year.
Best time to go to Amsterdam for budget travellers: winter
The cheapest time to go to Amsterdam is the winter: at this time of the year the days are short, grey and often wet and this puts off many visitors, therefore reducing the cost of accommodation and flights.
Despite the less than ideal weather, I like Amsterdam in winter. The city has beautiful interiors and at this time it is easy to indulge in Amsterdam’s rich and diverse food scene.
Winter is also the time when Amsterdam dresses up for Christmas. The city looks magical during the festive season and the canals make its many lights and historical buildings sparkle even more thanks to their watery reflections.
However, Christmas is also one of the time of the years when most visitors flock to the city and this means the low prices I mentioned above do not apply to the holiday weeks and especially to New Years eve.
If visiting Amsterdam in winter:
Be prepared for cold and wet days: check out our packing list for Amsterdam in winter to know exactly what to expect and what to bring
Book a canal cruise to enjoy the city’s famous festival of lights: you can find our favourite here (excellent and reasonably priced)
Get ready for Christmas in Amsterdam’s markets and restaurants: check out our full guide to Amsterdam in December to see all the city has to offer at this time.
Best time to visit Amsterdam for chances of good weather: summer
I would have liked to title this post ‘best time to visit Amsterdam for good weather’ but to be honest: there is no such a thing as guaranteed good weather in Amsterdam.
Like in the rest of Northern Europe, the weather here is changeable and gray days are very possible even at the height of the summer season. However, there is no doubt that in summer you have a higher chance than any other time to get clear sky and when that happens the city flaunts a truly summery appearance.
On a good day in summer you can expect to be wearing short sleeves and sandals and if you have kids you can be guaranteed they will be splashing in the many city fountains, remarkably child friendly (if travelling with kids, check out our favourite things to do with children in Amsterdam here)!
If visiting Amsterdam in summer:
Dress for good weather but do bring layers in case of a drop in temperature
Take time to visit Amsterdam’s parks: many have outdoor summer festivals and cultural events for the whole family
Take a trip to Amsterdam Noord to enjoy some their hip, outdoor spaces
Book an open roof canal cruise such as this one
Prepare for crowds: advance booking for majour attractions and skip the line tickets when available are a must/ Check here for options for the Rijksmuseum, Van Gogh museum and the Anne Frank’s house, among the most popular with visitors.
I hope you found this guide to the best time to see Amsterdam useful. Don’t forget to also check out our favourite Amsterdam itinerary for first time visitors here. Safe travels!
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