Last Updated on November 27, 2023 by Lauren Allen
Looking for the best time to visit Amsterdam? Then you’re in luck! As a frequent visitor to the Dutch capital, I’ve experienced the city during spring, summer and autumn. If that wasn’t enough, I’ll be going on my first winter getaway to Amsterdam in just a few short weeks!
Over the years, I’ve really grown to love this popular European destination. Having visited for the first time for my twenty-first birthday, I didn’t return to the capital until a year ago. Since then, it’s become my second home and I’ll be visiting for the seventh time in December.
If you’re a first-time visitor, you may be wondering when to visit. Should you hit up the capital during tulip season or visit outside of peak times? Each month has its pros and cons when it comes to exploring Amsterdam and it can be hard to nail down a specific time of year.
In this post, I’ll share everything you need to know to make an informed decision. By the end of this guide, you’ll know exactly when you want to visit this bustling city and why. Let’s get to it!
Table of Contents
Best time to visit Amsterdam (from a frequent visitor)
In my personal opinion, the best time to visit the Dutch capital is spring. Although this is a busy time of year to explore the city (and the rest of the country), there’s a reason for that.
Tulip season runs from March to May and draws in millions of tourists each year. If you’ve ever explored the Netherlands at this time of year, you’ll totally understand why. Many flower fields across the country spring to life with colourful tulips and other beautiful florals.
Come mid-March, many of these fields open their doors for travellers and tourists hoping to catch a glimpse of the world-renowned flower gardens.
Keukenhof is the most visited, but there are many more in the local area. If you’re on the hunt for the best flower fields in the Netherlands, don’t miss De Tulperij, The Tulip Barn and The Tulip Experience.
Strolling around these incredible picture-perfect fields is one of those things you just need to do at least once. By visiting Amsterdam during spring, you have the chance to discover Keukenhof as well as a whole host of other tulip fields. What’s not to love?
Check out this post for a complete guide on the best time to visit Amsterdam (and beyond) for tulips.
Worst time to visit Amsterdam
Now you know the best time to explore the Dutch capital and beyond, but when should you avoid visiting?
While this very much depends on personal preference and your plans while in the city, the worst time to go is January. Not only is it the coldest month of the year, but the weather is typically grey and wet.
However, many people choose to skip Amsterdam in January so if you’d prefer to discover the city without the crowds, this is your chance! Plus, with so many museums to check out, there are plenty of indoor activities to keep you busy.
Read more: Amsterdam Travel Tips
Amsterdam in spring
We’ve already discussed why spring is the best time to hit up Amsterdam, but what if you’re not a fan of tulips? Luckily, there are plenty of reasons to visit the city between March and May.
With weather that’s pleasant yet not too hot, it’s a fab time of year for outdoor activities. From boat rides and botanical gardens to informative walking tours, you could spend days taking in the sights and sounds of the city.
Looking for something more thrilling? Then make your way to the A’DAM Lookout. After taking in panoramic views of the capital, face your fears by swinging over the edge on Europe’s largest swing. As scary as it sounds, it’s one of the most unique things to do on your Amsterdam getaway!
As if that wasn’t enough, countless events such as Open Tower Day and Kings Day are exciting reasons to visit this popular European country.
Amsterdam in summer
If you’re looking for the best weather, visiting Amsterdam in summer is your best bet. However, with weather as unpredictable as England, I won’t make any promises…
While my weekend adventure in June brought lots of sunshine, my two-week trip in August was full of rain and grey skies. Ultimately, packing for all types of weather is a must when travelling to the Netherlands.
Rain or shine, there are many reasons to visit the city at this time of year. Not only is the capital at its most lively, but it’s a great time of year to appreciate the famous canals. With a whole host of boat companies, you can tackle the water yourself or opt for a guided tour.
If you’re treated to nice weather, you should strongly consider an open boat tour. These give you the opportunity to take in some rays and explore the city from a different perspective.
After doing canal tours on all six of my trips to Amsterdam, it’s one of my favourite ways to pass some time. Especially with a glass of wine or bottle of Heineken in hand (wink wink).
In terms of events, many music festivals and events are held in the city during summer. Perhaps the biggest and most exciting is Amsterdam Pride.
Thousands of travellers from across the globe get together to celebrate love and the LGBQT2+ community. After personally experiencing Amsterdam during Pride, I can confirm it’s one of the best times to visit the Dutch capital.
As the Netherlands was the first country to legalise same-sex marriage, the city comes to life with an atmosphere like no other. Visiting the city at this time of year is like attending one big massive party!
Amsterdam in autumn
Planning a cosy getaway? Then Amsterdam is a great option for an autumnal city break. As the weather cools down and fewer tourists visit the city, you can experience a calmer side to the Dutch capital.
Visiting the city in September generally offers the best weather outside of peak season so that’s something to consider if you’re hoping to avoid rain.
Come October in Amsterdam, you can typically expect grey skies with the odd sunny day every now and then.
As autumn draws to a close in November, fewer people still head to the Dutch capital. As one of the quietest times to visit this popular destination, it’s worth considering to experience the city without heaps of other tourists.
On the odd sunny day, autumn is a lovely time to visit nearby destinations on day trips. For example, you may want to hop on a train towards Haarlem, Zaanse Schans or Zaandam to see a different side of the Netherlands beyond the capital city.
Like the rest of the year, there are many events worth checking out during autumn. Some of the most notable are the Amsterdam Dance Event, Museum Night and Amsterdam Light Festival.
Amsterdam in winter
If you’re unfazed by rain and unpredictable weather, visiting Amsterdam during winter is a great way to save some cash. At this time of year, accommodation is more affordable which makes the city cheaper to explore.
Outside of the festive period, you’ll also see fewer tourists which allows for a more relaxed experience.
Speaking of Christmas, the festivities typically start in November when Sinterklaas arrives in the Dutch capital.
Come mid-December, the city hosts Christmas-themed markets, ice rinks and winter wonderlands bursting with joyful cheer. Neary Haarlem is another fab place to celebrate this exciting time of year!
Planning a winter adventure outside of Christmas time? No worries! This is one of the best times to visit Amsterdam’s top museums as you can escape below-freezing temperatures in favour of world-class exhibitions.
Another great way to warm up after a day of exploring is to enjoy traditional Dutch food. While it’s (obviously) delicious at any time of year, it truly hits the spot during winter.
One place I can’t recommend enough is The Pantry. Serving up a selection of tasty Dutch dishes, this is without a doubt one of the best restaurants in Amsterdam.
After noticing a queue on my way to a cocktail bar (which is standard for me), I decided to stop and see what all the fuss was about. Wow, am I glad I did!
This cosy establishment serves some of the most delicious food in the city. From soothing stamppot to sweet mini pancakes, it’s a must-visit spot to sample local cuisine.
Located across town, Moeders is another popular restaurant that serves equally amazing food. Make sure you try at least one of these spots on your trip to the Dutch capital. Trust me, you won’t regret it!
Which month is best to visit Amsterdam?
If you’re looking for the best time to visit Amsterdam for tulips, mid-April is when most tulips are in peak bloom. This is a fab time to explore Keukenhof tulip gardens as you’ll see the attraction at its best.
Personally, I have a tradition where I spend my birthday abroad each year. As a lovely time to explore the Dutch capital, Amsterdam has been the chosen city not once, but twice!
On my most recent birthday, I celebrated with a day trip to Keukenhof to experience tulip season in the Netherlands for the first time.
Not only was it truly stunning, but the weather was perfect! Although you won’t always get lucky with the weather, sunny days aren’t a rarity in April.
April is also a great month to experience a slice of Dutch culture as Kings Day takes over the city towards the end of the month. With lots of celebrations, it’s one of the most atmospheric times to discover this European gem. Why not get involved?
FAQs about when to visit Amsterdam
The cheapest months to visit Amsterdam are November, January and February. During these months, accommodation is often much cheaper allowing for a more budget-friendly getaway.
Although the weather in Amsterdam is unpredictable at the best of times, April – September generally has the nicest weather. This time of year is more likely to see sunny days instead of downpours.
The coldest month in the Dutch capital is January. However, the city gets quite chilly from October onwards. Make sure you pack accordingly!
It can rain at any time of year in Amsterdam, even in the height of summer! However, rain is more common between the months of October and March.
Absolutely! Amsterdam is beautiful at any time of year. Although winter often brings gloomy weather and less daylight, the moody vibes bring a cosy atmosphere that’s perfect for exploring.
Ultimately, the best time to visit Amsterdam comes down to personal preference and what you want out of your adventure to the Dutch capital.
However, some of the best times to visit the city are between the months of March and September. Generally, this is when you’ll experience the nicest weather and most exciting events.
If you prefer to hit up popular cities outside of peak season, opt to visit in autumn or winter. While this typically means lower prices and fewer crowds, you should be prepared for rubbish weather.
At the end of the day, the choice is yours. Just consider what type of traveller you are, what you want out of your trip and what your personal budget is. That will help you make a well-informed decision that you won’t regret!
Has this post helped you plan your ideal getaway to Amsterdam? Then drop me a comment below!