One of Europe’s finest gems, Amsterdam is known for its windmills, tulips and its healthy relationship with cheese. While the tulips might not be blooming in every season, there’s no bad time of year to take a trip to The Netherlands’ capital.
From lounging in quirky coffee shops to racing round world-famous museums, you’re never short of things to pack into a weekend in Amsterdam, whatever the weather.
Take a trip in spring
It could be argued that spring is the best time to visit Amsterdam. With tulips in full bloom, you can’t turn a corner without seeing petals in some form or other. While April showers might be playing on your mind, statistically this is the driest month of the year, perfect for taking to two wheels. This is arguably the best way to see this city, following carved out cycle trails which take you straight to the sprawling parks, unique markets and Amsterdam’s notorious open-air theatre.
If festivals are your thing, spring really is the time to visit this city. Amsterdam hosts over 300 festivals per year and spring is when things really kick off. Film, music and foodie events take place almost every weekend throughout April and May; the 2020 event guide provides an overview of festivals taking place throughout the year.
Summer in the city
Amsterdam really comes alive in summer. You’ll find the months of June, July and August to be absolutely buzzing in this city, with the waft of open-air barbecues filling the streets and canals lined with sightseeing boats. Continuing the festival vibes from spring, dance festivals and carnivals break out across the city in the summer months. Amsterdam is one of the most inclusive places you can visit, it warmly welcomes people from all walks of life and is transformed into a rainbow paradise in summer to support LGBT rights.
From May to September Vondelpark’s open-air theatre comes alive with dance, music and cabaret performances. It’s totally free to spectate and children’s events also take place at the theatre. If you’re more of a beachgoer, Amsterdam can actually provide a great beach getaway too. Only half an hour from the busy city centre you’ll find popular beach resorts including Bloemendaal aan Zee and Zandvoort aan Zee. Here you’ll find golden beaches to bathe on and water-sports to immerse yourself in.
Plan an autumnal getaway
One of the prettiest times of year, September to November sees Amsterdam bathed in golden leaves from the 400,000 trees which line the canals. It’s also the time of year when the best Dutch treats begin to make their way back onto menus. Enjoy hot apple pie, warming hot chocolate and oozing cheese fondue as the outside temperature begins to plummet.
You can dance the night away if you choose to visit in October when Amsterdam becomes the dance capital of the world. Famous for its dance event, over 120 venues take part from pop up bars to all-night clubs. If you go to Amsterdam to experience the world-famous culture, than November is definitely the month to visit. Museum night sees museums across the city open their doors after dark welcoming visitors to concerts, workshops and special tours. One ticket gains you access to over 50 museums, there’s always plenty of food and drink on offer and doors don’t tend to close until around 2am.
Enjoy a winter weekend in Amsterdam
One of the most magical times of year, Amsterdam is transformed into a fairy-tale scene in the winter months. If you’re lucky enough to see snow you’ll notice the narrow houses depict the perfect Christmas card scene with their quaint windows dusted in the white stuff. Although it’s the darkest time of year, Amsterdam will be alive with light. The annual Amsterdam Light Festival sees landmarks, canals and streets bathed in illusions.
Gazellig (pronounced he-zell-ick) is the word of this season. It’s when everything becomes cosy and homely across the city, as the cold, dark nights draw in and the city is bathed in warm lighting. The winter markets begin to pop up around November as Christmas in the city begins to get underway. Here you’ll find lovingly prepared local food and gifts in unique locations across the city.
If you’re really lucky and the conditions are just right, the canals can be blocked off to form some of the world’s most beautiful ice rinks. Pack a warm hat and scarf and be prepared to don your skates to experience Amsterdam on ice.