Amsterdam is a city that you can really visit any time of the year as it always has some kind of charm no matter what the weather is like. Each season offers a completely different experience, and major Amsterdam events run year-round, so there really is something to see whenever you visit.
This Amsterdam city guide will showcase some of the most exciting events and when to catch them, as well as explaining a bit about the varying Amsterdam weather. There is certainly no right or wrong when visiting Amsterdam, but what you want to see and do when you there is integral to making sure you have the best possible trip. So whatever time you’re planning on coming to this amazing city, this guide will allow you to decide what the best time of the year to visit Amsterdam is for you.
Winter in Amsterdam can be a magical experience, albeit a very cold one. The Amsterdam weather at this time of year is usually just above freezing, but during the night it is not uncommon for it to drop well below zero. Cold fronts that blow in from Russia can cause temperatures as low as minus ten, so make sure you check the weather forecast beforehand and bring plenty of warm clothes. Amsterdam in January and February can see snow, but it usually falls as sleet which will make for a wet experience!
Even still, during the winter the city can look like a winter wonderland, so if it’s cosy cafes and tasty hot chocolates you’re after then this is the best time to visit Amsterdam!
December is a fairly busy month because of the Christmas markets, but February is when you’ll find the cheapest flights and the least number of tourists because of the drearier Amsterdam weather.
One great thing about the city is that there are great Amsterdam events taking place all year round, so don’t be worried that there will be nothing happening because there will!
December sees the arrival of Christmas Markets all over the city - the perfect place to go and pick up some festive souvenirs and enjoy a mulled wine or two. Through the winter months, there is also the option to go ice skating in Museum Square, or if you’re lucky (and brave enough) on the canals that can freeze over if the weather gets cold enough, which is usually at the start if February.
The light festival also takes place all throughout December until midway through January, which is fast becoming one of the most popular Amsterdam events in the calendar. If you want to avoid the crowds then the best time to visit Amsterdam for the festival would be towards the end of January.
The Amsterdam weather in March and April can still be cold, with March sometimes still seeing snowfall in the initial days. However, the Amsterdam weather in May will begin to get warmer, and towards the end of spring, the temperature can reach very comfortable highs of twenty-five degrees, although only for short periods of time.
Great news is that this is the time of year with the least rain, but still be sure to bring a raincoat because the Amsterdam weather in Spring can be changeable.
This period also marks the start of the tourist period, so prepare to see a steady rise in flights and hotel prices. The city also begins to awaken culturally, with popular Amsterdam events such as the Vondelpark Open Air Theatre and Open Tower Day all taking place during Springtime. The latter is a unique event in March where many of the city’s towers are open to the public.
A huge draw for many is the beginning of tulip season, a time of year where the country is an explosion of colour wherever you go. Take a day trip up to the iconic flower strips just twenty kilometres out of the city, or alternatively explore the madness of the floating flower market which comes alive at this time of year.
The best time to visit Amsterdam for tulips would be April, as this is when the colours are at their peak but the tourist season is not in flow yet. However, try to leave by the 27th (unless you want to experience utter chaos, or are in the mood for a huge party) as this is the Dutch celebration of Kings Day, an event that sees the entire city turn into one huge orange carnival with parties taking place all over.
The improving Amsterdam weather also makes this a great time to visit the city’s amazing green spaces as they begin to burst into life again after their winter hibernation.
The summer months are the warmest of the year, and temperatures can sometimes reach as high as thirty degrees Celsius, although not very often!
Usually, the temperature sits somewhere between twenty and twenty-five degrees Celsius, although at night it can still drop as low as ten! If you’re visiting Amsterdam in July, the weather can start to become increasingly rainy, especially as you go through to August which is one of the wettest months.
Even still, this is the best time of year to visit Amsterdam if you want to experience the city as it becomes an outdoor playground of events, bars and festivals. Many areas across the city have beaches where you can sit back and enjoy the rays during the Summertime, and if you’re brave enough, some even allow you to swim in the canals! The warm weather is also perfect for visiting nearby places such as Utrecht, so book a train and explore!
If you’re a fan of sitting outside in cool bars and quirky restaurants, then summer is definitely the best time to visit Amsterdam for you. Bars such as Roest start to become the centre for socializing in the city, with this particular venue containing a swimmable beach alongside serving some of the best cocktails in the city, all the ingredients for a perfect summer’s day.
However, this is an extremely busy time for tourists so maybe not the best time of year to visit Amsterdam if you want a quieter experience. I would recommend leaving your map of Amsterdam attractions at home and getting lost in some of the less central areas of the city such as Jordaan or the artistic De Pijp.
Fall / Autumn
As summer begins to draw to a close, the Amsterdam weather begins to change again. September is still a great month as temperatures are still high enough to enjoy outdoor activities, but as the season goes on, the weather begins to get colder and duller.
Fall in Amsterdam is the rainiest season of the year, so make sure to have plenty of indoor options in case the weather takes a bad turn. At this time of year, tourism begins to slow down again, and the streets start to become far less crowded. This makes late September to early October one of the best times to visit Amsterdam as the weather is still quite warm and you won’t have to queue for hours to see the main attractions!
As well as this, Fall in Amsterdam is one of the most beautiful times as leaves begin to fall from the trees that dominate the city’s streets and parks, bathing the city in fiery autumnal colours.
There is still so much going on in the city at this time, with the Amsterdam events calendar showing no sign of slowing going into the winter months.
One of the most unique Amsterdam experiences is Museum Night, a one night only occurrence where over fifty of the city’s most popular museums open up their doors into the early hours of the morning. Some of the events include live music, performance and workshops, all of which takes place on the first Saturday in November.
Fall is also the best time to visit Amsterdam for those looking to experience the amazing café culture that the city has, and exploring them with a local would be a great way to discover the best spots in the city. Also, any Amsterdam city guide will tell you that this is one of the best times to experience the city’s parks, as they become even more photogenic in the autumnal light.
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