Any time of year is great to visit the Dutch capital, but Spring in Amsterdam is undoubtedly one of the most special for so many reasons. The city begins to awaken from its hibernation in the Winter period, and parks and bars start to burst into life ready for the Summer. There are so many things to do in Amsterdam at this time, so whatever your preferences, there will definitely be something for everyone! Spring marks the start of the Amsterdam tulip season, one of the most popular times of the year where the surrounding fields explode into a frenzy of colour, and the walking the streets is like walking through a Van Gogh painting. As well as this, many of the fun things to do in Amsterdam start to open up now, such as the world-famous festivals and the quirky, hedonistic outdoor bars that are scattered all over the city. So, jump in and experience all of the weird and wonderful things to get involved with in Amsterdam in March, April and May, so that you can discover why spring is the best time to plan your visit.
If you come to Amsterdam in March expecting to be able walk the streets wearing just shorts and T-shirts, you’re going to be in for a big surprise. Although winter is over, average temperatures continue to be pretty chilly so make sure you still pack some warm clothes. Since the tourist season has not fully started yet, some of the really popular things to do in Amsterdam will be much quieter so make sure to visit all of the tourist hotspots such as the Anne Frank House or the Rijksmuseum. If the weather is still a little cold and wet, one of the popular free things to do in Amsterdam is to head indoors to the Concertgebouw which hosts a free show every Wednesday lunchtime. Also, if you love music and you’re looking for some unusual things to do in Amsterdam at night, why not visit the Bimhuis for a jazz workshop where you can be part of an improvised jazz concert that takes place at 8 pm every Tuesday.
One of the best things about visiting Holland is that nothing is ever very far away from you, making day trips a really great thing to do during your trip. One of the most popular day trips from Amsterdam is to the nearby Zaanse Schans, an almost stereo-typically Dutch area just north of the city, where you can gaze out at the windmill lined wetland areas that are the best preserved of anywhere in the country. The area contains seven museums and many workshops and has fast become one of the most popular things to do in Amsterdam, so visiting before the peak season starts in April is recommended! Tour buses operate all year round, but if you want to do you trip to Amsterdam like a local, you really can’t beat cycling around Zaanse Schans at your own pace!
If you’re visiting Amsterdam in March then you have to experience one of the city’s most unique events; Open Tower Day. It is held on the 12th of March and consists of opening up many of the area’s highest towers, churches and buildings up to the public for a chance to get some unparalleled city views. Although this is often featured on best free things to do in Amsterdam lists, be aware that some towers (mostly the churches) will charge you admittance. Also, make sure you download the Amsterdam attractions map that shows you exactly where the towers are! For anyone that’s crazy about caffeine, Amsterdam Coffee Festival is held from the 13th to 15th of March in WesterGasFabriek, an ex-gasworks which now acts as a socializing and events space that is easily one of the most undiscovered local things to do in Amsterdam for tourists.
Spring in Amsterdam is a season of change and no month sees that more than April, a time that sees the start of the main tourist period bringing with is it a huge influx of visitors from all over the world. The weather begins to get warmer and drier (although cold days can still be a frequent occurrence) so it’s a great excuse to start exploring some of the city’s amazing open spaces. The Botanical Gardens is a great way to spend a warm spring day, or a trip to the hidden rose garden in the Begijnhof is a must if you want to discover one of the city’s best hidden gems. If you want to venture further out, then a trip to the Keukenhof Gardens just a short ride from the city is a must for anyone who wants to discover one of the most magical things to do in Amsterdam during springtime. There are regular tourist trips from the city or rent a car and explore the gardens in your own time.
Mid-April can become one of the busiest times of the year for a single reason; it is the beginning of Amsterdam Tulip season. This is a time where the streets and surrounding areas of the city become explosions of colors, and catching a glimpse of this is truly a special experience. If you want to visit the tulip fields, Amsterdam is a great base because day trips to the surrounding flower fields such as Lisse can be easily organised and take under an hour to reach. A visit to the city in spring is incomplete without walking through the Floating Flower Market, an area that comes alive with activity and vibrant colors, making it one of the most exciting and unique things to do in Amsterdam for free at this time of year.
On the 27th of April each year, Amsterdam lets its hair down for the Kings Day celebrations, one of the biggest parties of the entire calendar. If you’re looking for fun things to do in Amsterdam, then it doesn’t get wilder than this, and to an outsider it probably seems as though the whole city has gone a little bit mad! If you want to experience Amsterdam like a local, then there’s really no better way than dressing up head to toe in orange and taking to the streets for non-stop parties and parades. Be aware though, prices for hotels will go up dramatically for this holiday so choose a different time if you don’t want to be paying extra. If you want to escape the madness though, this could be a good time to visit the nearby Zaanse Schans or Keukenhof Gardens for a little bit of tranquility.
Amsterdam in May is when the city truly starts to stretch its wings and embrace the coming hot summer months, a time when locals begin to move outside and enjoy the amazing outdoor bars and the cultural calendar begins to explode into life. The weather is now fairly consistent and with temperatures often being a comfortable twenty degrees Celsius and above, it’s time to start enjoying all of the fun things to do in Amsterdam as summer approaches. If you want to experience Amsterdam like a local, then take a BBQ to one of the cities many green spaces, although all parks in the center do not allow this, so take the opportunity to discover somewhere different such as Rembrandtpark or Oosterpark. Or, spend a day at the beach. Yes, you read that right! Many of the canals have beaches for you to enjoy, some of the best being Roest Bar or City Beach North in the NDSM area.
One of the most popular things to do in Amsterdam when the weather is hot is to simply enjoy the city’s amazing bar and restaurant scene, and visiting Amsterdam in May is the perfect time to do so. For that cool ex-industrial feel, the Roest Bar, De School, and WesterGasFabriek are all local favorites and perfect for spending a day or evening. The NDSM neighborhood is another area and exploring it has quickly become one of the most exciting things to do in Amsterdam at night, due to forward-thinking restaurants like Pllek and Noorderlicht Café utilizing abandoned warehouses and factory spaces. Alternatively, central areas such as Jordaan or de Pijp offer countless dining and drinking options, and if you really want to explore Amsterdam like a local, why not book a tour to make sure you find all of the city’s best-hidden gems.
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