Amsterdam is widely recognised as one of the most popular cities of Europe. Don’t believe it?
Ask around and you’ll find people the world over have heard of Amsterdam and its charms. Most people only dream of coming to Amsterdam and while some make it, there are a few who are left dreaming. If it’s long been on your bucket list and you’re on the fence about when to visit the land of canals and cheese, then here are some pointers on what to expect and some tricks on how to make the best of your time there.
First of all, there’s always a steady stream of tourists pouring into the city all year round. The best time to visit however depends on the type of experience you’re looking to have. But before we get into this let’s get one thing straight: there’s no such thing as “good weather” in Amsterdam. The weather is so unpredictable it’s borderline crazy! One April it may snow and the next year it may be warm and sunny. No joke!
So when exactly is the best time to visit Amsterdam, you ask? Good question. Some would argue the best time is between April and September when festival season kicks in and the temperature is somewhat mild. Coming to the city around Easter means you’ll be able to enjoy being out and about or relaxing on a terrace.
Visiting around April and May means you can join the annual King’s Day festivities and get lost in the vibrant tulip fields at Keukenhof. The first weekend of August brings tourists from around the world to celebrate Gay Pride along the canals and in many clubs across the city. Some of the best street parties can be had on both King’s Day and Gay Pride, so definitely put these events on your travel radar.
During summer months the city comes to life with friends meeting up for after-work or weekend drinks and picnics in Vondelpark. This is as great a spot as any to enjoy the laid-back vibe of the city. Not a fan of parks? Join locals on any busy terrace across town for a borrel (drink). Festivals like the Rollende Keukens (May) and the Parade (August) see the city come together in true Dutch “gezellig” fashion. Not a bad time to be in Amsterdam.
While the Dutch summer has its glory, its winter can be equally as charming. If you’re lucky enough to visit when the canals have frozen over then you’re in for a treat! The Dutch turn the canals into their very own front-yard ice rink. If you take to the ice, keep a look out for kids sliding around selling hot chocolate for a euro. If the canals haven’t frozen in December, then head to Leidseplein or Rembrandtplein to sip on mulled wine, sample Dutch treats and skate around the ice rink.
As flat as it is, Amsterdam is the perfect walking city (in other words a city where you’ll do most of your getting around on foot). Bring your best walking shoes and get lost in a maze of canals, quaint side streets and historic neighbourhoods. When in Amsterdam it’s best to do as the Dutch do and rent yourself a bicycle. Whether you’re walking or cycling, if you’re in the city around March or October you’ll most likely experience a constant downpour of rain that can put a dampener on your visit. Hot tip: Stop off at any souvenir shop in town and invest in a rain poncho to avoid getting soaked to the bone. Better yet, pack an umbrella no matter which month you’re visiting.
Whichever season you decide to visit, you can always count on the mighty Dutch bitterballen (round croquettes) and frietjes (fries) to always be on the menu. Besides Dutch cuisine you can devour exotic foods from Surinam, Turkey, Ethiopia, Indonesia and Peru to name a few. There’s nothing quite like discovering Amsterdam’s many delectable restaurants that serve up new and exciting dishes. If you’re a real foodie then you just have to drop by the FoodHallen or World of Food for a culinary adventure in Amsterdam you won’t soon forget.
All that’s left now is to get off that fence, book your flight, sort your accommodation and let Amsterdam charm you when you get there. Take a look at our listing of available digs in Amsterdam for your chosen travel dates.