Famed for its picture-perfect canals, town houses, and bridges, Amsterdam is a vibrant city with countless things to do in all seasons. While boat rides along the legendary waterways and cycling are some of the most popular activities, the capital of the Netherlands also brims with cultural attractions galore. It has robust dining and boutique hotel scenes. Add to that leafy parks for enjoying hours outside on nice days. And travelers looking for nightlife won’t have any trouble finding after-dark excitement, either.
While you can easily pack an Amsterdam itinerary full anytime, certain periods prevail when it comes to weather and favorable prices. Spring is especially busy as that’s when the tulips bloom — and prices reflect that. That trend continues into the summer months. Things slow down in late September as the thermometer dips and the forecast predicts a slightly higher chance of showers (be sure to bring a rain jacket). It’s still pleasant to walk around and prime time to cash in on wallet-friendly rates. Sounds pretty great, right? Read on for a few of the myriad perks of traveling to Amsterdam during shoulder season.
Must-visit spots like the Van Gogh Museum, Rijksmuseum, and Anne Frank House constantly draw visitors. However, when the summer crowds depart, things calm down a bit. “It’s a great time to enjoy a more intimate, unhurried experience at storied cultural landmarks without the throngs of tourists,” says Unwana van der Werk, guest relations manager at Conservatorium. Yes, you still have to book ahead, but it’s easier to snag a desirable time slot, the lines are shorter, and having extra room to roam never hurts.
More Favorable Rates
Amsterdam has a variety of lodgings for every budget, from hostels to five-star stalwarts. If you’re keen on staying at one of the well-heeled boutique hotels around the city, shoulder season promises a better bang for your buck. Fall rates at the Pulitzer Amsterdam start at $430 versus $525 in the spring. And at Kimpton De Witt, that looks like $199 compared to $273.
There’s something about sweater weather that screams hot beverages and hearty food. That very much aligns with the offerings at the many cozy restaurants and bars around Amsterdam. As the temperature drops, locals and visitors pack into snug, storied establishments like Cafe ‘t Papeneiland and Winkel 43 for a slice of Dutch apple pie. And crispy fries from Fabel Friet are a great snack to curb hunger and warm up while exploring.
The boat-filled canals are always beautiful, but when the trees erupt in shades of yellow and orange come fall, it’s especially magical. The same goes for Vondelpark and the many cycling paths around the city. This makes shoulder season the perfect time to appreciate the contrasts between nature and the human-made charm of Amsterdam’s enchanting architecture.
With ghost tours, haunted houses, and costume parties, It doesn’t get better — or spookier — than Halloween in Amsterdam. Dutch-style Oktoberfest celebrations are a beer-fueled blast. Sporty travelers might consider timing a trip to a rowing race or the Amsterdam Marathon. The light festival kicks off in mid-November and the Amsterdam Art Weekend is held later in the month.