When to fly
The most popular time to take flights to Amsterdam is from the start of the warm weather, when the tulips bloom, through to early autumn. In spring and summer the weather is usually good, with open-air dining on sidewalks and canal boats. Consequently, hotels are hard to come by and the city is very crowded. Try to avoid the height of the summer if you can. If you are visiting the city at this time, be prepared for both cool and very hot weather. September and October are less crowded than the summer, the rates are lower, and the weather is often quite lovely. This is an ideal time for the beautiful low-angle light depicted in Dutch landscape paintings.
The most common – and arguably best - time to book your flights to Amsterdam is between April and September, as the temperature and daylight hours are more favourable for those seeking outdoor adventures (although it’s worth remembering that the weather is slightly temperamental at all times of year). The most crowded and expensive time to visit Amsterdam is the tulip season (April to mid-May) and July and August. The sun shining does make a difference to the feel of the city, with a much more cosmopolitan vibe in the air, but the benefits of this must be balanced with the drawback of the bustling crowds.
Most cultural events are scheduled from September through June, so if you go in the cold winter months (December-March), there will be plenty to do when you get your cheap flights to Amsterdam. And if you’re there during one of the winters when the canals freeze, you can join Amsterdam’s residents on skates which is a lovely way to see the city.
If you’re looking to avoid the hustle and bustle, any time outside of the peak season would be your best bet to visit, with cultural events starting up in September – the Jordaan Festival in late September and Museum Night [Museumnacht] in November are both not to be missed. Whilst the cooler –often just outright cold – months between December and March are less popular with visitors to the city, Amsterdam is particularly cosy throughout this time, making it attractive to some travellers. Expect popular attractions such as the Anne Frank Museum [Anne Frank Huis] to still be busy. Christmas is a clear exception to the off-peak rule, as tourists choose to take flights to Amsterdam to experience the festivity of the city in its holiday grandeur.
The capital of the Netherlands is famous for its waterways and those narrow 17th-century canal houses as well as for its laid-back and liberal approach to life. It has unique charm which exists independent of the seasons, and as a culturally rich, historical city, has lots to offer even outside of its peak season. In fact, the Amsterdam experience is even better when the city is less busy with tourists and flights are usually cheaper.
Its list of attractions is long. Major museums include the Rijksmuseum, Rembrandt House, and Van Gogh Museum, which has the world's largest collection of works by Vincent van Gogh. The Anne Frank House, where Anne wrote her diary, is now a popular museum.
Visit some of the city's lesser-known cultural gems such as the secret attic church (Our Lord in the Attic - Ons Lieve Heer op Solder), the Museum of Bags and Purses and the Amsterdam Tulip Museum.
Amsterdam is well-known for its tulips, which bloom annually between mid-March and May, blanketing the city and its surrounding fields in all shades of colour. Many see this specifically as the most favourable time to visit, and tourists flock to make the most of the city’s natural beauty. The Keukenhof Gardens in particular become very busy around this time. The tulip bloom also happens to coincide with King’s Day (formerly Queen’s Day) – the celebration of the monarch’s official birthday – which is celebrated on April 27th annually.
King’s Day is celebrated with pop-up markets [vrijmarkt], street celebrations and outdoor parties. The canals quickly become packed full of revellers, all dressed in orange – the colours of the Dutch royal family. The city centre gets extremely busy, as locals and excitable tourists alike gather together for this fun - and very Dutch - event. Whilst this isn’t the time to take a quiet getaway, it is certainly a vibrant and very real reflection of an authentic Dutch celebration.