Amsterdam is a busy city. It can get exceptionally crowded. We know because we are from the Netherlands and have worked in the city for years. We have also visited Amsterdam on multiple occasions during the pandemic. And while things were quiet at first, Amsterdam is almost back to its busy past and is struggling with overtourism.
To curb overtourism, the Amsterdam city council has taken far-reaching decisions. The city introduced a tax on cruise ship passengers, a campaign targeted at more noisy tourists, and a tax on tour groups. During the pandemic, the local government ensured the right to close hotels or limit the number of available hotel beds when the city gets too crowded.
Despite all these measures, Amsterdam is still a busy city. You need to know when to go. That is where we help you find the best month to visit Amsterdam. Based on our experiences and complex data, we give you the best time to travel to Amsterdam. This post includes a month-to-month overview and the best month to travel on a budget, the best month to travel to party, and the best month to travel for the weather.
Although we do not think it will be as crowded as before COVID-19, we do believe tourism is likely to pick up fast in the Netherlands. We continue to recommend to completely avoid peak season in the Dutch capital. In the last 5 to 10 years, Amsterdam has become too busy. Even after COVID-19, we believe the best time to visit the city is late spring or early fall. Be aware that the Amsterdam city council is looking for measures to curb mass tourism. In the aftermath of COVID-19 it is unclear how these measures will look. One of the initiatives coming out of the local government is the right to close hotels or limit the number of available hotel beds when the city gets too crowded.
Planning your trip might get complicated if that rule gets passed. Before COVID-19, the city also introduced measure aimed at curbing overtourism. The Amsterdam city council has famously introduced a tax on cruise ship passengers, a campaign targeted at more noisy tourists as well as a tax on tour groups. Meanwhile, the city wants tourists also to visit other parts of the Netherlands.
Best months to visit Amsterdam
Although you have to be lucky with the weather, crowds in Amsterdam are much more bearable outside peak season. To avoid crazy crowds while still enjoying good weather, we recommend visiting Amsterdam in April, May, September, or even as late in the year as early October. If you want to avoid cold, wet, and windy weather, avoid November to February. Check our daily crowd predictions for the best dates in 2022. Below you can find our month-by-month guide to the best time to travel to Amsterdam.
Best time to visit Amsterdam for weather
The weather in Amsterdam can be cold and wet or sunny and dry. If you don’t like rain, the best time to avoid Amsterdam would be November to February. The best weather hits the city when the larger crowds are in town as well. The driest and sunniest weather is during peak season: June to August.
How busy is Amsterdam in January?
January weather is an excellent reason to skip Amsterdam. It can be wet, cold, and windy. During colder years, the canals freeze, and you can skate through the city. Unfortunately, global warming is making this less likely each year. In terms of crowds, January is perfect if you want to avoid crowds. You can even get lucky with the weather. Except for some British stag parties on the weekends, groups skip the city during the first month of the year. A January trip to Amsterdam is an excellent idea if you can deal with the possible adverse weather. If you can’t stand the cold, we advise you to pick another quiet(er) month like March.
Traveling to Amsterdam during the low season has its perks. January is not only a slow month in Amsterdam. It is also the cheapest month to fly and stay in the city. The only relatively expensive and busy days are the first one or two days of the calendar year. But as soon as New Year’s Eve is over, crowds will disappear instantly
February crowds in Amsterdam
February can still be cold, wet, and windy in Amsterdam. But ‘thanks’ to global warming, we have witnessed spring(ish) days as early as February. At the end of the month, you can get lucky and get fine weather with sporadic sunshine on Amsterdam’s canals. But honestly, the weather is a bit of a gamble. In terms of crowds, you have to keep an eye on winter vacations throughout the European continent. School vacations and low hotel prices will make for some busy days in Amsterdam. School vacations in some parts of the Netherlands will make some days more alive than others. Our daily crowd predictions consider all these school vacations.
Tourism in Amsterdam starts to pick up in March
March is a beautiful month to visit Amsterdam. During the month, tourism starts to pick up, and the weather is improving quickly. Although there is sunshine to enjoy, the summer crowds aren’t there yet in the Dutch capital. With spring kicking in, the first cruise ships and larger tour groups will make their way to the city. However, with no school vacations on the European continent and almost no public holidays, March is one of our favorite months to visit the Dutch capital. The weather can still be unpredictable, so we recommend bringing an umbrella.
The Dutch Flower season starts end March and lasts until early May
April in Amsterdam has some extremely busy days
April brings better weather but also bigger crowds. Although the month isn’t busy overall, it has the busiest day of the year: King’s Day (Koningsdag). Celebrated on April 27, the Dutch dress up in orange to celebrate the birthday of its monarch: King Willem-Alexander. If you are in the city on this special day, expect the biggest crowds you have ever seen. New Year’s Eve crowds on Times Square are not more than ‘cute’ compared to Kingsday in the Dutch capital. Apart from Koningsdag, early April or late April is the best time to visit with good weather and lower crowds. Also good to know: April is flower season with Holland’s famous Keukenhof Park opening its doors to tourists from around the globe. Also, be aware of the days around Easter where the entire continent has a long weekend off from work and school.
Is May a good month to visit Amsterdam?
May will arguably be the best month to visit Amsterdam in 2022. Although the weather is still unpredictable, you can expect more sunshine and less rain as the month progresses. There are some days in May where it can be busy. For example, on May 1, most of Europe, including neighboring Europe, celebrate Labor Day. Although not a public holiday in the Netherlands, the public holiday will make Amsterdam more crowded than other days. Two other potential busy days can be May 4 (Remembrance Day) and May 5 (Liberation Day). Good to know: At the end of the month there are also some public holidays in Europe. Check our daily crowd predictions to know which days are busier than others.
May is arguably the best month to visit Amsterdam for low crowds and good weather. From June onwards, it gets swamped.
In June Amsterdam gets busier
Thinking about crowds, June is not great, not terrible in Amsterdam. Crowds start to grow in June. Although the first weeks of June are still not crazy busy, the city will begin to get very busy at the end of the month. School vacations in the Netherlands and most neighboring countries are the main reason for the growing crowds. June weather in Amsterdam is excellent. There is always the risk of an occasional rain shower, but the sun will shine more often, and the average temperature rises quickly.
July is peak season in Amsterdam with big crowds
Peak season in Amsterdam starts in early July and lasts until the end of August. We recommend getting out of the city if you can. School vacations in most of Europe, combined with some cruise ships visiting the Amsterdam Passenger Terminal, will ensure people fill the streets. It is advisable to plan by buying tickets to the places you want to see, such as booking a skip-the-line ticket from an authorized ticket seller of the Rijksmuseum. Also, think about a day trip to one of Holland’s other highlights. The weather in the Netherlands is at its best, but you should still check the weather forecast for occassional rain showers.
August in Amsterdam is best to avoid.
Amsterdam’s peak season continues in August. August in Amsterdam is so busy that we advise tourists to avoid the city altogether. With tourists coming to the Dutch capital from around the world, the city can be extremely crowded. The city’s center gets suffocated by tourists blocking alleys and causing annoyances well beyond the most touristic areas. If you can travel to Amsterdam for another month, it will be much more enjoyable. If you still want to go, it is wise to plan and consider leaving the city for other great highlights the Netherlands offers.
Is September a good month to visit Amsterdam?
September is a great month to visit Amsterdam! In September, Amsterdam will slowly return to normal. Although some European countries still have school vacations during the beginning of the month, most European children will head back to school this month, and families will stop arriving in the city. Weekends will still be busy as the city gets less busy as the month goes by. The weather has changed over the last years as a result of global warming. You can now enjoy the ‘late zomerdagen’ (warm late summer days) in Amsterdam throughout September.
October in Amsterdam is mostly not crowded
Overall, October is not so crowded in the Dutch capital. But be aware of public holidays in other European countries. For example, on October 3 when Germany celebrates a national holiday. Some additional weeks are potentially busy because of Autumn vacations in some European countries. The weather by now has become unpredictable. It can be good; it can be bad.
Peak season ends in September, but crowds will remain until early October.
November is not busy in Amsterdam but the weather isn’t great
November is a quiet month in Amsterdam. The weather, unfortunately, isn’t that quiet. Autumn storms can make the city cold, windy and wet. But if you are lucky with the weather, you can enjoy a relatively quiet city. The city will slowly get into the holiday spirit. There are no public holidays or school vacations in the Netherlands, and also, in other cities, it is relatively quiet. Overall, November is the best month to travel throughout Europe with low hotel prices, reasonable airfares, and smaller crowds. But remember, that is probably due to weather conditions being very unpredictable.
December in Amsterdam
Without significant or well-known Christmas markets, Amsterdam is not a typical Christmas time tourist destination. Even though Amsterdam is not a holiday season favorite, tourism does pick up a little through the month. Also, local events, like Sinterklaas, do attract lots of (mostly Dutch) people. In general, December in Amsterdam is not as busy as in cities like Berlin or Paris. Except if you try shopping in the Bijenkorf department store on Dam Square the days before Christmas. That would be a wrong decision as the store will be super crowded.
Amsterdam weather throughout the year
Due to its geographical location near the sea, The Netherlands has a mild sea climate. Weather throughout the year is not extreme, with relatively warm winters and bearable summer temperatures. Due to Amsterdam’s proximity to the sea, the country knows lots of wind and rain. If wind and rain are a combined force, the mild temperatures do not matter anymore: they will feel freezing.
December to February are the winter months in Amsterdam.
The calendar year in the Netherlands starts with cold and wet winter weather. Although pictures of frozen canals in Amsterdam are world-famous, it is very unusual for the city to get so cold. The average temperature drops to an average of just above freezing point. However, the temperature is not what makes Amsterdam feel so cold during these winter months. It is a combination of wind and rain. On average, it rains on 12 out of 30 days in January. February is slightly less wet with rain on ten days on average. Only if the rain turns into snow and the wind calms down, the lower temperatures become bearable.
Spring (March to May) in Amsterdam
Spring weather in the Netherlands is unpredictable. Some days it can be cold while on other days it can be sunny. Rain is also a factor. On average, it will rain on one-third of all days during spring in Amsterdam. There will be lots of amazing sunny days, and the temperature will rise every week. While spring starts cold with average maximum temperatures of 10 degrees Celsius (50 Fahrenheit) in March, the temperature does rise to 14C (57F) in April and 17C (63F) in May.
Summer (June to August) in Amsterdam
Summer in Amsterdam is gorgeous. Due to the mild sea climate, the Netherlands experiences relatively cold summers. But that makes summer only more enjoyable! It means that it is very unusual for temperatures to rise above 27 degrees Celsius (80.6 F). Unfortunately, it also means that showers could ruin some summer days. In the last years, as an effect of global warming, the Netherlands has been experiencing long stretches of warm and dry weather during the summer months.
Autumn weather in Amsterdam (September to November)
During autumn, the Netherlands gets colder and wetter. That means that wind chill becomes a significant factor. Each week, the risk of an autumn storm or local weather depression gets bigger. October is the wettest month of the year, with an average precipitation of 90 millimeters (3.5 inches). November, tied with August, is second with 85 mm (3.3 inches).