Autumn is a great time to visit Amsterdam when the weather is pleasant and the city comes alive with cultural events and festivals.
Canals in Amsterdam in autumn, Netherlands
Travelers planning a trip to Amsterdam during the autumn months may not have their eye on their itinerary because there is so much to do in this classic European city, but they should because the destination is home to more than 400,000 trees. So the beauty of the fall foliage, as bright red, orange and yellow leaves swirl through the air, light up the streets and float across the surfaces of Amsterdam’s 165 canals, is a bonus for tourists exploring the city. .
Travel costs in general, and hotel rates in particular, will be lower during the fall months than during the peak summer tourist season. In fact, a search for a November weekend hotel stay revealed availability between $120 and $160 per night, including at Best Western, Holiday Inn, and Novotel branded hotels. And with fewer tourists arriving in the fall, museums, cultural sites, restaurants and pubs will be much less crowded.
Autumn tourists also avoid the sweltering summer heat. Autumn weather in Amsterdam is generally pleasant enough to walk around in the day with a jacket, as temperatures range from around 58 degrees Fahrenheit in October to around 50 degrees in November. The nights are cooler, but this is an easy fix: just dive into a cozy brown café and enjoy the ambiance and local cuisine of a traditional Amsterdam pub.
Amsterdam’s cultural events are plentiful in autumn
Festivals, art events, musical performances and sports-related events take place in Amsterdam every autumn, including these:
- The Amsterdam Dance Event, also known as ADE, is a five-day celebration of electronic music every October. Over 100 venues across the city, including virtually every nightclub, sponsor conferences, classes, parties and pop-up events.
- Music also takes center stage during the Cello Biennale Amsterdam, a 10-day international music festival in October that features solo artists, orchestras and ensembles performing various types of music, including classical, jazz, rock and pop.
- The Amsterdam Storytelling Festival in early November brings the best Dutch and international storytellers to the city.
- The city hosts the International Documentary Film Festival in November, with screenings of documentary films focusing on politics, life and society. Screenings take place in cinemas across Amsterdam, and related events include talks and interactive programs.
- Another autumn film festival in Amsterdam is for children. The annual Cinekid festival features films and activities for young people and is considered the biggest event of its kind.
- Museum buffs won’t want to miss November’s Museum Night Amsterdam, when visitors are welcomed to the city’s top museums after dark. One ticket allows access to more than 50 museums until the wee hours of the morning. And in addition to exhibits, the museums offer live music, food, and special events related to the after-hours extravaganza.
- The Imagine Film Festival is aimed at fans of fantasy, horror and science fiction and is held at various locations around the city from late October to early November.
- Runners from amateur joggers to elite international competitors can be found at the annual TCS Amsterdam Marathon, held every October. The route starts and ends at the Olympic Stadium in Amsterdam and passes many of the city’s landmarks.
Autumn is also ideal for outdoor adventures
With fewer crowds and cooler temperatures, the autumn months are ideal for cycling around the city and for boarding one of the many boats that take tourists on canal cruises. Amsterdam’s complex waterway system, which includes 165 canals, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It’s a great way to see the historic city center from a new perspective.
Most canal tours last an hour, and some tour companies offer hop-on hop-off services, perfect for visitors who want to combine a boat and walking tour, as well as romantic candlelit boat rides at night. Custom boat trips for groups can also be arranged. Canal tour operators are easy to find throughout the city.
Amsterdam is also full of parks where fall visitors can relax with a picnic, walk the marked trails, admire the foliage or just sit back with a hot cup of coffee. Those who want to spend time outdoors to enjoy the fall weather can consider these popular parks:
- vondelpark, the city’s largest park, has walking and biking trails as well as a roller-skating area within its 120 acres. Visitors can see the statue of poet Joost van den Vondel and visit a children’s playground.
- Botanical hortus is one of the oldest botanical gardens in the world and is located in the Plantage district of the city. It is part of the University of Amsterdam and was originally a medicinal herb garden. Today, it houses 6,000 plants. Visitors can tour the Tropical Greenhouses and see the entrance gate which was built in the 1700s.
- Oosterpark is a popular open space with scenic ponds and streams and a series of walking trails. Visitors can hear locals offer their opinions to the community every Sunday at the park’s so-called Speaker’s Stone. This historic park, designed in 1891, is also home to the National Slavery Memorial.