Amsterdam is one of the most charming European cities with its historic canals and townhouses, picturesque bridges and narrow cobbled streets. As a Dutch native, I can still very much appreciate the city’s beauty. Each season transforms the Dutch capital into a whole other scene. And although most tourists visit Amsterdam in spring and summer, it might be a better idea to travel to Amsterdam in October or early November. Why? Let me give you five good reasons:
Excellent photo opportunities
Especially now that the climate has been changing in the past few years and we enjoy dry weather and moderate temperatures until late October, autumn has become an interesting option. The fiercely coloured foliage and sunny crisp weather make for excellent photo opportunities. Blue skies, vibrant golden trees lining the canals and a beautiful soft sun light will better your photos instantly. Around 5 or 6 p.m., also known as the golden hour, the sun casts a beautiful glow on the water and townhouses’ facades, making it even more magical. Thanks to the lower sun in autumn, the reflection on the water and the golden glow are even more enhanced.
2. Less crowds
Let’s be honest, Amsterdam is crowded in spring and summer. In autumn you can enjoy the city in a much slower pace. There are no lines at the museums, the streets aren’t jammed with traffic and you can easily find a table in a restaurant without reservations. Instead of a tourists dominated city, Amsterdam becomes more authentic and the locals get their city back. This definitely leaves a mark on the ambiance, thus on your overall experience as a visitor.
3. The beginning of the cultural season
October and November are the beginning of the new cultural season. October has the annual Amsterdam Dance Event with world-renowned DJs performing all over the city. In November there is the annual Museum night, when all museums are open until midnight featuring special events and festivities. The national opera and ballet start new performances, the annual film festival IDFA treats you to the best documentaries and independent movies, the Foam photography museum introduces new expositions and the annual coffee festival lures in coffee lovers. In summary, in autumn you can get the most out of your cultural programme when visiting Amsterdam.
4. Dutch treats and food have their heydays
The typical Dutch treats like speculaas, pancakes, poffertjes and apple pie are typically served and eaten in autumn. Also the authentic Dutch foods like kale and mash with sausage or sauerkraut are quintessential autumn warming foods. Autumn is therefore the perfect time to indulge in Dutch food culture.
5. Everything is cheaper
In autumn it is sale season hence a good time to shop for Christmas. Most shops have discounts of 20-30% off. Also hotels lower their room rates in October and November. So you get more bang for your buck on all fronts and who doesn’t want that?
For insider tips about Amsterdam, visit my Amsterdam shopping guides and hotel and restaurant reviews here.