When's the best time to visit Amsterdam?
Much like its famously laid-back residents, Amsterdam's climate stays on a pretty even keel thoughout the year. Summers are pleasantly mild rather than hot, and winters are cold, but rarely are they bitingly so.
Although rain can be frequent throughout the year, it doesn't stop play for the city's cyclists, street performers or canal boat captains. The peak summer months of July and August see people spill into leafy parks and pavement cafes. Temperatures average 17°C and sometimes creep up to 24°C, making it warm enough to sunbathe on the city's nudist beach, Zandvoort. Grab a bargain spring break in March, just before the "tulip tourists" descend on the city in April, or plan a winter weekend escape when flight and hotel prices are at their lowest and the bruine cafes (traditional pubs) are at their cosiest.
Spring: See the city at its blooming best when crocus and hyacinth fill the city parks. Plan a trip to coincide with the opening of the Keukenhof Gardens in late March to see the spectacular tulip displays before the masses arrive in April. May temperatures range between 12 and 17°C.
Summer: The banks of the canals are busy between June and August when the weather is at its best and the sun doesn't set until around 10pm. June provides the sunniest days with an average of 11 hours of daylight. You'll find a back-to-back programme of events throughout the summer including Taste of Amsterdam, Gay Pride and Vondelpark's open-air theatre season.
Autumn: Pack layers for an Autumnal escape. The sun may shine brightly in September but November is the city's wettest month with a 60% chance of rain. The packed cultural calendar includes November's Sint-Maarten celebration, the Dutch antidote to Halloween where children parade the streets with lanterns and sing traditional songs in exchange for sweets.
Winter: Temperatures range between zero and 5°C come wintertime. As Amsterdam is below sea level you'll likely see foggy, misty mornings and if the temperature drops low enough, the canals can freeze over. The days may be short and dark but it means you can get a culture fix without the crowds. In December, warm up with a chocolademelk (hot chocolate) and an oliebollen (doughnut).
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