Plan an exciting trip this Fall in Amsterdam

Planning a trip to Amsterdam this fall and feeling a bit overwhelmed? I’ve just returned from a delightful visit to the Netherlands and I’m eager to share my firsthand insights on why a fall trip to Amsterdam is an absolute must.

Amsterdam, renowned for its slender buildings and picturesque canals, is a dream destination for a fall getaway. The autumn season offers the advantage of fewer tourists compared to the bustling summer high season, along with pleasant weather. 

I’m excited to share the best activities in the Dutch capital in the autumn months. 

a beautiful fall in  Amsterdam

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Perks of traveling in Shoulder Season

  • Beautiful scenery 
  • Golden leaves landscaping the city
  • Milder weather
  • Less crowds
  • off-season hotel rates 
  • cheaper airfare
  • special events

Amsterdam Weather

Amsterdam has a cooler fall, so I suggest packing layers for each day. In addition, October and November are the rainiest months in Amsterdam, so plan accordingly, as you may encounter a rainy day. Make sure to pack a travel umbrella, rain jacket, rain boots, or an additional pair of shoes. 

On our recent trip, I wore a pair of waterproof on-clouds, which were comfortable. I didn’t want to worry about the weather, so it was also nice to have shoes to wear in all weather instead of packing rain boots. Even though the weather may be cooler you are guaranteed to have a great time as this is one of the best fall getaways. 

The weather will fluctuate so layers are imperative! I would pack shirts & sweaters to layer as well as a light-medium jacket. Temps will go down at night and in the early morning. You may want a scarf, hat or gloves if you have low tolerance for cooler temps.

Here are the average temperatures for the autumn. Note that with each passing month, it does get cooler, and you may want a warmer jacket if going in late November.

September 

  • High average temps- mid 60’s
  • Low average temps- low 50’s

October 

  • High average temps-  high 50’s
  • Low average temps-  Mid 40’s

November 

  • High average temps- High 40’s
  • Low average temps- Low 40’s

Amsterdam Packing List

Here are my favorite international travel items.

Things to do in Amsterdam in the Fall Season

While visiting Amsterdam, you should still visit traditional sites such as the Anne Frank House and take a canal tour. I’ll give you my best advice for those areas and suggest unique activities to do in the autumn months.

view of the canals in Amsterdam

Anne Frank House

Anne Frank is one of the most authentic Holocaust experiences in the city. As a history teacher, I found this one of my favorite local stops, but be prepared, as it is heavy. Using an audio guide, you’ll move through the apartment her family hid in during WWII. It is a powerful and moving visit.

Pro tip: This site is extremely popular, and tickets can be hard to get. The window to purchase tickets opens six weeks in advance. Set a reminder on your phone so you don’t miss out!

Anne Frank Museum

Van Gogh Museum

For art lovers, the Van Gogh Museum is a must. Here, you can witness his masterpieces, such as the sunflowers, and learn the history of his life. In addition, temporary exhibits rotate through the center, so check out those rooms, too.

Tip: Book in advance. Learn from my mistake—I waited too late (weeks before our trip), and the museum was booked solid. Once you book your plane tickets, I would plan to book these tickets in advance.

Van Gogh Museum is ideal for a cooler day in the fall

Canal Cruise

You can visit the city without making time for a canal tour of this magnificent place. A canal cruise is one of the best activities as it gives you an up-close look at the history, architecture, and scenery of the community. 

Even if the weather isn’t ideal, most tour companies have covered boats, making it an all-season activity. Don’t let the cold or rainy weather deter you. Our favorite company, Pure Boats, provided cozy blankets, sweet treats, and drinks. 

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canal cruise is a great activity in the fall regardless of the weather

Bike

Over 40% of Amsterdam’s citizens own bikes, and bike lanes weave through the city. Look for cars, trams, and bikes before you cross the road!

The cooler temperatures may be ideal for renting a bike or an organized tour. You can quickly explore the city and see more than you would on a car or bus tour.

bike rentals in Amsterdam

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Eat

There are several treats that you must experience while in Amsterdam. The stroopwafel is my favorite—two thin waffle crackers with a sweet filling (usually caramel). These are very thin and not overly sweet. Many guests like additional toppings that will sweeten the original waffle, such as dipped in caramel or chocolate and topped with candy. 

Our favorite stroopwafel came from Queens, where the staff let our youngest behind the counter to watch them make our desserts. Beware- these are popular, and many places have long lines. 

stroopwafel is a sweet Dutch treat

Waffles are another sweet treat commonly found in town. Counters will boast waffles covered with toppings and you can quickly grab one! 

You can’t miss out on trying a dutch apple pie as well. Winkel 43 is a hotspot for apple pies, but I think you should plan on going early or avoid the weekend rush. 

Pancakes are another Dutch favorite. We enjoyed a tasty dinner at the Pancake Bakery where we could choose between sweet or savory pancakes.

The Pancake Bakery

The Pancake Bakery

Our kids loved stopping by Tony’s Chocolonely to pick out their chocolate bars. You can wait to make your bar and pick them up later in the day. 

Pro tip: The line to get into the store is very long, and once you are in, there’s a second line to make your own bar. You can pick chocolate bars up around town if you don’t want to wait in line. Our kids were dying to go in, but I wouldn’t wait had it not been for them. 

Tony's Chocolonely

inside of Tony’s Chocolonely

For those who love savory snacks, you will want to stop for french fries. Fabel Frites is a popular spot for this tasty snack with Dutch potatoes. Our kids gravitated to the American style with ketchup, while I opted for cheese. My husband hit the jackpot with the fries with Parmesan cheese and mayo. Several different places offer this tasty treat, but we loved Fabel Frites. 

Although there’s a line, don’t be discouraged. It moves very quickly, and you’ll be in the store in no time at all. The staff does an excellent job moving guests, and they highly recommend that you look at the menu before you enter. 

a food tour is a great way to see the city

Fabel Frites

Lastly, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention stopping by a market. One day, we picked up lunch supplies at Noordermarkt, where we enjoyed fresh bread, fruit, and delicious and hearty meats. It was a casual and fun lunch. Everyone picked out something they loved.

I also suggest stopping by Foodhallen for a meal, which is a fun and lively indoor food market. Our family loved our dinner here! 

Fall Activities in Amsterdam

Spending a fall in Amsterdam is the perfect vacation

Amsterdam Dance Festival

If visiting in October, consider the Amsterdam Dance Festival, a five-day affair. The annual event is held in the middle of the month, the festival highlights electronic music. The showcase event is held at Johan Cruyff Arena.

Tip: This event attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors. If this isn’t your scene, I advise avoiding the Amsterdam dance event.

IDFA Festival

In November, Amsterdam hosts a film festival highlighting documentaries known as the  International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam. It is the largest festival and lasts several days in the city.  It is one of the best film festivals in Europe.

Museum Night

Each November, the city hosts a fun event known as Museum Night. Fifty local museums will stay open past regular hours. Guests are treated to exciting exhibits with music, drink & food. 

Amsterdam city views

Halloween

Although Halloween isn’t celebrated the same way in the US, there are still fun ways to spend it in the Netherlands. There are ghost walks and parties at local clubs and bars. 

Amsterdam Light Festival

Although technically, this festival spans the winter months of December and January, it starts in late November, so you may be able to experience this unique event. If you are lucky to be here when it starts, you will witness impressive light sculptures and art installations over the canals.

I highly recommend booking a nighttime canal cruise or guided walking tour to maximize the light festival.

fall in Amsterdam makes for a wonderful trip

FAQ: Visiting Amsterdam in the Fall

What months are considered Autumn in the Netherlands?

September, October and November

Why is October so popular in Amsterdam?

The weather cools significantly  and crowds decrease. You won’t have to wait as long to see major attractions and hotel rates go down too.

What are other seasons are nice to visit Amsterdam?

We love traveling in the shoulder season to most places and recently visited Amsterdam in the spring. Late March to early May is nice for lower crowds, great temps and ability to see the tulips at Keukenhof Gardens.

In Conclusion: Fall in Amsterdam

I hope my guide to spending a fall in Amsterdam helps you plan your next great adventure.

🇳🇱Netherlands Resources🇳🇱
Fall in Amsterdam
Best Canal Tours in Amsterdam
Review of the Hyatt Regency Amsterdam
Best Time to see Tulips in Amsterdam
Guide to Bike Rentals in Keukenhof Gardens