When is the best time to visit Amsterdam?
Amsterdam’s famous canals, museums and, fine, we’ll say it – red light district – make the city instantly recognisable all year round. It has unique charm which exists independent of the seasons, and as a culturally rich, historical city, has lots to offer even outside of its peak season. In fact, the Amsterdam experience might be even better when less busy with tourists.
The most common – and arguably best - time to visit Amsterdam is between April and September, as the temperature and daylight hours are more favourable for those seeking outdoor adventures (although it’s worth remembering that the weather is slightly temperamental at all times of year; this is northern European city, after all). The sun shining does make a difference to the feel of the city, with a much more cosmopolitan vibe in the air, but the benefits of this must be balanced with the drawback of the bustling crowds.
Amsterdam is well known for its tulips, which bloom annually between mid-March and May, blanketing the city and its surrounding fields in all shades of colour. Many see this specifically as the most favourable time to visit, and tourists flock to make the most of the city’s natural beauty. The Keukenhof Gardens in particular become very busy around this time. The tulip bloom also happens to coincide with King’s Day (formerly Queen’s Day) – the celebration of the monarch’s official birthday – which is celebrated on April 27th annually.
King’s Day is celebrated with pop-up markets [vrijmarkt], street celebrations and outdoor parties. The canals quickly become packed full of revellers, all dressed in orange – the colours of the Dutch royal family. The city centres get extremely busy, as Netherlanders and excitable tourists alike gather together for this fun - and very Dutch - event. Whilst this isn’t the time to take a quiet getaway, it is certainly a vibrant and very real reflection of an authentic Dutch celebration.
If you’re looking to avoid the hustle and bustle, any time outside of the peak season would be your best bet to visit, with cultural events starting up in September – the Jordaan Festival in late September and Museum Night [Museumnacht] in November are both not to be missed. Whilst the cooler –often just outright cold – months between October and March are less popular with visitors to the city, Amsterdam is particularly cosy throughout this time, making it attractive to some travellers. Expect popular attractions such as the Anne Frank Museum [Anne Frank Huis] to still be busy. Christmas is a clear exception to the off-peak rule, as tourists flock to experience the festivity of the city in its holiday grandeur.
When is the cheapest time of year to fly to Amsterdam?
As noted above, Amsterdam has a clearly marked peak season for tourists – between April and September – when the city is noticeably busier. As such, flights and hotels alike are generally more expensive throughout this time, as well as more difficult to book at late notice.
However, all is not lost! Due to the close proximity of the Netherlands to the UK and its ongoing popularity with British visitors, cheap flights to Amsterdam can still be found relatively easily at almost any time of year. The best way to secure these is to search a couple of weeks in advance and to remain flexible with dates. As is expected, the most significant cost on even short breaks to Amsterdam will be hotels, so focussing on securing a cheap flight over great value accommodation will usually not work out as cost-effective.
November and January are the cheapest months for tourists by far, and there are deals available for February and October too, although to a significantly lesser extent. Valentine’s Day is broadly celebrated in Amsterdam, meaning that prices do rise with demand around the middle of February.
Are there any direct flights from the UK to Amsterdam?
Yes! The main airport in Amsterdam is Schiphol and most - if not all - flights from the UK fly directly to here. Schiphol is a major international airport, so it also serves as a stopover point for many longer-haul flights. As a result, it can often be busy, but thanks to its size, user-friendly layout and customer organisation, it’s easily navigated and rarely crowded. More than 300 flights to Amsterdam leave weekly, from London airports alone.
You can fly directly to Amsterdam from the following UK airports:
- Aberdeen • Belfast International
- Birmingham • Bristol
- Cardiff • Durham
- Edinburgh • Exeter
- Glasgow International • Humberside
- Inverness • Leeds Bradford
- Liverpool • London City
- London Gatwick • London Heathrow
- London Luton • London Southend
- Manchester • Newcastle
- Norwich • Southampton
With flights being so regular, convenient and speedy, any reason to fly indirectly, whether for cost or convenience purposes, would be highly unusual.
See our Flight Finder to search and book, or read on to see which airlines offer direct flights.
Which airlines fly to Amsterdam?
Most airlines operate directly between the UK and Amsterdam – in fact, we struggled to find those which didn’t.
You can find direct flights from the UK to Amsterdam with the following:
- British Airways • KLM
- Flybe • EasyJet
- Jet2 • CityJet
It’s worth considering that Ryanair’s closest offering to an Amsterdam route will take you to Eindhoven, a city just over 120km away from Amsterdam itself. Transfers are easy via train or car, but will take around an hour and a half. With so many choices available, it seems unlikely that this would be a viable option; but worth a consideration if you’re booking late notice or stuck for dates!
A range of airlines also fly indirectly from the UK. These include:
- Air France • Lufthansa
- Aer Lingus • Norwegian
- Swiss • germanwings
Are there any low cost airlines that fly to Amsterdam?
EasyJet is the main budget airline to operate flights directly from the UK to Amsterdam. This route is one of EasyJet’s flagships, often at the forefront of their sales campaigns with flights frequently found for prices between £20 and £40 one-way. They operate flights from Manchester and all London airports at least twice-daily, all year round. They also offer routes to a variety of other UK airports.
Jet2 and Flybe also fly regularly between Amsterdam and a range of UK destinations. These airlines are particularly good for those looking to fly from lesser-populated airports.
Remember our advice about Ryanair’s closest flight; we recommend avoiding this airline to Amsterdam, particularly for weekend breaks. This is due to the fact that they do not offer direct flights to the Amsterdam itself – only to Eindhoven, which would mean that critical time on a short break would be taken up by unnecessary travel.
Aside from specifically budget airlines, most flights are known for being consistently well-priced on this route, as competition is fierce. As always, we recommend shopping around for the best deals.
What’s the best airline to fly to Amsterdam from the UK?
The definition of ‘best,’ of course, depends on your own priorities. For such a short-haul flight, many travellers focus solely on the price of flights over personal airline preference. In this case, the low-cost airlines mentioned above may prove best for this trip; although, as discussed, some more ‘regular’ airlines are often equally cost-efficient.
If you’re looking for something other than price-efficiency, try British Airways for consistently good customer service or CityJet for a famously time-efficient journey.
If you’re hoping to fly from a northern city, it’s worth noting that CityJet only currently services London City and Cambridge airports to/from Amsterdam – try another airline with just hand luggage if you’re looking to save time!
How long is the flight from the UK to Amsterdam?
The Netherlands is practically next door to Great Britain, with just 123 miles of North Sea between us. Flights to Amsterdam take an average of an hour – give or take ten minutes either side.
In any circumstance, the journey should not take a large amount of time. But, if you’re on a particularly tight time budget, try flying with a particularly time efficient airline. Our favourite is CityJet, whose check-in time at London City airport is just 15 minutes – the shortest of any in the UK. As always, flying with only carry-on luggage also saves significant amounts of time on either end of the journey.
How much is a flight from the UK to Amsterdam?
Because of the volume and frequency of flights to Amsterdam, the competition to keep ticket prices low is hot. The route is also home to a number of the most well-known low-cost airlines in the UK, which means that - if searched for carefully - flights can be found starting at around £30 for a direct, one-way economy ticket from a major UK airport.
Seats at this price level are, naturally, no-frills, meaning that check-in luggage and additional extras may often be charged with a nominal amount on top of the original cost – make sure you take these extras into consideration when booking! Most airlines now try to minimise these as much possible, but they can pop up on occasion.
How far is the airport from the city centre?
Amsterdam Airport Schiphol is around 10 miles (16km) southwest of the city. Due to its size, there’s a great, wide range of facilities there to keep you entertained if you have a couple of hours to waste. Alternatively, the short journey can be made in as few as 15 minutes if timed well!
What’s the best way to reach Amsterdam’s city centre from the airport?
The Netherlands, in general, have a great rail network and public transport system – Amsterdam is no exception to this. A direct rail service connects the plaza just below Schiphol Airport to Amsterdam’s central railway station in between 15 and 20 minutes. Trains run 7 times an hour between 6am and midnight, quarter-hourly between midnight and 1.15am, and hourly from then until 6am. A ticket costs €4 (equivalent to around £3.20) for an adult single, and €2.50 (£2) for a child’s day pass (between 4 and 11 years old).
Airport shuttles are another great option; choose Connexxion to take you directly to your hotel – they service over 100 guesthouses throughout the city. Check that yours is one of them (or nearby to one!) before you book. Tickets are available from inside the arrivals hall and cost €17 (£13.50) for a one-way ticket; €27 (£21.50) for a return.
Public bus fares start at €1.60 (£1.20) and run at various times – usually around every 15-30 minutes in daytime hours, and less frequently on weekends.
Private taxis are available from outside the arrivals hall; book in advance via the Schiphol website or choose one upon arrival. The 15-30 minute trip costs between €35 and €40 (£28-32) and is perfect for those with lots of luggage, or who require door-to-door service.
Where can I get even more information on travel to Amsterdam?
See our Amsterdam destination page for more details on the city, its public transport and local laws, and our flight and travel guide for before-you-leave advice.
We also have an airport guide for Schiphol here.
Image attribution: Canal at Dusk by Labé | Tulip Stall by jimderda | Amsterdam Canal by russavia