A lot of travellers wonder – when’s the cheapest time to go to Amsterdam? Amsterdam is an ideal holiday location for many due to the unique culture, architecture, historical sites, museums, coffeeshops and Red Light District. However, travel can be expensive and it’s a good idea to find the cheapest time to travel to Amsterdam. Of course, affordability is not the only thing to consider – temperature, special events and other commitments might mean that it’s best to go to Amsterdam at a specific time of year. Let’s look at the best time to visit Amsterdam.
The cheapest time to go to Amsterdam: winter
Generally, the cheapest time to visit Amsterdam is in the winter – usually between November and March. It’s important to bear in mind that it can get quite cold in Amsterdam at this time of year. Most holidaymakers want to travel when the weather is at its warmest and this means summer for Amsterdam. If you’re flexible on when to travel and don’t mind bringing a few extra layers, then you can make some real savings by travelling during the winter months. The temperatures in Amsterdam rarely fall below 0 degrees Celsius and these colder months are a great time to spend visiting museums and other indoor attractions. A bonus is that the atmosphere in Amsterdam during winter is very romantic, with twinkling lights, candlelight, frozen canals and snow. For the best chance of snow, we recommend booking your holiday for January.
As well as the weather, you will often find that winter is a cheap time to visit Amsterdam since many families with children will only visit during the long school holidays, such as during the summer. Travelling during the winter means you’ll get some of the most popular attractions almost all to yourself. Of course, some of the most popular attractions are busy all year round, such as the Anne Frank House, meaning that you may still need to book your tickets in advance. Winter can be the best time to visit Amsterdam if you want to have a peaceful, quiet visit to the city, without the crowds.
There are exceptions to cheaper prices during winter: avoid the festive period around Christmas and New Year’s Eve if you’re looking for a bargain. Many people are off work and the city comes alive with famous Christmas festivities and markets throughout. If you’d like to visit Amsterdam at Christmas time, it’s best to go early in December, before most people take their holiday break.
Cheap flights for Amsterdam in winter
Flights can be one of the most expensive parts of arranging a holiday, but there are ways to cut down your flight costs when you travel. As well as travelling in the off-season, you can cut down your flight costs by finding the best day of the week to travel. When flying to Amsterdam, it’s often cheapest on a Thursday; when leaving, it’s often cheapest to fly on a Wednesday. Always check what the best routes are for you, as these can change. If you can be flexible with your travel dates, it’s always worth checking prices and options before finalising your plans in any way.
Another tip to get cheap flights to Amsterdam is to book ahead. According to Kayak, the cheapest flights between London and Amsterdam were found roughly 66 days before departure. Sometimes, it’s also possible to get cheap flights by booking last-minute. This can be a risky strategy, though, and could mean that you struggle to find flights, hotels and attraction tickets at a reasonable price.
You should also think about the location of the airport when picking up your flights. You might find that flying from a small, local airport is more expensive – for example, prices at Exeter airport are often higher than prices at London Gatwick airport. Compare the savings of your flight cost against the price of travel to a more central airport, including parking or taxis.
If you’re unsure how to get the best flights from the UK to Amsterdam, check out price comparison tools to track prices over a longer period of time to figure out the best time to book your flights.
Cheap Accommodation in Amsterdam in winter
Hotels in Amsterdam are in high demand at most times of the year. Thousands of tourists flock to Amsterdam every month, driving up hotel prices. A hotel room can easily be an unmanageable expense for a lot of holiday-makers. There is a wide range of different hotels to suit different budgets, but at peak season even the cheapest hotels can be outside the budgets of many travellers.
A much more affordable option can be hostels. Hostels are a great way to find affordable accommodation; our ClinkNOORD youth hostel in Amsterdam has great amenities and low prices. If you’re travelling as a group, hostels are perfect for finding cheap group accommodation in Amsterdam. A lot of hostels are centrally located, making them a cheap option for getting to sightseeing spots or visiting attractions, such as museums. Our ClinkNOORD hostel has private rooms. These are great options if you’re travelling as a group or just want to have added privacy, whether for a romantic getaway with someone special or as a treat for yourself. In the cheaper winter season, hostels often have added availability and will be quieter than in the busy summer months. They can be a great way to stay cheaply, giving you more to spend on activities, food and drink throughout your city break.
Cheap restaurants in Amsterdam in winter
The Netherlands have many fantastic restaurants, making it perfect for sampling local cuisine. As with almost any European country, many rich, comforting dishes are worth trying if you are travelling to Amsterdam in the cheaper winter off-season.
Discovering little hole-in-the-wall eateries on your own by strolling through Amsterdam is a great way to find some exceptional places to eat. It can also be helpful to know about some affordable restaurants ahead of time, to make reservations or take the worry out of finding somewhere good to eat. Some of the best cheap restaurants in Amsterdam are:
- Skek – A student-run bar with budget traditional Dutch food and live music
- Goodies – An affordable eatery with a range of meat dishes and the Dutch favourite: cheese fondue
- Rob Wigboldus Vishandel – a deli offering traditional Dutch food at low prices
- Soup En Zo – Well-known as the place to get a quick bite, including a lot of traditional Dutch soups
- Mister Meatball – A sit-down restaurant with a wide range of Dutch cuisine, plus vegan options
It’s recommended to try the typical cuisine from the local area and Dutch food is a great traditional and affordable option. Many people that visit Amsterdam in the winter try Dutch delicacies, such as snert, a split pea soup that is perfectly warming for winter; and stamppot, mashed potatoes with vegetables, served with sausage. And if you want to experience the capital like the locals do, no visit would be complete without grabbing a beer at one of the brown cafés in Amsterdam!
Cheap things to do in Amsterdam in winter
If flights and accommodation are eating into your holiday budget, you may feel concerned about how to afford fun outings and attractions to fill your holiday with. Fear not: there’s a wide range of cheap things to do in Amsterdam, even in the winter season. Discover what is Amsterdam like in February to book an exciting winter holiday.
- Skating on the canals – While this is not a guaranteed event, the canals sometimes freeze over in winter, allowing for ice skating. It’s easy to hire skates and there are often stands near the canals selling fresh pancakes and doughnut balls if you fancy a sweet treat after skating — how romantic.
- The Houseboat museum – a chance to look around a preserved example of a typical, Amsterdam houseboat. Tickets are usually less than 5 euros.
- The Cat Cabinet – this cat-based museum is interesting for people of all ages, including families, with a wide range of art and other cat-centric curiosities.
- Pedal boats – if the canals aren’t frozen over, hire pedal boats to explore the canals. It’s recommended to pick a sunny winter day for this and to wrap up warm.
- Try local food stalls – if you’re a foodie this will be a no-brainer: there is plenty of fun for everyone in trying new foodstuffs. The renovated tram shed in Oud-West boasts an impressive range of food stalls, including the local delicacy of raw herring.
Visit Amsterdam during the shoulder season
If you’re not a fan of cold temperatures, it’s still possible to visit Amsterdam for a reasonable price during the shoulder seasons. “Shoulder season” refers to the time between high-season and off-season, usually in the autumn and spring. Don’t miss out on the best activities of Amsterdam in September. There are several reasons to plan your visit during the shoulder seasons:
- Warmer temperatures than in winter
- Spring shoulder season is a great time to see the famous Dutch tulips in bloom
- Attractions will be quieter, except during school holidays
- Cooler weather than summer means cycling and walking holidays can be more pleasant
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When not to visit Amsterdam
Unless you want to go to Amsterdam during a specific window of dates, there are some times of the year to avoid, since prices can be high at certain times of the year. Times to avoid include:
- Christmas and New Year – during these major holidays, prices can be much higher than during the rest of the winter season
- School holidays – even in the off-season, the school holidays around Christmas and Easter can be expensive since more families can travel during these times
- King’s Day – this is a local bank holiday that celebrates the King of the Netherlands’ birthday on the 27th of April. Prices tend to be higher around long weekends or bank holidays
If you want to visit Amsterdam during one of these busy times, the best way to find affordable deals is to book ahead – booking your flights and accommodation early means you’ll have time to find the best deals. Lots of airline and accommodation prices tend to be lower the earlier you book. You might also find that non-refundable deals are the cheapest when booking for busy times of the year, but it’s a good idea to be certain of the details before you book these.
Some places in the areas surrounding Amsterdam may be cheaper, allowing you to save money during a day trip outside Amsterdam. Check out our day trips around Amsterdam guide.
Booking your Amsterdam holiday in winter can help you to save money and find the best deals, but keep an eye out for good airline deals and cheap attractions both in and out of the city at any time of year. Remember that eating great Dutch cuisine doesn’t have to come at a high price if you find great low-price restaurants. If you’re looking for cheap accommodation, check out our ClinkNOORD youth hostel in Amsterdam – and book cheap group accommodation in Amsterdam if you’re travelling with friends or family. We’ll be happy to welcome you!