Best time to travel the Netherlands

When is the best time to visit the Netherlands?

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If you ask us, there is no “bad” time to visit the Netherlands. Alright, biased opinion since this is our home country! But that means you came to the right place to learn exactly when you should travel to the Netherlands.

Whether you love frolicking on the beach or discovering world-class museums, the Netherlands has a dose of everything you could imagine. There are tons of events throughout the year and you’re sure to find something that piques your interest whenever you visit.

We’ll go over the pros and cons of visiting each time of year and provide tips to have an unforgettable trip to the Netherlands. Read on to discover some of the country’s famous attractions and the best time of year to visit them.

The best season to visit the Netherlands

The best time of year to travel to the Netherlands really depends on what activities you want to do. Are you an outdoorsy person or would you rather stay inside to explore museums and art galleries? The weather in the Netherlands is never extreme, which can make peak season and off-season equally enjoyable.

Summer has pleasant temperatures, while winter months are cold and rainy. Spring and fall can be mild, but unpredictable. If you’re visiting the Netherlands for a music festival, Christmas markets or a specific event, then that will determine your travel time.

Let’s look at each season to help find your best time to visit the Netherlands.

Summer (June-August)

Summer has the warmest weather, but also the most crowds. July and August are the busiest tourist months for the Netherlands. If you hate shuffling through long lines for museums and paying higher accommodation prices, summer may not be the best time for you.

However, there are tons of outdoor events and you can go for a picnic or relaxing boat ride. And with roughly 15-16 hour days, you’ll have plenty of sunlight to hit the beaches.

Fall (September-November)

Fall is a good time to avoid crowds in the Netherlands. Tourist attractions will be much quieter, but the temperatures begin to drop and there is a higher chance of rain.

September will still have some lingering warm temperatures, but locals start to flock indoors as October and November approaches. But if you’re looking for a peaceful trip, short lines and don’t mind a little rain, fall is for you.

Winter (December-February)

Winter is the time to snuggle up by the fire and get ready for the holidays. Although the weather isn’t harsh, this is the least favorite time to visit the Netherlands. This is your chance to see all the museums and other indoor activities with fewer crowds.

Christmas markets create a festive vibe in December and locals love to ring in the new year. Once the holidays end, things settle to a slower pace until tulip season begins.

Spring (March-May)

The days become warmer and this is the perfect time to see the famous Keukenhof tulips. Amsterdam is full of blooming flowers and the crowds are tame enough to have a peaceful picnic by the canals.

Bring extra layers and a rain jacket though, as the weather can still be gloomy at times. As the days get warmer, you’ll have more chances to take part in festivals and events such as the King’s Day celebration where everyone parades in the streets wearing orange outfits.

Best time to visit Amsterdam

Best months to visit Amsterdam = April, May and September

Amsterdam is one of the busiest cities in Europe and crowds can become a nightmare during peak season. Unless you’re not bothered by hordes of tourists, it’s best to avoid the capital during the summer.

Although predicting the weather can be tricky, spring and fall are both more enjoyable than summer. Crowds are not insane and travel costs have not skyrocketed to peak season prices.

March is a fantastic month to visit since the weather is improving and you still have shorter lines to all the cultural sites. This is a wonderful time to see the Rijksmuseum, Van Gogh Museum and the Anne Frank House.

April and May are possibly the best months to visit Amsterdam due to warmer weather, less rain, bearable crowds and flower season. This is the ideal time to enjoy the outdoors before peak season. And 27th of April is King’s day! One of the biggest events the Dutch know!

September is your best alternative since the weather is still fantastic and the summer crowds are beginning to fade. Although the crowds continue to decrease in October and November, Amsterdam starts to become cold and wet.

December-February is better to avoid if you don’t like cold weather. Christmas and New Year’s are a wonderful time to see Amsterdam in the holiday spirit and possibly see snow on frozen canals.

Best time to visit Rotterdam

Best months to visit Rotterdam = June-September

Rotterdam is home to Europe’s largest port and brimming with innovative architecture. The Netherlands’ second city rarely has extreme temperatures and it sees a fraction of the visitors as the capital.

Summer is an excellent time to soak up the sunshine and attend a festival. Rotterdam has made its mark as one of the world’s premier festival cities and you’ll find tons of events from June-September.

With moderate temperatures and limited rainfall, you can explore the city on foot or bike. This is the best time to sunbathe or swim at Rotterdam’s sandy beaches or wander its green spaces such as Vroesenpark and Het Park by the Euromast.

Although there’s not a drastic change in rainfall during the fall and winter months, the temperature begins to drop, making outdoor activities less attractive. This is an ideal time to visit cultural sites like Kunsthal Rotterdam and the Netherlands Photo Museum.

December-February are the most unfavorable months to visit Rotterdam due to chilly and sometimes rainy weather. Some exciting events are scheduled, such as the International Film Festival Rotterdam, but most activities will be indoors.

The temperature gradually rises during the spring and the months of April and May are your next best option to explore the city.

Best time to visit The Hague

Best months to visit The Hague = May-September 

Situated on the North Sea coast, The Hague is where you’ll find the seat of the Dutch Parliament, the Peace Palace and a myriad of museums. After visiting the city’s rich cultural attractions, have fun in the outdoors at the beaches of Scheveningen, Kijkduin and Zuiderstrand.

Due to The Hague’s temperate climate, summer is a wonderful time to soak up the sunshine and explore the coastal landscape of southern Netherlands. Temperatures are rarely extreme and limited rainfall enables you to spend plenty of time outdoors.

Start your day at the elegant squares of city center and have a tasty brew at an outdoor café. Binnenhof, Het Plein, and De Grote Markt are a few of the lively squares that have an array of outdoor eateries and musical events during the summer.

The temperature gradually declines during October and November, but there are lots of indoor attractions in the city centre and by the sea. Study exquisite paintings at the Mauritshuis, see modern artistic masterpieces at Gemeentemuseum Den Haag, or meet marine animals at Sea Life Scheveningen.   

Fall is also the time of the annual Crossing Border Festival which combines music and literature for a celebration of the arts.

Like other destinations in the Netherlands, the winter months are the least favorable time to visit The Hague. December and January are two of the rainiest months of the year and cold temperatures persist throughout the day. However, flight and accommodation prices will be cheaper if you prefer cooler weather.

The city comes to life again in April and May with colorful flowers blooming at Lange Voorhout, cyclists coasting through the sand dunes of Westdunepark and residents flocking to green spaces like Zuiderpark.

Best time to visit the Netherlands for tulips

Best months to visit the Netherlands for tulips = April & May

The Netherlands is famous for its breathtaking tulip fields, and around a million people travel to the country to see these blooming flowers. Naturally, lots of travelers are curious about the best time to visit the Netherlands for tulips.

National Tulip Day is held on the third Saturday of January and officially kicks off tulip season in the Netherlands. Locals and visitors can pick tulips from Amsterdam’s Dam Square. Make sure you’re early for the event as tons of people line up before opening to go inside the garden.

Middenmeer hosts the Holland Flower Festival in February and this indoor flower market sees roughly 25,000 visitors per year. The festival presents beautiful gardens and creative flower arrangements made by talented Dutch artists.

If you’d rather travel to the Netherlands to see the main tulip attractions, then the spring is when you must visit. The months of March-May are when the tulips really put on a spectacular display and bloom throughout the country.

Keukenhof is the world’s largest flower park and you can see this stunning spring garden from late March until early May. Millions of bulbs are planted within the park and you’ll see dazzling fields of tulips, orchids, roses, daffodils, carnations, lilies and many others.

To see flowers blooming across the country, we highly recommend you take the country’s longest tulip route in Flevoland. The route contains over 100-km of roads and showcases thousands of tulip fields of various colors.

Escape the crowds, capture astonishing photographs, and immerse yourself in Dutch culture on an unforgettable road trip that was recognised as one of the world’s best by National Geographic.   

We love to hear from you

Thanks for checking out the best time to visit the Netherlands. Hopefully, this has provided the information you need to plan a wonderful trip to the Netherlands based on the activities you wish to do. If you have travel experiences from the Netherlands, or if you have a question, please leave a comment below.

Don’t forget to check out our Netherlands destination page for other ideas when you visit the country. For more travel tips and inspiration, check out more of our travel tips

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