I know it’s just the beginning of September but I can’t help myself from bringing out my sweaters, scarves, and boots. One of the top reasons why I love the Fall is definitely because the high-season travel destinations are not as busy and you can do a lot more without hurting your wallet.
Last September, I visited Amsterdam with my partner Ben. Amsterdam is the capital of Netherlands best known for its rich history, canals, “coffee” shops, narrow houses, and tulips. Even though visiting in the Fall months is no longer high season for tourists, I found this a great alternative travel time to visit the beautiful city. Here are some travel tips for visiting Amsterdam in the Fall.
Pack layers, rain gear, and comfy shoes
The weather in September is quite mild, I found that the days and afternoons were around 19 degrees Celsius to low 20s and the nights cooler to around the low 10 degrees. I found packing layers was the perfect way to go. I would typically layer up in the morning with a cardigan/light jacket, and take that off during the day. Comfy walking shoes, rain jacket, and sunglasses are must haves when you’re in Amsterdam. We had days where it was beautiful, sunny, and warm, and 2 days when it was raining. If you haven’t had a chance to read our blog post for a complete guide to packing light, check it out here.
Be careful of the bike lanes
Once you arrive in Amsterdam you will see that there are many locals that are riding their bikes. Did you know, there are more bikes than humans there? The locals here will not tolerate people in the bike lane, so be sure to stay on the pedestrian side because they will run you over (trust me)! The tram system in Amsterdam is also very convenient and simple, you can get anywhere using the tram as well as the busses. Each location does have a ticket machine where you can purchase one-way/two-way tickets the day of or you can purchase on OVChipcard. They also have Uber, if you ever needed a ride. We opted for the one-way, two-way tickets for a few days, and purchased an I Amsterdam card.
Plan with your I Amsterdam card
Probably one of the best decisions I did was to purchase the I Amsterdam card ahead of time and plan our trip around it. Even though it is a little pricey, it includes transportation as well as museum visits, attraction visits, and even boat tours. The Van Gogh Museum, Rijksmuseum, Artis Royal Zoo just to name a few. They have over 60+ attractions that you can visit but be sure to plan so you can map out everything that is close by and can do as many things as possible. The Fall season is perfect to visit more of these museums and attractions since there are less people, you can see more without the hassle of bumping into people.
However, if you want to visit the Van Gogh Museum, you will have to schedule your visit ahead of time. One popular tourist location is visiting Anne Frank’s House. This isn’t included in the I Amsterdam card so you will have to book it advance and ahead of time. Early afternoons are the best to visit to avoid the big crowds.
Spend time outside with the locals and tourists
There are so many places to visit in the Fall even though the tulips aren’t in full bloom. The weather is nice enough to spend a lot of time outside to visit the Albert Cuyp Market, roam down the streets of Jordaan, spend some time at the largest park Vondelpark, the unique floating flower market Bloemenmarkt, take your picture by the famous “I AMSTERDAM” sign by Dam Square, and go for a boat ride down the canals.
Travel outside of Amsterdam
Less crowds and lower costs of tourist attractions means you have more money and time to visit to other parts of Holland. The train system is convenient in Amsterdam so it’s very easy to visit other cities. Amsterdam is definitely known for their windmills and the best place to visit to see them is Zaanse Schans.
Know the difference: Coffee shop vs Coffeeshop
Coffee shop (space between the two words) is a place that sells coffee. They are usually called cafes. Amsterdam is known for their coffee and stroopwafel combo so it’s perfect for the Fall weather.
A Coffeeshop (no space) is a shop that sells marijuana. Additionally, all shops that do sell will have a green and white sign at their entrance with their license. There’s typically a room or area inside the shop if you would like to smoke it so if it’s a cold rainy day, you don’t have to be outside.
Ditch the pictures at Red Light District
Sometimes you don’t need pictures to show that you’ve visited somewhere. I recommend putting your phone away when you do visit the Red Light District. The women working are fairly vulnerable and you are not allowed to take pictures to protect their identities and security. They will take your phone and smash it if you are taking pictures. It does get quite cold at night in the Fall so many sure you do have a sweater/jacket when you are visiting the Red Light District.
Live to eat
My ultimate reason for travelling is definitely to try new and different food. There are a lot of tourist trap locations in Amsterdam, especially near the popular tourist locations where they will sell food at higher prices so be sure to check out throughout the city for different options. Ben and I ate near Leidseplein where there was a strip of restaraunts selling pizza and pastas for only 5 euros! The portion was big and it was delicious! Things you must try before leaving are: stroopwafels, raw herring, oorlog Dutch French fries, croquettes (at a vending machine), cheese, and the hotdogs from HEMA.
Bring Euros but also a credit card
Some places only take credit cards, but majority of places will take cash. I typically try to budget how much money to spend a day and only bring that much euro with me at the beginning of the day and have my credit card with me as back-up. Plan to spend around 30 to 60 euros per a day depending on if you have things booked in advance or not.
Writing about my Amsterdam travels is giving me a major travel bug. Where should I go this Fall?
Have you been to Amsterdam in the Fall? What was your experience like?
Until next time,