Amsterdam is genuinely a year-round destination and, though the city can be chilly in winter, it’s always busy and never dull. March-April is peak tulip season, and one of our favourite times to visit. September-October are also good for avoiding the summer heat and crowds. November-December is great for museum hopping, ice skating and Christmas shopping - if you don't mind some bitter winds.
Summer is good for canal-boat trips, hanging out in the Vondelpark and people-watching at pavement cafés - but be prepared for long queues at the museums and a few pesky mosquitoes. There are also some great festivals, including the highbrow Holland Festival in June (music, theatre, dance, art), the Grachtenfestival in mid-late August (classical music performed on and around the city’s canals), and no end of dance festivals. For more, see iamsterdam.
Note: airlines and timetables change constantly, so please check airline sites (or a search like Skyscanner) before confirming your travel plans.
Amsterdam's Schipol Airport is one of Europe's major transport hubs, so getting flights is rarely a problem.
Flights from the UK and Ireland:
The flight time from London is 45 minutes.
KLM flies from numerous UK airports, including Aberdeen, Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Dublin, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Heathrow, Humberside, Leeds, Manchester, Newcastle and Norwich.
British Airways flies from various London airports.
Flybe flies from Aberdeen, Belfast, Birmingham, Doncaster-Sheffield, East Midlands, Edinburgh, Exeter, Glasgow, London City, Manchester, Newcastle and Southampton.
easyJet flies from Belfast, Bristol, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Liverpool, London (various airports) and Manchester.
City Jet flies from London City.
Aer Lingus flies from Cork and Dublin.
Ryanair flies from Dublin.
Jet2 flies from Leeds.
Vueling flies from London Luton.
Alternatively, you can of course make the journey by coach, train or ferry.
Amsterdam is a very compact city, with a delightful network of canals - which makes it an easy and pleasant place to get about on foot. Almost universally, locals get about town by bike, using the excellent network of cycle lanes. If you want to join in, there are plenty of cycle hire shops about town. (Try Macbike, tel. +31 20 620 09 85).
There is a comprehensive and efficient tram and bus system, and a less comprehensive metro service. Taxis are expensive (on a par with London, or perhaps more expensive). To use public transport you'll need a Strippenkarten (strip card), which are widely available from stations, newsagents, supermarkets, bookstores etc. Public transport information in Amsterdam.
If you plan to drive on elsewhere in the Netherlands or Europe see our car rental recommendations.