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.
NB, please do not rely solely on this information for your travel planning.
AMSTERDAM: BY AIR
From the UK: carriers include KLM, British Airways, Flybe, easyJet, City Jet, Aer Lingus, Ryanair, Jet2 and Vueling. The flight time from London is 45 minutes.
Within Europe: try Air France, Transavia, Swiss, Air Europa, Iberia and Finnair.
From the USA: direct flights are available with Lufthansa, KLM, Virgin Atlantic, Norwegian, American Airlines and Swiss.
By train or coach from the UK:
Eurostar speeds from London to Amsterdam. See eurolines for coach options.
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 and by bike, using the excellent network of cycle lanes. (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. To use public transport you'll need a Strippenkarten (strip card), which are widely available from stations, newsagents, supermarkets, bookstores etc. Take a look at the public transport information in Amsterdam.
If you plan to drive on elsewhere in the Netherlands or Europe see our car rental recommendations.