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Autumn in Amsterdam: 10 Best Things to Do, Where to Eat & Drink [2021]

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Autumn is the perfect time for a weekend getaway in Europe.

Cities are hued in gold and red as the trees change, and a crisp chill fills the air.

And when all you crave is autumnal walks and cosy cafes, there’s no place better than Amsterdam.

This autumn in Amsterdam guide has everything you need for the perfect autumnal weekend in Amsterdam.

From popular tourist sports to hidden gems that will make you feel like a local, read on to discover how to spend autumn in Amsterdam!

This article is written by Faraway Lucy writer, Kate Andrews.

Why you should visit Amsterdam in the autumn

buildings-reflected-in-water-autumn-in-amsterdam

Amsterdam is one of the most beautiful cities in Europe, famed for its preserved 17th century gabled houses that line the canals.

However, with its beauty comes an influx of tourists over summer to experience its reputation as a fun party city.

Well, there’s more to Amsterdam than its reputation.

Visiting during a quieter time (spring or autumn) means you can experience the city in a more authentic light, when the tourists and stag dos are filtering out.

Spring is well-known for its appeal in the Netherlands, thanks to its famed tulip season.

While this is a spectacle to behold, there’s something secretly magic about autumn in Amsterdam.

The city feels quieter, yet there’s still so much to do.

You won’t have to queue for a good Dutch beer and you’ll avoid that feeling of overwhelm at the popular tourist sites.

But, most importantly, the beauty of Amsterdam comes to life this time of year.

The tree-lined canals frame the streets with golden leaves, reflected in the water as the seasons change, and the air gets colder.

With its criss-cross streets and opulent gabled houses, Amsterdam in the clear autumn air really is a sight to behold.

How to get to Amsterdam

buildings-reflected-in-the-river-autumn-in-amsterdam

Generally, spring tends to be the most popular time to visit Amsterdam as tourists flock to see the famous tulip fields, so flight prices are fairly reasonable from September through to November.

Most airports fly directly to Amsterdam thanks to the airport being an international hub.

Moreover, the flight from London is just over an hour – you’ve barely taken off before you land again!

It’s one of the shortest international flights you can get from London, which makes it the perfect weekend destination.

You can get a weekend return to Amsterdam from Heathrow or Gatwick for around £100.

They’re even cheaper still from Stansted and other cities away from London; budget airlines come in at around the £60-70 mark.

However, if you’re avoiding flights, the Eurostar is an easy alternative option.

Travelling from London St Pancras, you can either get a direct train or one via Paris.

They’re as frequent as flights, but tickets will generally put you back around the >£200 mark and the journey takes just under four hours.

What to pack for autumn in Amsterdam

blonde-girl-sat-by-canal-in-amsterdam-kate-andrews

The good news is that Dutch fashion is understated and subtle, so there’s no need to bring your entire wardrobe with you.

This means carry-on bags are very manageable for a weekend trip to the Netherlands!

As with any Northern hemisphere country at this time of year, expect changeable weather and pack layers.

You’re best off with a pair of day jeans for exploring and smarter evening trousers for drinks and dinner (with all the cycling, it’s rare to see dresses and skirts around the city).

Pack a few layers (tops/jumpers/blouses) for unpredictable weather: you could get 20°C and blue skies, or 10°C and drizzle.

Very few restaurants will turn you away for trainers, so one nice pair will take you from walking/biking the city during the day to dressing up in the evening.

In terms of outerwear, don’t forget a raincoat!

If you want to blend in with the locals, grab a Rains coat (retailing around £75), which will keep you dry in case of a Dutch rainstorms.

They’re also light enough to allow a breathable outfit if it’s slightly warmer, or if the sun comes out.

How to get around Amsterdam

Amsterdam is a small city, and wonderfully walkable – which not only makes it the perfect weekend trip but keeps it affordable.

The traffic is generally quiet in the city, which ensures that walking is pleasant and safe down the quiet brick streets.

Public transport

tram-going-down-road-by-station-on-sunny-day

To make the most of a short trip, you can get an IAmsterdam card, which is well worth the money.

For 48 hours, it’ll cost you €85, which includes entry to all top tourist sites, free use of all public transport (trams, buses, and metros over the city) and more.

The card has so many useful benefits, including access to all the top museums.

If you’re doing the full tourist thing, then it’s worth the money.

You can pre-order your card before your trip and use the handy app or get a physical copy once you arrive at Amsterdam airport.

Bike

woman-walking-past-bikes-autumn-in-amsterdam

For the most authentic way to get around Amsterdam, make sure to hire a bike.

There are over 200km of bike paths throughout the city, and it’s a relatively safe place to cycle.

Luckily, the weekend IAmsterdam card allows one day free bike hire, and the website has a list of reputable and reasonable places you can rent bikes across the city.

However, I recommend that you’re a confident cyclist before choosing this way, or you may encounter some frustration from the locals who expertly whizz around on two wheels.

Canal cruise

canal-cruise-on-river-autumn-in-amsterdam

It wouldn’t be Amsterdam without a canal cruise, either!

To add to its benefit, the IAmsterdam card includes a one hour cruise, which you can use at any major canal tour operator.

You don’t even need to book – just turn up and show your card.

Where to stay in autumn in Amsterdam

There’s something for every budget in this small but thriving city.

Centrum

travellers-arriving-at-the-flying-pig-hostel-downtown

Many tourists stay in centrum due to its proximity to the major sight-seeing areas.

However, this is the busiest part of Amsterdam, and it doesn’t always do the city justice.

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The Red Light District and Dam Square don’t allow you to full appreciate the city’s beauty because of all the crowds (and stag dos), so unless you’re on a party holiday, maybe steer clear from this area.

However, if you’re after the Brits-abroad experience, there’s plenty of affordable hostels for that party experience.

One of the most famous and highest rated is the Flying Pig Hostel, well known by travellers and stag dos alike.

Jordaan

interior-of-the-hoxton-hotel-autumn-in-amsterdam

For a more authentic experience of the charming narrow brick streets and winding canals, opt for Jordaan instead.

When you’ve seen postcards of Amsterdam – or sepia-toned Instagrams – this is probably the place they were taken.

Picturesque and framed by flower-lined streets, Jordaan is a bustling, beautiful area with plenty to do and great access into the city.

It’s rich in history and has some of the cities best restaurants and hotels tucked away in the narrow streets.

One of the finest is The Hoxton, located on the famous Nine Streets.

There’s plenty of room options for varied budgets and the entire hotel is tastefully decorated.

Or if you want real extravagance, the Pulitzer Hotel – also on The Nine Streets – is one of the best in the entire city, let alone the area.

Set in 25 restored 17th and 18th century Dutch houses on a canal, this stylish hotel is elegant and sophisticated.

It’s a bit pricier, but you’ll often find good deals when you book directly.

For a cheaper option, Mr. Jordaan offers an attractive alternative.

The small, boutique hotel is tastefully decorated and is in a perfect location, only a stone’s throw from the Anne Frank House.

What to do in autumn in Amsterdam

1. Museumplein

reflections-of-museumplein-on-water

Address: 1079 RA Amsterdam, Netherlands

Phone number: +31 20 624 1111

One of the most popular tourist spots, it’s no surprise that this area attracts the crowds.

The museum quarter of Amsterdam, built in the 19th century, is a hub of culture and home to the three major museums in the Netherlands.

These aree the Rijksmuseum, the Stedelijk Museum of Modern Art, and the Van Gogh Museum.

Chances are, you’ve heard of them all!

An iAmsterdam card will give discounted entry prices, but each are worth visiting even if you have to pay full price.

The area itself is a large, well-landscaped square with lots of photo opportunities, and still worth visiting if you’re not into catching some culture.

2. Rocycle

people-in-spin-class-at-rocycle

Address: Various locations

If you‘re one of those crazy people who works out even on their holiday, at least do it Dutch-style.

Rocycle is an indoor cycle studio with a cult following in Amsterdam.

You can buy a class online or book through Classpass, and be prepared for an intense and energetic workout that’ll leave you sweaty and strong.

It takes Amsterdam cycling to a new level!

3. Mokum Boot Huren Amsterdam

mokumboat-boat-rental-autumn-in-amsterdam

Address: Nassaukade 351, 1053 LZ Amsterdam, Netherlands

Phone number: +31 20 210 5700

If you get the iAmsterdam card for your trip, you’ll be able to redeem a canal cruise through the city to enjoy the charming narrow houses and streets of Amsterdam from the water.

But another great way to experience Amsterdam via boat is to hire one yourself.

It’s a fantastic and socialable way to explore the city’s waterways.

And Mokum Boot Huren Amsterdam is the best option when it comes to boat hire in Amsterdam.

With six locations over the city, this cheap and easy boat hire allows you to steer your own route.

Plus, you can bring food and booze aboard for a great afternoon of cruising.

4. Anne Frank House

white-sign-to-anne-frank-huis

Address: Westermarkt 20, 1016 GV Amsterdam, Netherlands

Phone number: +31 20 556 7105

Known for its historic importance across the world, the Anne Frank House is a harrowing yet hopeful spot to learn about the atrocities, grounded in the famous diary and life of Anne Frank.

This is an affecting experience, but an important one.

You’ll learn plenty.

Be sure to book your tickets before you visit.

5. Tropenmuseum

main-hall-at-the-tropenmuseum

Address: Linnaeusstraat 2, 1092 CK Amsterdam, Netherlands

Phone number: +31 88 004 2800

One of the largest museums in Amsterdam, this building is located slightly out of the museum district, but deserves an honorary mention for its beautiful exterior and incredible exhibits.

Tropenmuseum houses a wide selection of fascinating content on world cultures, and explores the diversity of our planet.

Plus, if the autumn weather isn’t on your side, a visit here is a good way to shelter from the elements.

6. A’DAM Lookout

swing-on-top-of-a'dam-tower-at-a'dam-lookout

Address: Overhoeksplein 5, 1031 KS Amsterdam, Netherlands

Phone number: +31 20 242 0100

Providing the best views of the city, A’DAM Lookout is an observation deck overlooking the city centre and the port.

You’ll travel 100m up to the deck for a panoramic site of city and an interactive exhibit to learn more about what you can see.

For the adrenaline seekers among you, the Lookout is also home to Europe’s highest swing.

Ride ‘Over the Edge’ back and forth to see the golden colours of Amsterdam beneath your feet.

7. Heineken Experience

entrance-to-heineken-experience

Address: Stadhouderskade 78, 1072 AE Amsterdam, Netherlands

Phone number: +31 20 721 5300

Beer lovers rejoice!

At the heart of any Netherlands trip has to be Dutch beer, and there’s nothing better than the most famous, Heineken.

At the Heineken Experience, you explore the 150 year old history of the brand.

There are two great experiences to try: The Heineken Tour is a 1.5 hour tour around the brewery with two chilled beers waiting for you at the end, or the Rock the City tour includes a canal cruise for a full immersive experience.

If you’re feeling the cold during autumn in Amsterdam, an alcohol blanket is sure to warm you up!

8. Bloemenmarkt

red-tulips-at-bloemenmarkt

Address: Singel, 1012 DH Amsterdam, Netherlands

In all seasons, this floating flower market is unmissable.

It’s the only one like it in the world, reminiscent of the days of flowers being delivered to the city by boat, and has existed since the 1800s.

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You might not want to take a bunch of blooms back on the flight; rest assured, you can buy bulbs, too, which are perfect for travel and make for a great souvenir.

9. Hortus Botanicus Amsterdam

second-floor-walkway-in-hortus-botanicus

Address: Plantage Middenlaan 2a, 1018 DD Amsterdam, Netherlands

Phone number: +31 20 625 9021

The botanical gardens are a great way to enjoy the peace of the city.

One of the world’s oldest botanical gardens, built in the 17th century, Hortus Botanicus is an oasis of colour in the city.

Enjoy the magnificent palm house and the wonderful walks around the grounds.

There’s still plenty to see this time of year: you’ll be greeted with a spectacular array of autumn colours around the expansive gardens.

One of the best ways to spend autumn in Amsterdam? I think so!

10. Vondelpark

red-tree-in-vondelpark-autumn-in-amsterdam

Vondelpark is a must-see on any Amsterdam itinerary at any time of year.

However, there’s nothing like a park in autumn so soak up the glorious colours of changing seasons.

The park is 120 acres of parkland, making it the largest city park in Amsterdam, and it’s perfect to wander around.

Enjoy the golden leaves reflected in the ponds, and people dog-walking, jogging, or having picnics on benches.

This is the best way to enjoy autumn in Amsterdam, that’s for sure.

Where to eat in autumn in Amsterdam

1. Café de Sluyswacht

exterior-of-café-de-sluyswacht-on-cloudy-day

Address: Jodenbreestraat 1, 1011 NG Amsterdam, Netherlands

Phone number :+31 20 625 7611

Set in a historic lockhouse overlooking one of the larger canals at the centre of the city, this adorable café offers a charming (and wonky!) water-side experience.

The black gabled building is full of historic character, and is known as ‘the leaning pub’ for its tilt.

Moreover, the location is perfect for a stop after visiting the Rembrandt House Museum.

2. Little Collins

exterior-of-little-collins-cafe-autumn-in-amsterdam

Address: Eerste Sweelinckstraat 19F, 1073 CL Amsterdam, Netherlands

Phone number: +31 20 673 2293

In the fashionable district of De Pijp to the east of Amsterdam, Little Collins is a charming brunch destination with an explorative menu.

It’s a narrow little spot for walk-ins only, so come early at the weekend as it can get busy.

3. Benji’s

bar-in-benjis-restaurant-autumn-in-amsterdam

Address: Various locations

This local’s favourite has two destinations in Oost and West.

They’re both a little out of the city centre, but worth the short cycle to the self-proclaimed ‘urban oasis’.

With plants galore in a contemporary industrial setting, Benji’s serves us some of the best breakfasts around.

Think fresh ingredients surrounded by an urban jungle.

4. FoodHallen

crowds-of-people-walking-through-foodhallen

Address: De Hallen Amsterdam, Bellamyplein 51, 1053 AT Amsterdam, Netherlands

A short cycle from the city centre, the expansive FoodHallen will spoil you for choice.

In this indoor bustling market, there’s a huge selection of street food from different countries, as well as bars throughout.

There’s plenty of seating but it can get busy at weekends.

Be warned: nothing opens before 12:30, so don’t bother coming for brunch!

One of the best stalls here is Fento, which serves up healthy Mexican food.

Vegan nachos, anyone?

5. Happyhappyjoyjoy

bar-and-tables-in-happyhappyjoyjoy

Address: Various locations

If you’re craving Asian food, this spot in the West of the city marries Asian street food with a stylish restaurant – with a huge menu to boot.

Happyhappyjoyjoy is lively and immersivity decorated; it’s not hard to see why it’s named what it is!

6. De Ballenbar

woman-and-man-behind-bar-of-de-ballenbar

Address: Hannie Dankbaarpassage 16, Stand 8, 1053 RT Amsterdam, Netherlands

Phone number: +31 20 261 9412

One of the most famous Dutch delicacies, bitterballen is a small, round fried snack.

A bit like a croquette, the outside is breaded and fried, with meat and potato or mushroom inside.

In winter, you’ll see trucks popping up all over the city selling these little snacks, but De Ballenbar offers the perfect menu to sample different flavours, fried to perfection.

The name comes from the origin of drinking them alongside a pint of bitter, so make sure to get a drink to accompany the food, Dutch style!

7. Back to Black

exterior-of-back-to-black-coffee-bar

Address: Various locations

This Amsterdam-based coffee company has two charming cafes in the city, one in the centre and one in the West.

There’s no better place than Back to Black for a coffee and pastry to start your day of sightseeing.

The espresso brownie is irrestistable.

8. Restaurant Jottum

interior-of-restaurant-jottum

Address: Eerste Anjeliersdwarsstraat 17, 1015 NR Amsterdam, Netherlands

Phone number: +31 20 420 5262

A local’s favourite, this hidden gem serves some of the best tapas you’ll ever try.

Expect huge portions, delicious food, and very reasonable sangria.

Restaurant Jottum is a great place to go with a larger group and make an occasion of making your way through the entire menu.

9. Winkel 43

people-eating-outside-at-cafe-winkel-43

Address: Noordermarkt 43, 1015 NA Amsterdam, Netherlands

Phone number: +31 20 623 0223

Set on the corner in a beautiful Dutch house in Jordaan, the beautiful Winkel 43 offers a great spot of lunch.

You can’t visit without trying some of their famous apple pie – thick, doughy crust, cinnamon spiced apples, with a generous dollop of cream.

Who knew a lunchtime beer and apple pie was such a great combo?

10. Café-Restaurant De Plantage

tables-in-de-plantage-restaurant

Address: Plantage Kerklaan 36, 1018 CZ Amsterdam, Netherlands

Phone number: +31 20 760 6800

A magical lunch or dinner location, Café-Restaurant De Plantage is a light-filled conservatory restaurant serving delicious Mediterranean food in one of the nicest areas of the city.

If it’s a warm autumn evening, it’s worth trying to get a table outside under the trees adorned with lights.

It makes for a very romantic dinner.

11. Van Stapele

van-stapele-dark-chocolate-cookie-with-white-chocolate-filling

Address: Heisteeg 4, 1012 WC Amsterdam, Netherlands

Phone number: +31 20 777 9327

Any autumn in Amsterdam is incomplete without these gooey goodies.

You’ve probably seen the ornate packaging of these cookies on Instagram, but somehow the taste is even better than the marketing.

Van Stapele only sell one type of cookie – it’s dark chocolate with a thick, gooey white chocolate filling.

The cookies are baked on site during the day, and – if you time it right – chances are that they’ll be warm from the over.

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Believe the hype, these cookies will probably be the best you’ll ever have.

12. Van Wonderen Stroopwafels

people-walking-past-van-wonderen-stroopwafels

Address: Kalverstraat 190, 1012 XH Amsterdam, Netherlands

Phone number: +31 20 737 1064

You can’t visit the Netherlands without trying a stroopwafel!

If you haven’t had the privilege of trying one yet, they are thin wafer waffles with a caramel filling.

And where better to get one than Van Wonderen?

This institution is famed for its modern, colourful interpretation of the waffles.

In the store, you can customise your waffle to have it dipped in chocolate and covered in toppings of your choice.

Think mini-marshmallows, coconut shavings, hazelnut flakes, the list goes on…

Trust me, you’ll want to go back for more!

Where to drink in autumn in Amsterdam

1. Vesper Bar

people-drinking-in-vesper-bar-autumn-in-amsterdam

Address: Vinkenstraat 57, 1013 JM Amsterdam, Netherlands

Phone number: +31 6 83790187

Vesper Bar in Jordaan is an elegant, extravagant destination for a cocktail.

Filled with James Bond memorabilia, this bar has everything you need for a great night out.

Mixology is taken seriously here, so be prepared for impressive and unique drinks, served with a bit of theatre.

2. SkyLounge Amsterdam

skylounge-amsterdam-autumn-in-amsterdam

Address: DoubleTree by Hilton Amsterdam Centraal Station, Oosterdoksstraat 4, 1011 DK Amsterdam, Netherlands

Phone number: +31 20 530 0875

If you’re after a different perspective on the city, try SkyLounge, in the centre of the city.

At the top of the Hilton by the Centraal Station, the location is certainly touristy, but the views from the bar are worth wading through the crowds.

Spectacular views over the canals will great you through the floor to ceiling windows.

They serve small bites to accompany your drinks, so settle in for a sophisticated atmosphere and some unbeatable views.

3. Bar Centraal

groups-of-people-drinking-in-bar-centraal

Address: Ten Katestraat 16, 1053 CE Amsterdam, Netherlands

Phone number: +31 20 779 9094

You won’t find many bars better than Bar Centraal.

While most bars in Amsterdam focus on beer in true Dutch tradition, this gorgeous bistro in the west of the city is the destination for natural wine.

It’s a local’s favourite for cheese and wine, and a great little spot.

It gets booked up at weekends well in advance, so be sure to reserve a table in advance.

4. Café L’Affiche

people-drinking-outside-café-l’affiche

Address: Jacob van Lennepstraat 39, 1053 HB Amsterdam, Netherlands

Phone number: +31 20 612 1959

One of the best things about Amsterdam is Dutch bars, with their no-nonsense liveliness.

Café L’Affiche is a canalside bar of just this kind, serving a huge selection of strong Dutch beers for the authentic Netherlands experience.

In the day, bag a seat on the canalside terrace, and in the evening, the candles make it magically cosy inside.

5. Festina Lente

people-drinking-at-bar-of-festina-lente

Address: Looiersgracht 40B, 1016 VS Amsterdam, Netherlands

Phone number: +31 20 638 1412

So small that it could reasonably be mistaken for someone’s living room, Festina Lente is the perfect place to waste away a rainy afternoon.

The décor is eclectic, and there’s board games on offer.

Get yourself a Dutch beer (or two, or three…) and settle in to the shadowy, wood-panelled bar.

6. Duke of Tokyo

duke-of-tokyo-karaoke-bar-autumn-in-amsterdam

Address: Reguliersdwarsstraat 37, 1017 BK Amsterdam, Netherlands

Phone number: +31 20 777 9332

This is the ultimate immersive destination for your lively night out.

Duke of Tokyo is decorated like the urban streets of Tokyo – as soon as you enter, you’ll feel like you’ve walked onto a movie set.

There are private karaoke booths on offer (remember to book in advance), and a large open bar with a DJ.

Expect expensive drinks and lots of dancing under the warm lighting of paper lanterns hanging from the ceiling.

7. Bourbon Street

singer-and-band-at-bourbon-street-live-music-club

Address: Leidsekruisstraat 6-8, 1017 RH Amsterdam, Netherlands

Phone number: +31 20 623 3440

If you’re looking for live music, this is the perfect destination for you.

Bourbon Street is an intimate club with live artists performing jazz, soul, and blues.

It’s €5 entry to get in, but you’ll never see a bad act here.

It may be a small venue, but the crowd is always lively, and you’ll definitely end up having a boogie in front of the stage.

8. Bar Pif

wine-and-bowls-of-food-at-bar-pif

Address: Tweede Tuindwarsstraat 10A, 1015 RZ Amsterdam, Netherlands

Phone number: +31 20 777 6071

For a sophisticated evening, try Bar Pif on a busy street of bars and restaurants in Jordaan.

The modern décor gives a mature atmosphere to the restaurant, but the biggest appeal is their orange wine.

Yes, you read that right.

This is a white wine that has not had the skins of the grapes removed during the fermenting process, and offers a light, sweet taste.

Be sure to try it.

9. Café Thijssen

bar-in-café-thijssen-autumn-in-amsterdam

Address: Brouwersgracht 107, 1015 GD Amsterdam, Netherlands

Phone number: +31 20 623 8994

Another traditional Dutch bar, Café Thijssen is a local’s favourite spot and will make you feel like you never want to leave this magical city.

The atmosphere is always wonderful, and it’s the perfect place to hang out as a group.

It’s a gem of a spot but can be busy in the evenings or at weekends, so expect a short wait for a table.

It’ll be worth it, I promise.

10. Tales & Spirits

bar-of-tales-and-spirits-bar

Address: Lijnbaanssteeg 5-7, 1012 TE Amsterdam, Netherlands

Phone number: +31 6 55356467

This enchanting cocktail bar has an unassuming exterior, hiding a magical spot.

Curtains cover the windows, so you only know it’s there from the wooden sign hanging above the door.

Inside Tales & Spirits, you’ll find a cosy bar with a giant selection of cocktails, all reasonably priced and delicious.

The knowledgeable staff can help you pick your perfect drink.

 

So there you have it: the ultimate guide to autumn in Amsterdam!

It’s safe to say that this season makes for an amazing trip to Amsterdam, while the city’s a little quieter and the golden leaves illuminate the city.

So, have I tempted you to do your own autumn in Amsterdam trip?

Please let me know in the comments below!

 

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