My trip to Amsterdam in October was short but nevertheless exploratory and enlightening. I was dreaming about visiting this beautiful city for a long time, especially as it is so unique and controversial destination. There are few points to be considered when you plan a trip to Amsterdam in late October and these are my tips for you.
WHAT’S the WEATHER in AMSTERDAM in OCTOBER
Do you think October is not the best period of the year to visit the northern territories of Europe?! Probably you do, but you are not correct. If you are like me and try to escape crowds of any kind (especially mass tourist’s), October is good enough for a trip. In the Netherlands, most of the year is rainy and windy anyway. Surely, you would love to see those beautiful fields with tulips (in April or May when the tulips bloom) but then you need to make a compromise and join the thousands of tourists that visit the Netherlands at the same time of the year.
I can assure you that the end of October was good enough for me to enjoy the free spirit of Amsterdam in its fullest. One of the days we had heavy rain and strong wind that’s why my pictures from the visit of windmills village Zaanse Schans are grey and dark but the next days were absolutely stunning with a lot of sun and fresh air. The autumn is beautiful in Amsterdam with the coloured leaves falling on the streets and the canal water reflecting the clouds in the sky.
WHAT TO SEE IN AMSTERDAM:
As in many destinations, there is an abundance of places and activities to enjoy. This is what I did and can recommend wholeheartedly.
The Amsterdam Canals
You can get easily lost wandering around the canals. But it is the best thing that can happen to you in Amsterdam. In fact, the city is relatively small and the central part even smaller. At every corner, there are boards with street’s names and if you still can’t get the right direction you can always ask the locals. They are extremely kind and all speak English.
It’s the most artistic districts in Amsterdam and it is filled with art galleries, small boutiques and cosy restaurants. Exactly what a woman traveller will enjoy. You can spend a whole morning wandering the streets of Jordaan and even when you get tired of walking will not want to leave its boundaries. Instead, have a break for coffee or short lunch or even better – join a morning/ afternoon walking tour or 4-hours foodies’ tour.
Artis Royal Zoo
This one of the must-see places in Amsterdam. The zoo is famous for its exotic species and a large variety of animals (more than 900!). If you travel with kids, be aware that you will need one whole day for this visit. In late October most of the animals are still outside so you will have the chance to see zebra, giraffe and the sweetest little penguins.
Read more about the Artis Royal Zoo.
Amsterdam by Night
Amsterdam is beautiful during the day but you should see it during the night. It’s romantic and adventurous, full of life and promises. No matter if you enjoy visiting the coffee shops (that sell everything else but not coffee) or enjoy wandering the streets in the company of others with a stop for a drink, you will see other faces of Amsterdam. It is safe to walk around, even in the Red Light District. However, travelling ladies, you will feel more comfortable if you are accompanied by a male friend in this district. If you feel more romantic, probably the Dutch wine and cheese candlelight cruise will suits you better.
Windmills village Zaanse Schans
It is a small village with working windmills that represents the tradition of windmills in the Netherlands. This is the best and most convenient day excursion that you can have outside of Amsterdam. With a car is a short ride and a tour can take up to 3 hours.
This is another beautiful way to visit Amsterdam. Taking on the board of one of the cruise boats gives you a different perspective of the city’s highlights. Same like in Venice, the canal cruising is one of the top experiences in Amsterdam. I used the Grey Line Canal Cruises.
The price for a one-hour and fifteen minutes cruise tour starts from 19 € but if you buy your ticket online you can use a discount. The best advice that I can give you is to make sure that you get on board just before sunset (for late October around 6 p.m.). At that time the city starts to be illuminated by lights and becomes more alive than during the daytime because you can see the life inside those beautiful canal houses.
However, if you can, I will advise you to use this canal tour that is not too expensive but will give you more intimate (and open-sight) experience as the boat is smaller and is open-air. During my canal cruise, It was annoying to have a roof above as half the time we couldn’t see well the sights sliding along us on both embankment sides.
An excellent way of spending the colder days while you are in Amsterdam in October is to pop in some of the many interesting museums. There is such a variety! A woman traveller probably will be interested mostly in the Museum of the Bags, the Anne Frank House and the Tulip Museum. But my list with most interesting (and of course most popular) museums is larger:
The Rijksmuseum – one of the largest and most interesting art museums of the word! Here is a cost-effective skip-the-line ticket option combined with a canal cruise.
Anne Frank House – you can avoid the crowds with this alternative virtual reality visit to the house followed by a walking tour to a real-life location from the girl’s life.
Tropenmuseum – Amsterdam’s Tropical Museum
Tulip Museum – for the latest information about the visit to the museum, check their webpage.
Museum of Bags and Purses – get your admission ticket here.
The best way to save money during your visits is to get the Amsterdam City Pass Card. It gives you access to 44 museums and discounts on canal cruises, restaurants, public transport and other attractions.
Red Light District
More a touristic attraction than a scandalous place, now the Red Light District is one of the places that have to be seen, but probably not more than one time. Especially for women travellers. You can walk around like all the other tourists (some of them are families with kids) and see how the business works. But the place is overcrowded and probably lost its initial atmosphere.
WHERE TO STAY IN AMSTERDAM:
You have a choice of a large selection of accommodation in Amsterdam. I used AirBnb which most of the time provides good value for money accommodation (although that is not always the case! – see my Kilkenny Old Pub story).
The cosy studio was perfect for women travelling alone or with friend/partner and also not far from the Amsterdam Central Station and near to most of the main city sights. You can get around by walking and explore Amsterdam’s canal streets with ease. Unfortunately, this studio is not available anymore via AirBnb’s website but I’m sure you will find some other, equally interesting options.
Otherwise, you will get good hotel prices here. The website even offers 20% off for solo travellers!
WHERE TO EAT IN AMSTERDAM
Restaurant Johannes – offers one of the best restaurant experiences in Amsterdam.
Café Sonneveld – their lunch menu is excellent for recharging your energy levels during the wanders around Jordaan district in cold weather. The homemade meatballs should be tasted!
Food is cheaper at Albert Heijn Supermarkets. You will recognize them by their ah logo on a sea-blue background colour.
Clothes are affordable at C&A but in Bijenkorf you can find world-famous quality brands.
Souvenirs – souvenir shops are everywhere. Usually, they all sell the same items (such as t-shirts with Marihuana leaves) but there are some slight differences in design and quality. So, search until you find what you really like and are willing to pay for.
WHAT TO PACK FOR AMSTERDAM IN OCTOBER
If you come from a dryer or warmer climate, don’t forget your umbrella an It is an item that you will surely need in Amsterdam. Add also warm hat and scarf (even gloves) to prevent the cold wind to spoil the pleasure of walking around the canals.
For Warmth and Comfort
- Travel-size umbrella – you will need it! Pick a colour that pleases your eyes.
- Warm scarf – best to be infinity and a versatile colour so you can combine it easily.
- Leather gloves – my preferences are for black. This pair is a great option as it is lined with cashmere and closes well resulting in good insulation from the cold and wet.
- Autumn jacket/ waterproof – I used my classic black leather with high zipper closing. This is a similar model.
- Sweaters – to use them underneath the leather jacket (or any other really). Here is one functional and warm model that also comes in soft-colour hues to fit with the Netherlands’ fashion style.
- Warm leggings, preferably lined and with a high waist. Again, choose between black and gray for a greeter combination choices.
- Jeans, of course. I love jeans and wear them on all occasions but for this trip, I choose high waist model. Here are some variations to look up.
- Ankle boots – there is enough large choice of models, I’m convinced that everyone should have ankle boots for their Spring and Autumn travels.
- Simple-style or a statement piece jewellery to add spark in your travel fashion style. Chose one that combines well with most of your clothes. Some examples are stackable bracelets, tassel necklaces and this multi-coloured bib necklace. And don’t forget – never take expensive jewellery or sentimentally-important items on your trips.
- A brimmed hat to protect you from the rain and add an elegance flair to your style.
As the local style of dressing is simple and mainly in neutral colours, my advice is to pack your luggage accordingly. Nobody likes to feel like a tourist when travelling and I suppose you don’t like it too. So take out of your wardrobe the neutrally-coloured warm clothes and pack them for your trip to Amsterdam. You can add style with simple or bold jewellery pieces.
Hope this article answered most of your questions and you are ready planning the trip. If not, pop a comment in the section below and I will try to help with more information. Have fun in Amsterdam in October and let me know about your adventures! See you somewhere on the road!