What to Pack when Traveling to Amsterdam
by Cailyn Cox
Amsterdam is the largest city and the capital of the Netherlands, and an excellent tourist destination. It is a vibrant cultural hub whose attractions include historic canals, the red light district, cannabis coffee shops and multiple museums such as the Rijksmuseum.
If you’re traveling to Amsterdam any time of year, this seasonal guide gives you a packing lists for any season! Whether this is your only destination or a stop on a European adventure, follow these tips to help you plan what to pack.
Amsterdam Clothing Style
When contemplating what your travel wardrobe should consist of when traveling to Amsterdam, it is important to know that unlike cities such as Paris, Amsterdam is a casual city. You will not be required to dress up, however appearing presentable and sticking to the general color scheme of black, denim, army green and tan will allow you to blend in amongst the local’s style.
The general style within the city is grunge meets vintage, pack mostly casual clothes that you can dress up with a few key items. The city’s streets are paved with cobblestones so you will also require a pair of comfortable and waterproof walking shoes, to ensure you are able to do plenty sightseeing.
The weather in Amsterdam is known to be unpredictable, so you should be prepared for all the elements, regardless of the season. Whilst there is no particular rainy season, an essential item would be waterproof jacket and/or an umbrella for protection from the rain. The wind can be strong and could easily destroy your umbrella, in which case there are plenty of stores within the city to cheaply purchase a new one.
Good walking shoes are most certainly important for your travels, even if you plan on using the tram system or riding bicycles throughout the city, you will at some stage find yourself walking across the remarkable cobblestone streets, to just explore or browse through the bust shopping streets such as Kalverstraat. Sensibility should reign here with your choice of footwear, avoid heels and opt for shoes that offer grip and are slip resistant.
What to wear in Amsterdam in spring
During the spring seasons you will see the city transform, as people shed their clothing layers and celebrate the blooming of the cities flowers that include the famous Dutch Tulips, Crocuses, Narcissus Blooms and Hyacinths. The city is filled with life and a rich shade of color, as the days grow longer, the temperature warms and you can expect an average high ranging from 8- 16 C / 46-60 F and a minimum ranging from 2-7 C /’ 35-44 F.
Amsterdam spring weather is moderately warm, so your wardrobe should include jeans and capris trousers in darker shades which you can team with vests, long sleeve shirts, jumpers, and hoodies. The spring season can be cool, so bring a light jacket and an umbrella or raincoat to protect you from the wetter days.
During the warmer days, you will be able to wear a pair of shorts, denim is always comfortable and allows for mobility, however, avoid skirts and dresses as these are not practical for the weather and the cycling/walking activities you’ll be doing and will leave you feeling uncomfortable and restrained.
As mentioned previously Amsterdam is a city where the easiest way to explore is either by bicycle or on foot, thus comfortable, waterproof shoes are essential. Boots or brogues are the perfect addition to any spring outfit, and are both cute and fashionable. The best colors to choose for your footwear would be in the darker shades such as blacks or metallic.
What to wear in Amsterdam in summer
Summer seasons is the most popular time of year for those traveling to Amsterdam. It has long daylight hours and attract the largest crowds of tourists, there are plenty of outdoor attractions and performances during summer making it the prime time to visit, and however, as it is peak season you can expect to pay premium prices for flights and accommodation during this time. The average temperatures in summer range from an average maximum of 18- 21 C / 64-70 F and minimum of 11- 12 C / 51-54 F.
Whilst the Amsterdam summers are beautiful, the wind can be cold, and the odd rain shower is a possibility, to ensure you are prepared for all elements include a light jacket and a raincoat or umbrella in your travel wardrobe. Nonetheless summer does allow the freedom to wear what you feel comfortable in, and to shed the layers, skirts and dresses can be included, but should not be the bulk of your wardrobe for reasons of practicality.
Darker shades such as khaki, tan, black and navy are all colors that can act as the base of your wardrobe, include a pair of dark blue and black jeans and a pair of pants that are made from a lighter fabric, such as cotton or linen, the breathability will ensure you are kept cool. Vests, tank tops and t-shirts are great to wear with your jeans or a pair of shorts, you can pick a selection of colours and styles that you feel the most comfortable in and you can mix and match them.
Sunglasses are important to protect your eyes from the sun and the glare, also include lip balm and sunscreen to protect you from the elements, and a swimming costume in a bright colour.
The summer weather allows for more variation in footwear, you will be able to include comfortable sandals or brogues which are much lighter than boots and still offer the comfort and support, however do still include a pair of good boots for when you plan on walking long distances- that are comfortable, waterproof and slip resistant.
Due to the multitude of exciting outdoor activities available during the summer season you may want to add an item that is slightly dressier to your wardrobe, in case you wish to dine out. Add a simple dress which you can pair with a blazer for a refined yet casual and feminine look.
What to wear in Amsterdam in autumn
The weather in autumn has cooler temperatures to that of the spring and summer months, in addition it is not only the weather that is dropping but also the airfares and accommodation prices. Autumn weather is unpredictable, where there can be days of pristine weather, there can also be endless rain, yet the fall colors provide exceptional beauty and the city is filled with rich earthy tones.
You can expect an average maximum temperature ranging between 8-17 C 46-62 F and a minimum ranging between of 3- 10 C / 37-50 F. September in the city is the best time to travel, with the mild weather of late summer and early winter just setting in, it is also the prime month for cultural performances.
Autumn weather is much like the spring weather, with only slightly cooler temperatures, so much of the same rules apply. To be prepared for all elements pack your umbrella and/or waterproof gear to ensure you are unhindered in your exploration of the city. Include a warm coat and a jacket which can be worn with comfortable boots, preferably leather and in the darker shades.
Like with most seasons in Amsterdam pack jeans in darker shades to use as your base as well as t-shirts, long tops, and jerseys to layer and differentiate your outfits, you can these items with your jeans or if you’re willing to brave the cold or lucky enough to enjoy warmer days, include a pair of shorts.
The perfect accessories for your autumn wardrobe are a warm scarf, to add a touch of class and color to your wardrobe as well as a cute satchel, to keep your daytime essentials safe and dry and lastly a pair of sunglasses, for the sunshine or the glare.
Hooded Coat / Pocket Jacket / Linen T-Shirt / Sweater / Knitted Top / Zippered Skinny Jeans / Leggings / High Socks / Polka Dot Socks / Wool Scarf / Scarf /Gloves / Hat / Sunglasses / Umbrella / Combat Boots
What to wear in Amsterdam in winter
If you’re traveling to Amsterdam in the winter, it is the cheapest time to travel and you’ll see the smallest concentration of tourists for the year, with the exception of the holidays. The days are short and cold, and the sun sets early, with average temperature ranging from a maximum of between 5- 6 C / 41-43 F and a minimum of 0-2 C / 32-36 F. Winter in addition to being icy, is also wet, and you will need to dress for sub-freezing temperatures and the more mild days.
Pay attention to your shoes as always, comfortable, waterproof walking boots to protect you from the elements, the rain will also make the cobblestones slippery, so you will need shoes with grip and lining for added warmth. Another essential for winter is an all-weather- jacket, an item that can protect you from the rain, the wind and the cold and an umbrella would be a welcome addition for extra protection.
The winter temperatures may require a pair of thermal underwear, and thick warm socks, for the colder days. Accompanied by warm gloves, a warm woollen scarf and a hat or beanie, these will all add to your level of comfort and warmth.
As usual, layering is crucial for the colder weather, pack a limited amount of t-shirts, (one or two) instead focus on the warmer clothing such as long sleeve shirts and jerseys in neutral to easily mix and match your accessories.
Jeans are a relatively thick and a warm material; however you can wear thermals underneath them for extra warmth, pick the darker shades which range from rich burgundy, dark blue denim and black.
Have a great time in Amsterdam!
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