Amsterdam is instantly recognised with its magnificent backdrop of Dutch-styled houses that are intertwined with spiralling canals. With breezy outdoor cafes and lively open-air concerts taking place somewhere or the other, Amsterdam in May is a sunny respite from a gloomy, winter-stricken hiatus that it says goodbye to in March. The month of May invites colours and vibrancy back into the European town and paints it with sunshine. May in Amsterdam is the ideal time to unwind, take a hike and backpack around the city exploring its events that are buzzing during this season of the year.
What makes Amsterdam in May special?
With plenty of sunlight and an outdoorsy climate, May is a great month to visit Amsterdam. Pen down your favourite events, parks and squares — as this month is an ideal time to catch all the activity taking place here. In fact, this month is also home to various music festivals and concerts that draw crowds from around the world. However, May also being the high season in Amsterdam, calls for a lot of exhausting queues, crowded public places and expensive rates — but if your idea of a holiday involves lots of colours and vivacity, this is your month to make the most of Amsterdam! The temperature during this time of the year is warm, not particularly hot, making it ideal for visitors looking to escape the heat. There’s a lot happening in this month that you simply shouldn’t miss out on!
Amsterdam in May: Weather
With noticeably warmer weather, Amsterdam in May is the right time to visit if you’re looking for a comfortable range of temperature. The temperature that usually ranges from 8 degrees to 12 degrees is cool enough for you to enjoy the outdoors without having to experience the sweltering heat. You may experience some amount of rain during this month, but it is unlikely to be enough to dampen your plans.
Amsterdam in May: Things to do
Van Gogh Museum
Van Gogh Museum houses the largest collection of paintings produced by the artist. Walk around a display of remarkable paintings and some of Van Gogh’s most notable works. The museum attracts visitors from every corner of the world and is home to more than 200 paintings, 500 drawings, and 700 of his letters.
Daily, 9 AM to 6 PM
Museumplein 6, 1071 DJ Amsterdam,
Getting There ›
Amsterdam Canal Cruise
Unwind with a relaxing cruise ride over the snaking canals of Amsterdam. The two hour Amsterdam Canal Cruise will take you through the heart of the city and will acquaint you to some of its iconic architectures. Several canal tours also give you an option to dine on-board alongside a romantic sunset. Choose based on your liking!
Cruise Timings depend on tour chosen
Getting There ›
The Dutch national museum, Rijksmuseum, is a museum solely dedicated to the artistic and historic landmarks of Amsterdam. It showcases an expansive collection of artefacts and history that has been preserved for more than 800 years amidst its premises. Explore notable works by Rembrandt, Van Gogh and countless other Dutch artists.
Daily, 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM
Museumstraat 1, 1071 XX Amsterdam,
Getting There ›
Day Trip to Keukenhof
Popularly referred to as the Garden of Europe, Keukenhof is one of the world’s largest gardens. With approximately 7 million flower bulbs blooming every year, this garden is only open to visitors in and around Amsterdam during the months of mid-March to mid-May. It opens from 8 AM onwards.
Tours start daily 8:00 AM to 7:30 PM
Stationsweg 166A, 2161 AM Lisse,
Getting There ›
Explore the most talked about Red Light district of the world with a local tour guide. Take a first-hand look into the largest legal and long-surviving prostitution district from up close. Visit the quirky neighbourhood of Wallen along with some local street shopping during the course of this tour.
9:00 AM – 8:30 PM
Night tour: 9:00 PM – 11:00 PM
De Wallen, Amsterdam,
Getting There ›
Anne Frank House and Walking Tour
Learn more about Anne Frank’s life in Amsterdam by visiting her house that has been preserved as a memento post World War II. Delve deeper into the history that was in Amsterdam during its yesteryears while exploring its famous Jewish neighbourhood, all with a skilled tourist guide by your side.
Tours start daily at 10:30 AM & 2:00 PM
Prinsengracht 263-267, 1016 GV Amsterdam,
Getting There ›
Party in the world’s coldest bar with an all-inclusive skip the line voucher! Marvel at the wondrous ice sculptures and furniture while enjoying a round of piquant cocktails. Considered as Amsterdam’s best pub, Icebar makes sure you make the most of the city’s nightlife with music and merry.
Sunday to Thursday 11:45 AM to 1 AM
Friday to Saturday 11:45 AM to 2:40 AM
Amstel 194, 1017 AG Amsterdam,
Getting There ›
The historic brewery located in Amsterdam is also a visitor centre for fans of the iconic beer. Enrol in a tour that takes you through the brewery’s making and its history with the help of an expert guide. The tour lasts around one and a half hours concludes with complimentary drinks!
Monday to Thursday 10:30 AM to 7:30 PM
Friday to Sunday 10:30 AM to 9:00 PM
Stadhouderskade 78, 1072 AE Amsterdam,
Getting There ›
Amsterdam in May: Events to Look Out For
Liberation Day Celebrations
May 5, 2022
Celebrated on May 5, Liberation Day is a National Day of Celebration in Amsterdam. This day invites a variety of events and activities lined up to commemorate the liberation of The Netherlands during World War II. The Liberation festival that takes place during this time invites various Dutch Bands and international musicians for its celebrations.
May 19, 2019
The museum market is held every month, and this year it will be held on 19th May. It showcases jewellery, fashion, accessories, textiles, homewares, stationery and more by local designers. Held in the picturesque lanes of the Museum District, visitors can enjoy food stalls and live music amidst the shopping!
Moving Futures Festival
May 5 - May 8, 2022
The Moving Futures Festival that will be held in Amsterdam on 2nd May presents prominent young artists by giving them a stage. This travelling dance festival features emerging choreographers while touching upon societal issues during the same. The dance festival brings together public installations, performances, dance walks and dinners during its course.
May 12, 2022
Held on 12th May, the Hemeltjelief festival of Amsterdam is held on the banks of the River IJ. It hosts several upcoming and famous Dutch bands and DJs. The fanfare also plays a part in hosting several theatrical, arts and craft related events during the same to keep audiences of all ages entertained.
Amsterdam in May: 5-day Itinerary
Amsterdam Weather in May
While the month of May is the sunniest month of the year in Holland, the temperature remains pleasant with a maximum of 24 degrees during the afternoon. The sunshine could give way to untimely showers once in a while and it tends to remain cloudy during the rest of the day.
Where to Stay in Amsterdam during May
Amsterdam offers a wide range of neighbourhoods to pick from. Whether you’re planning to stay budgeted or lavishly, there are various hotels, hostels and homestays in every nook and corner that you can pick from. While picking the right place can be stressful, it is important to make sure of your access to the city when you’re looking for a place.
- Luxury: Conservatorium Hotel, Waldorf Astoria Amsterdam, InterContinental Amstel Amsterdam
- Mid-range: Pulitzer Amsterdam, Pillows Anna van Den Vondel, Banks Mansion
- Budget: Zoku Amsterdam, Hotel V Fizeaustraat, Mauro Mansion
What to Pack for Visiting Amsterdam in May
Although moderately sunny, it is not entirely warm during the evenings in May, so it is best to carry a light jacket. Packing light for the day time is a good idea as it gets sunny during the afternoons in Amsterdam. Erratic rains are often a dampener, so it is advisable to pack some rain-proof shoes along with an umbrella or a raincoat.
Getting Around Amsterdam in May
Getting around in Amsterdam is hardly a concern as it boasts of an excellent public transport network. These include buses, trams, ferries as well as trains that will connect you to almost any part of the city without any hassle whatsoever. There are also cycles available across the city for those who wish to pedal their way across the city. Keeping the Holland Pass at hand is also another convenient option while getting around in Amsterdam. The pass gives you a discount on the train tickets during your stay and allows you to make a number of travels across the city.
Amsterdam in May - Must-Try Delicacies
The delicious sweet treat that is known for being served hot and gooey is best enjoyed on a pleasant evening in Amsterdam. This delicacy includes two waffles glued together using a layer of sweet syrup. Although available at any street market or bakery, get hot Stroopwafel at Original Stroopwafels.
Thick Dutch fries are considered a local favourite in Amsterdam and they’re served steaming hot with dollops of mayo, satay sauce as well as onions. Commonly referred to as ‘patat’ or ‘frites’ on the menu, Dutch Fries are best enjoyed at a local food stall or at Vlemincx's.
These fluffy, delightful sweets are full of buttery goodness and are served at almost every restaurant in Amsterdam. Sprinkled with powdered sugar, poffertjes are usually paired with a cup of coffee or tea. You may also find these being sold outdoors. Grab some on the go from De Vier Pilaren.
Ontbijtkoek is a traditional breakfast loaf from Amsterdam which is famous for its sweet and spicy flavour. This delicious ginger cake that is spiced with cloves and cinnamon is best enjoyed with tea or coffee. Lather it on with some butter or cream cheese for a takeaway meal! Relish one at Hartog's.
Deemed as the original Dutch ‘comfort food’, Stamppot is popular during the cooler months of the year. It is a medley of various vegetables including kale, endive, sauerkraut, carrots, and onions served up with a big, juicy sausage. Savour it at Tomaz.
Tips to visit Amsterdam in May
- Rent a bike: With pleasant weather conditions at hand, renting a bike in Amsterdam is a safe and economical way to get to know the city.
- Pack wise: While it tends not to rain on most days in May, it is advisable to be prepared with rain gear for any untimely showers.
- Maintain decency at the Red Light District:: There are several guidelines and rules that are required to be followed for visiting the Wallen Area which is the Red Light District of Amsterdam. Look them up before you visit!
- Plan your accommodation in advance: May being the last month of the high season can still see a flurry of tourists heading for holidays. It is best to plan your accommodation well prior to avoid unforeseen circumstances.
- Visit Keukenhof: The famous tulip garden of Holland, Keukenhof, is only open to tourists two months in a year. Make sure to get the most of this when you’re travelling in May.
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