Amsterdam in April: Things to Do + All About Tulips!

If you’re dreaming of a classic vacation the Netherlands that features colorful tulips, lively streets and markets, and of course beautiful canals, then planning a trip to Amsterdam in April might be right for you!

I absolutely loved my spring trip to Amsterdam this April (which, yes, like just about everyone else’s was timed to enjoy the tulips)–but there’s no denying that it was a markedly different experience than my previous trip to Amsterdam in December.

There are pros and cons to visiting in all months, of course, which is where this guide comes in!

If you’re curious about visiting Amsterdam in April and wondering if the Netherlands’ most iconic city is worth experiencing during one of its busiest months, then this blog post is for you.

Here’s what to know about visiting Amsterdam in April!

kate storm selfie in front of amsterdam canal during an april amsterdam vacation
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Fun Things to Do in Amsterdam in April

Go tulip-spotting throughout Amsterdam’s historic center.

Thanks to the Amsterdam Tulip Festival, 85 public locations throughout Amsterdam featuring blooming tulips all April long!

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As this is a dense city center we’re talking about, this mostly involves pots of beautiful tulips scattered around squares, public buildings, and more, rather than the tulip fields you’ll find outside the city or the more elaborate botanical gardens like Keukenhof.

That doesn’t take away from the thrill of spotting the flowers, though–especially since many tulip-focused trips to the Netherlands (like ours!) start in Amsterdam.

blooming tulips in front of rijksmuseum during amsterdam tulip festival

Some of the best places to see tulips in Amsterdam itself include Vondelpark, in front of the Rijksmuseum, in Rembrandtplein, and of course Dam Square.

Many of our favorite tulip pots, though, were spotted randomly throughout the city, providing a particularly beautiful burst of color against a canal or church.

If you meander through the historic center during April in Amsterdam, you won’t have to look very hard to find tulips!

colorful pot of tulips with  the royal palace amsterdam visible behind it
Dam Square is a great place to find tulips in Amsterdam!

Enjoy a canal cruise.

Kicking back and enjoying views of Amsterdam from its beautiful canals is one of the top things to do in the city year-round, of course–but don’t miss the chance to enjoy a canal cruise on your spring trip!

Not only are the views wonderful (and the low-lying water views aren’t an angle you can appreciate from the street), but you’ll undoubtedly see a few corners of the city that you wouldn’t find on your own, while learning a bit about the history of Amsterdam as you travel.

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Options abound for canal cruises in Amsterdam, from basic options like this all the way up to elaborate dinner cruises.

On our April trip to Amsterdam, my friends and I opted to enjoy this cheese and wine canal cruise and had a fantastic time devouring a hearty amount of gouda while snapping photos and laughing along with our very engaging guide.

Book the Amsterdam canal cruise we loved today!

kate storm christina guan and sophie nadeau holding up cheese and wine on an amsterdam canal cruise
Sophie, Christina, and I were all smiles for our canal cruise on our first evening of this trip in Amsterdam!

Take advantage of a rainy afternoon to visit one of Amsterdam’s best museums.

While tulips, canal views, and all the best of spring may be at the top of your wish list for visiting Amsterdam in April, consider setting aside at least one afternoon to enjoy one of the best museums in the Netherlands, too!

Whether your tastes run classic, modern, or eclectic, Amsterdam has plenty of world-class museums to offer.

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And, if you happen to be planning a trip to Amsterdam in early April, National Museum Week–which includes additional events and features–will potentially coincide with your trip as well.

Some of the most popular museums in Amsterdam include the Rijksmuseum, the Van Gogh Museum, and the Anne Frank House.

Depending on your tastes, you may also want to check out the Stedelijk Museum or Oude Kerk for modern art, the National Maritime Museum, or the Our Lord in the Attic Museum, which offers the chance to visit a formerly hidden Catholic church!

Entrance to Rijkmuseum as seen on a cloudy one day in Amsterdam
Visiting Amsterdam’s famous Rijksmuseum is one of the best things to do in the city!

Take a day trip to visit Keukenhof.

During tulip season in the Netherlands (mid-March through mid-May, more or less), there is no more popular day trip from Amsterdam than to Keukenhof, the iconic botanical garden in nearby Lisse.

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While you can sign up for a guided day trip to Keukenhof, unless you plan to include other stops (tulip fields, lunch, etc), it’s easiest to simply buy a ticket with a bus transfer and visit yourself.

(Definitely book in advance, though–Keukenhof does regularly sell out!).

Visiting Keukenhof is a memorable experience for tulip lovers, but there’s one thing it’s not: a chance to visit tulip fields.

colorful tulips on a rainy day in keukenhof the the netherlands
Expect views like this when exploring Keukenhof–it’s beautiful even on a rainy day like this one!

Many visitors have been disappointed by this confusion, so don’t let it be you!

Keukenhof features thousands of tulips, both indoors and outdoors, and is a fun spring experience that includes access to cafes, cafeterias, exhibits, photo ops, and even a windmill to climb–but it’s not a farm.

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Definitely climb that windmill, though: you can see tulip fields from the top!

One activity to skip? The cruise through tulip fields: you can’t see much from the boat, and overall, the experience makes It’s a Small World look like a genuine thrill ride.

Buy tickets to visit Keukenhof today!

pink tulips on a rainy day with keukenhof windmill in the background
Definitely climb to the top of this windmill when visiting Keukenhof!

… or more traditional tulip fields.

Think Keukenhof looks beautiful, but it doesn’t quite seem like it’ll live up to your tulip-filled dreams (or you just want to plan more than one flower-focused experience in the Netherlands)?

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Keukenhof is the most popular tulip-focused day trip from Amsterdam, but as a botanical garden, it doesn’t quite scratch the itch of enjoying rows of colorful tulips for many visitors (myself included).

The Tulip Barn in Hillegom was my favorite tulip experience in the Netherlands and gets much closer to a “tulip field” experience while still respecting the fact that Dutch farmers naturally do not want tourists traipsing through their carefully grown flower fields.

kate storm posing on a bike at the tulip barn in hillegom the netherlands
Cutesy props and rows of tulips abound at The Tulip Barn!

Want the full experience of wandering through a tulip farm?

Consider booking a guided day trip like this, which will help you find gorgeous tulip fields that visitors are welcome to experience!

Just be sure to read the day trip descriptions carefully if getting up close to actual tulip fields is important to you–when browsing the many spring tour offerings, know that “tulip experience” does not necessarily mean “visiting tulip fields”!

Book your tulip-focused day trip from Amsterdam today!

kate storm kneeling amongst tulips in the netherlands in april

Get into true Dutch spirit by wearing orange on King’s Day.

King’s Day, a raucous public holiday held in honor of the king’s birthday (more on that below) comes with crowds, an enthusiastic and free-flowing street market, and hundreds of boats suddenly taking over the Amsterdam canals.

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It also comes with lots, and lots, of bright orange clothing.

If you’re going to be in Amsterdam on April 27, consider getting into the King’s Day spirit by donning your best vibrant orange outfit and/or accessories–it’s part of the fun!

kings day crowd in amsterdam with man walking away from the camera in an orange suit

Sample Paasbrood, a typical Dutch Easter treat.

Easter breads of various flavors are popular in many places, and the Netherlands is no exception!

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If your April Amsterdam trip falls anywhere around Easter, odds are that you’ll see Paasbrood (Easter Bread) for sale in bakeries across the city.

Flavored with almond paste, raisins, orange peel, and more, sampling Paasbrood is a fun and simple way to engage with Dutch culture during your spring getaway.

sliced loaf of paasbrood dutch easter bread, one of the fun things to try in amsterdam in april

Stroll through the Amsterdam Flower Market.

Amsterdam’s famous floating flower market, or Bloemenmarkt, is indisputably touristy–but it’s also definitely worth a quick stop when visiting Amsterdam in April!

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While the market is known more for bulbs than actual flowers (and spring is not actually bulb-buying season), this colorful collection of houseboats will also have fresh flowers on offer to visitors, not to mention just about any souvenir you can think of!

Open since 1862 and free to visit, a quick stop here is a festive addition to a spring trip to Amsterdam.

Tulips on display at the Floating Flower Market, as seen during a day in Amsterdam

Enjoy all the usual best things to do in Amsterdam, during one of the most festive months of the year!

While we’ve kept this post more or less focused on the best things to do in Amsterdam in April specifically, there’s no doubt that all the usual top Amsterdam attractions are worth checking out on a spring trip, too!

From iconic spots like the Rijksmuseum and Anne Frank House to small, quirky museums like the Houseboat Museum (we walked into this one randomly and loved it), Amsterdam is full of delightful corners to explore.

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Meandering through the city’s historic canals and checking out areas like Jordaan and the 9 Streets (De 9 Straatjes) is also a must!

Beer enthusiasts will love the Heineken Experience (and also the joy of sitting along a canal with a beer in the spring sunshine).

Spots like Vondelpark and Dam Square, while among the best places to visit in Amsterdam year-round, are particularly special when decorated with tulips in the spring!

kate storm kneeling down in a small part of the amsterdam houseboat museum when visiting amsterdam april
Checking out the children’s “bedroom” at the Houseboat Museum!

Where to Stay in Amsterdam

There’s no way around it: Amsterdam is far from the most affordable city to visit in Europe, and lodging prices, in particular, tend to be quite high, especially if you want to stay in the city center.

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Expect to pay more for lodging in Amsterdam than for comparable stays in many other cities in Europe, and more in April than in many other months of the year.

These options all get great reviews, and should give you an idea of what you can expect to spend when visiting Amsterdam for tulip season!

front facade of a church in amsterdam in april with canal visible in the foreground

Budget

Hotel Abba — For travelers looking for something a bit nicer than a hostel dorm but still hoping to stick to a budget, popular Hotel Abba is a reliable and excellent option!

Located within walking distance of Museum Square and much of central Amsterdam, Hotel Abba features great reviews and an included breakfast each day.

Check rates & book your stay at Hotel Abba!

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Mid-range

XO Hotels Van Gogh — A comfortable, affordable hotel with a fun design twist: that’s what you’ll find at XO Hotels Van Gogh, where rooms are decorated with creations inspired by the famous artist’s work.

With great reviews and a fantastic location practically next door to the famous Van Gogh Museum, mid-range travelers can’t go wrong with a stay here.

Check rates & book your stay at XO Hotels Van Gogh!

purple bike decorated with flowers parked in front of a canal in amsterdam this april

Luxury

Pillows Luxury Boutique Hotel — This stunning 30-room property near Vondelpark is the perfect blend of 19th-century charm and modern amenities.

Fully updated in 2017, luxury service and luxury amenities are the norm at this charming boutique property!

Check rates & book your stay at Maison ELLE Amsterdam!

sign showing entrance to vondelpark in amsterdam the netherlands

Travel Tips For April in Amsterdam

Pack an umbrella… and lots of layers.

While you’ll hopefully be treated to some bright blue skies during your spring vacation in Amsterdam, odds are high that you’ll experience at least a bit of rain, gray clouds, and chilly weather, too.

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Cozy layers, including a light coat (I wore this one), are a must when packing for Amsterdam in April.

You’ll also want to throw a travel umbrella in your day bag–my trusty red one came in handy more than once!

main street in amstedam with man riding a bike down the center
It started pouring down rain not long after I snapped this photo featuring bright blue skies.

For the prettiest tulips, plan some day trips from Amsterdam when visiting in April.

While Amsterdam is near-synonymous with tulips thanks to being the most popular city to visit in the Netherlands, it’s still a city at the end of the day!

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In order to be mesmerized by endless rows of colorful tulips or beautifully curated botanical gardens, it’s best to plan on some day trips outside the city.

Luckily, in a place as small and well-connected as the Netherlands, this does not necessarily mean traveling far!

Whether you want to visit the iconic Keukenhof, snap cute photos at The Tulip Barn, or enjoy a full-day guided tulip experience, you’ll find that getting out of the city is a fairly straightforward undertaking!

kate storm selfie with tulip fields near amsterdam in the background

Prepare to climb very, very steep stairs.

Amsterdam’s beautiful rowhouses, with their narrow, tall architecture, are one of the defining characteristics of the city–but in order to enjoy their interiors, you’ll need to be prepared to climb very steep and narrow staircases.

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While not exactly as steep as a ladder would be, they can feel pretty close to one at times… especially if you’re hauling luggage with you.

If you have mobility limitations, be sure to read the description of your hotel carefully, as not all hotels have elevators!

You’ll also run into these characteristic staircases in some museums, especially those contained in historic homes, like the Anne Frank House and the Our Lord in the Attic Museum.

Jeremy Storm wearing a coat and hat climbing a very steep staircase in Amsterdam
Staircases as steep as this one are common in Amsterdam!

Book your hotel well in advance for visiting Amsterdam in April.

April in Amsterdam is not a time to aim for last-minute hotel bookings… or to hope for a great deal.

In fact, I’m reasonably sure that my April trip to Amsterdam marked the most expensive per-night rate at a hotel that I’ve ever paid when traveling in Europe, as it’s an expensive time to visit a city already known for pricey lodging.

Between tulip season, King’s Day (when there may even be a 2-3 night minimum stay required at some hotels), and potentially Easter week, April is a true high season in Amsterdam!

I recommend booking your hotel as early as you can commit to travel dates.

interior of rental apartment in amsterdam

Keep King’s Day in mind when planning a trip to Amsterdam in April.

King’s Day, held on April 27 (the King’s birthday), is one of the biggest festivals of the year in the Netherlands!

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As a result, expect very, very heavy crowds and lots of festivities–think Mardi Gras in New Orleans for a vague idea of what to expect–if you’re anywhere in the country that day.

Amsterdam, of course, gets particularly heavy crowds, and the entire city is filled with orange-clad revelers partying on boats in the canals, hawking wares on the street (the only day of the year you can do so without a license in the Netherlands!) and generally having a rowdy, excellent time.

boat full of orange-dressed people celebrating kings day in amsterdam april 27

Here are the rules for celebrating, which give you a good idea of what to expect.

Depending on your travel style and plans for your trip, this might sound like an exciting reason to visit Amsterdam in April (in which case, pack your brightest orange clothes!)… or it may seem like a day to avoid.

If King’s Day celebrations aren’t your thing, consider arranging your itinerary so you’re in a smaller town that day, where the celebrations will be just as enthusiastic, but a bit more lowkey.

kate storm sophie nadeau and christina guan holding up netherlands flags on kings day
We spent part of King’s Day in Hillegom, which was much quieter than Amsterdam. A local kid handed us these Dutch flags to help us get into the spirit of things!

… and Easter, too!

For Americans like us, it’s easy to forget that Easter is a major family holiday in much of Europe–think of it as something akin to our spring break, where the kids are off of school, the weather is warming up, and families are eager to hit the road.

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This means increased crowds (and prices!) in popular tourism destinations across the continent.

While heading to the seaside or the mountains is perhaps a bit more common for Easter, popular cities like Amsterdam also fill up with visitors.

If you’re planning a trip to Amsterdam over Easter (which of course sometimes, but not always, falls in April), be sure to book your hotel, as well as tickets to popular places like Keukenhof, well in advance–and don’t count on getting a good deal, either.

rowhouses in front of a canal in amsterdam with small boats parked in front

Plan ahead to visit the Anne Frank House.

Visiting the Anne Frank House is an incredibly moving experience and one of the best things to do in Amsterdam in April (or any other month, for that matter), but it does require planning ahead.

The limited tickets for the house are released 6 weeks in advance and sell out extremely quickly.

If you’d like to visit, be sure to check for tickets on the official website exactly 6 weeks before your trip!

canal in amsterdam the netherlands with trees growing on either side

FAQ For Visiting Amsterdam in April

Can you see tulips in Amsterdam in April?

Yes, you’ll definitely see tulips in Amsterdam in April!

While tulip season in the Netherlands technically stretches from late March to early May, April–specifically mid-April–is considered peak tulip season.

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In fact, the Amsterdam Tulip Festival runs the entire month of April!

For tulip fields or larger gardens, you’ll want to leave the city (we had an amazing time at The Tulip Barn in Hillegom, for example, in addition to the popular Keukenhof).

Some of the best places to see tulips in Amsterdam itself include Vondelpark, in front of the Rijksmuseum, in Rembrandtplein, and of course Dam Square.

blooming tulips near oude kerk in amsterdam april trip
We found this pot of tulips in front of Amsterdam’s Oude Kerk!

Is April cold in Amsterdam?

Average weather during April in Amsterdam is chilly, but not incredibly cold.

Temperatures reach an average high of 56°F/13°C and generally increase throughout the month.

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It typically rains for 8 days each month, though this can vary and can happen very suddenly.

We went from sunny skies to an absolute downpour in what felt like the blink of an eye during my trip (I quickly found refuge at Amsterdam’s famous hidden church, the Our Lord in the Attic Museum, which I highly recommend visiting!).

I spent most of my time during April in Amsterdam wearing a few layers, including this coat, and carrying my travel umbrella with me in my day bag.

interior of our lord in the attic museum with altar at the front
You can visit this “secret” Catholic Church at the Our Lord in the Attic Museum!

What does Amsterdam look like in April?

Between worries about the cold and rain, and hopes for blooming flowers, what else can you expect to see in Amsterdam in April (other than canals and gorgeous Dutch architecture)?

Whether you’re a photographer or just a traveler hoping for interesting views, the theme of Amsterdam in April is shifting light and constant change.

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Depending on the year and what time of the month you visit, you’ll likely find some trees bare and others spouting fresh, bright green spring leaves.

Expect constantly shifting light and weather, with brilliant sunshine and gray clouds constantly vying for their place in the sky.

And, of course, pots of brightly colored tulips scattered throughout the city are virtually a guarantee!

cloudy skies with bikes parked in front of a canal on a rainy day in amsterdam april

How busy is Amsterdam in April?

Amsterdam is very busy in April, with crowds increasing steadily through the month (peak tulip season typically begins in mid-April, though you’ll find flowers in the city before that).

The city is also very busy around Easter, which is a popular time for Europeans to vacation.

Crowds are extremely heavy on King’s Day (April 27, or April 26 if the 27th happens to fall on a Sunday)–so heavy, in fact, that it’s best to either plan to join in the festivities, plan your trip for a different time, or plan an indoor itinerary focused on tourist hotspots that reveling locals won’t be visiting.

The Rijksmuseum, Anne Frank House, and Van Gogh Museum all stay open on King’s Day.

stacks of gouda for sale in an amsterdam cheese shop

Is April a good time to visit Amsterdam?

Yes, absolutely: thanks to the Netherlands’ world-famous tulips being in bloom, April is one of the absolute best times to visit Amsterdam!

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However, that does come with a clear trade-off of high prices, lots of crowds (strolling through popular places like Dam Square was a noticeably different experience in April than in December), and a need to plan ahead.

If you’re flexible, though, and excited to see the tulips in Amsterdam and beyond, visiting Amsterdam in April is a wonderful idea.

rows of tulips near amsterdam in april

Read More About Visiting Amsterdam (and Beyond)

Planning a trip to Amsterdam soon and eager to keep planning?

You can browse our blog posts about the Netherlands here, or check out these guides:

2 photos of spring amsterdam, view of buildings along canal and view of tulips from above. black and orange text reads "amsterdam in april travel guide tips"
About Kate Storm
Image of the author, Kate Storm

In May 2016, I left my suburban life in the USA and became a full-time traveler. Since then, I have visited 50+ countries on 5 continents and lived in Portugal, developing a special love of traveling in Europe (especially Italy) along the way. Today, along with my husband Jeremy and dog Ranger, I’m working toward my eventual goal of splitting my life between Europe and the USA.

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