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When is the best time to travel to the Netherlands?

The Netherlands has a maritime climate with mild summers and often rainy winters. In fact, it can rain throughout the year, but temperatures are rarely extreme. Depending on what your interests are, any time of year offers advantages and disadvantages. Most of the castle hotels are open year round, with a few closing in the winter months.

The main tourist season runs from April to mid-October, with July and August being the peak.

If you are a flower lover, spring is a wonderful season to come. You’ll find daffodils blooming in March and tulips bursting to life in the bulb fields along the coast in April and May.

If you enjoy sitting outside in cafes along the canals, riding bicycles in the countryside, and attending cultural festivals, it all happens in the summer—not to say you can’t do any of these activities during the rest of the year—it’s just that there’s a great spirit of community to enjoy the outdoors when the weather is good. Depending on where you are in the country, it will be crowded, but with advanced reservations and the right timing (in other words, visit the museums and sites early in the day), you’ll be fine.

Early autumn may be the best time to come when days can still be pleasant and sunny, but by November and early December, you’ll need to bundle up.

Winters in the Netherlands may be limited with shorter days, but if you’re lucky, a brilliant sun may still come out. You may just get that perfect windmill photo without a mob of tourists in view. If the weather gets cold enough, the lakes and canals in the far north of the country will freeze over, and ice skaters will lace up their boots.

No matter what time of year you come, expect the unexpected—bring a jacket and layer your clothes.