The city is bathed in fiery foliage

With more than 400,000 trees binding its canal banks together, Amsterdam is one of the leafiest cities in Europe. Which means that, come autumn time, it’s also one of the most magical. Nothing beats the sight of Amsterdam’s historic canals or parks when they’re lined by vibrant clouds of orange and red trees  – or the golden carpet of crunchy leaves that flood the cobbles and waterways when it’s time to for them to drop.

 Autumn bike Amsterdam

Photo: Maria Maura Zorita

You can dance, dance, dance

For five days in October, Amsterdam becomes the dance capital of the world as thousands of DJs, music fans and industry types descend on the city to celebrate electronic music in all its forms at Amsterdam Dance Event. Dance all night at one of the 120 venues taking part, attend talks and discussions, explore pop-up events or just hang around in bars and soak up the energy – either way, it’s a fine time to be alive.

Shermanology ADE Amsterdam Jimmy Woo Remy de Klein

Apple pie and hot chocomel

Yes, the summer was lovely and all, but what we’ve all really been craving all this time is the opportunity to curl up in a cosy brown bar and enjoy a hot slice of apple pie washed down with something warm and chocolatey. In no particular order, some top spots in the city for engaging in this sort of activity are Papeneiland, Winkel 43 and Café Marcella.

Amsterdam Dutch apple pie Hegeraad, Marie-Charlotte Pezé

Cultural season is in full flow

Whether you want to catch a gig, a play, an exhibition or a rooftop jazz night, autumn in Amsterdam is a great time for enjoying cultural activities, as musicians return to the touring circuit, museums host major exhibitions and everyone heads indoors to soak up some culture. Check out the cultural agenda to see what’s happening in Amsterdam this autumn.

Peter Hilz

You can explore museums in the moonlight

Every November, Museum Night gives culture night owls the chance to explore art collections after dark, with plenty of special events and surprises thrown in along the way. One ticket will gain you entrance to over 50 museums in Amsterdam until 2am, where a dazzling spread of workshops, concerts, special tours and performances will be laid on – as well as plenty of food and drink to keep you going until late into the night. Please note that tickets can only be purchased via Dutch bank accounts - so consider asking your hotel to make a reservation on your behalf.

Amsterdam museum night 

The skies look like a Golden Age painting

It’s something to do with the low autumn sun and something to do with the already epic Dutch skies, but when the light hits the clouds on its way to the horizon, Amsterdam looks like it’s constructed from brush strokes. No photograph can quite capture the sense of being there, so make sure you experience it for yourself this autumn.

Prinseneiland woonboot en gracht Amsterdam

Amsterdam does Halloween so well

No sexy werewolves here. In Amsterdam you can go all out on your costume at a variety of proper Halloween events, such as the annual Amsterdam Halloween Festival which climaxes in a huge party where you’ll only look like a freak if you’re not dressed up as one. The party takes a different theme and location each year – so find out more about this year’s event and start working on your costume now.

Amsterdam Spook Halloween party

There’s a film festival for everyone

Autumn is film festival season in Amsterdam, and there’s a film for everyone. From KLIK’s celebration of animated works to the children focused Cinekid Festival and the thought provoking programming of the International Documentary Film Festival (IDFA), there’s enough going on to satisfy every kind of film fan from September to November.

KLIK

You can race through the middle of the Rijksmuseum

Amsterdam is home to one of the most spectacular marathons in the world, taking place in the city every October. With a route that starts and ends in the iconic Olympic Stadium and takes runners under the Rijksmuseum, along the Amstel river and through the magnificent Vondelpark, the TCS Amsterdam Marathon carries the Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) Gold Label and is a memorable experience for runners and spectators alike.

TCS Amsterdam Marathon Foto: Wooning

Sinterklaas is coming to town

Unlike in other parts of the world where Father Christmas doesn't appear until December, the Dutch St Nick likes to get the most out of the season, sailing into town in late autumn on a kilometre-long parade of floats and boats, welcomed by upwards of 400,000 spectators. The Sinterklaas parade takes place in mid November, with the feast of St Nicholas itself falling in early December. Wondering what the difference is between the two big men in red? Read our spotters guide to Father Christmas v Sinterklaas.

Amsterdam Saint Nicholas Sinterklaas, Ada Nieuwendijk