There are 10 great ideas to do in Amsterdam in the summer.
Sure, laying down on your towel on a sunny beach and relax is very nice. But … there is more than a beach holiday. For example, Amsterdam, the capital of the Netherlands. It is a lovely city with a good atmosphere to spend a few days in the summer. There is plenty to do and see in this vibrant city.
1. Enjoying the water
When you think of Amsterdam, you think of canals. The Amsterdam canals are built during the Golden Age (1600-1700) and grew over the centuries to become one of the most unique places in the world.
Go on a canal cruise through Amsterdam. You will not only see the beautiful canals very close, but floating on water remains the most unique way to discover the city. Some of the most famous canal cruise organisations are: Holland International Canal, Blue Boat , Rederij Kooij Rederij Plas and Lovers. If you like to off the boat to see different sights from shore then the “hop-on hop-off” Canal Bus is an excellent opportunity.
2. Poffertjes treat after shopping.
Many large and well-known names in the fashion world began or are grown in Amsterdam. Famous and renowned fashion brands like Fred de la Bretonière, Gaastra and Suitsupply originated in the capital and can be found in one of the many shopping streets. So you can shop till you drop, but in addition to the lovely shopping streets: 9 Straatjes or Utrechtsestraat, in the summer there are also very nice markets. Have a look at the Albert Cuyp market and the multicultural Dappermarkt. End the day with the typical Dutch poffertjes, stalls are found on each market .
3. A refreshing dip in Amsterdam? It’s possible!
You will be surprised to hear that Amsterdam has beaches. Yep it is true! Strand Zuid, Dock and Strand IJburg, just to name a few.
Strand Zuid has the image of being a more luxury beach, and in summertime, the upper class of Amsterdam love to come here to lounge, sip cocktails, and see and be seen. The hotspot Dock is located just outside the city center. Enjoy a bite and a drink while listening to music or stories told by the campfire. There is a special play corner to keep children entertained . Strand IJburg is the “alternative” beach in Amsterdam, where there’s always a bit of a hippie vibe, and where young families feel particularly at home. het Blijburg beach restaurant serves food and drinks, and also plays music. In the evening, they often build a campfire and the atmosphere is super relaxed.
4. Every weekend there is a party or a festival.
Of course we all know the Full Moon Party in Thailand or The Island of Freedom in Hungary. But you don’t have necessarily to go there to experience a festival vibe. In the summer there are in and around Amsterdam around 300 festivals, from large scaled to cozy small ones. Some are for free, while for others you have to buy a ticket .
Enjoy the Uitmarkt on Museumplein and Leidseplein, with over 350 performances and 500,000 visitors annually. Or go to Lentekabine” where the festival is filled with hammocks and tents reminiscent of large safari tents from South Africa. And then there’s Food Truck Festival “TREK” a wonderful atmosphere where you can enjoy all kinds of drinks and snacks. Of course there is the Gay Parade, this is a free festival and a big happening, something special you have to experience.
5. Naar de zonsondergang kijken op het dak van een hotel.
While enjoying a drink, you can watch the sunset and the best views of Amsterdam. It is on the roof of the Volkshotel, you’ll find a restaurant Canvas on the seventh floor. This restaurant has a very nice roof terrace. Also at NEST (Casa 400) is a briljant place. You forget immediately that you’re in a busy city. The roof food is an important part of the terrace as different vegetables and herbs are used in the dishes, the limos and cocktails.
6. Chilling at the park with friends with a picnic or BBQ
Amsterdam has about 50 parks and recreation areas. These are ultimate places to chill out with your friends with a picnic or BBQ. Vondelpark is the city’s most famous park and has always been a haven for BBQ lovers whenever good weather hits. However, these days you are only permitted to grill in designated spots. Excellent alternatives includes Westerpark (also designated spots), Oosterpark and Sloterpark. Bring a good bottle of wine or some beers, baguette and the necessary BBQ or picnic stuff and you’re guaranteed of a great evening .
7. Outdoor sports
Outdoor sports is all around Amsterdam in the summer. For example you can attend a Tai-Chi training in Oosterpark and go for a run in Vondelpark. But there are also organised sports events. What about swimming in the canals during the Amsterdam City Swim or join the Electric Run? Every Friday there is Kundalini Yoga in the Ceuvel. You can also organise some activities yourself and rent a bike from Yellow Bike, a great way to explore the city.
8. During the day strolling through the center of Amsterdam, but to spend the night in the open?
Campsites are a good and cheap alternative to hotels and youth hostels. It is also the perfect meeting point for travellers, families and groups from all parts of the world. Amsterdam has a number of campsites. Each campsite offers more than just an open field where you can pitch your tent. Bike rental, laundry facilities, safe deposit box rentals, kayak rentals; for all these things you don’t have to leave the campsite . Camping Zeebrug, Vliegenbos and City Camp are all within walking distance of downtown Amsterdam. So you can stroll through the day enjoying the city and spend the night at a campsite.
9. Chilling at a campfire in the evening at Noorderlicht
Amsterdam is the largest city in the Netherlands, but it is still small and cozy. For example you can sit at a campfire and not have the feeling that you are in a city. At Roest you can enjoy a drink during the day at their beach and the evening you can chill around a large campfire, they made in old rusty boats.
When you take the free ferry to the NDSM ship warf, you arrive at what looks like an abandoned site, but soon you’ll see the signs that guides you to Noorderlicht Cafe . Outside there are always giant campfires. While you sit back, with your feet in the white sand, you can enjoy the skyline of Amsterdam.
10. Enjoy a movie in an open air cinema!
There is often a difficult choice for Film lovers in the summer. Hollywood brings one after another summer blockbuster out, but it s not particularly logical to sit in a dark cinema when it’s sunny outside. The solution to this dilemma? An outdoor cinema!
Amsterdam has a couple of those outdoor cinemas. Pllek , Amsterdam North is the place to watch films in the open air. Pluk de Nacht Film Festival, for the warm summer evenings with the most recent films on the big screen. On the Roof Film Festival, also has a great view of the city, while watching the movies on a big screen . Well worth it!
* Need more information about what to do in Amsterdam? Take a look at the site I amsterdam. This is full of fun activities and places to go.