Welcome back to our Amsterdam guide, where we list our favourite hangout spots and activities throughout the bustling city of Amsterdam. In our previous guide, we covered our favourite winter and early spring activities. Those mainly consisted of weather-proof options, however now that the weather is becoming better, Amsterdam is turning into a completely different city. Summer in Amsterdam is truly something special, so it is only right that we show you our favourite activities that will make your summer in Amsterdam unforgettable. From cultural delights to outdoor escapades, the Dutch capital has something for everyone. So, grab your sunscreen, put on your summer clothes and let’s embark on another amazing journey through Amsterdam’s summer wonders!
Amsterdam is known for its many canals throughout the entire city. There are more than 100 km of canals – ‘grachten’ in Dutch – and 1500 bridges. If you really want to experience Amsterdam from its best side, we recommend you rent a boat and immerse yourself in the scenic beauty of Amsterdam’s iconic canals. There are numerous places where you can rent a boat, all scattered throughout the city. If you don’t feel like driving the boat yourself, you can also go on a guided boat tour. Nonetheless, driving through the canals on a boat during summer is definitely an experience that you will remember for a long time, so make sure to put this one on top of your list if you haven’t already.
During summer, Amsterdam comes alive with open-air cinemas popping up throughout the city. Grab a blanket, some snacks, and make yourself comfortable for a movie under the stars. Watch a classic film or enjoy a recent release in unique locations all over the city. Particularly noteworthy:, our friends from Cinetree are hosting the Forest Film Festival at Amsterdamse Bos in August. A weekend filled with the best movies, poetry, talks from various movie experts and the best of all: a cozy open-air setting in the forest. A must-visit for all movie lovers.
Amsterdam is renowned for its vibrant festival scene and summer is the perfect time to experience it. Take a look at our list of festivals in Amsterdam for some more inspiration. But if we have to highlight one: Milkshake festival, from 28th to the 30th of July at Westerpark is a (glittery) extravaganza where every type of love is celebrated and nothing is too much. We can promise it is unlike any other festival you’ve ever been to! If this is not to your taste, there are plenty of other options. From music festivals like the iconic Amsterdam Open Air to cultural celebrations like the Holland Festival. Immerse yourself in the lively atmosphere, music, art, and food that these festivals offer.
Can’t get enough of Milkshake? Then make sure you are visiting the Amsterdam Pride this summer, from 31st of July to the 8th of August. The most famous part is probably the canal parade, but there are many more activities throughout the city. Think of guided tours through the city, arts & culture events and a big closing party on Dam Square at the 8th of August. Can’t wait till july? Then hop on the train and visit the Rotterdam pride which will already be held from the 1st until 11th of June.
If you are looking for a way to escape the bustling city and venture into nature and a more peaceful and quiet environment, bring your blanket, your favourite book, some snacks and drinks, and spend a day in one of Amsterdam’s many parks. As soon as the sun is out, you will quickly notice that this is one of Amsterdam’s favourite activities, as the parks will quickly fill up with crowds of people everywhere you look. If you feel like the parks are not big enough, head over to Amsterdamse Bos, a vast forest area located on the outskirts of the city. Rent a bike or simply take a stroll along its numerous trails, discover picturesque ponds, and relax in beautiful picnic spots. The Amsterdamse Bos is a serene oasis that offers a refreshing break from the urban hustle and bustle.
Dutch people certainly like to cycle, but their exercising habits are definitely not limited to it! The city is full of boutique gyms and in the parks you will find people jogging, doing yoga or taking a bootcamp class. Are they all training for an obstacle run? We don’t know. But we certainly know we are! If you are a fan of obstacle runs or simply want to challenge yourself, the Strong Viking Run will be held in Amsterdam this October. There will be a brother edition, perfect for participating with friends or colleagues, a family edition to join with kids from 5 years old and for the real die-hards there is an ultra edition which is 60 (!) km long. If you can’t wait until October, there are multiple editions in the Netherlands throughout the summer. The H&S team will be doing the water edition in Wijchen on 17th of june, will we see you there?
Not all activities should actually be active, sometimes you just need a day at the beach. Yes, you read that right—Amsterdam has its own urban beaches! Head to places like Blijburg aan Zee or Strand Zuid and soak up the sun while lounging on sandy shores. Enjoy a refreshing drink, try your hand at beach volleyball, or simply unwind with a good book. These artificial beaches offer a unique summer experience right in the heart of the city. Our secret tip is to visit Het Wed: a lake surrounded by sandy dunes in Bloemendaal, just outside of Amsterdam.
Moving on, the NDSM wharf is one of our favourite spots in Amsterdam, as it hosts a lot of cool events such as Ijhallen and DGTL festival. Located in Amsterdam-Noord, the NDSM Wharf is an industrial heritage site that has been transformed into a creative hub. Explore the area’s vibrant street art, browse through art studios and galleries, and enjoy a meal at one of the trendy cafes and restaurants such as Pllek or Noorderlicht that have sprung up in this former shipyard. You can get there by hopping on the (free!) ferry which will take you for a scenic ride across the IJ.
Whichever way you prefer to enjoy the sun, we hope that our list can give you some inspiration for a memorable Amsterdam summer experience. Amsterdam might not be known for its good weather, but believe us when we say: there is nothing quite like an Amsterdam summer! While this list shows you our favourite summer activities and spots, we also encourage you to simply get lost in the city, where you will discover something new on every corner.