Amsterdam’s tourism office, I Amsterdam, gives 10 reasons to visit the city in summer (as if they were needed).
Amsterdam is a city for all seasons. Come wind, rain, snow or shine, there’s always something to do and see. But never is Amsterdam more alive than in the summer, when the city’s streets, canals and parks transform into a buzzing kaleidoscope of activity.
Summer in Amsterdam
Whether you want to party all day long at a festival, lounge on the beach, explore the canals by boat, or barbecue in the park, there’s an endless choice of things to do in Amsterdam during the warmer months. Here are just a few reasons why the Dutch capital is the perfect summer destination.
There’s a festival happening every weekend
You could say that Amsterdam is a little bit festival mad. More than 300 festivals take place each year in and around the city – the bulk of these happening in the summer months. So no matter when you visit, there’s bound to be something going on. From huge dance music events to foodie fests and cultural carnivals, Amsterdam’s festival agenda spans all tastes and genres. Read more aboutAmsterdam festivals and see what’s on during your visit.
You can take your barbecue to the park
While the rules in other countries around barbecuing in public can be a little hazy, in Amsterdam it’s okay to get out your sausages andlight up a bbq in the park. Only in certain parks though; check this handy map for a guide to which Amsterdam parks allow barbecues.
You can camp inside a sculpture on a beach
Running until the end of August, the Urban Campsite is an open air art exhibition in which guests can spend the night in unusual objects, strange huts and arty pods. The beachy exhibition site has all the usual conveniences of a campsite, plus the opportunity to immerse yourself in art. Literally, in it. Bookings are made through Air BnB – finds out more here.
You can climb up onto the roof of a church
This summer, Japanese artist Taturo Atzu (formerly Tatzu Nishi) transforms Amsterdam’s Oude Kerk in the heart of the Red Light District with a 300 square metre roof terrace. The panoramic terrace, with a seating area installed around the church bell, allows visitors a fresh take on this 800 year old landmark, offering previously unseen views of the surrounding red light district and architectural features of the building which normally remain out of sight. The Garden Which is Closest to God, until 6 September.
Fact: Oude Kerk (Old Church) is Amsterdam’s oldest building, founded in 1213
…and there are many more terraces to enjoy
For a city which is pretty cold a lot of the time, Amsterdam really does do a good line in al fresco drinking and dining. As soon as the sun comes out (and often when it doesn’t), Amsterdam’s bars and restaurants take things outdoors, and locals and visitors alike flock to enjoy a drink in the sunshine. From bohemian beaches to swish rooftops, Amsterdam is brimming with fantastic terraces – take a look at some of our favourites.
You can always find a good street market
The Dutch love their street markets, and every day of the week you’ll find traders setting up stall somewhere in the city. From antiques to art and farm produce to fashion, there’s something for everyone at Amsterdam’s markets – and with many events incorporating live music, food stalls and bars, there’s no finer place to soak up some local atmosphere when the sun is shining.
Fact: Albert Cuypmaket in De Pijp is the Netherlands’ biggest street market – and some say it’s the biggest in Europe!
You can go to the cinema on a beach or a rooftop
Beginning in July and typically running through to September, a selection of Amsterdam institutions take the world of celluloid outdoors, mixing up film classics with new releases and setting them against a backdrop of some of Amsterdam’s top scenic sights. So choose a deckchair, snuggle up with a blanket and get ready to enjoy some great cinema in the great outdoors. Find open-air cinemas in Amsterdam.
You can dine in a pop-up restaurant on a secret island
For a limited time during the summer, adventurous diners can take a boat to a nearby deserted island and enjoy a four-course meal in a specially constructed greenhouse. The pop-up restaurant experience on Vuurtoreneiland is a popular culinary draw, so be sure to book in advance.
You can go to the theatre in the park for free
From May to September, an open air-theatre in the middle of the Vondelpark hosts performances of dance, music, cabaret, comedy and children’s events every Friday, Saturday and Sunday. It’s totally free (although donations will not be discouraged). Find out more about Vondelpark open-air theatre.
Fact: 10 million people visit the Vondelpark every year!
You can have a beach holiday in Amsterdam
It may not be the first place you think of when you envisage a beach holiday, but just half an hour from Amsterdam by train are the popular beach resorts of Bloemendaal aan Zee and Zandvoort aan Zee. Boasting vast expanses of golden sands to bask upon, plenty of watersports to try plus loads of beachfront cafes and bars, the two towns make a perfect summertime day trip out of the city. Find out more about Amsterdam beach.