Top 10 things to do in Amsterdam – Summer edition

By Lauren Harmes

Amsterdam is an absolutely incredible city all year-round, but there’s something especially wonderful about the Dutch capital in the summer.

With the sun basking the canals in light, and the warmer temperatures encouraging some al fresco socialising, we couldn’t help but list our favourite things to do in the ‘Dam during the summer.

1. Late night zoo visit

The nights are longer, which means there’s more time to do those activities you really love.

Amsterdam’s ARTIS Royal Zoo hosts an event called Zoomeravonden every Saturday from June to August, where you can attend the zoo out of hours to hang out with our furry friends, watch live shows and get some food.


2. Go to the beach

What do you get when you cross a super-cool city with a relaxing beach holiday? Amsterdam, of course! Hire a car, or take the train 30 minutes out of the centre to head to Bloemendaal aan Zee and Zandvoort aan Zee where you can spend the day at the beach. Grab your bucket and spade, hop on a jet ski, or just chill at one of the beach bars lining the golden sand for the perfect summer’s day out.


3. Open-air theatre

Amsterdam is a cultural haven, and one of the greatest things to do during the summer months is to take in an open-air show. Head down to the Vondelpark where there is a large array of free creative performances taking places every Friday, Saturday and Sunday throughout the summer.


4. Gay pride

Amsterdam really is one of the most LGBT-friendly capitals in the world, but summertime is when it really comes into its own. The city’s Gay Pride festival is hosted from 27th July to 4th August and the whole city turns into one huge rainbow celebrating all things LGBT and fabulous in cafés, on the streets, and in shops.


5. Secret island restaurant

If you’re looking for something a little different during your summer trip to Amsterdam, check out the secret island restaurant. For a few weeks in the summer, you can hop on a boat to Vuurtoreniland where you will be treated to a four-course meal in a greenhouse in one of the most unique experiences to take place in the Dam.


6. Rooftop cinema

Culture truly is at the heart of Amsterdam and taking in a movie while you’re visiting surely is a quintessentially Dutch thing to do. Various spots across the city host rooftop cinema nights throughout the summer, showcasing classic movies and new releases surrounded by fairy lights. So get under a cosy blanket with a loved one and chomp down on some popcorn for an unforgettable evening.


7. Take a dip

You’d be forgiven for thinking that Amsterdam isn’t really a “swimming weather” kind of place, and sometimes you’d be right – but that doesn’t stop people enjoying a quick dip in the summer.

Various parks and other areas such as Sloterplas and Gasperplas have natural and man-made swimming areas that are super-popular throughout the warmer seasons – just make sure you check the weather in advance!


8. Socialise on the terraces

Who doesn’t love an al fresco afternoon in the heat of the sun? Well I can tell you who does – Amsterdam natives! If the sun is cracking the flags, the locals are out in the streets enjoying some cold beers and delicious food. Tables and chairs line the streets all summer, so it won’t be hard for you to find a great spot to indulge in a lazy afternoon.


9. Take a walk around the park

Amsterdam is home to a number of wondrous parks, and they are great places to enjoy an afternoon summer stroll. Not feeling particularly active? Some of the parks allow you to set up a BBQ and enjoy some sausages and burgers while topping up your tan. Just make sure you check before you go so you don’t get into trouble!


10. Festivals

Love a festival? So does Amsterdam! With hundreds of festivals hosted in the city every single year, there really is something for everyone. Throughout the summer there are music festivals, food festivals, flower festivals (specifically the national flower – the tulip!) and almost anything else you can think of – so make sure you check out what’s on when you are visiting so you don’t miss out.


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