When summer arrives, Amsterdammers move outdoors. They populate outdoor cafés, lounge in the parks or bask in the sun before their own front doors. Summer is the perfect season to visit Amsterdam. Summer is also the time of the best festivals – the Canal Festival, Amsterdam Gay Parade, Holland Festival and Open Garden Days.
Where Have All the Locals Gone?
In summer many locals leave the city for holiday paradises in France, Spain or Greece. The tourist crowd moves in. Long days, pleasant temperatures and hundreds of outdoor festivals make summer the ideal time for a trip to Amsterdam. Outdoor terraces on every block and long summer evenings make people watching and eating al fresco a true delight.
Thirty parks and five city beaches are the perfect picnic and people-watching spots. These green and sunny places turn into almost private gardens for the locals. They bring food, books, games, computers and lounge on the grass as long as the weather is sunny.
Vondelpark gets jammed with skaters, joggers and sun worshippers. The open-air theatre in the park stages performances free of charge. Rembrandtplein and Leidseplein buzz with activity. Summer is the perfect time to rent a bike for a few hours or several days. Feel the wind in your hair while cruising along the canals or in the countryside.
The summer bonus is that queues at the major museums such as Rijksmuseum, Van Gogh Museum, het Stedelijk Museum and Anne Frank House will be long. But …. if you book online, you beat the waiting line.
Go to the Seaside
If the city gets too stuffy or too hot, a thirty-minute train ride takes you to Zandvoort aan Zee, Amsterdam’s seaside town and only 12 km away. Miles of sandy beaches stretch north and south, and to the west a very cold North Sea. Even in the height of summer the sea water is 20° at most. Wooden pavilions line the seashore. Restaurants and outdoor terraces with sun beds and umbrellas wait in line for sun lovers. Admission is free as long as you buy drinks and food. Restaurants in Zandvoort centre near Raadhuisplein are more upmarket than those on the beach. Kerkstraat and Haltestraat are two streets packed with small cafés, restaurants and shops.
Photo credit Marianne Crone