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What to do in Amsterdam in Summer — 10 Fun Activities

Amsterdam is undoubtedly a great holiday destination, but is it a summer one? Would this be the best way to get the most out of your Northern Hemisphere summer, opposed to going somewhere like Greece or the Caribbean? 

Well, Amsterdam is an incredible choice for a summer holiday – not just a great winter place. It may not be a beach place, but it frequently reaches over 30°C, and the laid back atmosphere goes hand-in-hand with the heat.


Amsterdam is home to some incredible festivals, of which most are in the summer. Mysteryland is one of the largest electronic music festivals in central Europe, which takes place in late August over the course of three days. Camping is also a good option in the summer and festivals like Best Kept Secret, Awakenings Festival, and Dekmental offer a wide variety of artists.

Coffee shops

Of course, it’s difficult to talk about Amsterdam without mentioning coffee shops. It’s worth looking at the coffee shops which have the best garden area because this is where you’ll want to be.


The Museumplein is a large scenic park in Amsterdam, which is gorgeous in the summer and a great spot for a picnic. However, summertime is often when national soccer events are on, and also when the Museumplein show world cup games on a big screen and large crowds of orange gather.

Go for a dip

The Dutch are wizards when it comes to canals, flooding prevention and clean water. For this reason, there are a few places where you can find out a place to swim, along with a few urban beaches too.

Outdoor cinemas

Amsterdam has a few options for catching an evening movie in an outdoor cinema during summer. Some will even provide deck chairs and a bench to make you all the more comfortable.


The summer is a perfect time to catch some exotic animals in a zoo, and Amsterdam has plenty of great ones. In particular, ARTIS Royal Zoo is a much-loved sanctuary and even has nighttime events such as Zoomeravonden so you can take a tour at dusk.

Cafe culture

Like much of central Europe, there’s a strong cafe culture in Amsterdam. Most roads you walk down in the city will have quaint places to grab a beer or coffee, as well as plenty of terraces and outdoor spots.

Amsterdam Open Air

Now, whilst we’ve already covered some festivals, Amsterdam Open Air deserves its own mention. This festival at Gaasperpark falls on the day of White Sunday, making this electronic dance universe all the more energetic.

Visit a private island

Being in Amsterdam in the summer is a perfect opportunity to visit the Vuurtoreneiland  – which is Dutch for Lighthouse Island. This island is rich in history being a former military base and is only a short boat trip to visit. In the summer, there’s a pop-up restaurant that opens where you can grab some great food.


Whilst the Rijksmuseum is open year-round, there are some extra beautiful summer exhibitions, including miniature sculptures and 19th-century photography.

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