Trees, ponds and flowers surround you and the sounds of the city are far away... Come experience the green side of Amsterdam! There are over thirty parks in Amsterdam, including the Vondelpark, which attracts some nine million people each year.
It's fabulous sunny weather and all the terraces are packed. Not to worry, just grab a snack from the shop and a cool bottle of rosé wine and head to the park. Whether you sit out in the sun at the Rembrandtpark, lounge by the elaborate fountain at the Sarphatipark or enjoy the great people watching in the Vondelpark, there are plenty of lovely green spaces in Amsterdam.
Or if it’s the flame-grilled experience you’re after, grab a disposable BBQ! Barbecues are permitted in parks including Rembrandtpark, Oosterpark and Park Frankendael but be aware that open-air cooking is restricted in some parks and from 2017 barbecuing is no longer permitted in the Vondelpark. See this handy official map for a guide to which Amsterdam parks allow barbecues (external link).
For one long weekend each year, dozens of canal-side houses and museums open their doors to the public and reveal the beautiful gardens hidden behind Amsterdam's brick facades. Look out for the Open Garden Days when the event returns in June 2015.
Several annual cultural events take place in the city's parks. Not to be missed is the travelling carnivalesque theatre festival De Parade in the Martin Luther Kingpark. The Oosterpark hosts the city's largest world music event, the Amsterdam Roots Festival in July and the Appelsap Fresh Music Festival a month later. The Vondelpark and the Amsterdamse Bos (Amsterdam forest) offer open-air theatre performances. The Glazen Huis (glass house) and Orangerie galleries are great destinations for art in Amstel Park and there's always something happening at the Westergasfabriek.
Established in 1638, the Hortus Botanicus is one of the oldest botanical gardens in the world. The Hortus was originally a medicinal herb garden, and in 1877 became part of the University of Amsterdam. Today, there are more than 6,000 plants comprising 4,000 species flourishing in the garden and greenhouses. With its tropical greenhouses, it's also a great place to visit on a cold and rainy day!
Historical gardens and spectacular country estates are all within easy reach of Amsterdam. Enjoy a day in the country!