Discover Amsterdam
Meetings and Conventions
Live, Work and Study
What's on
See and do
Travel and stay
City Card and tickets
Discover Amsterdam
Meetings and Conventions
Live, Work and Study
Boats in the sand and blowcarters at IJmuiderslag beach.
Image from koen smilde

Summer day trips from Amsterdam

There is plenty of fun in the sun to be had in Amsterdam, but summertime calls for vacation - even if it's just for a day trip. Amsterdam's location and network of transportation make a perfect launchpad for summer day trips outside the city, and with all of these destinations lying within an hour of Amsterdam, you can even be back before the sun sets! Here's our round-up of historical sights, nature parks and tons of culture just outside the city limits.

Amsterdam Beach

Get an adrenaline rush at IJmuiden

Ijmuiden aan zee
Image from Beeldbank Gemeente Velsen / Ko van Leeuwen

Those who want to do more than lounge on the sand should head to IJmuiden, another nearby beach along the coast from popular Zandvoort and Bloemendaal. An hour’s journey from Amsterdam, IJmuiden is a hotspot for adrenaline junkies looking to catch the big waves—and some air! The beach is divided into zones for each type of sport—surfing, sailing, kitesurfing, stand-up paddling and more—to let you mingle with like-minded enthusiasts and give you room to show off. Out of the water, get your fill with blokarting or kite-buggying.

Old Holland

Cycle along the coast to Marken

People on the dike of Marken.
Image from koen smilde

Get out and active on your day trip out of Amsterdam. Hop on a bicycle and head to Durgerdam, a village just outside the city, to begin a breathtaking 15km route on Uitdammerdijk along the coast. Cross the Zeedijk, surrounded by water on both sides, to end the journey at Marken, one of the most fascinating villages in the Netherlands, whose charming green wooden houses and old-time atmosphere will transport you back to a simpler time.

Sail away on the open seas (or rivers)

Fishing nets in the city of Monnickendam
Image from koen smilde

There are perhaps just as many waterways as bike lanes in the Netherlands, so boats may rival bikes as the Dutchies' favourite mode of transport. Breathe the fresh sea air as you spend a whole day out on the water—and there’s not a lot of travel involved, as you can set sail straight from the centre of Amsterdam. Start in the IJmeer and continue north towards Markermeer, stopping off at the picturesque fishing village Monnickendam for some sightseeing, or sail the Amstel River as far south as your boat can take you.


Tuck into food festivals in Haarlem

Grote Markt, Haarlem, Haarlem Culinair. Performers and art installations with visitors enjoying food at drinks at Haarlem Culinair food festival at the Grote Markt
Image from Franklin van der Erf

If you love to travel by your stomach, Haarlem is the place to be during the Summer. Annual food truck festival Rrrollend Haarlem rocks up at Lichtfabriek for a few days of exceptional street food in July. Haarlem Culinair serves up an array of delicious and affordable dishes against the backdrop of the Grote of St. Bavokerk on the city’s Grote Markt square in August. Then Proefpark arrives the first weekend of September at Kenaupark, where more than 30 food trucks and mobile kitchens descend upon this monumental green space.

Flowers of Amsterdam

Take the plunge (and swim outdoors)

Two windsurfers on the Westeinderplassen near Aalsmeer.
Image from Koen Smilde

There’s nothing like floating in the water under the open sky, so pack up your bags, put on your bathing suit and take a trip to some of the Netherlands’ best lakes. Head south of Amsterdam to the Westeinderplassen in Aalsmeer, which features dozens of tiny islands to admire, or stop by the Loosdrechtse Plassen, a network of five lakes popular for picnicking and swimming. If they’re too crowded, you’re in luck—there are hundreds of lakes throughout the Netherlands that promise secluded swimming and fabulous views.

Castles & Gardens

Hop over to Pampus Island

Proef Pampus 2018<br>maandag
Image from Rien de Jager

An artificial island fort, Forteiland Pampus, once served as part of Amsterdam's line of defence and as a port for traders. These days, however, it’s a getaway for intrepid day trippers. Summer Lights on Pampus (July - August) capitalises on this, inviting visitors for a boat ride to the island (departing from sleepy Muiden or Amsterdam IJburg) followed by a delicious picnic dinner and sweeping sunset views across the water. For an optional sprinkle of summer magic and a memorable overnight stay on the island, end the night in one of the custom tents, complete with mattresses and linen.

Immerse yourself in wondrous music

Image from Foppe Schut

Classic festival meets classical music in the three-day summertime music event, Wonderfeel Festival (mid-July), on the stately grounds of nature reserve Schaep en Burgh, between Hilversum and Naarden. Each tent caters to a different theme, with six centuries of musical history on show, from Mozart all the way up to classical jazz fusion. Catering to music lovers and families, Wonderfeel is a special occasion embodying the region's grand heart and heritage.

New Land

Learn all about shipbuilding

Batavialand is a museum in Lelystad where you can find out how people built wooden sailing ships 400 years ago. Board the spectacular VOC ship the Batavia, dive into the history of Flevoland, and experience the stories of the pioneers.
Image from Koen Smilde

Take a journey spanning 7,000 years of Dutch history at Batavialand, just outside Lelystad. This still-functioning shipyard shows how the Dutch have mastered shipbuilding over the centuries, building robust ships capable of traversing Dutch and international waters. Climb aboard the famous reconstruction of the VOC ship, the Batavia, and find out how these powerful 17th-century trade ships were constructed. Visit the museum and discover stories about the life of a Dutchman, forever living on the boundary between water and land.

Find a secluded beach

Hortus urban district in Almere is a new residential area on the site of the Floriade 2022 and is happy to inherit the greenery of the expo.
Image from koen smilde

Did you know that Almere boasts over 42 kilometres of coastline? Or that it has the largest catamaran beach in all of Europe? The lengthy coastline is sprinkled with beautiful beaches, such as Almeerdestrand and Strandbad Duin, where you can relax or swim to your heart’s content. For the more adventurous, Batavia Beach (Lelystad) is ideal for flyboarding and surfing. Many of Almere’s beaches feature restaurants and cafés serving refreshments; most have public toilet facilities and showers.


Experience theatre and film beneath the stars

Cinetree Forest Film Festival, outdoor cinema movie in the woods Amsterdams Bostheater
Image from Jelle Draper

Deep within the Amsterdamse Bos, just outside of Amsterdam in Amstelveen, lies a magical open-air venue that has delighted theatre, film and music fans every summer since 1985. With a programme ranging from large-scale and offbeat theatre productions to atmospheric musical performances, the performances at the Amsterdamse Bostheater make for a great summer evening beneath the stars in an intimate tree-lined setting. There’s also delicious food; visitors can grab dinner, appetizers and drinks at De Lastpost, the theatre’s café and bistro. And don't miss the Cinetree Forest Film Festival in August, with open-air screenings under the stars.

Pro tip:
To make life even easier, grab an Amsterdam & Region Travel Ticket, which allows you to explore all the iconic sights and scenery of the city's surrounding area for one, two or three consecutive days.