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People sitting on the grass in Vondelpark in Summer
Image from Niels Blekemolen

Perfect picnic spots in Amsterdam

Make the most of Amsterdam’s sunny days by heading off for a picnic away from the city centre. From grassy fields to a full-on forest, we’ve scouted the very best places to spread your rug this summer, along with a few tips on how to complete that al-fresco feast.

For barbecues: Erasmuspark

The bridge that connects the Wachterliedplantsoen with the Erasmuspark.
Image from Jan de Ridder

Pay attention, pit masters! While barbecuing is not allowed at most of the city parks, you can still grill to your heart's content at Erasmuspark in Amsterdam’s popular Bos en Lommer neighbourhood. This lush park is laid out in the Mondriaan style, with the landscape designed to create visual harmony between the paths, trees and grass. Speaking of fine art, there’s a giant polar bear statue that will cool you down with its stoic arctic vibes as you sweat over the coals. Is it even really a party if there isn’t at least one giant polar bear present?

Barbecuing rules and regulations: Before you head out, check this map of Amsterdam parks that shows where you should and shouldn’t barbecue and make sure you adhere to these barbecuing rules and regulations provided by the municipality.

For chilled-out picnics: Beatrixpark

Green lawns in Beatrixpark
Image from Koen Smilde

The royal park in Zuid is intimate and relatively quiet, but it’s still big enough to make you feel like you’ve escaped the city for the day. Pack some coldcuts, strawberry scones, a bottle of wine and some lemonade and enjoy the beautiful landscaping and the peace and stillness of the lake. Little ’uns will love wading in the paddling pool, so a splashing good time is guaranteed for all.

For nature lovers: Amsterdamse Bos

There are 400 cherry trees in the Blossom Park in the Amsterdamse Bos.
Image from Cris Toala Olivares

The 1,000-hectare woodland expanse of the Amsterdamse Bos (‘Amsterdam Forest’) is a breathing space in every sense. Three times the size of New York’s Central Park, it was conceived in the 1930s, a product of the depression era, with the dual goal of generating more greenery and creating employment for 20,000 out-of-work Amsterdammers. Today, there’s a world-class waterway for rowing, various swimming pools and endless footpaths along which to inhale that fresh forest floor fug. Fresh cheese, yoghurt and ice cream from the Ridammerhoeve organic goat farm will taste even better on a picnic blanket.

For sun-seekers: Flevopark

Image from Koen Smilde Photography

Take a plunge in verdant Flevopark, where you’ll find the warmed Flevoparkbad (voted ‘best outdoor pool’ by Amsterdam newspaper Het Parool in 2013-2015) as well as plenty of natural greenery that’s home to 19 protected animal species and oodles of avian activity. Also nestled within this leafy park is ’t Nieuwe Diep (pictured), a distillery housed in a restored water pumping station from 1880, which now pumps out artisan jenevers on its sunny lakeside terrace, as well as typical Dutch bar snacks such as ossenworst (smoked raw beef sausage), sheep’s milk cheese with fenugreek and local mustards.

For urban beach bliss: Het Stenen Hoofd

Sailing Ferry Stenenhoofd Westerdoksdijk
Image from Koen Smilde

This stone jetty along the Westerdoksdijk, nestled between the up-and-coming Houthavens and Haarlemmerbuurt neighbourhoods, is a hidden-in-plain stretch of beach. The waterfront strip of sand and grass is an ideal spot to toss down a chequered blanket and unpack a wicker basket stuffed with picnic treats and eats. During the warmer months, it often plays host to outdoor events such as open-air film screenings, so you can enjoy dinner and a movie without spending a cent.

Please note: It's currently not allowed to swim at Het Stenen Hoofd. Fines can be issued.