Amsterdam's secret swimming spots
The beautifully spacious Sloterpark is a park in Amsterdam’s Nieuw West with a large lake (Sloterplas) in the middle. Locals flock to its urban beach for picnics, family outings and games of volleyball. If you prefer a dash of chlorine in your swimming water, the Sloterparkbad is only a minute away. Drop by at the nearby Hotel Buiten afterwards for a glass of rosé on the terrace.
Begin your swim with a scenic bike ride to Zaanstad, where you will find no fewer than 10 different places to swim. Het Twiske recreational park is home to the Speelsloot, the Kure Jan Strand, the Doesstrand and many more spots for cooling off in the water. You can also rent canoes, row boats and sail boats to head off on your own adventure.
We have the construction of the Bijlmermeer to thank for the charming Gaasperplas recreational area. It was created from the sand extraction required for construction of the tower blocks there. The exquisite nature reserve has a wide beach and a spacious lawn to spread your towel. Best of all, it can be easily accessed by Metro.
Amsterdam’s biggest landscape park is three times bigger than Central Park, it attracts 6 million visitors a year, and has several excellent spots for swimming. There are spots for kids to paddle around safely while parents lounge around on the grass. Amsterdamse Bos also has several low-hanging bridges for older kids (and the young at heart) to practise their diving skills. The options for food and drink range from pancakes at Boerderij Meerzicht to a meal with a view, at De Veranda.
Next to Amsterdamse Bos lies a large lake with two official swimming areas. Easily accessible by public transport or bicycle, you will find a beach and several private coves along the edges of the lake. The spot is also known for its nudist beach, its gay cruising area, and its Highland cattle.
Cool off from a bike ride with a refreshing dip in the Ouderkerkerplas. This special spot on the border of Amsterdam-Zuidoost and Ouderkerk aan de Amstel is paradise for seasoned swimmers and divers, while the sandy beaches, shallow shoreline and nearby playgrounds make it ideal for the whole family.
A modestly-sized park that is intimate and relatively quiet, but at the same time is big enough to make you feel like you’ve escaped the city for the day. Great for sunbathing, picnics and for wading in the paddling pool with the little ‘uns. Beatrixpark also has a medicinal herb garden.
The ‘West End Lakes’ are the largest body of fresh water in the Randstad area. These lakes are home to dozens of tiny islands and while most of them are privately owned, everyone is welcome to moor their boat at the Starteiland (Start Island) – a popular spot for a picnic or barbecue. And if you don’t fancy bringing your own supplies, stop off at one of the 50 marinas lining the banks, teeming with restaurants, cafés and sun-drenched terraces.
De Hoge Dijk
This quiet recreational area near AMC is just the place for a peaceful dip. The west of De Hoge Dijk is primarily a golf course, while the east has a large lake with a beach and a designated swimming area. It also has a paddling area for kids, well-equipped changing rooms and parking.
Blijburg aan Zee
Blijburg aan Zee is possibly the most happening place to swim in Amsterdam. This beachy escape in the eastern part of IJburg is popular all year around. After sundown, the live music and bonfire will keep you entertained. And if you still can’t bring yourself to leave, there’s even a campsite to pitch your tent.
Another urban beach in close proximity to Blijburg is Amsterdam’s Diemerpark, which has a slower pace and tranquil atmosphere. You would never guess it from the bucolic surroundings, but Diemerpark was once a rubbish dump. The whole area has been meticulously cleaned since, and the water is closely monitored.
Note: As with all outdoor swimming spots, water quality can vary. Check for warnings and updates on the zwemwater website (in Dutch).