Whether you want to get fit, let the kids go wild or just sit and chill in the sun, Amsterdam’s parks offer a surprising range of beautiful places to hang out, each with its own unique charm and history.
Located along the banks of the Amstel River, Amstelpark is a large green space covered in trees. At its southern end you’ll find the Riekermolen (Rieter windmill) and within the grounds an orangery, rose garden and even a Japanese garden. It’s a popular place for families thanks to mini-golf, a labyrinth, a small train, and a petting garden.
What to see in Amstelpark:
- Visit the rhododendron valley where 130+ varieties bloom
- See the Belgian cloister and rose gardens
- Experience Monument Rozenoord, a moving memorial to the men executed at the end of the World War II by German forces
Amsterdamse Bos (Amsterdam Forest)
Amsterdam’s largest park is located mostly in Amstelveen and has a lot to offer. You’ll find a number of attractions in its vast area including the Bosbaan, a rowing course that has hosted the World Rowing Championship twice. Along with ponds suitable for swimming, an open air theatre and camping facilities, the park also has a fabulous forest with dazzling cherry blossoms in spring. Keep your eye out for Scottish Highlanders as you wander this beautiful spot in the city and naturists if you venture near De Zonneweide.
What to see in Amsterdamse Bos:
- Watch rowers ply the Bosbaan
- Visit the goat farm. At Geitenboerderij Ridammerhoeve kids can pet goats and you can sample some simple dishes in the restaurant
- See art works by Tom Claassen, Serge Verhuegen and others
- Jump aboard the a historic tram to ride along the park’s green edge
Named after the much beloved Queen Beatrix, Beatrixpark is nestled behind RAI in the city’s south. Originally designed by Jakoba Mulder, the park was redesigned with a more modern style following WWII when the park was renamed to Beatrixpark. Traces of the original park can be found in the oldest part, which was influenced by English parks.
What to see at Beatrixpark:
- Small pavilions throughout the park are all that remains of the 1972 Floriade exhibition
- Visit De Artsenijhof, a medicinal herb garden on the eastern side of the park
- Book a table at Restaurant As to taste their Mediterranean inspired dishes. It’s located in a former chapel
Named after Dutch humanist Desiderius Erasmus, this small park is a little jewel in Amsterdam’s west. The main part of the park is essentially an island and features green fields, gardens, and a café. It’s a popular spot with fitness fiends.
What to see at Erasmuspark:
- Visit the Miracle Garden, a creation of Dutch artist Elspeth Diederix featuring unique blooms
- See a number of artworks including a large marble bear by Simona Vergana
- Take-in Amsterdam School design elements in bridges bordering the park
Located in Oost, Flevopark features playgrounds, an outdoor swimming pool, tennis courts, barbecue areas and various routes popular with runners. It’s also where you’ll find the Joodse Begraafplaats Zeeburg, a Jewish cemetery that is now heritage-listed. You can enjoy a range of activities throughout the year and try distillations at Nieuwe Diep’s idyllic location.
What to do in Flevopark:
- Visit distillery and tasting room Nieuwe Diep in the centre of the park
- Discover the Jewish cemetery in Zeeburg
- Unwind at Jeugdland, an adventure park for kids on the edge of Flevopark
Located on the shores of Gaasperplas, this park in the city’s south-east is a lush green area with many attractions. Easily reached by Metro, the park is home to playgrounds, water slides, and places to grab a bite to eat. Cool-off in the lake or camp in the park during summer.
What to see at Gaasperpark:
- Go swimming in the lake
- Take the kids and let them play all day
- Get some fresh air and walk through the parks ample green areas
Located in the popular Plantage district, Hortus Botanicus is one of the world’s oldest botanical gardens. Now a part of the University of Amsterdam, it was originally a medicinal herb garden and today is home to an astounding 6,000 plants. No matter the weather, Hortus Botanicis is beautiful.
What to see at Hortus Botanicus:
- Visit the tropical greenhouses which are home to exotic plants species
- Walk through the impressive entrance gate built in the early 1700s
- See the famous Persian ironwood tree
Originally called Bijlmer Park, the park was renamed in 2014 to Nelson Mandelapark to honour the South African politician. Completely redesigned between 2009 and 2011, this civic park features sports areas, kids playgrounds and a small forest featuring the national trees of residents who live in the area. You’ll also find a skate park and the Bijlmer Theater.
What to do in Nelson Mandelapark:
- Visit the magnolia valley in spring when it’s in full bloom
- Discover the walking and cycling routes dotted with art works
- Don’t miss the vibrant Kwaku Summer Festival, usually beginning in late July each year
This vibrant green oasis in the heart of Amsterdam Noord is home to a lively mix of visitors, from the young and the old to locals and visitors alike. The park boasts four pavilions that host an entertaining line-up of concerts, performances and shows throughout the year.
What to do at Noorderpark:
- Take time out at Pompet
- Take a dip at Noorderpark Swimming Pool at the north end of the park
- Walk along the Noord Amsterdam Kanal on the park’s eastern edge
This large park is considered to be one of Amsterdam’s most multicultural parks thanks to the diverse crowd it attracts. Alongside open green space filled with ponds and streams, a wading pool for children and plenty of walking paths, Oosterpark also hosts a variety of festivals throughout the summer.
What to do at Oosterpark:
- Visit the National Memorial to Slavery
- Hear people speak their minds every Sunday at 13:00 at the 'speaker’s stone'
- Sit back and relax overlooking the pond where you may spy some of park’s nesting birds including great tits, blue tits, hedge sparrows, robins and wrens
Built at the end of the 17th century, Park Frankendael in Watergraafsmeer is the only remaining country estate in Amsterdam. Back then there were more than 40 estates, but today Park Frankendael with its beautiful gardens is all that stands.
What to do at Park Frankendael:
- Visit the Pure Market on the last Sunday of the month
- See ruins and old buildings
- Book a spot at the elegant Restaurant Merkelbach
Located in the city’s west, Rembrandtpark is a quiet spot where you’ll find Amsterdam’s oldest petting zoo, De Uylenburg. Ponds, playgrounds and a criss-cross of walking and bike paths makes this park a great place to unwind.
What to do in Rembrandtpark:
- Visit the massive dog sculptures on Postjesweg
- Take a walk and breathe-in the fresh air
- Find yourself a sunny spot and sit back and relax
Named after Jewish doctor and urban planner Samuel Sarphati, Sarphatipark is a popular park in the hip De Pijp district in Amsterdam. Inspired by English styles, the site was originally earmarked for the construction of Centraal Station. During German occupation the park was renamed to Bollandpark. Today it’s a vibrant green space that offers a welcome retreat from the nearby buzzy Albert Cuypmarkt.
What to do in Sarphatipark:
- See the old pumping station which is now on Amsterdam’s heritage list
- Walk around the edge of the park to admire the beautiful houses nearby
- Sit by the tranquil ponds and admire the monument to Samuel Sarphati
Fun fact: Dutch artist and theoretician Piet Mondriaan lived on the first floor at Sarphatipark 40-42.
First opened in 1865, Vondelpark is Amsterdam’s most popular park thanks to its central location. It's the perfect place to relax, get fit, or sit and chill. In the summer months it’s the picnic and barbeque hotspot and throughout the year kids can play in areas just for them. Cows and sheep live at the southern end of the park where they graze naturally and keep the fields in check.
What to do in Vondelpark:
- Sip something refreshing at the modernist Blauwe Theehuis (Blue Tearoom). It’s building that looks like a giant flying saucer
- Wander through the quaint rose garden created in 1936
- Head south to discover a sculpture by Picasso
Following demolition of the former gas works, Westerpark grew to become a vibrant urban area offering ample green space, restaurants, cafés and a cinema. There are also offices and spaces for creative people and throughout the year it hosts many events including markets, festivals and exhibitions.
What to do in Westerpark:
- Sit on the hill overlooking the pond, a popular spot to dip your toes in summer
- Sample chocolate at Tony’s Chocolonely
- Visit the Q Photo book store on weekends