Amsterdam is a relatively compact and built-up city, but you might be surprised to find out that the Dutch capital actually has a fair amount of green outdoor spaces. Whether you’re looking for a new jogging route, need somewhere to take the kids to run off some energy, or need a go-to summer picnic spot for when you meet up with friends, there are plenty of places to choose from.
The best parks in AmsterdamFrom the bustling Vondelpark to the calming oasis of the Japanese Bloesempark in the Amsterdamse Bos, here are our picks for the best parks in Amsterdam.
VondelparkLet’s kick things off with a rather obvious choice – although the Vondelpark is famous and popular for a reason. Regularly listed as one of Amsterdam’s key attractions, the Vondelpark is a decent size and is extremely centrally located, making it a great option for residents and tourists who are based in the centre of the city but are looking for a little bit of green outdoor space.
The park’s size means it has plenty to offer visitors; a rose garden, an open-air theatre, tennis courts, a paddling pool, and a number of cafes and restaurants, including the gorgeous Parkzuid and the space-age Blauwe Theehuis. There are also a number of different cycling and walking paths.
Image credit: gokhanadiller via Shutterstock.com.
Amsterdamse BosThe Amsterdamse Bos is by far the largest park in the Dutch capital – although technically located in the neighbouring municipality of Amstelveen, the park is owned and managed by the city of Amsterdam. It’s visited by millions of people every year, and is almost 1.000 hectares in size, has 137 kilometres of footpaths and around 150 different species of tree.
The diversity and size of the Amsterdamse Bos make it great for just about any and every activity you can think of: there are riding, cycling and walking paths aplenty, of course, as well as areas where you can swim and do other water sports. There are dozens of cafes and restaurants, as well as various picnic tables.
KersenbloesemparkOne of the most popular attractions in the Amsterdamse Bos is the Kersenbloesempark, or Cherry Blossom Park, located in the southeast corner of the park. Here, in the spring, visitors can enjoy the 400 beautiful sakura trees, which were gifted to the Netherlands by the Japan’s Women Club (JWC) in 2003.
Wut_Moppie via Shutterstock.com.
Beatrixpark Located in Amsterdam Zuid, the Beatrixpark is one of the quieter, more relaxed parks in the city, and is especially popular among joggers and dog walkers. The park is only a stone’s throw away from the Dutch capital’s business district, but in between all the modern highrise buildings and the RAI exhibition centre, you find a relatively large park named after the Dutch Queen Beatrix.
The atmosphere at the Beatrixpark is worlds away from what you’ll find in the Vondelpark, for example, and there isn’t as much to see and do – but there are a couple of points of interest, including a paddling pool for children, a basketball court, and a peaceful herb garden.
Milos Ruzicka via Shutterstock.com.
WesterparkThe Westerpark is a real hub for culture and dining; in addition to being a moderately sized park with grass, lakes and canals, the area has a number of bars, restaurants and shops, and also acts as the host to a number of the Netherlands’ biggest festivals and events (including the IamExpat Fair Amsterdam!).
While the Westerpark isn’t particularly big, it’s buzzing as soon as the sun is out with people hunting for a sunny spot on one of the many terraces, or a place on the grass for a barbecue with friends.
365 Focus Photography via Shutterstock.com.
AmstelparkAmstelpark is – as the name suggests – located on the western bank of the River Amstel, and opened in 1972 as part of the Amsterdam Floriade horticultural exhibition. The Amstelpark is the ideal spot for a day out as a family, especially if you’ve got young children.
Not only is there a miniature train that takes you on a ride through the park, there’s also a mini golf, a petting zoo, and a large playground. If all that wasn’t enough, there’s also a rose garden and the rhododendron valley – a true highlight every spring when flowers of every colour of the rainbow are in bloom. If you’re really lucky, you might even stumble upon some Highland cows, who have a home at the southern tip of the park.
Dutchmen Photography via Shutterstock.com.
Park Frankendael Located in Amsterdam Oost, the seven-acre Park Frankendael is the former estate of a 17th-century home. This park is small but mighty; in fact, one of Amsterdam’s Michelin-star restaurants, De Kas, is located in a greenhouse in the park, and Huize Frankendael – the last 18th-century estate left standing in Amsterdam – is a wedding and events venue and is home to a lovely cafe and restaurant.
In addition to fine dining, Park Frankendael has a large school garden, which is lovingly cared for by children who go to schools in the city, and dozens of allotment gardens.
Dutchmen Photography via Shutterstock.com.
OosterparkAnother park in Amsterdam Oost, the Oosterpark plays an important role in the city’s identity and history. The park is home to the National Slavery Monument, which was unveiled in 2002 and today acts as the location for the national ceremony for the commemoration of slavery on July 1 every year. The park also plays a key role in Keti Koti celebrations.
In addition to all this, the Oosterpark is also a park. It has wide walking paths and green open spaces, there’s a tennis court, a sports field, a skate park, and a large playground and paddling pool for children.
Drew McArthur via Shutterstock.com.
NoorderparkLast but certainly not least, head across the IJ into Amsterdam Noord and you’ll find Noorderpark – which is now easily accessible to people from across the city thanks to the North / South metro line. Located in the heart of Amsterdam North, this is great for visitors of all ages.
In addition to offering plenty of space to walk, bike or just sit and relax, there’s a tennis court and indoor and outdoor pools at the Noorderparkbad. If you’re not in the mood to exercise, check out the rose garden or one of the many events hosted at the park’s two cultural hubs. For the little ones, there are a number of playgrounds and a paddling pool, as well as weekly cooking and craft afternoons at De Bloemenweide.
Stadsarchief Amsterdam / Dix, Eric.
Visit an Amsterdam parkThe next time you’re stuck for something to do on a nice day, why not grab a book and go and sit in a park for a couple of hours, or meet your friend for a to-go coffee and a leisurely stroll?
Have we left your favourite Amsterdam park off the list? Be sure to share it in the comments below!
Thumb: Wut_Moppie via Shutterstock.com.