10 best picnic spots in and around Amsterdam
For those miraculous days where the sun shines, Mariah McKenna seeks out the 10 best spots for a picnic in and around Amsterdam.
Whether it is a gathering for friends and family, a romantic date for two or even a chance for some alone time, a picnic in Amsterdam is a great way to enjoy the sunny weather and relax, and Amsterdam has a host of fabulous place to choose from. Here are the 10 best spots for a picnic in and around Amsterdam.
Vondelpark is one of the most well-known and easily accessible parks in Amsterdam and has been awarded national heritage status. Opened in 1864, and named after Dutch poet Joost van den Vondel, the park covers an area of some 46 hectares (300x1,500m) and offers an abundance of great places to throw down a blanket and relax. You can also find a selection of restaurants and cafes, an open-air theatre, a skate-rental shop and a rose garden.
2. Amsterdamse Bos
With the motto ‘Five years' work for a thousand men’ the planting of the Amsterdamse Bos began in 1934, a task which provided work for 20,000 unemployed people. The last tree in this forestation project was only planted in 1967. The Bos, which extends about two by five kilometres, is a great place to go when one feels the desire to be immersed in nature and get outside the city centre.
Oosterpark was built in 1891 and, situated just outside the city centre on the east side of Amsterdam, is the perfect picnic spot. There are plenty of large grass areas and ponds to enjoy, and because it lies just outside the centre, you may find less tourists and more locals from the surrounding ethnically diverse neighbourhoods.
Sarphatipark, located in the neighbourhood De Pijp, is a small but pleasant park. With the park's location just two blocks back from the Albert Cuyp market, it is the perfect place to chill out after filling your picnic basket at the market.
After a long day at one of the many museums near by, Museumplein is a good spot to take a rest and enjoy a snack. If you skip the museums all together, you can head straight to the large open grass area, grab a spot and take in the amazing view of the Rijksmuseum.
If you find yourself in the west of Amsterdam near the Jordaan, a great to place to head for a picnic is Westerpark. Westerpark has a lot to offer its visitors, from sprawling lawns to marshlands to a small farm for children. When you have had your fill of outdoor activities for the day head over to Westergasfabriek for a drink and some music.
7. Amsterdamse Waterleiding Duinen, Noord Holland
If you long to get outside the city and truly commune with nature, Amsterdamse Waterleiding Dulnen (Amsterdam water supply dunes) is the place to go. As the name indicates, this place has been supplying Amsterdam with clean water since 1853. The varied landscapes, rich diversity of plant and bird life, and massive (some say problematic) deer population make it a nature lovers dream.
8. Het Twiske
Another good place to go when you are looking to get outside the city is Het Twiske. With 650 hectares of 'recreation' land, two thirds of which is under water, there are a variety of activities available to visitors. There is sure to be something for everyone: lovely beaches to picnic on, a scuba diving platform, an adventure and water playground and a nature reserve.
A few kilometres from the capital begins the 'front of Amsterdam'. Waterland, with its green meadows and wetlands, is a great place to observe cows, sheep and birds, all near characteristic Dutch villages with wooden houses. There are many popular biking, walking and boating areas where you can enjoy activities before or after the relaxing with a picnic.
Just 5km north-east of Haarlem you will find Spaarnwoude, almost 3,000 hectares of greenery, nature and tranquillity. Here you can enjoy anything from the typically Dutch veenweidegebieden (peatlands) to monuments, parks, playing fields, a climbing wall and a ski-slope. Spaarnwoude is also home to the annual Dance Valley Music Festival, which takes place each summer. And, of course, a music festival is a great place for a picnic!
For more information, read www.recreatienoordholland.nl (in Dutch) and Expatica's guide to recreation spaces in North Holland.
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