10 Best Things to Do in the Netherlands in the Summer Season – Uniek Living

10 Best Things to Do in the Netherlands in the Summer Season

Dutch Life & Culture

An all-too-often overlooked European summer destination: the Netherlands. But when summer comes around, the country truly comes to life. It’s a place typically covered by a layer of clouds, so if you’re lucky enough to visit during some sunshine, there is a plethora of exciting activities and experiences for both locals and tourists alike. From picturesque windmills and serene canals to bustling cities and pristine beaches, the Netherlands has something to offer for everyone. In this article, we'll explore the 10 best things to do in the Netherlands during the summer. Let’s dive in.

Discover Amsterdam's Rich Heritage

The capital city of the Netherlands, Amsterdam, really shows off during the summer with its picturesque canals and historic charm. Explore the iconic Anne Frank House to learn about the city's World War II history, visit the Rijksmuseum to admire masterpieces by Rembrandt and Vermeer, or simply enjoy a bike ride along the picturesque canals, soaking in the city's unique atmosphere. Stop in a few canalside cafes and restaurants and you’ll never be bored in this stunning little city.

Cruise the Canals of Utrecht

Utrecht is just a 30-minute train ride from Amsterdam and has a lot to offer to those who make the trek. Just like Amsterdam, it has an extensive network of beautiful canals. But what makes it unique is that these canals are lined with quaint cafes that let you sit canal level. 

You can enjoy the canals from a bar or restaurant, or take a canal cruise in Utrecht. Either choice offers a fun way to see the city from a different perspective. On a boat, you’ll pass under stone bridges and along tree-lined streets. 

Pro tip: Be sure to climb the Dom Tower for a breathtaking view of the cityscape below (even though it’s currently under construction, the tower climb is still open). You can also take the Dom Under tour to see the area’s history (dating back to the Romans nearly 2000 years ago!).

Cycle Through the Countryside

It’s probably no surprise to anyone, but the Netherlands is a cyclist's paradise. And summer offers the perfect weather to explore the picturesque countryside on two wheels. 

You can rent a bicycle and venture through green pastures, sprawling parks, windmill fields, and charming villages, discovering the countryside's tranquility and scenic beauty. The Dutch cycling routes are well-marked and safe, making it an enjoyable experience for all ages.

Note: Cycling in cities like Amsterdam may be a stressful experience for the novice cyclist, so we recommend taking the bike outside of the city to enjoy a peaceful stroll.

Experience Rotterdam's Festivals

Rotterdam, the modern and vibrant port city on the west coast of the Netherlands, hosts a variety of festivals during the summer months. From music and dance to food and art festivals, there's truly something for everyone. Rotterdam is a quick (under 1 hour) train ride from Amsterdam – very accessible for a day trip.

The North Sea Jazz Festival and the International Film Festival Rotterdam are examples of some of the incredible events that await you. Join the locals in celebrating culture, diversity, and creativity against the backdrop of Rotterdam's contemporary architecture.

Unwind at the Zandvoort Beach

If you want to enjoy your summer trip to the Netherlands the local way, take a visit to the beach. Zandvoort, a popular seaside resort town, offers long stretches of sandy beaches and the invigorating North Sea. It’s just a 30-minute hopper (sprinter) train away from Amsterdam Centraal, with trains running every half hour during the summer.

Sunbathe, swim, or indulge in water sports like windsurfing. After a day of beach fun, relax at one of the beachside bars as the sun sets over the horizon (just kidding, the sun won’t set until after 22:00 (10PM) in the summer, so don’t feel the need to wait around for it).

Explore the Hoge Veluwe National Park

Escape into nature at the Hoge Veluwe National Park, one of the largest and most diverse nature reserves in the Netherlands. You can hike or cycle through dense woodlands, shifting sands, and heathlands filled with wildlife. Don't miss the mesmerizing Kröller-Müller Museum, nestled within the park, which boasts an impressive collection of Van Gogh's paintings and sculptures by renowned artists.

Give Dutch Food a Try at Local Markets

Give the Dutch culinary scene a try by visiting local markets that come alive during the summer months. If you’re feeling adventurous, indulge in freshly caught herring at fish markets, or if you want to keep it on the safer side, sample a diverse selection of Dutch cheeses. Treat yourself to warm stroopwafels, a delicious Dutch delicacy made of two thin waffle layers with caramel syrup in the middle, or give bitterballen a try.

Visit the Enchanting Giethoorn Village

Often referred to as the "Venice of the North," Giethoorn is a fairytale-like village characterized by its tranquil canals, wooden bridges, and charming thatched-roof cottages. This destination is about 2 hours from Amsterdam by train, so maybe plan to stay a night here. 

Explore this idyllic village by taking a boat tour, gliding silently through the serene waterways, surrounded by lush greenery. Giethoorn's peaceful ambiance provides a much-needed escape from the hustle and bustle of city life.

Revel in the Mystery of Kinderdijk Windmills

Experience the Netherlands' iconic windmills in all their glory at Kinderdijk, a UNESCO World Heritage site. These 19 historical windmills, lined along the river, have stood for centuries, symbolizing the country's battle against water. 

Take a boat tour or walk along the footpaths to get an up-close look at these majestic structures and learn about the fascinating history of Dutch water management.


The Netherlands offers travelers a unique and irresistible experience with cities full of charm during the summer months. Whether you want to explore it for cultural immersion, natural wonders, or simply a relaxing beach vacation, this country has it all. From the picturesque canals of Amsterdam to the serene windmills of Kinderdijk, each experience promises memories that will last a lifetime.

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