This is the ultimate guide to making the most of your summer in the Netherlands. With its picturesque landscapes, vibrant cities, and pleasant weather, the Netherlands offers many activities and attractions to explore during the summer months. Get ready to dive into the best places to visit and exciting things to do during the summer season.
Discover the best of 20 National Parks
Escape the bustling city life and immerse yourself in the serene surroundings of the Dutch national parks. Places like Hoge Veluwe National Park, De Biesbosch, and Drenthe offer breathtaking landscapes, hiking, and cycling trails, and opportunities for wildlife spotting.
Among the 20 Dutch national parks, Hoge Veluwe holds a special place in my heart. Spanning over 5,400 hectares, this nature reserve has some of the most diverse landscapes. Heathlands, woodlands, and sand dunes are just some of the things you will discover.
One of my favorite activities is riding the white bikes that the park supplies visitors with for free that get you around the reserve.
Also, don’t miss the chance to visit the Kröller-Müller Museum, nestled within the park. It showcases an extensive collection of art and sculptures. To discover more about Hoge Veluwe National Park, check out my video below.
Experience the magic of festival season
During the summertime, the Netherlands comes alive with various festivals and events. Dance the night away at music festivals like Awakenings or dance to traditional Dutch tunes at the Holland Festival. Be sure to check the local event calendars to catch upcoming events happening during your visit.
Discover the delights of Dutch waterways: Canal Cruising and more
Water is an integral part of Dutch culture, and there’s no shortage of ways to enjoy it. Whether you’re a sailing enthusiast or a kitesurfing adventurer, the possibilities are endless. Among the many options, boating is the most popular pastime. Head to any city with canal ways and you will have the opportunity to rent a boat.
Learn about Royal Dutch history at Het Loo Palace
Built in the 17th century by the House of Orange-Nassau, Paleis Het Loo is often compared to a miniature Dutch Versailles. It’s grand, ornate, and impeccably decorated, which you wouldn’t expect anything less from a royal family. Located in the picturesque city of Apeldoorn, this palace gives you insight into the Dutch monarchy.
One of the highlights is the beautifully manicured palace gardens. They take on the Baroque style and illustrate the artistry of Claude Desgots who worked on famous gardens such as The Luxembourg Palace in Paris.
Take your time to stroll through the grounds, notice the opulent statues, and learn about the different plants and flowers.
I enjoyed touring through the palace stables. They showcase carriage sheds, historic coaches, and cars once used by the royal family.
Spend the weekend in a Dutch coastal city
The Netherlands has nearly 450 km of coastline filled with stretches of beaches and picturesque seaside towns. For those seeking a beachside retreat but with a touch of culture, the Hague and its neighboring seaside resort of Scheveningen offer the perfect destination.
The Hague’s rich history and cultural heritage are worth exploring. This is where the seat of the Dutch government sits, and attractions like the Peace Palace and the Mauritshuis Museum draw thousands of visitors.
Explore this city oasis: The Amsterdam Forest
Het Amsterdam Bos, also known as the Amsterdam Forest is one of the relaxing places to be when summer arrives. Located just a short distance from Amsterdam’s city center, this expansive forest is an excellent place to disconnect and immerse yourself in nature.
The Amsterdam Forest has a variety of outdoor recreational activities and things to do. One highlight is the lakes like the Nieuwe Meer where you can rent a boat, go kayaking, swimming. If the water isn’t your thing there’s an extensive amount of trails for hiking, cycling, and walking.
I also love the variety of cafes here because, after a long day of outdoor activities, it’s nice to come here. One visit here isn’t enough to see it all because it’s that big.
Experience terrace culture
Spending time on the terrace is an essential part of the Dutch summer experience. The Dutch know how to make the most of the warm weather, and you’ll often find locals and tourists enjoying a leisurely day out here.
It doesn’t matter if it’s on a trendy rooftop or on the canal front, guaranteed there is a terrace that caters to every taste and preference. This is what makes summer in the Netherlands unforgettable.
Visit Giethoorn – the Venice of the Netherlands
Located in the province of Overijssel, this picturesque village on the water will remind you of a distinctive Italian city. Giethoorn earned its nickname “Venice of the North because of its charming canals and bridges.
It’s ideal to see this city during the warmer months when you can ride a boat and travel down the waterways. During our visit, we rented a small whisper boat which was a convenient way to get around the small canals and explore the neighboring area and national park.
See the hunebedden in Drenthe
One of the most remarkable sights in the Netherlands is known as the hunebedden. They are ancient boulders scattered across the province of Drenthe. These ancient monuments, dating back 5,000 years to the prehistoric era, hold great historical significance.
Embrace diversity and celebration at the Pride Festivals
This iconic celebration takes place every summer across various cities in the Netherlands. There are numerous parades, parties, movie screenings, and more, all dedicated to spreading love, acceptance, and equality.
The highlight is the canal parades where different organizations stroll the canals on decorated boats and in festive outfits. Each boat promotes carries a unique message, proudly promoting a diverse range of causes and advocacies.
Need more summertime inspiration?
Here are some of my favorite things to do when it’s summer in the Netherlands compiled in a video below.