You can take a break from the hustle and bustle of the city in one of Amsterdam’s many parks. The larger ones include picnic areas, sports facilities, ponds and fountains, and of course cycling paths.
Location: Southwest of Leidseplein
Popular with tourists and local people alike, it is a great place for a picnic or a quiet stroll. You can enjoy the open-air theatre on Sunday afternoons and performances by street entertainers.
Amsterdamse Bos (Amsterdam Wood)
Location: Nieuwe Kalfjeslaan, Amstelveen
The park stretches over 2000 acres and is home to an impressive collection of trees from around the world, including the beautiful flowering Cherry Blossoms, which attract many species of birds. Local people come here to enjoy cycling, walking, riding, fishing, swimming, rowing, and sailing.
Address: Plantage Kerklaan 38-40
Its zoo, with over 6000 animals, is one of Amsterdam’s top attractions. The park offers a pleasant setting with water features and statues.
Address: Plantage Middenlaan 2.
The Botanical Gardens were originally created to host the exotic plants merchants brought back from their sea journeys and they now include a fabulous collection of plants from all over the world. There is also a medicinal garden, which was first established over 300 years ago.
Opening times: April to September, weekdays, 9 am to 5 pm; weekends, 11 am to 5 pm. (until 4 pm November to March)
Bloemenmarkt (Flower Market)
Amsterdam’s famous floating market is located on the Singel Canal near Muntplein. A bustling and colourful affair, which will delight garden and plant enthusiasts.
The surrounding area offers a wide range of day or half-day excursions, most of which are easily accessible by public transport.
Paleis Het Loo (Royal Palace Het Loo)
Address: Koninklijk Park 1, Apeldoorn, (about 55 miles east of Amsterdam)
Summer residence of the Dutch Royal family until 1975, it became a museum in 1984. The Palace was built in 1692 and visitors will enjoy the grand halls and manicured gardens. There is a collection of royal carriages on display in the stables.
Opening times: Tuesday to Sunday from 10 am to 5 pm.
Address: Houtkampweg 6, 6730 AA Otterlo.
Helene Kröller-Müller bequeathed this superb collection of modern artwork to the state in 1935. The museum includes drawings, paintings and prints by Van Gogh, as well as works by Picasso, Seurat, Piet Mondriaan, Manet, Matisse, and Fernand Léger. Do not miss the gardens and the sculptures by Rodin and Henry Moore.
Opening times: Tuesday to Sunday and Bank Holidays, 10 am to 5 pm; closed Mondays and 1st January.
Address: Lisse, (about 20 miles south-west of Amsterdam).
Reputedly one of the most beautiful gardens in the world. The gardens stretch over 70 acres and thousands of visitors come every springtime to enjoy the spectacular profusion of flowers.
Opening times: Late March to late May, daily, from 8 am to 7.30 pm
Zuiderzee / IJselmeer
About 40 miles northeast of Amsterdam.
The man-made dams and land reclamation works designed to improve protection against the sea are the largest hydraulic engineering project of its kind in the Netherlands.
The Zuiderzee museum can be visited near Enkhuizen Town Hall, at Wierdijk 12. Very informative and attractively presented, the collections provide a real insight into the life of fishermen and skippers from the region, the history of the Dutch East India Company and the whaling industry. An open-air section recreates a village of small houses from the region.
Opening times: April to October, Monday to Saturday – 10 am to 5 pm.
February to December, Sunday only: midday to 5 pm.
About 35 miles southwest of Amsterdam
Delft is a charming town for a day out, with its 17th-century buildings and tree-lined canals. Its blue and white pottery is famous the world over and it is possible to visit some of the potteries where it is made.
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