It’s probably not much of a surprise that Amsterdammers — residents of one of the most bike-friendly and canal-cut cities in the world — tend to spend a lot of time outdoors. That includes plentiful park days. Amsterdam parks are an integral part of the city’s layout, from popular Vondelpark to sprawling Amsterdamse Bos. These spaces are both cultural hubs and recreation centers for locals and tourists alike, solo and in groups. Next time you’re in the Dutch capital, do as the Dutch do: rent a bike and head to these seven essential Amsterdam parks.
Vondelpark is the park in Amsterdam. It’s the city’s largest and most popular open space, and a site of major events ranging from the Amsterdam Pride Parade to the TCS Amsterdam Marathon, not to mention countless performances at the Vondelpark Open-Air Theater. On a typical day, locals and tourists alike congregate to picnic, lounge, stroll, run, cycle, or paddle in the park’s picturesque ponds. Vondelpark is also home to several cafes and restaurants where you can grab a drink or a bite, and it’s surrounded by even more in the city’s Amsterdam-Zuid borough. Nearby landmarks include the Rijksmuseum, Van Gogh Museum, and Leidseplein Square, with Amsterdam’s medieval center located a couple of miles away.
Equal parts outdoor and cultural venue, Westerpark is a vibrant urban park located in a neighborhood of the same name. In addition to gardens, ponds, and walking paths, Westerpark is home to art galleries, museums, and performances spaces. One popular attraction is the Westergasfabriek, a former gasworks that has been transformed into a cultural center with restaurants, cafes, cinemas, and event spaces. The park also hosts several festivals and events like concerts, food festivals, and film screenings year-round but particularly in summer.
Amstelpark was created in 1972 to celebrate Amsterdam’s 700th anniversary. It’s filled with fun attractions, from themed gardens including a Japanese garden, rose garden, and herb garden to a petting zoo, mini-golf course, and the Amsteltreintje, miniature railway that circles the park. Kids will enjoy taking a scenic train ride around the park, as well as climbing and zip-lining in the Fun Forest Amsterdam adventure park. For a quieter visit, beeline for the ponds and waterways that form an intricate network that runs through the park. The largest pond is located near the Japanese garden and has paddle boats for rent, plus there’s a waterfall by the rose garden.
The vision of landscape architect Frederik van Ankershoff, Oosterpark opened in 1891 as Amsterdam’s first large-scale public park. It features several walking paths, ponds, and gardens, as well as a variety of facilities, including a basketball court, soccer field, skatepark, and various cafes and restaurants. But it’s Oosterpark’s rich cultural history that really makes it stand out. The first public demonstration for the women’s right to vote in the Netherlands took place in Oosterpark in 1898, and the park is also home to several monuments and sculptures, including the National Slavery Monument, a memorial to the victims of slavery and the slave trade.
Located in Amsterdam-Zuid near the Amsterdam RAI event complex, Beatrixpark is named after Queen Beatrix, the reigning monarch of the Netherlands from 1980 to 2013. The park was designed in the mid-20th century by Dutch architect Jacoba Mulder and features a mixture of lawns, gardens, water features, paths, and hills, creating a sense of depth and dimensionality. One of the most notable features of Beatrixpark is its lake and the birds that live there. The park is also home to several works of public art, including sculptures, murals, and other installations.
Named after 17th-century Dutch painter Rembrandt van Rijn, Rembrandtpark is a serene green space in Amsterdam’s Nieuw-West borough. It’s just a bit smaller than Vondelpark at 110 acres but has a much more quaint and local feel, with design elements including winding paths, manicured lawns, and a tranquil pond. You’ll see most visitors strolling or cycling around, but the park also has sports facilities including tennis courts, basketball courts, and a skatepark, as well as playgrounds for children and picnic areas for families and friends to gather and relax. One particularly charming feature of Rembrandtpark is its beautiful rose garden, located near the park’s northern entrance, featuring thousands of rose bushes.
Amsterdamse Bos, or Amsterdam Forest, is a sweeping open space on the outskirts of the city, located roughly 20-30 minutes from the center by tram or bus. Spanning 1,000 acres — approximately three times the size of New York City’s Central Park — it’s one of the largest urban parks in Europe, with a diversity of landscapes that includes woodlands, meadows, fields, lakes, and ponds. Outdoor opportunities range from hiking, biking, and horseback riding to swimming, boating, and fishing. Amsterdamse Bos is also home to multiple cultural attractions, including an open-air theater, a sculpture park, and several museums. Guided tours and educational programs can be arranged at the main visitor center, the Boswinkel.
Where to stay near Amsterdam’s parks
Most of Amsterdam’s tourist activity is focused in and around Centrum, one of eight boroughs that comprises the city. This is where you’ll find a lot of the city’s hotels but none of its major parks. However, many of the parks on this list are still within walking distance of the city center. Whether you get an Amsterdam Airbnb in a local area, opt to take public transit, or factor in the walking times from your hotel, you’ll find that the best parks in Amsterdam are generally accessible from wherever you’re likely to stay. Nonetheless, these Amsterdam hotels are extra convenient.
We hope you love these hotels near Amsterdam parks! Just so you know, Matador may collect a small commission from the links on this page if you decide to book a stay. Listed prices are accurate as of the time of publication.
Park Plaza Vondelpark
Park Plaza Vondelpark is a calm and comfortable hotel in Amsterdam’s stylish Oud-Zuid neighborhood. In addition to being steps from Vondelpark, it’s located near the city’s most important museums, a couple of splurgy shopping streets, and plenty of excellent dining, although the on-site TOZI Restaurant is as good as anything you’ll find outside the hotel.
Where: Koningslaan 3, 1075 AA Amsterdam, Netherlands
Price per night: From $136
Met Hotel Amsterdam
A five-minute walk from Rembrandtpark, and just a bit longer to reach the city center, the Met Hotel Amsterdam is the perfect blend of comfort and convenience. Designed with modern travelers in mind, it comes with both lounges and workspaces and a bar and restaurant to make sure all of your needs are met.
Where: Marius Bauerstraat 401, 1062 AP Amsterdam, Netherlands
Price per night: From $111
Conscious Hotel Westerpark
The Conscious Hotel Westerpark is located in the heart of Westerpark, connecting guests to both the Westergasfabriek gasworks turned cultural hub and the greener side of the park. The eco-hotel is also fully electric and prioritizes sustainability, from its energy system to the organic fare at the on-site restaurant and cafe.
Where: Haarlemmerweg 10, 1014 BE Amsterdam, Netherlands
Price per night: From $101