Colourful Amsterdam

Beaches, events and culture galore

A gentle sea breeze, cool cafés and music all around. Amsterdam is lovely at any time of year, but especially so in summer, when city life moves outdoors and you can make full use of the many bodies of water. What’s particularly cool when the temperature starts to rise is that Amsterdam is only a short journey from the North Sea. Refreshment guaranteed!

Our Motel One Amsterdam Waterlooplein is centrally located and ideal for discovering the city. The cultural highlights follow the picturesque canals: the Rembrandt Museum is only 300 metres away and can be seen from the hotel. And the nearest canal is right outside. It doesn’t get more Amsterdam than that! And the best thing is that from here, you’re less than an hour away from the nearest sandy beach.

Our hotels in Amsterdam

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Beach hopping

Many hotels in Amsterdam are close to the North Sea, and that’s something you should make the most of. From the city centre, there are numerous connections to get from Amsterdam to the sea using public transport. Our recommendation is to jump on the bus or train near your hotel in Amsterdam and head off to the North Sea coast.

Zandvoort: the closest North Sea beach
The route alone from Amsterdam to Zandvoort will give a hint as to why this place is one of the most popular seaside resorts in Holland. In less than an hour, you can exchange cobblestones for sand between your toes. The ‘Pearl by the sea’, as it’s known, has something for all day trippers: safe bathing (you’ll see the blue flag flying here, which means exceptional water quality), food (you can gorge yourself on seafood in the beach restaurants) and partying (there are lots of beach parties here of an evening). You can be at the beach in around 40 minutes using public transport. For those who want to get there quicker, you can of course take a taxi from Amsterdam to Zandvoort, but it will cost considerably more. Anyone travelling by car will find plenty of parking options in Zandvoort. And when it comes to e-mobility, the beach town is well equipped with many electric charging stations.
Distance: approx. 40 km /Journey time: 45 minutes

Bloemendaal aan Zee: a natural paradise
Because it takes longer to get here, it’s a little quieter. Yet it’s not that far from Amsterdam to Bloemendaal – you can get there in around an hour using public transport. Bloemendaal is entirely surrounded by nature, and the route to the beach takes you through the idyllic Zuid-Kennemerland National Park.
Distance: approx. 40 km /Journey time: approx. 1 hr

Wijk aan Zee: a surfer’s paradise
Sporting enthusiasts should travel a little further up the coast, as Holland’s widest sandy beach is ideal for beach sports. The seaside resort is even known as one of the best surfing spots on the North Sea. Anyone wanting to have a go at surfing will find a surf school there.
Distance: approx. 42 km / Journey time: 1.5 hrs

Noordwijk aan Zee: the most beautiful beach in the world
For those wanting to travel by car from Amsterdam to the beach, it’s best to drive the approx. 40 minutes to Noordwijk, because using public transport to get to this coastal town takes much longer, for a change. But even if you are taking the train out of Amsterdam to the North Sea, it’s so worth it. The beach here is incredibly idyllic and was even selected by National Geographic as one of the most beautiful beaches in the world.
Distance: approx. 50 km /Journey time: 1.5 hrs

Pit stop on the way to the North Sea

No matter which beach you choose to visit, treat yourself to a stop in Haarlem on the way. This town is a smaller, quieter version of Amsterdam and is the perfect place for a stroll.

How to get there

Bonus tip: pay a visit to IJsselmeer

Amsterdam to the North Sea by bike? Of course it’s possible. But we’ve got a better idea for a bike tour by the beach: cycling alongside the IJsselmeer lake. Less than a 40-minute cycle away is Blijburg, a beautiful beach on the inland bay where you can go kitesurfing, sailing, boating or just simply relax.

Hop on

The fastest way to cool off

Amsterdam without water? There’s no such thing. Anyone wanting to enjoy the water within the city can do so on a boat tour of the canals or by hiring a pedalo. You can go for a swim ten minutes away from our Motel One at the Marineterrein, where an area of the canal has been closed off for swimming. 
You’ll find the perfect combination of water, culture and food on a trip to the NDSM Wharf. The former industrial site is now home to bars, restaurants, galleries and street art. How do you get there? On a free ferry right behind the main train station. 


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Summer in the city

Markets to browse and feast at

  • Browsing for treasure: right around the corner from our Motel One Waterlooplein is the oldest flea market in Holland. Established 133 years ago, it is the ideal place for a stroll on a sunny day. At over 300 stalls, you’ll discover all sorts of curious, funny and unique items.
  • Feast on street food: Amsterdam has a huge food scene, making it the perfect place for trying everything once – whether it’s fish croquettes by the canal, a picnic with Dutch cheese in the park or enjoying mini poffertjes (pancakes) in one of the many small cafés.

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Cooling off in parks and museums

  • Green oases: Amsterdam is a green city and the many parks provide much-needed shade on hot summer days. Vondelpark is the most famous of the city’s parks. It is centrally located and the perfect place to have a rest after a walk around the city. Oosterpark is less busy, and features the occasional sounds of buskers. Amstelpark is brightly coloured and full of flowers.
  • Cool culture: anyone that prefers the temperature a little more moderate but still wants to soak up a little culture will find the museums to be a good option in summer. Amsterdam has a huge variety to choose from, be it the van Gogh Museum, the Rijksmusem, the Stedelijk Museum, Anne Frank House...

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Celebrate however you like

In the warmer months, not a week goes by when there isn’t an outdoor street party, festival or concert in the Dutch city. Aside from the countless free concerts in the parks and the open-air cinemas, we’ve put together a few festival highlights:

  • Open Garden Days: have you ever wondered what the gardens and courtyards of the canal houses look like? Then this is the day for you, on the third weekend in July, when houses across the city open their doors and allow a glimpse into their private gardens.
  • Amsterdam Pride: Amsterdam is diverse, and this is celebrated every year at the beginning of August. Brightly decorated boats on the Prinsengracht canal and a huge party celebrate life, openness and tolerance.
  • Grachtenfestival: at the ten-day canal festival in August, everything on and by Amsterdam’s waterways revolves around music. Young artists from all genres give Amsterdam a voice.
  • Uitmarkt Festival: the last weekend in August marks the national start of the cultural season. At concerts, musical and comedy events and museums, you’ll get a preview of what’s to come in the following year in terms of art and culture.  

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