Heading to Amsterdam for summer 2019? Here’s the best things to do while you’re here.

Vacations during the summer conjure up images of beaches but don’t be afraid to swap these for the beautifully leafy canals and fun-filled streets of Amsterdam as it blossoms in the sun.

With the bars overflowing into the streets and the good times alive, summer in Amsterdam is not to be missed and here we have compiled a list of a few things that’ll get you excited.

Head to the beach!

Why swap the beach when you can visit one here? Yes you read that right, Amsterdam has many “urban beaches” to choose from if you want to enjoy the city and its many lakes.

One notable option is Pllek, which is just a short boat ride from the Amterdam Central station. Here you can relax on the sand, enjoy the views and eat and drink from a stellar bar menu. Complemented with DJs throughout the day and into the night, Pllek is a great place to soak up the ray in the city.

If you want a more family friendly option you can head to Sloterplas Swimming Beach just west of the capital. Here you can enjoy a real beach experience with the local beach shop offering visitors beach chairs, volleyball nets and other necessities for a good time at the beach. Boasting picnic tables and a local café nearby, you can make a whole day of it.

Watch concerts on the canals

Amsterdam is no stranger to festivals in the summer with the city hosting over 300 with the vast majority residing in the summer months. So what better thing to do in Amsterdam than combine one of the many festivals with the iconic waterworks that spread throughout the city centre.

Grachtenfestival Amsterdam (Canal Festival) uses the extensive man made waterways to host a number of concerts. Sat atop pontoons, orchestras play out their symphonies for all to hear. Enjoy the delightful sounds on a bench, in a boat or atop a bicycle as you cycle past.

The festival’s crowning achievement is the Prinsengracht Concert that takes place on it very on watery stage outside the award winning Pulitzer hotel in the heart of the city. The magnificent concert is so well loved that it is aired on national TV across the nation. The festival takes place between 9 August to 18 August 2019.

See the gardens of the canal for ONE weekend only

Open Garden Days is a special time of the year in Amsterdam when doors of the amazing canal houses open themselves up to allow the public to enter their sometimes wonky frames for one weekend only.

Once in visitors are taken to these quirky buildings’ gardens to see a side of the city that you don’t get the chance to. Every year, 30 of these canal-side homes are chosen to let the public in. What awaits on the other side is some of the most fascinating gardens that Amsterdam has to offer.

The gardens on show come from a variety of styles with some being more elaborately classical while others are more cleanly cut and contemporary. All presented by the Museum Van Loon where you can purchase tickets for €20 per person. The gardens are open from 10am to 5pm on each day of the event from 14 June to 16 June 2019.

See Amsterdam’s Artis Royal Zoo by night

If you’re looking to monkey around in Amsterdam this summer be sure to check out ARTIS ZOOmeravonden which opens Amsterdam Royal Zoo up in the evenings over a number of weekends from June to August.

The unique event is complement by live music and workshops to sink your teeth into as the sunsets. With some animals preparing for bed others are just waking up and ZOOmeravonden gives you the perfect opportunity to see a different side to some well-loved animals.

The name itself is a play on the Dutch word for summer (Zomer) with “avonden” meaning evenings, the event’s title effectively means “summer evenings”. The dates for this event have yet to be confirmed for 2019 but if you’re heading in the summer months between June and August you’ll be in town at the right time.

Visit Pride Amsterdam

From 28 July to 5 August 2019, Amsterdam celebrates love and acceptance at one of the world’s biggest celebrations of LGBT equality and culture at the annual Pride festival. Filled with colour, music and most of all pride, the festival puts the city’s marginalised communities at the front and centre with events, parties and other celebrations planned.

Thanks to Amsterdam’s canal system, the waterways play host to one of the most flamboyant and socially conscious parades that you will ever see. With live music and a welcoming atmosphere the city becomes a non-stop party.

With 80 boats sailing through the city and supporting LGBT rights, you will get your share of amazing and incredibly designed floats flowing along in this mighty flotilla of barges.