Swimming and Sunbathing in Amsterdam
We were all looking forward to so much this summer. So many plans for holidays, trips, and festivals have all but evaporated. But this new state of affairs leaves us with an opportunity to dig deeper into our more immediate surroundings. One thing in particular that remains unchanged by covid restrictions is our access to the natural world. Living in even a small city like Amsterdam can make us forget about the natural places on our doorstep.
With that in mind, here’s some of the best swimming spots in Amsterdam, perfect for a relaxed afternoon in the sun (or cloud, more likely).
Just 15 minutes bike ride from the centre of Amsterdam will bring you to the top of Amsterdam Forest. There’s a number of nice places to take a dip in Amsterdamse Bos, as you might have guessed from the pleasant shades of blue on the map below, but Nieuwe Meer is particularly nice for its small coves, which give you a sense of seclusion.
The best place to aim for is Paviljoen Aquarius, where you can leave your bike and make use of facilities. If you’re approaching from the centre, then just carry on along the path heading west through the trees. You’ll go past a number of places where the ground has been carved out and there’s a good entry point into the water. Select one of these and set up camp!
Alternatively, if you go further along, then you’ll find a couple of sandy beaches. These tend to get a little busier, and are marked out by some less than aesthetic blue poles, indicating the measly few yards of shallow water where you’re allowed to swim. Whoever has a problem with authority can exercise their autonomy, climb over the under water fence, and swim out into the lake. Be careful of the sharks. Don’t worry about the cows.
Amstel and Ouderkerk
Some of the cleanest water in the Amstel is found part way between Amsterdam and Ouderkerk. You’ve got miles to choose from, so will never be stepping over other people (unless you enjoy that sort of thing). Best way to do it is to head down the Eastern bank of the Amstel river on Ouderkerkdijk and set up camp in one of the many beautiful and easily accessible spots.
It’s a particularly nice bike ride, which meanders you through Omval, and then past a series of Dutch stately homes bordering the river.
If you’d rather be closer to amenities, or aren’t on bikes, then go direct to Ouderkerk aan de Amstel. There’s a number of places to eat and drink with their own terraces along the river, including the ever celebrated Loetje aan de Amstel. It’s a short walk to Ouderkerkplas strand, which has plenty of space to swim, bathe, and chill in stunning surroundings.
Due West of the centre of Amsterdam, you’ll find beautiful lake against a backdrop of trees and city scape. Amsterdam’s aesthetic often functions like this: a curious melding of urban, industrial, and natural.
The best place to swim and sunbathe at Sloterplas is the Northern edge. There’s a nice beach, although with some more fun-stopping bollards in the water (easily bypassed!). Some people like to stretch this further and jump off the embankment you can see towards the rear of the picture. You’ve also got the option to lie of the grass before it meets the beach if you’d rather avoid picking out grains of sand from your clothes for the next month.
Hotel Buiten sits just behind the beach. They have a big terrace and the option for takeaway, so you’ll be covered even if your picnic dwindles as the sun goes down.