Summer is here! 8 places to escape the heat in Utrecht

To all those who thought the Netherlands didn’t have a summer worth speaking of, think again. With temperatures climbing to 30 degrees celsius this summer, it’s time to start thinking of the best summer escapes.

Since travelling to the rest of the world is still a bit difficult with coronavirus, many of us are looking to spend summer in the Netherlands. From canals to lakes, here are the eight best places to chill out on a hot day in Utrecht.

Moving to Utrecht: See the terraces and canals
So cooling on a hot summer’s day! Image: Sabine Bends/Pixabay

Kromme Rijn river

If you want to escape the busyness (and heat) of the city, the Kromme Rijn river is your go-to. It goes all the way from Wijk bij Duurstede to the Oude Gracht, so there are plenty of places to swim and chill along the way.

Whether it’s lounging in the grass alongside it or swimming in it, the Kromme Rijn is the closest nature escape you can get in Utrecht.

Although the water quality is regularly checked, for doubters there’s a swimming pool (predictably called) Zwembad de Kromme Rijn nearby.

You can also rent a canoe (or SUP) in town and canoe its length!

De Bemuurde Weerd

For those that want to stay in the city itself, there’s also plenty of options! De Bemuurde Weerd offers some first-class access to Utrecht’s canals. Grab some ice cream from Il Mulino first and make yourself comfortable by the water. From first-hand experience, I can tell you some of the best people-watching occurs from these spots!


While pronouncing this one might be a bit of a challenge, it’s definitely among the top best places to chill in Utrecht. It’s a half-hour cycle outside of Utrecht, but definitely worth it. The Maarseveense ‘lakes’ (man-made like most bodies of water in the Netherlands) have spaces to swim, fish, bike, hike or just relax. There’s a sand beach that you have to pay a small entry for, or otherwise, just hang out in the grass on the other side for free. It’s definitely a must-do for anyone living in (or visiting) Utrecht!

De Munt

Such gorgeous surrounds! Image: Joostik/Wikimedia Commons

The Munt is another place you can chill without even leaving the city. While the Munt building in Lombok isn’t actually very interesting, the surrounding canals and grass embarkments make for great spots to sit. Definitely the best place to barbeque or tan in the summer. While some people do swim here, the water quality isn’t always great so it’s better to check first.


From now on, there’s no more need to go to Scheveningen or other Dutch beaches in the summer. Utrecht boasts its very own sand beach and dunes at the Harijnse beach! While I have to admit I’ve never been here myself, I have heard great things about it.

The beach even has its own ‘Key West Beachhouse’, an authentic restaurant and lounge where you can get everything from cocktails to a hearty dinner.

Wilhemina park

Utrecht has a lot of different parks, all of which are great to cool down in during the summer. Call it personal bias, but Wilhemina park is definitely my favourite. (If you don’t believe me, you can also try out Utrecht’s other parks: Griftpark, Julianapark, Zocherpark, Maximapark, or Lepelenburg).

The most peaceful spot to cool off. Image: Sonty567/Wikimedia Commons

There’s a pond complete with fountain and obnoxious (but adorable) ducks, a playground (if you have kids, or if you are a kid inside), and a lovely restaurant.

More importantly, there’s plenty of space to spread a blanket and have a nice picnic or kick a ball around. For additional summer cooling, get some ice cream from Vorst nearby!

Roost cafe

Cafe Roost is definitely the easiest summer escape in the city. It’s right by the Singel and only a five-minute bike ride from the central train station! You can enjoy an ice-cold drink in this pop-up cafe, or bring your own drinks and plop down on the grass in front. It gets very busy though so make sure you get here early!

Amelisweerd and Rijnauwen

Anytime it’s hot in Utrecht, Amelisweerd is the best escape. Including both forest and fields, Amelisweerd is the perfect place to cycle, walk or sit. For the sightseers, there’s also Fort bij Rijnauwen, which is a fortress that used to be part of Utrecht’s defence line in the 19th century. Hungry after all that walking? Head on through to restaurant Vroeg, or Theehuis Rijnauwen nearby for a bite or a drink!

Do you have more suggestions for places to chill on a hot day in Utrecht? Tell us in the comments below!

Feature Image: Uitbundig/Unsplash

Editor’s Note: This article was originally published in June 2020, and was fully updated in July 2021 for your reading pleasure.

Annabelle Willeme
Annabelle Willeme
Annabelle was born in Utrecht but grew up in Mali, Bosnia and Uganda. She moved back to Utrecht to study and is so far doing a terrible job getting back in touch with Dutch culture. Hopefully, it’s an upward trend from here. Besides writing she enjoys playing football, re-watching Grey’s Anatomy for the 10th time, drinking copious amounts of tea and has recently started trying to brew her own wine and beer… we’ll see how it goes.

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  1. Nice tips, I heard there is a really cool cafe near BosPark Bilthoven as well, people should defenitely check it out!


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