The Netherlands is a coastal nation, with the entire western side of the country boardering the sea. Dutch beaches are characterized by massive sand dunes and broad sandy beaches which, in the right conditions, can be a delight. Unfortunately, there is a misconception that the weather in the Netherlands is always grey – which isn’t necessarily true. Sunny or not, any one of these beach areas will be a welcoming sight for the weary traveler. Tip: If you plan on being at the sea all day, don’t forget sunscreen. The Dutch sun can be deceiving, and a day spent along the shore could easily give you a nasty burn if you’re not careful. Zandvoort
Zandvoort, being close to Amsterdam, sees a large influx of beach goers every year. Besides a fairly lengthy beach promenade, it also features a nudist beach about a mile out of town. The Juttersmuseum is good for a laugh – it houses several displays of all the things people have picked up off the beach. The neighboring Zandvoort museum explores the history of a fisherman’s life. Zandvoort is easily accessible by train from Amsterdam. Scheveningen is a hip and busy resort town with a sea front that features a long boulevard with numerous open-air cafes, bars, and restaurants serving decent food and drinks. Visitors are often unable to pronounce the name ‘Scheveningen’, which is why the Dutch used it as a secret password in the war. There is an annual sand sculpture competition; if you miss it, head instead for Madurodam, a replica of the entire country in miniature. Beyond long walks on the beach, there is also a sea museum and a two floor pier. Scheveningen is accessible via train from Amsterdam. Texel The island of Texel is the largest and most populous of the Frisian Islands that can be found off the Dutch coast. There is a Michelin-starred restaurant, a huge nature reserve, and a never-ending list of activities: mountain biking, walking, sailing, seal watching, fishing, kiting, just to name a few. Texel can be reached by a combination of train and ferry from Amsterdam via Den Helder. Castricum The village of Castricum is another beach town located a bit closer to Amsterdam, but quieter than the bustling places like Scheveningen and Zandvoort. This is a place to experience the authentic rural Dutch lifestyle, and residents are renowned for their friendliness. Castricum is accessible by train from Amsterdam. Bloemendaal Just north of Zandvoort, Bloemendaal is another great choice for a quiet day on the shore. With a well-manicured beach and beautiful, modern facilities, there is little left to be desired. The city is very close to Haarlem, which is a charming hamlet full of shops and restaurants. Bloemendaal is accessible by train from Amsterdam.