The Netherlands is not only windmills, tulip farms and canals. As the country is one of those few situated below sea level, there are some places worth seeing if you are a fan of sunbathing. In fact, the Dutch coastal geography offers plenty of awesome beaches to discover. Take a look at my pick of 13 famous beaches on the Dutch coastline. Most of them are quite easy to visit and not too crowded. They are amazing because of beautiful dunes, walking/cycling possibilities, golden sands and glistening seas. Here they are, 13 best beaches in the Netherlands.
Among The Best Beaches in the Netherlands, there are Scheveningen, Zandvoort, Strand Zuid, Blijburg, Egmond aan Zee, Texel, Cadzand, Hoek van Holland Beach, Berkenbosch Beach, Katwijk, Ameland Beach, Wijk aan Zee, Terschelling.
Below I describe all of them. I created also a table which provides information about parking, quality of water and if dogs are allowed, basically some details about the beach. Enjoy!
Scheveningen is one of the most popular beaches in the Netherlands. Most Dutch beaches have small towns around, Scheveningen has a large city and a city center! This is probably why the beach is one of the busiest ones in the whole country. The beach is quite lively, there are many walking and cycling tours nearby. It’s a place for those who want to have fun, including some extremal activities like bungee jumping – there’s a 60-meter high platform for daredevils.
A great place for both a beach tour and a city tour – as the beach is part of the Hague, it’s easy to combine a city trip with some drinks by the beach. The beach is just bustling, there’s lot of art along the promenade. I also love all those small shops and restaurants out there. And you cannot miss out on a stunning lighthouse, as well as an esplanade and a harbour. If you’re a party animal, get prepared – Scheveningen offers beach parties as a regular occurrence.
Recommended hotel: Kurhaus of Scheveningen.
Another famous beach in the Netherlands. Zandvoort is especially a family place. The beach is 9-km long, 100-m broad, easy to reach from the city. There’s much space for various family activities, starting from simple games, ending at surfing. It’s located approximately 30km from Amsterdam so it’s just perfect for a short break after a long week. There are sandy dunes and tame the waves. There’s also the Zuid-Kennemerland National Park out there. The area is both dog-friendly and nudist-friendly. There’s also Bloemendaal right next to Zandoort – beaches are kind of connected. However, Bloemendaal is more for young people – there are numerous night clubs and beach bars. If you’re an adventurous traveler, you will be happy to spend afternoon windsurfing, kitesurfing or sailing there. Interesting info: right next to the beach, there is a circuit park that was used for Formula 1 races.
Recommended hotel: Amsterdam Beach Hotel.
Strand Zuid is a city beach in the South of Amsterdam, right behind the RAI Event Center. You can easily get there using public transport. It’s a pity that such a place is kind of hidden! The beach is famous for a wide range of activities. The place is popular because of its special atmosphere and character. It’s a place for a party, a drink, a group dinner and even a small wedding. It’s especially interesting in the summer – you will find businesspeople having their meal in the afternoon and crazy partying people at night there.
You can sunbathe on a beach bed, drink a micro-brewed beer on a terrace or dine a restaurant – during summer the beach is open until morning hours. The bar has a very extensive beer list (I have seen more than 50!). One great plus of the beach – if you’re eating at Strand Zuid, you can expect a free garage nearby. To me, Strand Zuid is a perfect place for a mid-week beach break and a nice hangout for lunch or dinner. On the other hand, in the winter Strand Zuid transform to Zuidpool, full of winter events with a true winter atmosphere.
Recommended hotel: In den Stallen.
Another great proof that the city doesn’t have to be located at the seaside to have an amazing beach. Blijburg is an Amsterdam’s city beach, located on the Centrum Island, definitely worth visiting while in the city (the location is nothing but cute!). The beach was re-opened in 2015 and it’s now considered to be the best-known urban beach in the city. It’s actually a real beach, with real sand along the water where you can swim. Regarding swimming, the water quality is monitored by the provincial authorities so you can trust it’s safe. During the summer, there are various parties out there. To me, the spot is definitely connected with dancing the night away. There is a lovely café out there, a restaurant, several bars and outdoor seating. You can easily get there by tram, bike or car.
Recommended hotel: Breeze.
Egmond aan Zee
One of the most popular family beaches in the Netherlands. Egmond used to be an old fishing village, it actually still has a small museum, worth visiting if you are planning to spend more than just a few hours there. While at Edmond aan Zee, don’t forget to visit the lighthouse – it’s just beautiful. Also, there are breath-taking dunes, beautiful and full of wildlife. You can even stumble upon wild horses there. If you are lucky, there’s a chance you’ll see some wild foxes. Egmond aan Zee is a place for those who want to spend a quiet day at the beach. Warm, shallow waters, golden sand, nice views – what else would one want? It’s also a perfect place for fishermen.
Recommended hotel: Hotel Zuiderduin.
The beach wasn’t even known a couple of years ago. In 2016, Texel was featured by Lonely Planet and this is when the fame started. Texel is considered to be one of the adventurous spots. It’s around 30-km long, there is a bicycle ride around the island. There’s also a chance to make some ‘wadlopen’ – a traditional Dutch hike. ‘Wadlopen’ is usually done as soon as low-tide kicks in. This time, ‘wadden’ occur – the small islands on in the ocean. You can see them when the water pulls out into the ocean.
You can buy many different trips in the area. One of the most popular trips is a mud walk (don’t forget some old hiking shoes). Texel is mainly famous for its rich wildlife, white-sand beaches and lovely villages. It’s an ideal destination for families with kids. Personally, I recommend that you should rent a bike and explore the island that way. You’ll probably see sheep all over the island. The beach is very easy to reach from Holland – you just need to get a ferry.
Recommended hotel: Texel Hotel.
To me, one of the best places for summer holiday in the Netherlands. The province has the most beaches in the country and Cadzand is definitely one of the best out there. The beach is broad, it’s the 11-km sand beach surrounded by beautiful dunes. You can even find some fossils of shells and of shark ray teeth out there if you’re lucky. The beach is considered to have the most sun hours in the whole country during the summer.
It has won many major awards (e.g. ‘Blue Flag’) because of its exceptionally clean water. Several times. Cadzand has been the ‘Cleanest beach of the Netherlands’. It’s perfect for a long family stays. You can walk along the beach and play water sports. You have the option to rent beach chairs, windshields and parasols out there. Also with your dog, as the beach is just perfect for dogs to enjoy. There are many parking places out there. Make sure you visit one of the amazing eateries with local seafood.
Recommended hotel: Noordzee, Hotel & SPA.
Hoek van Holland Beach (Hook of Holland)
A picturesque place located around 30 minutes from Rotterdam, on the mouth of the New Waterway shipping canal. It’s easy to reach by bike or taxi. The beach is wide, open, particularly popular during the summertime. Hook of Holland is quite versatile – there are dunes, promenade, harbour and polders. The beach is cleaned every day and lifeguards keep an eye on safety, so it’s safe to play for kids.
The beach is known for its cute beach bars that offer trendy food and drinks. There’s also a chance to play net/beach volleyball and many water sports (like snorkeling and diving) out there. The spot is also attractive because of a great cultural offering. There is a diverse hinterland, the museums and fortress of the Fort 1881 and my favourite thing about the beach, the giant ships from the International Port of Rotterdam passing by. Thanks to harbour installations the beach has a bit industrial look.
Recommended hotel: Hotel NH Atlantic den Haag.
Berkenbosch Beach (near Oostkapelle)
There are no many buildings around, only a few food shacks nearby. This is why prices are reasonable (and local food is really good actually). It’s a perfect place if you want to spend time sunbathing, lazing around or just take lonely walks in the evening. Berkenbosch is one of the cleanest beaches in the Netherlands. The province is one of the sunniest in the country and the atmosphere is nothing but cozy.
The quality of water is very good, in 2017 the beach received the ‘Quality Coast Award’. In the same year (and several times before) it won the title of the ‘Cleanest beach of the Netherlands’. There are parts where you can take your dog throughout the year. The dog must be on a leash, though. The beach is considered to be one of the most dog-friendly in the whole country. There’s a small beach pavilion selling dog snacks, dog toys and… dog beer! There’s big parking very close to the beach.
Recommended hotel: Strandhotel Bos En Duin.
Katwijk is one of the smallest beaches on my list, still worth visiting though. It’s a cozy resort, not as crowded as other beaches during the summertime. Even if the beach is small and cozy, it still has many facilities like a new underground parking garage. You can park your car free on Sunday. What I like most at Katwijk is the broad beach, a decent number of beach clubs and amazing, colorful beach houses. There’s also a nice shopping area out there, as well as the boulevard, the old fisherman’s house and a lighthouse. There’s also the famous Andreas church (also called white church) dating back to 1640.
Recommended hotel: Nicolette Apartments.
Ameland Beach is part of the Wadden Islands archipelago, around 7km from the mainland. The beach is sometimes called the ‘Wadden Diamond’ and I couldn’t agree more. Crystal clear water, golden sand dunes, lovely beach houses – I literally love this place. In 2019, the beach received its 20th international ‘Blue Flag’ environmental award. The area has a rich history of whaling and merchant shipping. There’s a lovely 56-meter lighthouse to climb and tractor rides across the beach for those who like outdoor activities. You can join seal watching and watch monthly shows hosted by the Horseback Rescue Team. Info for sports fans: every year, in June, the annual rugby festival is hosted at Ameland Beach. It takes 3 days and is considered to be the largest beach rugby tournament in the world. The only minus of Ameland Beach is that you can only reach it by ferry.
Recommended hotel: Hotel Nobel.
Wijk aan Zee
This is one of the quietest and most peaceful places on the list. I like to go there when I just want to spend a few tranquil days at the seaside. The beach is broad, there are lovely dunes and natural parks out there. The beach is well suited for horse riding and other beach activities. For 8 years now the beach has the ‘Blue Flag’ environmental award. There are many parking spots nearby. Dogs are prohibited in the full season but you can go to the near beach Vliegerpad where dogs are allowed the whole year.
Recommended hotel: Mare Sanat.
Terschelling is a barrier island on the north coast. On regular days it is one of the quiet Dutch beaches. As the eastern point of the island is a bit undeveloped, the area is one of the ‘wildest’ parts of the country. There are, among the others, salt marshes. The beach is wide, just perfect for riding a bike (or a horse). As the sandy beach is around 30km long and at least 100m wide at high tide, it’s easy to find some nice privacy there. A great thing is that dogs are allowed all year round (both loose and leashed). Oh, and make sure you’ll take part in the annual Oreol theater festival Terschelling holds.
Recommended hotel: Hotel Paal 8 Hotel aan Zee.
Best Beaches in the Netherlands – Table
|Beach||Parking||Dogs||The quality of water||Comment|
|Scheveningen||Mar 1 – Oct 31: 3.60 euro/h, Nov-Feb: FREE||Prohibited May 15 – Oct 1||Very clean||Very busy, for those who want to spend good time|
|Zandvoort||Summer: 2.50 euro/h, winter: 0.50 euro/h||Prohibited Apr 15 – Oct 1, 9:00-19:00||Safe and clean||A family place|
|Strand Zuid||Free garage (for restaurant guests)||Prohibited May 15 – Oct 1||Very clean||A city beach|
|Blijburg||A small parking lot||Prohibited May 15 – Oct 1||Very clean, regularly monitored||A city beach|
|Egmond aan Zee||Mar-Nov, 1.90 euro/h, winter: FREE||Prohibited May 1 – Oct 1 (10:00-19:00).||Very clean||A quiet old fishing village|
|Texel||Paid: 2.50 euro/h||Leashed: March 1- Sept 1.||Very clean||A family place|
|Cadzand||Paid but very cheap||Leashed: May 1 – Oct 1, 10:00-18:00.||Exceptionally clean||A family place|
|Hoek van Holland Beach||Free parking nearby||Prohibited May 1 – Oct 1 (09:00-19:00).||Very clean||Industrial and trendy|
|Berkenbosch Beach||Paid: Parking Strandweg||Allowed all year (leashed).||Very clean||A family place|
|Katwijk||parking garage (free on Sundays)||Prohibited Apr 1 – Oct 1, 9:00 – 19:00.||Very clean||For everyone|
|Ameland Beach||Free parking nearby||Leashed: Jun 15 – Sep 15, 10:00-18:00||Crystal clear||For everyone|
|Wijk aan Zee||Many parking spots nearby||Prohibited May 1 and Oct 1, 9:00 – 19:00.||Very clean||Quiet and peaceful|
|Terschelling||Off-site public parking||Allowed all year round||Very clean||A quiet, wild place|
Dutch Beaches – Useful Tips
Are Dutch Beaches Overcrowded?
Not really. Of course, there are some super popular places like Scheveningen. They are extremely busy in the summer, especially during weekends. However, there are many places like Wijk aan Zee or Terschelling where you can spend a relaxing time even in the summer.
Can I Walk My Dog On The Beach?
It all depends on the beach. Dutch beaches have specific rules, usually easy to find on their website. Usually, there are rules where you cannot walk a dog at certain times of the year (or day). In most cases, you can take your dog to the beach (loose or leashed) in the wintertime – usually from October to April. If you’re travelling to the Netherlands with your dog, make sure you have a cooling mat or collar and a leash while going to the beach. Moreover, nearly all beaches require you to clean up after your dog so don’t forget some plastic bags.
Are There Nudist Beaches in Holland?
Yes, there are many of them actually. Dutch people are very tolerant of nudism on beaches. Holland has a wide array of nudist (or clothing-optional) beaches. There are some places entirely dedicated to social nudity, as well as these having official nudist areas. The best (and most popular) nudist beaches in the Netherlands are:
- Callantsoog – the oldest official nudist beach in the country;
- Het Twiske.
Bear in mind that phones are not allowed in most of the nudist regions in the Netherlands.
As you can see, Holland has a wide array of beaches that attract thousands of tourists each year. Most of them are suitable for both families and young groups of friends. So, will the Netherlands be your next summer destination? It should definitely be!