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The lighthouse at Zuidpier IJmuiden.
Image from koen smilde

24 hours at Amsterdam Beach: seaside towns and harbours

When you stay over, there’s plenty of time to discover everything the quaint seaside towns and harbours that the Dutch coastline has to offer. Learn about the region’s fishing and shipping industry, explore impressive fortresses and bunkers hidden in the dunes and spend the night in a lighthouse! Here’s our guide to spending 24 hours at Amsterdam Beach.

Explore the charming beach towns

A man walking over Zuidpier IJmuiden.
Image from koen smilde

Dotted along the coastline, the charming beach towns of IJmuiden or Zandvoort make for a refreshing place to take a stroll. Typically Dutch - there’s even a word for it, uitwaaien, meaning ‘to walk in the wind’ - is visiting the beach on a windy, slightly cold day and going for a long walk. Alternatively start your day with a brisk dip in the ocean - you will come back feeling relaxed and completely refreshed.

Learn about the region's fishing and shipping industry

Ijmuiden docking bridge
Image from Koen Dijkstra

The cycle from Zandvoort to IJmuiden takes about an hour, or there is a handy train. As one of the biggest fishing harbours in Western Europe, IJmuiden has a strong connection to the sea. Learn more about the region’s maritime activities the IJmuider Sea and Harbour Museum.

Browse the market stalls in Heemskerk

Heemskerk market City Centre
Image from Heemskerk - Zee van tijd

Sandwiched between the dunes and the sea, the historic town of Heemskerk is known for its monuments, churches and castles, surrounded by lush green parks. The town centre is bustling with shoppers exploring the speciality boutiques, cosy cafés and restaurants. There is also an extensive market on Fridays for fresh groceries and regional delicacies.

Check out some contemporary art in an old fort

The defense wall of Fort Vijfhuizen in the Haarlemmermeer.
Image from Koen Smilde

A little further afield but also well worth a visit is Kunstfort by Vijfhuizen, a former military fort which was once part of Amsterdam’s Defence Line. This unique space is now used as a contemporary art centre with various exhibitions and film screenings on the agenda, along with an on-site restaurant.

Indulge in Michelin-starred dining

Landgoed Duin & Kruidberg meal
Image from Duin & Kruidberg

If you fancy treating yourself to some top-notch grub, the area is home to many restaurants and bars to suit all budgets. Located in the beautiful dunes outside Zandvoort, De Bokkedoorns has a surprisingly relaxed atmosphere considering it boasts two Michelin stars. Seasonal ingredients are prepared with care and imagination, offering an escape from the city and a culinary adventure.

Stay overnight in a historic lighthouse

Seinpoststelling hotel
Image from Seinpoststelling

Why not book an unforgettable night’s stay for an extra flourish on your trip? For many years the Seinpoststelling served as a lighthouse for the harbour of IJmuiden. It now houses a cosily furnished sleeping spot with a spectacular view of the sea and passing boats. Have a read of our accommodation guide for more tips on where to rest your head for the evening.

Explore historic military bunkers

People walking at the Amsterdam Beach Forteiland Ijmuiden -Bunker
Image from created by for amsterdam&partners

Also in IJmuiden, the Bunker Museum is housed in a German bunker from WWII and is the starting point for fascinating walking tours through the area. At the mouth of the North Sea Canal you'll also find Forteiland IJmuiden, an impressive fortress dating back to 1880. A walk around the grounds reveals unique artefacts, varying from a German soldier’s bottle to a submarine for two.

Take an electric bike tour

Image from created by for amsterdam&partners

Anyone looking to explore everything Amsterdam Beach has to offer should absolutely look into bike hire or an electric bike tour. Dutch Pedelec Tours allow visitors to cycle with ease through the stunning dune landscape and they even offer route maps and professional guides. You'll find numerous cycle paths through the area - check out these cycleseeing itineraries for more inspiration. The Amsterdam Beach area is easily accessible by bike or train from Amsterdam.

Watch the sun go down from a relaxing terrace

Timboektoe Wijk aan Zee
Image from Geert Snoeijer

End your day with a cold drink and a perfect sunset in one of the many trendy beach clubs along the coast. The San Blas pavilion is open year-round and has an environmentally conscious outlook. Serving affordable, organic food and avoiding as much plastic waste as possible, it was constructed using sustainable and reclaimed material and runs off solar energy.