Just outside Amsterdam lies one of the most unspolit coastlines in Northern Europe. From wild parties to sweeping dunes and blissed-out beaches to blustery coastal paths, there’s something for everyone at Amsterdam Beach, no matter what the season. Spring and autumn are great for sandy strolls or tranquil hikes, and catching a breath of fresh air (or as the Dutch like to call it: uitwaaien). Winter walkers embrace the coastal air as the bravest of the brave take a dip in the North Sea. Come summer, sun-lovers bask on the beautiful golden beaches to visit the hip cafés, restaurants and trendy beach clubs.

 

One of the most famous beaches is at Zandvoort. Its sea and dunes form a picturesque nature reserve - the ideal backdrop for relaxing or  watersports. Less built-up than its neighbour, Bloemendaal is a great place to dip your toes in the North Sea or to hit a dance floor once the sun goes down. Characterised by its fantastic selection of cool beach bars and clubs, Bloemendaal has regular live bands and DJs creating open air parties that go on well into the night. For the more adventurous, there’s an area for nude sunbathing that can be found further north of the shore. 

In addition to the relaxing vibe of the beaches and dunes, Amsterdam Beach is also where you'll find some of the country’s most impressive historical sites. Forteiland is part of the Defence Line of Amsterdam, a UNESCO World Heritage site. The island fortress was constructed in the 1880s to help defend the surrounding area and restrict shipping traffic heading for Amsterdam. During World War II, the fort island was used by the German soldiers as part of the Atlantic Wall. Alternatively, IJmuiden is characterised by its raw beauty – from the rugged beach to the industrial port, with its formidable harbours and an enormous lock system – and the North Sea wind makes this spot a haven for wind and watersports fans.

Behind the beaches, you’ll find the Dutch Dunes, an important part of the landscape and unique in the otherwise flat countryside. As about a third of the Netherlands lies below sea level, the dunes form a useful barrier against the occasionally wild and rising North Sea. The dunes not only offer protection but also provide leisure opportunities. Go cycling or take a long walk and enjoy spotting birds and other wild animals. The Zuid-Kennemerland National Park is a respite of natural beauty and wildlife on an ocean-side edge of the Randstad region. Walk or bike through the dunes, discover hidden lakes, relax on the shoreline and visit the Landgoed Duin & Kruidberg country-house hotel adjacent to the park.

Most of the beaches and the towns are within half an hour from Amsterdam city centre, and are easily accessible by train and public transport.