Amsterdam is not all cobblestones and concrete; it’s got sand and sea, and Amsterdam Beach is just a short half an hour journey from the city centre. When the sun is shining and the weather is just right, it’s the perfect time to escape the city and spend a day frolicking at Amsterdam Beach. And even in the colder months, Amsterdam’s spectacular coastline has so much to offer visitors.
The Amsterdam coast comprises numerous beaches from which to choose, including Zandvoort, Bloemendaal, IJmuiden, Wijk and more – and each has its own special characteristics that make any trip worthwhile.
Here’s our guide to the best things to do at Amsterdam Beach:
Spend a day on the sand and in the sun
It might come as a surprise to some, but Amsterdam has a truly amazing coastline, with wide sandy beaches that are perfect for spending a day in the sand. As the beaches are so expansive, they don’t get too crowded, so you should be able to find a nice spot to relax and enjoy the beach with ease. You can swim in the sea, seek out some sports, or head to one of the many beach clubs and restaurants for something refreshing to drink and a bite to eat. For the more adventurous, there’s even a few nude beaches dotted along the coastline.
Hit the beach clubs in Bloemendaal
There’s nothing quite like sipping on a delicious cocktail while watching the waves crash against the shoreline, and Amsterdam Beach has a perfect place for it: the beach clubs of Bloemendaal. Dozens of these cosy spots dot the Bloemendaal area, each catering to a different sort of crowd. Hit Woodstock 69 to hang with the hippies and listen to live music, or go to Republiek for a romantic, sophisticated date.
See our list of the best Amsterdam Beach clubs.
Spot the wildlife in National Park Zuid-Kennemerland
The Netherlands has a wealth of unspoilt nature, and National Park Zuid-Kennemerland truly demonstrates the beauty of the country. Spend a day exploring its 38 hectares of dunes, forests and hidden swimming holes, and see if you can spot some of the exotic creatures that inhabit the area. Hike, bike or horse ride along the park’s numerous paths and you might spot the elusive European bison, red deer, cattle and more.
Feel the energy at a festival
Each summer, Amsterdam Beach hosts non-stop events and festivals that cater for all sorts of different interests. Marvel at the amazing sand sculptures during the annual European Championship Sand Sculpture Festival in Zandvoort, or dance to the beats of the Luminosity Beach Festival in Bloemendaal.
Ride the waves in IJmuiden
Once weather permits, you’ll find the locals heading to the sea in droves to spend the entire day splashing around in the water. While most of Amsterdam’s beaches offer the opportunity to surf, kayak and paddle board, IJmuiden is particularly renowned for water sports. Test your balance with stand-up paddle boarding or catch some serious air flyboarding – whatever your passion, there’s a place to do it at IJmuiden.
Drive a supercar on Circuit Zandvoort
Thrill-seekers will get their chance to feel like Dutch racing superstar Max Verstappen at Circuit Zandvoort, a motorsport race track hidden among the dunes of this unassuming beach town. Book an experience with Race Planet to hop in a Lamborghini, Aston Martin or McLaren and test your driving skills, while the younger ones can practice theirs in a go-kart.
Appreciate the culture of North Holland
Culture lovers heading to Amsterdam Beach will be pleasantly surprised at the amount of options available to them. Country Estate Beeckestijn, an 18th century summer residence in Velsen-Zuid, is rich with history, and features a massive, unique landscaped garden that’s perfect for a midday stroll. Those interested in WWII history can visit Forteiland IJmuiden, a UNESCO World Monument, on one of the days that it opens to the public, or perhaps book a private group tour.
Engage in a competitive game on the sand
If you’re not into water sports, there are still plenty of ways to get your heart pumping at the beach. Try blokarting, a unique wind-powered go-kart that lets you zoom around the dunes, or play a spirited game of beach volleyball. Visitors don’t need to bring any equipment: various beach sports facilities will have everything you need.
Find out more about sports at Amsterdam Beach.
Tour Amsterdam’s beaches on a bicycle
No list of things to do in Amsterdam is complete without a bicycle tour. For those that aren’t used to cycling long distances in the summer heat, try out a Dutch Pedelec Tour – not only will you use an electric bike, helping you cycle with ease, but the tour company will also help you map out your route to make the most of your time exploring Amsterdam Beach.
Get up close and personal to the seabirds at IJmuiden piers
The beach might not seem like the perfect place to spend a winter’s day, but IJmuiden, with broad beaches, vast sand dunes and a three-kilometre-long pier stretching out into the North Sea, boasts a unique spectacle which makes braving a bit of adverse weather absolutely worth the effort. That’s because it’s one of the best places in the Netherlands to spot seabirds, from Purple Sandpipers to Rock Pipits and Turnstones. And after you’ve had your fill of twitching? Take shelter in one of the area’s cosy cafes and grab some fresh stroopwafels and a warme chocolademelk (hot chocolate) to dunk them in.