A royal city that offers visitors medieval charm as well as spectacular beaches, The Hague is one of the best places in the Netherlands to spend time outdoors. Come rain or shine, this historic city offers countless opportunities to take part in outdoor activities, either as a romantic celebration for a couple or a family adventure with children.

Just a 45-minute train ride from Amsterdam, The Hague is perfect to visit for the day or to spend a night or two in. 

Cycle through the city

Do as the Dutch do and hop on a bike to get around! There are dozens of bike tours available throughout the city, depending on what you’d like to see: an Estate Bike Tour takes you outside the city centre to marvel at the green estates and country houses such as Clingendael and Huis ten Bosch, while several other bike tours that take in all of the highlights of The Hague. Join a group of fellow visitors to cycle through the city, or book a private tour to enjoy the outdoors with your family and friends.

Binnenhof met Hofvijver Den Haag CC BY ND 20 Frans Berkelaar via Flickr

Appreciate the nature of Westduinpark and Meijendel

The seaside resort Scheveningen is sandwiched between two of The Hague’s most beautiful nature reserves, Westduinpark (West Dune Park), whose forests and dunes stretch along the coast to the west, and Meijendel, which comprises of lakes, forests and dune valleys to the east. Once a royal hunting ground, Westduinpark is now a popular spot to hike and cycle – along the paths you’ll see Scottish Highland cows, and perhaps (if you’re lucky) foxes and even sand lizards.

Meijendel is especially suited to birdwatchers, as more than 250 bird species nest down here, and you can even see horses, foxes and deer. While in Meijendel take a trip to the visitors’ centre De Tapuit, which offers a large children’s playground as well as year-round activities such as nature walks and sheep herding.

Meijendel Den Haag CC BY 20 Dutchful Thinking via Flickr

Get your feet wet with water sports

Anywhere where there is water in the Netherlands then there’s also usually the chance to enjoy some water sports, and The Hague is no exception. There are dozens of water-sport centres offering everything from surfing to flyboarding – it all depends on how much adrenaline you’re looking for!

Many of the water-sport centres are clustered in The Hague’s harbour area, but you’ll also find other locations along the shoreline. After you’re done splashing around in the water, head to one of the many beach pavilions to quench your thirst and fuel up for another activity.

Windsurfers Scheveningen Den Haag CC BY 20 Eelke via Flickr

Feel the wind on the beach with blokarting and kite buggies

If splashing around in the sea doesn’t tickle your fancy, or it’s simply too cold to get in the water, you can still have some fun on the sand. Try blokarting or taking a spin in a kite buggy – they’re both land-based but offer the same thrill as kitesurfing and flyboarding. Use the wind to propel yourself around the sand – but be careful, they’re a lot faster than they look!

Find out more about sports in The Hague.

Play on the pier in Scheveningen

Jutting out from the coast in Scheveningen is the Pier, which is so packed with food, drink and fun things to do that it is like its own little village. Ride the Ferris wheel for one of the best views of The Hague’s incredible skyline; while high in the sky, you can even enjoy a lunch, dinner or high tea. If you’re a daredevil looking for even more excitement, then climb a winding staircase to the top of Bungy Tower and jump 60 metres back down – on a bungee cord, that is – or zoom down a zip-line from the same spot.

After you’ve got your fill of outdoor thrills, do a little shopping along the pier or dine at one of the numerous eateries, which includes a pancake restaurant serving up fluffy treats to fall in love with.

Beach bar Scheveningen Den Haag CC BY 20 Guido T via Flickr

Get in the game at The Hague Beach Stadium

Located right on the sand in Scheveningen, The Hague Beach Stadium is a fully equipped beach sports venue for all ages and skill levels. Several events, such as beach volleyball and tennis tournaments, beach parties, concerts and festivals take place in the stadium from May to September, and the stadium can also be rented out for private activities.

Reserve the field for your pick of 15 sports to practice and play with your friends and family, including soccer, tennis, korfball and flag football and CrossFit. Guests can join an instructor-led yoga class during the summer months, or hire a personal trainer to lead a group through a rigorous routine.

Unleash your inner kid at Drievliet Amusement Park

Whether you’re with the little ones or you’re a couple of adults looking for thrills, Drievliet Amusement Park is the place to be in The Hague. The amusement park, open from March to October each year, features great roller coasters and plenty of rides for the kids. Attend a magical show, and when you’re hungry enjoy a sumptuous lunch or dinner at one of the park’s two restaurants.

Take advantage of the water attractions such as the water slides when the weather is warm, but don’t worry if it’s raining or a little chilly – there are plenty of action-packed attractions to keep you warm.

Tour The Hague’s canals by boat

Amsterdam isn’t the only city in the Netherlands with canals – The Hague has them too. Hop in a boat at either the Mauritskade or the Havenkantoor to tour the 400-year-old canals that encircle the city. In the winter, the Ooievaart tour offers belly-warming add-ons such as pea soup and traditional Dutch stamppot (stewed meat with mashed potato and kale) to enjoy as you sail through the cold canals.

The Ooievaart also offers expanded tours in certain months, such as the Delftse Vaart, which takes you all the way from The Hague to Delft and back again. In the winter months, you can enjoy a special Christmas canal tour, which features mulled wine, pea soup and the chance to enjoy Christmas stories and poems on your trip.

Need to get back inside? Check out the best museums in The Hague for things to do in the royal city.