Welcome to the warmer days of the Netherlands! But what to do? Since festivals are off-limits and it isn’t exactly beach weather throughout the whole summer as well we’re just going to take your hand and drag you into the beautiful nature reserves of the Netherlands.

We are lucky to enjoy the warmer weather of the past few weeks and to be able to venture out and about, provided we do it carefully and responsibly. So, why not spend this corona summer making the most of the dispersed crowds and explore or visit a few new places?

Reminder: Corona is here and we are all responsible for containing the virus. Make sure you keep your distance, wash hands, and responsibly enjoy the amazing places on this list over time.

5Schoorl Dunes

With its leafy pines, the Schoorl Dunes near Alkmaar are not to be missed. It’s heaven for those that enjoy a bit of hiking or climbing as they are the highest and widest dunes in the Netherlands.

 

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If climbing or cycling isn’t really your thing, you could always opt to recreate that (more than likely, now cancelled) summer beach holiday then this is the place for you. With its high peaks of sand and the sea close by, you could opt to take a towel and catch some rays.

4Landscheidings Route, Aalsmeer

This 9km route in the town of Aalsmeer also takes you through the small village of Uithoorn and along the Westeinderplassen, dykes covered in grass. It is a historical site with centuries-old water between Amstelland and Rijnland.

If you fancy some panoramic views of the town then this one is definitely for you. Get some shots if you can of the polders and lakes, unless you’re so mesmerised by its beauty that you simply forget.

Especially come September, all being well I definitely wouldn’t mind trying the Amb8route where you can walk and stop at various craft shops along the way and take in workshops.

3Dark Dunes National Park, Den Helder

Image: Aisha Brown/Supplied

The only walking forest in Den Helder, the Dark Dunes (Donkere Duinen) is a planted pine forest, planted to make the most of the landscape and provide nesting areas for wildlife, many migratory birds and the red-listed Wheatear.

Image: Aisha Brown/Supplied

There are a few ways you can explore. Either by bike, on foot or on horseback. Just be sure to keep to the designated trails, as you don’t want to be disturbing the wild horses that graze in the park or the nearby nesting areas of the birds.

There is also a camping site, so if you’re thinking of taking a staycation this year, this might just be the place for you (and check out this article on natural camp sites in the Netherlands as well!)

2Dikgatbos, Den Oever

Image: Aisha Brown/Supplied

This has by far become one of my favourite places to go for a walk and stretch my legs since I can’t get the effective work out I crave from the gym right now. The muscles are shrinking and the gut is growing (I’m sure that has nothing to do with copious amounts of chocolate being consumed in our household).

Image: Aisha Brown/Supplied

It is one of those places that has something for everyone (just don’t all go out at the same time right now). You can take your mountain bikes along and ride the dirt tracks or even load up your “trusty steed” in their horsebox and opt for a gentle hack, giant gallop or even practice for when the showjumping and eventing seasons make a reappearance as they have both jumps and water steeples to get you and your horse competition ready, all whilst enjoying the beauty of the natural outdoors.

Image: Aisha Brown/Supplied

Or if a simple quiet walk is all you want, then opt to take one of the trails at 2km, 4km and 8km or lazy about under a tree in the quaint little meadows (more of a grassland really), not far from the car park.

1Rengerspark Park, Leeuwarden

If you are finding staying so close to home a bit tedious, as the weeks of quarantine and self-isolation roll by and the parks in your own towns are beginning to become monotonous, take a trip to Leeuwarden, (don’t forget to grab your face mask, ours were home-made — got that ‘new skill’ during quarantine ticketed off our list) an hours drive north of Hoorn, around one and a half hours from Amsterdam.

There were a few parks to choose from, but we decided Rengerspark seemed the most dog friendly and it turned out it was a child-free park (not adverse to children but was a nice change, might be a welcomed short break for all you parents juggling parenthood, homeschooling and working from home at this time), which meant it wasn’t too full or noisy.

Not enough in this list? Check out these awesome national parks in the Netherlands

Have you ventured to any of the places mentioned above? What would make your list? Let us know in the comments!

Feature Image: Aisha Brown/Supplied

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