5 Dutch nature reserves to stretch your legs and enjoy the sights

Since social engagements are pretty much off-limits and it isn’t exactly beach weather out there, so allow us to take your hand and drag you into the beautiful nature reserves of the Netherlands.

If you’re able to catch some nice weather and have any of these lovely areas in your neck of the woods, why not make the most of the dispersed crowds and explore a bit of nature?

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

Schoorl 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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Even if climbing or cycling isn’t really your thing, with its high peaks of sand and the sea close by, there’s plenty to explore any time of the year.

Landscheidings 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.

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.

Dark Dunes National Park, Den Helder

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.

Image: Aisha Brown/Supplied

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!).

Dikgatbos, 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.

Rengerspark Park, Leeuwarden

If you’re in the Leeuwarden area (or you save this one for when travel is approved again), you’ll love this one. Don’t forget to grab your face mask (ours were home-made — got that ‘new skill’ during quarantine ticketed off our list) and head an hours drive north of Hoorn, around one and a half hours from Amsterdam.

There are 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 averse 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!

Editor’s Note: This article was originally published in April 2020 and was fully updated in January 2021 for your reading pleasure.
Feature Image: Aisha Brown/Supplied

Aisha Brownhttp://www.aisharebecca.wordpress.com
Aisha is an aspiring poet and author from Luton, England. She became a “Lovepat”, following her (not even Dutch), partner to the Netherlands. She now calls the beautifully underrated town of Hoorn home. When she's not falling off her bicycle or hunting down trousers for her petite frame, you'll find her in a vegan haunt, drinking Earl Grey tea, or musing museums. This British-born wanderer hopes to call the Netherlands home.



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