The sun might be shy here, yet nothing beats a summer day at one of the best beaches in the Netherlands — with sea, sand, and a cold drink in hand. 🍹
Are you ready to head to one of the Netherlands’ beautiful beaches but not sure which one to visit? Well, that’s why we’re here. 😉
Whether you live in the north or the south of the lowlands, a gorgeous beach is never too far away. Our list of the best beaches in the Netherlands will get you all set for a hot summer!
Best beaches in Noord-Holland: to each their own
The province of Noord Holland has a beach for every occasion — whether you’re looking for a nature getaway, a romantic escape, or just a nice place to spend the afternoon with your family.
1. Zandvoort aan Zee: Amsterdammers’ escape
If you consider yourself a true Amsterdammer, then Zandvoort aan Zee will not be new to you. This popular sunbathing spot is located 30 kilometres outside of Amsterdam, making it the closest beach to the Dutch capital.
Its convenient location makes it the perfect place to venture to if you need a break from the busy city life.
This long and lovely sandy beach in the Netherlands is part of the Zuid-Kennemerland National Park, known for its magical combination of impressive dunes and peaceful forests.
What more do you need for a perfect day to unwind?
2. Paal 29: the hidden beach
In any good beach guide, you want to find some spots that only a few people know about. Paal 29 — a true hidden gem — is one of them (and so are the next three beaches on this list). 🤫
You can reach this secret beach through the Schoorlse Duinen, at the end of a 1.5-hour hike or by bike from Amsterdam (although it’s somewhat uphill, don’t expect a leisurely ride).
Fortunately, there is a beach club at Paal 29, which means you don’t have to drag a picnic with you over the dunes (unless you want to go full-Dutch mode, of course).
3. Camperduin: a historical site
Camperduin is truly special. As the name already suggests, this beach is surrounded by dunes.
While this is not that unusual for a Dutch beach, what makes the Camperduin dunes special is that they shelter an artificially created lagoon — how perfect is that for an afternoon swim? 🏊
The place also has real historical value. The Battle of Camperdown, where the Dutch lost a naval battle to the British, took place here in 1797. Best not to rub it in the local Dutchies’ faces, though. 😉
4. Bloemendaal aan Zee: dunes for days
The beach in Bloemendaal aan Zee is one of the most popular beaches in the Netherlands — and with good reason.
Like the other beaches on the list, it’s surrounded by nature. The Kennemerduinen are especially beautiful to walk through.
And just like all the other good Dutch beaches, Bloemendaal aan Zee is lined with cafés serving delicious snacks and drinks (bitterballen and biertjes, anyone?), so you won’t be starving as you chill in the sand.
5. Petten aan Zee: a romantic escape
If you’re planning a romantic evening at the beach, we can recommend Petten aan Zee.
At the beach today, Petten aan Zee pic.twitter.com/siXjGDsERk— nelly langedijk (@nlangedijk) August 19, 2023
An hour away from Amsterdam, you’ll find that its panoramic dunes are the perfect spot to watch the sun go down — it even has benches ideally placed for sunset viewing.
Petten is also great for swimming and easily accessible by public transport or car (with free parking!)
6. Sint Maartenszee: a quiet place
Petten and Sint Maartenszee are the perfect pair if you fancy a double-beach day. Located just five kilometres down from Petten, Sint Maartenszee is easily reached by bike.
It’s a beautiful rustic spot, ideal for children with a playground to enjoy. You can also rent a sunbed or a windscreen from one of the beach clubs dotted along this beautiful coastline.
7. Egmond aan Zee: an underrated spot
Situated in the northwest of Noord Holland, Egmond aan Zee has one of the most beautiful beaches in the Netherlands.
The old fishing village and the local lighthouse are popular spots to visit, and the local beach is wonderfully quiet.
If you’re looking for a place to walk along gorgeous dunes, go for a peaceful swim, watch the sunset, or even spot some wild horses, then this is it.
8. Texel: the Netherlands’ own island beach
If you’re in the mood for a mini holiday, this one is for you. The island of Texel is located just off the coast of Noord-Holland (near Den Helder) and is pretty cheap to get to by ferry.
While the island itself is not that big, I can testify that there is a lot to explore — whether it’s the quintessentially Dutch beaches, picturesque dunes, hills where Scottish highland cows graze, or the popular lighthouse that you occasionally see on Instagram.
If you get tired, there are plenty of restaurants for you to relax in, and replenish your energy. However, Texel is quite windy, so don’t forget to bring your kite for extra adventure (and a windbreaker)!
Best beaches in Zuid-Holland: the popular sights
Whether you’re looking for a place bustling with nightlife or a more laid-back beach, the options in the province of Zuid-Holland are endless. What are some of the top Dutch beach spots out here?
9. Scheveningen: the classic spot
Scheveningen is by far the most popular beach in the Netherlands. No wonder — the beach is HUGE.
It has gorgeously fine sand, countless beach bars (who can say no to an ice-cold cocktail on a hot summer’s day?), shops, restaurants, a gaming arcade, a pier, you name it!
Scheveningen is the place to visit regardless of the season, as there are plenty of things to do in spring, summer, autumn, and winter.
10. Zuiderstrand: Scheveningen’s southern counterpart
This beautiful stretch of sand is technically attached to Scheveningen, but it couldn’t feel more different.
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Far less crowded, Zuiderstrand is framed by the Westduinpark — a nature reserve full of dunes, beautiful plants, and tiny hills to walk over (we are in the Netherlands, after all).
There are a few beach clubs, though not nearly as many as at Scheveningen. Zuiderstrand is the perfect place for a relaxing day: bring your book, some sunglasses, and your wallet for the bitterballen cravings when they inevitably come.
11. Hoek van Holland: Rotterdammers’ favourite
Hoek van Holland is a beach that every Rottedammer knows. It’s located a quick 30-minute journey outside the city, and you can easily get here by car or metro (or by bike if you’re feeling brave on a sunny day).
The “Hook of Holland” is home to numerous beach bars, restaurants, and hotels and a place that no water sports enthusiast should miss. It’s the perfect spot if you want to go somewhere resembling Scheveningen, without the hoards of tourists.
On top of that, this lovely beach in the Netherlands offers countless opportunities for exciting hikes and walks in its surroundings.
12. Wassenaar: between Leiden and The Hague
The beach in Wassenaar is a lovely, soft-sanded, eight-kilometre-long stretch of land between The Hague and Leiden. Surrounded by dunes and lovely nature paths to walk, it has a similar vibe to the laid-back Zuiderstrand.
This is a great Dutch beach for anyone living in Leiden and can be reached by car within less than 20 minutes (or 40 minutes by bike, if you’re feeling up for it).
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You can enjoy a walk, run, or bike ride through the dunes and dip in the sea to cool down afterwards. Sheer bliss!
13. Noordwijk: dunes and tulip fields
Noordwijk Beach is located close to the popular tulip fields of Keukenhof, which I love to visit in spring.
It has tons of beach clubs, several of which are open all year round. Noordwijk is the perfect place to have a drink and a snack as you’re looking out to sea, whether it’s summer or winter.
There are plenty of beach activities as well, such as rafting, canoeing, and kite-flying. And the best part? Dogs are welcome here, too! However, do check where and in what season your four-legged friends have to be on a leash.
14. Katwijk: the cleanest beach in the country
Katwijk Beach is another beautifully sandy beach in the Netherlands, with a two-kilometre-long boulevard lined with shops, bars, and restaurants.
The 17th-century lighthouse and the charm of the former fishing village will really take you back in time. A wide range of the usual water sports can be done at Katwijk, and there is ample space to enjoy a sunbath or a nice walk along the beach.
The beach is very popular with tourists, and it’s certainly somewhere you should go if you happen to be in the area. It was once even voted the cleanest beach in Zuid-Holland, and it’s also dog-friendly.
Best beaches in Zeeland: for tropical feels
The province of Zeeland is a summer paradise and hosts some of the best beaches in the Netherlands. Located in the southwest of the country, the province is home to a number of charming beach villages that always leave me wanting more.
15. Domburg beach: a vintage beach spot
If you’re off to Zeeland for your holidays, then this Dutch beach is something you shouldn’t miss. As one of the oldest beach resorts in Zeeland, it’s a beautiful place for a long beach walk.
There are many different options for water sports enthusiasts here and, of course, multiple bars and restaurants. If you’ve had enough sand for the day, head over to the cute village and explore its unique charm.
16. Oostkapelle beach: a peaceful getaway
It’s nice, it’s big, and there is plenty of room for everyone: Oostkapelle Beach. 🌊
Perfect for those seeking some peace and quiet, no cars are allowed near this oasis, so you have to walk or cycle through a forest to get there.
On this cloudy day we all can use some summer vibes, how about you?Sit back, relax and think of summer with this capture of the wavebreakers at the beach between #domburg and #oostkapelle in #zeeland.— Martijn van der Nat (@martijnvdnat) June 30, 2023
(c)2018-today Martijn van der Nat pic.twitter.com/U7amPb0AbZ
Sounds like the perfect nature adventure, right? Well, it gets even better: the northern part of this beach is actually a nudist beach. Can’t be bothered with sandy swimming trunks? Geen probleem, just take ’em off!
17. Berkenbosch beach: a true nature escape
If you want a slightly more natural beach (as in, not surrounded by buildings and restaurants), Berkenbosch may be the best beach in the Netherlands for you.
This lovely sandy beach is quieter, yet still very popular — the perfect place for a nice walk or a sunbathing session, away from the hustle and bustle of daily life.
18. Cadzand: Middelburg’s very own beach
There’s something very human about wanting to visit places that are “the most” anything, and honestly, that’s one of the reasons why we’d recommend visiting Cadzand in Middelburg.
It’s the southernmost beach in the Netherlands, and apart from that, it’s just a lovely place to visit.
Stroll around the city centre of Middelburg itself, head out to Cadzand to enjoy some fresh seafood for lunch, and chill on the beach until the sun sets — a day well spent if you ask us.
Best beaches on the Wadden Islands: in pristine conditions
Friesland is a province we don’t talk about a lot. However, it’s a place in the Netherlands you shouldn’t overlook. The Wadden Islands offer some of the most beautiful nature spots in the country.
19. Ameland: sandy dunes and windy skies
The beautiful beach of Ameland is very similar to the one in Texel — long and lined with beach houses and dunes.
Similar to Texel, it’s also very windy, which makes it the perfect place to bring your kite. Additionally, if you’re into sports, a rugby festival is held here every June!
20. Schiermonnikoog: the widest beach in Europe
The beach of Schiermonnikoog doesn’t just have a funny-sounding name and is one of the best beaches in the Netherlands; it’s also one of the widest beaches in all of Europe!
How is that for a bucket list experience? The vast beach is ideal for windsurfing, and as a bonus, it’s also one of the cleanest beaches in the Netherlands!
It’s also perfectly suited for children who aren’t super confident sea swimmers yet — the waters here are perfectly shallow and clear.
So, what are you waiting for? Grab your flip flops, sunscreen, and a lekker snack and off you go! Your nearest Dutch dream beach might be just a quick bike ride away.
What are your favourite beaches in the Netherlands? Do you have more suggestions for beaches that we should add to the list? Let us know in the comments below!
Best beaches in the Netherlands: frequently asked questions
Now that you know where to find the best beaches in the Netherlands, here is a quick overview of some of the most pressing questions and answers.
🐕 Can I take my dog to a Dutch beach?
Dogs being allowed on Dutch beaches depends on the beach you’re visiting. Always look up information about the specific beach on its website or on the website of the local gemeente. Many beaches have a set of rules where you can’t walk your dog at certain times of the year or day. Winter is when you are usually when you’re allowed to walk your dog on the beach.
👨👩👦 Are beaches in the Netherlands overcrowded?
Popular Dutch beaches, such as Scheveningen, can get pretty busy. This is especially the case if you go on a hot day during the weekend.
But there are still tons of less busy alternatives in all parts of the Netherlands, many of which can be found on this list!
🌱 Are there nudist beaches in the Netherlands?
Yes, many! The rule of thumb is that if you find a regular beach, there’s a naaktstrand somewhere nearby. You can find a list of them per province on naaktstrandje.nl.
👙 Are you allowed to sunbathe topless in the Netherlands?
Short answer: yes! However, many people don’t do it these days — simply due to the fact that it’s so easy to capture on a phone. On Dutch nudist beaches, phones are not permitted.