Best beaches in the Netherlands: the ultimate guide to Dutch beaches

Beaches symbolise summer with the sand, sea, and a cold drink in hand. This couldn’t be more true, especially in the Netherlands, where the sun is shy.

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 so that you can get out day long.

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 true nature getaway, a romantic escape, or just a nice place to spend the afternoon with your family.

READ MORE | Dutch Beaches: Top 4 Noord-Holland Seasides Off the Beaten Path

1. Zandvoort aan Zee: Amsterdammers’ escape

If you consider yourself a true Amsterdammer, then Zandvoort aan Zee will be nothing new to you. This popular sunbathing spot is located 30 kilometres outside Amsterdam, making it the closest Dutch beach to the capital.

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Enjoy beautiful sunsets at the Zandvoort aan Zee beach — right outside Amsterdam. Image: Unsplash

Its convenient location makes it the perfect place to venture if you need a break from the busy city life.

This long and lovely sandy beach 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. Paal 29 — a true hidden gem — is one of them (and so are the next three beaches on our list).

Dutch Beaches: Sanddune at Paal 29
Rolling down the sand-dune is just one of the highlights of Paal 29. Image: Iulia Romaniuc/Supplied

You can reach this secret beach through the Schoorlse Duinen at the end of a 1.5-hour hike or by bike (although some are uphill, don’t expect it to be a leisurely ride). Fortunately, there is a beach club at Paal 29, which means you don’t have to lug a picnic with you over the dunes.

3. Camperduin: a historical site

Camperduin is truly special. As the name already suggests, dunes surround this beach. While this is not that unusual for a Dutch beach, Camperduin also has an artificially created lagoon sheltered by these very dunes — how perfect is that for an afternoon swim?

The place also had real historical value. The Battle of Camperdown, where the Dutch lost a naval battle to the British, took place in 1797. Best not to rub it in the local Dutchies’ faces, though. 😉

4. Petten: a romantic escape

If you’re planning a romantic evening at the beach, we can recommend Petten. Its panoramic dune is 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 (free parking!)

5. 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.

6. Bloemendaal aan Zee: dunes for days

The beach in Bloemendaal aan Zee is a very popular spot — and with good reason. Like the other beaches on the list, it is 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, so you don’t get peckish during your vacation in the sand.

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Stroll through the beautiful Kennemerduinen to unwind. Image: Unsplash

7. Egmond aan Zee: an underrated spot

Situated in the northwest of Noord Holland, Egmond aan Zee has one of the most beautiful beaches. The old fishing village and the local lighthouse are popular spots to visit, and the local beach is quiet. If you’re looking for a place to walk along gorgeous dunes, go for a peaceful swim, or even spot some wild horses, then this is it.

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The peaceful beach of Egmond aan Zee is one of the most beautiful in the Netherlands. Image: Unsplash

8. Texel: the Netherlands’ own island beach

If you’re after 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 big, there is a lot to explore — whether it’s the vast beaches, picturesque dunes, hills on which Scottish highland cows graze, or the popular lighthouse that you’ll see in every Instagram photo.

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Texel’s iconic lighthouse just makes for the most photogenic monument! Image: Unsplash

If you get tired, there are plenty of restaurants for you to relax in and replenish your energy. Texel is quite windy, so don’t forget to bring your kite for extra adventure!

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 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, etc.

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This spot is tried and tested favourite. Image: Unsplash

Scheveningen is a place to visit regardless of the season, as there are plenty of things to do in spring, summer, autumn, and winter. Think of the New Year’s bonfires or the famous Nieuwjaarsduik, where thousands of people throw themselves into the cold waters of the North Sea to welcome the new year.

10. Zuiderstrand: Scheveningen’s southern counterpart

This beautiful stretch of sand is technically attached to Scheveningen, but it couldn’t feel more different. 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).

scenic bike paths in the netherlands
The dunes of Zuiderstrand. Image: Charlotte Baart/Supplied

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 inevitable fry-cravings when they come.

READ MORE | 7 things you didn’t know about the Hague

11. Hoek van Holland: Rotterdammers’ favourite

Hoek van Holland is a beach that every Rottedammer knows. It’s located just a quick 30-minute journey outside the city, and you can easily get here by car or the metro (or by bike, if you’re feeling brave and it’s a nice sunny day).

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Hoek van Holland is a popular beach for Rotterdammers. Image: Unsplash

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 like Scheveningen but without the hoards of tourists.

On top of that, this lovely beach and its surroundings offer countless opportunities for exciting hikes and walks.

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.

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 that we all love to visit in spring. It has 18 beach clubs, with seven 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.

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You can enjoy some of Holland’s secret beaches in Renzy’s Twizy. Image: Renzy/Supplied

There are plenty of beach activities, 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.

TIP: If you’re dying to dip your toes in the warm sand of Dutch beaches but are worried about the hundreds of others who share this desire, we get you.

Luckily, Denis from Renzy found a perfect way for you to enjoy some of Holland’s most beautiful beach spots. The secret lies in using Twizies — two-person 100% electric vehicles that are easy to get around. 

Renzy’s three-hour long dune and beach tour will have you soaking in the atmosphere of one of Holland’s most popular beach spots — the charming coastal town of Noordwijk.

You’ll explore dunes, picturesque villages, towns, and secret spots that regular visitors normally don’t venture to!

14. Katwijk: cleanest beach in the country

Katwijk beach is another beautiful sandy beach 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 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 voted the cleanest beach in Zuid Holland, and it’s also dog friendly.

Best beaches in Zeeland: tropical feels

The province of Zeeland is a summer paradise and one of the best places in the Netherlands for beaches. What are some of the most beautiful beaches to visit here? We honestly believe that it’s just warmer down there.

15. Oostkapelle beach: a peaceful getaway

It’s nice and big, so there is plenty of room for everyone — something that is especially important at the moment. No cars are allowed near it, so you have to walk or cycle through a forest to get there — sounds like the perfect nature adventure, no? Oostkapelle is a really clean beach and a very peaceful one too.

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Oostkapelle is a popular beach in Zeeland. Image: Unsplash

16. 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 place for you. This lovely sandy beach with a restaurant is quieter yet still very popular — the perfect place for a nice walk or a sunbath away from the hustle and bustle of daily life.

17. 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. One of the oldest beach resorts in Zeeland, it’s a beautiful place for a long beach walk.

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The beach in Domburg is one you shouldn’t miss on your trip to Zeeland. Image: Unsplash

There are many different options for water sports enthusiasts and, of course, multiple bars and restaurants. If you’ve had enough sand for the day, head over to the cute village.

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 that you shouldn’t overlook — and especially the Wadden Islands offer some of the most beautiful nature spots in the country.

19. Schiermonnikoog: the widest beach in Europe

The vast beach of Schiermonnikoog is an ideal place for windsurfing. It’s one of the cleanest beaches in the Netherlands, perfectly suited for children who aren’t super confident sea-swimmers yet — the waters here are perfectly shallow and clear.

The beach of Schiermonnikoog is also one of the widest beaches in Europe. How is that for a bucket list experience?

20. Ameland: sand 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. If you’re into sports, a rugby festival is held every June!

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The windy beach of Ameland. Image: Denise Jans/Unsplash

Best beaches in the Netherlands: frequently asked questions

Now 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.

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.

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.

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.

Yes, many! The rule of thumb is that if you find a regular beach, there’s be a naaktstrand somewhere nearby. You can find a list of them per province on naaktstrandje.nl

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.

We’ve introduced you to some of the best beaches in the Netherlands, but there are many more to explore.

What are your favourite beaches in the Netherlands? Do you have more suggestions of beaches that we should add to the list? Let us know in the comments below!

Editor’s Note: This article was originally published in April 2018 and was fully updated in March 2022 for your reading pleasure.

Emma Brown
Emma Brown
A familiar face at DutchRevew. Emma arrived in Holland in 2016 for a few weeks, fell in love with the place and never left. Here she rekindled her love of writing and travelling. Now you'll find her eating stroopwafels in the DutchReview office since 2017.

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