Zandvoort aan Zee is a well-known seaside resort on the Dutch North Sea coast. It has a 100 meter wide and over 9 km long very well maintained sandy beach. In addition to its beach, Zandvoort is surrounded by beautiful nature, which is great for hiking and cycling. Thanks to excellent connection to public transport, Zandvoort can be conveniently reached from Amsterdam and Haarlem. Below you’ll find everything you need to know for your vacation in Zandvoort.
Things To Do in Zandvoort
Zandvoort aan Zee is no longer a hidden gem. The beautiful 9-kilometer-long sandy beach of Zandvoort is well frequented, especially during the summer season. However, it offers enough space for relaxing, swimming or sports activities. There are numerous accredited surf schools near the beach where you can learn surfing or kitesurfing and just rent equipment. Further popular water sports activities include SUP (stand-up paddling) and rafting (white water rafting).
Zandvoort beach is perfect for long walks, most notably during spring and autumn. Do you have a dog? Note that dogs are only allowed on the beach at certain times of the year and day. During the summer season (April 15th to October 1st), dogs aren’t allowed on the beach during the day. They are allowed on the beach before 9 a.m. and after 7 p.m. Beyond those dates (i.e. after October 1st and before April 15th) dogs are allowed on the beach without any restrictions. If you want to go to the beach with your dog in summer, you should head to one of the nearby dog beaches.
Horse lovers can enjoy horseback riding on the beach and through the vast dunes landscapes offered by the Zandvoort horse stable.
There are over 37 beach pavilions along the coast, where you can have a hot or cold drink, lunch or dinner. Most beach pavilions are open only during the summer. Only 5 of them are open all year round.
Carry on reading more information on things to do in Zandvoort, how to get to Zandvoort beach and where to park.
National Park Zuid-Kennemerland
Our personal favorite in the region is the Zuid-Kennemerland National Park. This is a 38 km² national park located between Haarlem, Bloemendaal and Zandvoort. The national park is perfect for long walks and cycling. Zandvoort beach is only 8 km from the city center of Haarlem (about 20-30 minutes by bike or 1.5 hours walk). Take a walk or a bike ride from Haarlem to Zandvoort through the beautiful national park. Further information on the different trails can be found at the visitor’s center De Kennemerduinen.
The Amsterdamse Waterleidingduinen are an extensive area south of Zandvoort where water is collected for harvesting purposes. This area is home to many species of animals, including many birds, cows, sheep and some endangered species. Besides, the largest fallow deer population in the Netherlands lives in this area, too! Amsterdamse Waterleidingduinen is great for hiking, especially for animal lovers. Visitors are even allowed to walk off the trails to observe the animals in their natural environment.
Dogs and bicycles are not allowed in this reserve in order not to disturb the wild animals living here. One of the highlights in Amsterdamse Waterleidingduinen are the remains of the Second World War. You’ll see some old bunker entrances and can even have a look inside. The entrance fee to Amsterdamse Waterleidingduinen is € 1.50 (as per April 2021).
The Zandvoort Circuit is a well-known race track where races are held throughout the year. The best part about the Zandvoort race circuit is that you’re allowed to drive on this race track yourself, either in a real race car or with your own car. They also offer driving safety courses, which is particularly interesting for (beginning) motorcyclists.
Museums and Culture
There are various museums in Zandvoort. The Zandvoort Museum exhibits some smaller pieces of artwork and history. They offer guided tours and workshops where you’ll get to know more about Dutch art.
The Juttersmu-Zee-Um is a museum of a special kind. This small museum run by volunteers exhibits everything that people find on the beach during their walk. There are some funny and interesting things to see, such as airplane parts and even a piece of a mammoth tooth. Each item washed up from the sea has its own exciting story.
Plan Your Stay
Don’t come unprepared. Here are further resources and tips to plan your perfect vacation in Zandvoort.
How to Get There
Zandvoort can be conveniently reached by public transportation as well as by car.
Zandvoort is the only seaside resort in the Netherlands where the train takes you almost directly onto the beach! It’s just 150 m from the train station to Zandvoort beach. There are direct connections from Haarlem and Amsterdam to Zandvoort. The train ride from Amsterdam only takes about 30 minutes and currently costs €12 (round trip). From Haarlem to Zandvoort it’s just 10 minutes and the round trip by train currently costs €5. Trains run several times an hour, so you can always get there and back without any problems.
Parking in Zandvoort
There are numerous parking lots in Zandvoort. As in other popular cities by the sea, parking in Zandvoort is mostly paid or requires a resident parking permit.
The Louis Davids Carré parking garage on Zandvoort’s boulevard has the highest number of parking spaces, so you should usually be able to find a spot here even during the summer months. Another large parking lot (open air) is the Zuid Strand Zandvoort aan Zee parking lot. It’s located just a few meters from the beach and is also close to the Amsterdamse Waterleidingduinen. A day ticket here currently is €11.60.
While we recommend using one of the parking lots or garages, on-street parking is also possible. Note, however, that on-street parking is significantly more expensive (starting at €2.50 / hour) and is often limited to a maximum time of 2 hours.
Our Tips for Parking
Purchasing a day ticket for parking on one of the parking lots is the best choice if you’d like to stay in Zandvoort for the day and don’t want to sleep over in the area.
Do you drive and need a hotel in Zandvoort? It makes sense to check if the accommodation of your choice provides parking spaces. Verify whether the room rate includes parking or if there’s an additional fee. In our Zandvoort hotel review, you’ll see if parking is available and what the fees are.
Do you live in Amsterdam or stay in a hotel in Amsterdam or Haarlem which includes parking and do you travel alone or with one more person? In terms of costs it could make sense to travel by public transport instead of by car.
Zandvoort offers a large number of accommodations, ranging from hotels and bed & breakfast. Many of them are within walking distance to the beach. Below is a list of the most popular accommodations.
Amsterdam Beach Hotel
Amsterdam Beach Hotel is located 500 meters away from the Zandvoort train station and the beach is just 100 meters away from this hotel. This is a perfect place for travelers looking for accommodation close to the beach. The availability of the family room makes it also a great place for families or group of friends. Rooms are also available here with beach view. Enjoy your evening after strolling around the beach in their bar with your favorite drinks. Pets are allowed in this hotel for additional charges (~17 euros) and the public parking facility around the hotel can be used for parking.
Reumann Holiday Apartments : De Schelp
Reumann Holiday Apartment is located 1.5 kilometers away from the Zandvoort train station and the beach is just 1 kilometer away from this apartment. This is a perfect place for family or group of friends (up to 4 persons) as this property comes with all the needs like Kitchen, Utensils, Microwave, Dishwasher etc. Outdoor furniture’s in the garden area is provided where you can enjoy your meal or drinks when the sun is shining. BBQ facilities are also available here. A 50 euro cash deposit has to be made during check-in which will be returned during check-out after the inspection. With in a walking distance (~300m) from this apartment, one can reach the Duin area (Duinlandschap Zandvoort) and make a nice walk in this wonderful nature area. Pets are allowed here for additional charges (~10 euros) and the free public parking facility is available near this apartment.
Luxe Beach Suite
Luxe Beach Suite apartment is located 300 meters away from the Zandvoort train station and the beach is just 100 meters away from this apartment. This is a perfect place for travelers looking for accommodation close to the beach and also a great choice for those looking for luxury accommodation. Providing a fantastic beach view from 14th floor, this is also a great place for couples who are looking for a romantic getaway. Enjoy your meal or drinks from the balcony with a view to the beach. This apartment provides all the facilities like kitchenware, microwave, dishwasher, washing machine thus making it a best place for long stays with family or group of friends. A 600 euro cash deposit has to be made during check-in which will be returned during check-out after the inspection. Use the stairs/lift from the Palace hotel to reach this apartment. Free private parking facility is available in this apartment and the pets are allowed for additional charges.
In the Area
Located in the densely populated province of Noord-Holland, Zandvoort is very popular with locals and tourists alike.
If you walk along the beach towards the north, you’ll get to the next seaside resort: Bloemendaal aan Zee.