There’s no question that Amsterdam is one heck of an incredible city and that enjoying the museums, canals and galleries of the Dutch capital is a must for at least 2 days of your itinerary.
But what if you’re looking to enjoy a slice of the seaside alongside this great city?
Well, the fantastic news is that you can… and easily!
The nearest beach to Amsterdam is less than 30km from the city and is easy to access via car, bus or train.
So if you’re keen to mix up your city break with some downtime on the sandy Dutch coastline, then this guide will show you exactly how.
Keep reading to learn all about the nearest beach to Amsterdam, how to get there, what you can enjoy doing along this coastline, as well as where to stay, eat, drink and play.
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My trip to the Amsterdam beach was sponsored by amsterdam&partners but, as always, all views are my own.
This page contains affiliate links meaning Big World Small Pockets may receive a small commission on any purchases at no extra cost to you.
Where is the Nearest Beach to Amsterdam?
Situated wonderfully close to the coastline, the Dutch capital, actually has a few great beaches on its doorstep for you to choose from.
However, the best in my opinion are those found at Zandvoort and Ijmuiden along the North Sea coastline.
Close to the city and boasting glorious sandy shores, full of fun beach bars and great activities to enjoy, these 2 options make the best for those on a travel adventure in the Netherlands.
And it’s for exactly this reason that I’m going to concentrate this article on these 2 great coastal areas close to Amsterdam.
Ideal for day trippers, as well as overnight stays or getaway weekends, both destinations, deliver a wealth of natural, cultural and sporting pursuits that I was dying to get my teeth into.
And, hopefully after reading this article, you’ll be dying to do the same!
Coming in first on this guide to the nearest beaches to Amsterdam it’s Zandvoort – a cute coastal town that bustles with local life and happy-go-lucky tourists.
Just half an hour from Amsterdam’s Centraal Station by direct train, this spot is ideal for those who are keen to use public transport to get their quick beach fix.
With a huge sandy shoreline, perfect for sea swimming, sunbathing and relaxing (especially in the summer months), Zandvoort is big on the vacation vibes and an awesome feelgood destination.
Getting to and Around Zandvoort
As I mentioned above, the easiest and most convenient way to get to Zandvoort is via direct trains that run frequently from Amsterdam’s main station in the centre of the city.
The journey takes around 30 minutes and Zandvoort is the last stop, which makes things even more simple, especially if your Dutch is as bad as mine!
Tickets cost less than 8€ in second class (you really don’t need to take first class for this short journey!) and can be bought either on the day from the ticket machines in Amsterdam Centraal, or online in advance through Trainline.
Alternatively, if you’re planning to spend a day or 2 in Amsterdam (either before or after your coastal adventure), then you may find it more cost-effective and straightforward to buy an Amsterdam and Region Travel Card.
This convenient, multi-purpose ticket offers unlimited public transport by bus, tram, train and metro in the city, as well as in the surrounding area, including Zandvoort.
You can purchase your ticket online or at the I Amsterdam Store in Centraal Station and then all you need to do is tap on and tap off on each journey to enjoy seamless public transport connections.
Available for 1, 2 or 3 calendar days, prices start from just €19.50 for 1 day, 28€ for 2 days, or 36.50€ for 3 day passes.
Trains from Amsterdam Centraal conveniently arrive into Zandvoort’s town centre, which is just a short distance to the beach and its seafront promenade.
Either make this easy journey on 2 feet, or hire an electric bike from the brilliant bike rental shop in Zandvoort – Behind the Beach
The owner here is a complete character and offers both electric and manual bikes for hire that are perfect for getting around Zandvoort quickly and easily. After all, this is the Netherlands, so cycling really is an obligatory part of the experience!
Alternatively, if you have a car, you can drive to Zandvoort from Amsterdam in under 1 hour or, if you already have a bike, you can enjoy a 2 hour cycle on a mainly flat, if not busy, route from the city to the coast.
Hitting the Beach at Zandvoort
Zandvoort really is all about the beach and heading here in the summer to make the most of the sun, sea and sand is a great idea for coastal lovers.
During the high season months, lots of beach bars also open up along the dune-backed beach and make the perfect spot for relaxing and enjoying the expansive views and fresh sea air.
But it isn’t just in the summer that Zandvoort appeals!
I actually travelled to this Amsterdam beach in November and, with some beautiful autumn sun shining down on me, had the most fantastic time wandering the shoreline, marvelling at the brave swimmers and even meeting the wonderful Climate Pirate, Bram!
A protector of his home coastline here, Climate Pirate Bram runs tours that educate visitors, especially children, about the importance of this unique coastal ecosystem and showcase the wonderful animals and creatures that call this watery world home.
After a ride in his tractor-pulled wagon across the sand, I ended my day at the Zandvoort beach with a killer sunset over the water – yes, this beach is west-facing and all the more amazing for it!
Other Things to Do in Zandvoort
But the beach isn’t the only thing you can enjoy in this glorious Amsterdam coastal spot, because did you know Zandvoort is also home to a famous Formula Racing Track?
Circuit Zandvoort is the site of the Dutch Grand Prix and you can visit this world-leading track to learn about its history, as well as its banked and challenging corners shaped by the coastal dunes, as part of a tour here.
Once the tour is over, don’t miss trying out one of the race course simulators.
A full experience, that gives you a great sense of the course and what it might be like to drive here (albeit in a lot safer conditions), I thoroughly loved racing my fellow bloggers in the simulator, not least because I came second!
But if you’d rather something more sedate, then Zandvoort caters to that too.
Perfectly complimenting an afternoon on the beach, the Amsterdamse Waterleidingduinen National Park is a lovely nature reserve set within the dunes that’s ideal for a morning amble.
Discovered as a great source for Amsterdam’s fresh drinking water needs in the 1850s, this serene spot is now protected for all to enjoy.
Strolling here on a crisp, misty autumn morning, as the sun began to break through the clouds, was just about the most peaceful way I could imagine starting the day at the Amsterdam coast, as our guide led us off the paved track across dunes and shrubland to wonderfully quiet and peaceful areas where we didn’t meet a soul.
For those with kids or mobility issues, the paved walkways of this national park are still wonderful, as local dog walkers and runners pass you with a cheery hello.
Don’t miss spotting the beautiful wild deer that roam here either, or stopping for a coffee afterwards in the cute DUNE aan de Duinrand café.
Where to Stay and Eat in Zandvoort?
But if it’s dinner that you’re looking for over coffee or lunch in Zandvoort, my tip is to head down to the beach to enjoy the casual vibes and great service at Club Nautique.
I enjoyed a delicious vegetarian curry here and the local beer on tap also went down well!
With a full stomach and plenty of sea air in your lungs, if you’re anything like me you probably want to hit the hay. And the perfect place to do that is Hotel Paradis in Zandvoort.
Fantastically located between the town and the beach, this boutique accommodation choice boasts a sophisticated, beach house-style décor with one of the best buffet breakfasts I’ve ever seen!
Settle into your comfy bed and relive the day’s adventures as you drift peacefully off.
And the second beach nearest to Amsterdam I’m going to focus on in this article is the wonderful city of Ijmuiden – a real hidden gem on the coastline here.
Situated just 20km north of Zandvoort, it nevertheless offers a very different sort of beach experience and would make the perfect complement if you’re making a weekend trip out of the Amsterdam coastline, as I was.
Situated at the mouth of the canal that leads directly into the centre of Amsterdam, Ijmuiden not only boasts a good sandy beach, but also offers a lovely harbour area, as well as several industrial and maritime heritage attractions.
If you’re looking to mix some historic sights with some adventure on the sand and some delicious fresh, local seafood, Ijmuiden is the perfect place!
How to Get to Ijmuiden?
You can easily drive the 30km from Amsterdam to Ijmuiden in around 35 minutes.
Again, cycling is also an option that will take you under 2 hours, but again be careful because you will have to manoeuvre some main roads.
Otherwise, the easiest way to get to Ijmuiden from Amsterdam using public transport is by bus.
The number 382 is your best bet, which takes around 35 mins and runs fairly frequently between the 2 cities.
This bus route will either pick you up or drop you off at Amsterdam Sloterdijk station, from where it’s just a 5 minute, 1 stop sprinter train ride into Amsterdam Centraal.
Things to Do in Ijmuiden
Unlike Zandvoort, which is much more about relaxing, Ijmuiden is the beach for adventure lovers.
Blokarting here is a particular favourite activity you can enjoy (or try for the first time!) and there’s kitesurfing, sailing, surfing and RIB riding all to be relished here too.
Relax afterwards in some of the cosy beachside pavilions. With their eco-shabby-chic feel, Makai and Beach Inn have to be my 2 top picks.
Inland, the UNESCO-listed Fort Ijmuiden is a must-visit if you time your trip to the Amsterdam beach with one of their monthly open days.
Water locked, the boat ride here is the perfect way to start your exciting exploration of this historic (and kinda spooky) military fort.
And if it’s more history you’re after, then you certainly can’t miss the Kennemerduinen National Park.
Situated in the dunes, you can enjoy a lovely walk in this natural coastal reserve, but even better is the chance to explore the bunkers that remain here from the Nazi defence line built during World War II.
For history buffs, tours of the bunkers are available each Friday evening care of local historian and man of much knowledge, Gerardo Eijbersen – he’s quite the character!
Learning about how the Nazi regime spent vast quantities of money and resources fortifying this coastline, only for it to never come under Allied attack from the sea, makes for quite the tale!
There’s also a Bunkermuseum here that’s worth checking out too.
Where to Eat and Stay in Ijmuiden?
The maritime heritage of Ijumiden is obvious as soon as you arrive here and, with the sea on its doorstep and a huge canal leading straight to the capital, it’s no surprise the fishing industry has been a major factor in shaping this area’s story.
Sampling some delicious, local and fresh fish whilst in Ijmuiden is therefore a must for the non-vegetarians among you, and the wonderful restaurant at the Leonardo Hotel is the perfect spot to do just that.
Chefs cook can cook up incredible marine dishes for you and, if you’ve had a few wines to go with it, it’s great to know that rooms at the hotel are comfortable and offer gorgeous harbour views – especially picturesque at sunrise.
For the non-fish eating people among you, I highly recommend Plantage Rocco when it comes to a great place to eat.
Situated in Velsen-Zuid, within the Ijmuiden wider area, this stunning organic restaurant rustles up unique plant-based (as well as meat and fish) dishes that delight with their flavours and originality.
And the boutique rooms that sit above the restaurant in this opulent and quirky-decorated 1700s manor house are definitely on my hit list for a special occasion!
Mini Travel Guide to the Amsterdam Beach
When to Visit?
There’s no question that the best time to hit the beaches nearest to Amsterdam is during the summer months of June through August, when the sunny weather and warmer temps make it a destination loved by travellers and locals alike.
However, as I mentioned earlier in this article, I visited the Amsterdam coast in November and got to experience some incredible autumn weather that really cast the beach and the sunset in an atmospheric seasonal light.
Perfect for cosy, coastal times, the other advantages of visiting the beaches near Amsterdam in Autumn (or indeed Spring) are that crowds are much thinner and prices of accommodation are better too.
How Long to Stay?
If you’re looking to head to the Amsterdam beach area for just a day, then I’d opt for Zandvoort, simply because the public transport connections are so good.
This means, if you’re looking to take an Amsterdam day trip, Zandvoort is a fantastic affordable and stress-free option.
However, if you only visit the beaches near Amsterdam for 1 day, I do think you’re doing this beautiful coastal area a disservice.
Instead, why not hop across to the coast and stay for a night?
2 days in this lovely area will also give you the chance to explore Zandvoort, Ijmuiden and the fantastic Kennemerduinen National Park too.
And don’t forget a delicious fish meal as well!
Spending Money at the Amsterdam Beach
When it comes to paying for things in Amsterdam, you want to ensure you’re not being charged overseas transaction fees or getting poor exchange rates when using your card abroad, which is why I always take my Wise Card away with me wherever I travel.
The easy way to spend abroad with real exchange rates, no markups, no sneaky transaction fees and a free Euros account, you can use your Wise card just like a debit card in The Netherlands… and it links easily with Google and Apple pay – sold!
Get yours here.
Travel Insurance for Amsterdam
I wouldn’t dream of travelling anywhere these days without proper coverage and always recommend travel insurance from World Nomads which I’ve used during my time in Europe and across the world.
World Nomads are actually one of the few companies that will insure you for a huge range of outdoor activities as standard – essential for an area like the Amsterdam beaches.
SAVE IT TO PINTEREST!
So there you have it, my guide to the nearest beaches to Amsterdam, including the 2 I think are the best to tag on to your city adventure.
Personally I love getting off the beaten track a little and exploring parts of of an area away from the popular landmarks.
Exploring the Amsterdam coastline was the ideal example of this and also give me a wonderful nature and sea air blast while I was at it!
Have any questions about the beaches of Zandvoort and Ijmuiden close to Amsterdam?
If so, just drop them into the comments box below and I’ll get back to you…