Zandvoort Beach Day trip from Amsterdam
The Netherlands

Day trip from Amsterdam to the beach

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The words “Amsterdam” and “beach” may not be two words you think of together. But the beach is a quick day trip from Amsterdam! The Netherlands is known for being cloudy and rainy. Believe it or not, though, that isn’t always the case. Some days are actually sunny and hot! Those of us who live here cherish these days. So, throw on your swimsuit and hat, don’t forget the sunscreen (I’m in love with this one!) and let’s head to the beach!


Zandvoort - Amsterdam Beach


Sunshine makes us all a bit happier it seems. Stress melts away as the warmth of the sun’s rays hit any skin it can get to. When in Amsterdam, the immediate thing we think of is that we need to get on a boat. Floating along the canals in a small boat is one fabulous way to enjoy a long summer day. If you’re in an already-been-there-done-that kind of mood, then getting outside the city and exploring something new is definitely the way to go!

And while I am head-over-heels in love with the canals, the canalhouses, and the houseboats, I can’t think of a better thing to do on a sunny day than spend it at the beach. Can you?


How to get to the beach from Amsterdam

Train from Amsterdam to Zandvoort


From Amsterdam Centraal Station, it’s about a 30-minute train ride that drops you so close to the beach that you can hear it.

I just need to say that it took me far too long to discover this beachy town called Zandvoort. It’s so exciting to have a beach so close! If you are looking for beaches near Amsterdam, this is it. Some people call it the Amsterdam Beach, and while it’s not in Amsterdam, it’s so close that I can understand why people would call it that.

In the US, I lived about a 6-hour drive from the closest beach, and now, living in Amsterdam, I have one 30 minutes away. Seriously, how crazy is that?!

Zandvoort is common knowledge for the locals. But even being a popular spot on a summery day, it’s not crowded as I’m used to in Virginia. There’s space for everyone!


Day trip to Zandvoort from Amsterdam


Putting my toes in the cool water while they sunk into the sand was pure bliss. I’ve always been a bit of a water baby. I can’t remember there ever being a time when I didn’t know how to swim or want to be near or in the water. Laying on my beach towel on the sand with the sound of the waves crashing and the feel of the mist as the wind blows is all part of the magic of the beach. It’s the perfect place to unwind.


For a more adventurous afternoon…

Dunes in Zandvoort


If you’re not feeling like lounging all day by the beach (I’m sure there, then rent a bike and explore the nearby dunes in the Zuid-Kennemerland National Park. I got my bike from Behind the Beach and it even fit me! I’m Miss Shorty…so I’m always impressed when a bike isn’t too tall for me in Holland. Isn’t the cute little basket on the front so handy? I tossed my Pacsafe backpack in it because it was making my back too hot. Oh, the real-life problems!


Biking the dunes in Zandvoort


Cycling through this landscape made me feel like I was a world away from the “big city” of Amsterdam. It was an escape to a quiet place with some pretty amazing scenery. I love the canals and the houses of Amsterdam, but sometimes it’s nice to just be out in nature, you know?

I can’t even believe that we saw a BUFFALO. Yes. That’s right. It was hanging out by the watering hole and we just admired its size and stature…and total coolness to stand there munching on grass while we took photos. That’s a cool buffalo right there.


Buffalo in Zandvoort


Of course, you can always *start* your day with a nice bike ride and end it at the beach. That’s completely acceptable. I promise you, there are enough hours in a day to explore AND be a beach bum.


That’s a full day outside of Amsterdam!

By the time you ride around, sit in the sun, get splashing around, dry off, sun some more, and eat a few things, you’ll be ready to rest up for your next day full of adventure. There are a bunch of day trips so close to my favorite place (Amsterdam, if you haven’t been paying attention!) if you’re looking to have a varied Dutch experience.  There are always amazing things to do in Amsterdam as well in case you haven’t done those yet!


Amsterdam Beach - Zandvoort

Enjoy Amsterdam, enjoy Holland, and enjoy all the Netherlands has to offer! Where is your favorite place to base yourself for day trips? We’re going to start writing more about these kinds of places around Europe and would love to hear your thoughts.

Wishing you love and travels!

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25 thoughts on “Day trip from Amsterdam to the beach

  1. It’s a lovely area isn’t t? I also really like the beaches of Bergen and Castricum, they’re so wide! I grew up in Brabant and used to always visit the Zeeland beaches and beaches along the Flemish coast and the atmosphere is really quite different.

  2. Ok! Being from San Diego, Ca, I neeeedddd the beach! Next sunny day, I’m there!

  3. Zandvoort looks lovely! Have you been to Scheveningen and if yes how would you compare the two?
    And I think that might be a “Schotse hooglander” cow. For some odd reason, there are a bunch of these Scottish highlanders in the Netherlands.

    1. I have been to Scheveningen, but have not actually spent time on the beach. Spend more time on The Pier 🙂 In general, I feel more like Zandvoort is beachy with a beach vibe if that makes sense! I’ll look into the cow. I know there are bison there and I may have gotten a bit mixed up! There are reintroducing them to Europe…but I need to investigate now 🙂

  4. Really liked your story, especially because I am in a quest to spending more time in nature / out of the city. And that buffalo, wow! If I am going to that area I like walking a bit further over to Bloemendaal, where there are dunes and it’s a bit wilder. I miss the sea!

    1. Yes! We biked through there as well. In general, it’s just such a cool area I want to spend more time in. We can all use a little more time in nature! Where’s your favorite spot in the Netherlands to do that?

  5. You’re absolutely right, Amsterdam and beach are two things I would have never put together! I had no idea! What a cool, unknown (at least to me) thing to do and discover in Amsterdam! We will totally check this out, weather permitting of course when we go! I love that you got to see a cow while you were there too!

    1. Right?! I kind of knew about it, but until I went, I really just couldn’t believe how cool it was. Hopefully you’ll come in summer to enjoy it fully 😉

  6. The beach looks fabulous. I once visited shevinngen and was amazed but how lovely it was. Definitely not what you associate with the Netherlands

  7. You’re right! I didn’t think of Amsterdam and beach in the same thought before reading this. Of course, now I know differently! Zandvoort looks like such a treat. I know that we’d love to grab a bike and explore the area. And I certainly hope your buffalo friend is still hanging around! I can’t believe how close this is to such a big city. Very cool! Pinned!

    1. Big cities can be so deceiving, can’t they? When walking around and taking in the sites, you have no idea you could be laying on a beach in a 1/2 hour. I love the contrast! Funny story…I don’t remember where it came from, but in a neighborhood IN Amsterdam (not city center) a cow was casually strolling down tram tracks. So you never know what you’ll see here!

  8. You’re right! I would not put Amsterdam and beach together, but wow, it’s actually pretty close by. Can’t believe you saw a buffalo. Again, another thing I would not put together with Amsterdam. I’ll have to make my way out there! It looks so nice.

  9. You are right, never associated Amsterdam with a beach. When you think of Amsterdam, you always think of Tulips and museums and the like. Zandvoort seems to be a great change if you are in Amsterdam. Really fresh perspective and nice information to have.

    1. So many museums! It’s funny because Amsterdam has so many sides: museums, Red Light District, clubbing, festivals, foodie events, cultural events, and so much more. I love when people come and find “their” side of the city–even if it’s outside the city.

  10. This is such a great day trip from Amsterdam! Looks like a fun and relaxing escape from the buzzing city. I couldn’t believe you saw a buffalo there!!

    1. That thing is SUCH a big animal! It was a little nuts running into it. I love the kinds of escapes you can find so close to the city. Amsterdam is amazing, but every once in a while it’s nice to do something else 🙂

  11. I’d never considered going to the beach in Holland, but it looks quite lovely! I haven’t been to Amsterdam yet because it always seemed to much about the ‘typical’ weed & red light district but it is great to know there is much more to do!

    1. Amsterdam is so much more! I’ve never had weed and am rarely in the Red Light District (though there are some great restaurants nearby). I hope you browse this site and see some of the great things about Amsterdam. In the summer, there are music festivals, and food festivals galore!

  12. Hey Jessica, I’m so happy I found your write up.

    I’m going to be in Amsterdam in the summer and had no idea I would be going on a beach holiday. Zandvoort here I come!

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