You may be thinking - wait, beaches in Amsterdam? Where possibly could be such a place in this historic city? That’s the thing - some of these spots are a best-kept open secret amongst the locals, and in this list, we’re here to share us Amsterdammers’ favourite surf and turf so you can make the most out of this summer in the Dutch capital.
Look no further than this urban beach that has it all: Pllek’s a waterfront bar with pristine sandy spots to lay out your towel or lie back in a deck chair, and stunning skyline views of Amsterdam as you swim. Frequented by trendy Amsterdammers, this cultural hub that’s part of the NDSM Wharf, has been fashioned out of industrial shipping containers. Now, it’s a part-beach and part-live-music venue that serves all-day sustainable tapa-size dishes to share.
2. Sloterplas Beach
Tucked away just past the neighbourhood of Amsterdam West, is Sloterplas Beach. A favourite amongst families, there’s table tennis, volleyball fields, and food trucks parked around during the summer. If you go for a swim in the lake, just watch out for the steep drop-off into the water though you’ll see the buoy designating which area is open for swimming. Surrounded by nearby park trails, and bike paths, it’s easy to see how a day can by so quick here.
3. Strand Blijburg
This long stretch of soft sandy beach is perfect for those who want to go for a dip into the easy shallow waters. There’s also a lifeguard on duty which makes it a breezy and safe playday for families. Locals come here to also get their adrenaline pumping right out on the water - with sports like kite surfing and sailing dotting the horizon. For those who enjoy a stroll, be sure to spot the huge iconic red shovel, along with some sand-crafted sculptures.
Picture this: bbq grilling the juiciest cuts, beach chairs that you can sink into, all overlooking tall swaying trees of the nearby park. This urban beach has a huge open terrace that sits right out on the water along with a fire pit right in the sand for longer evenings. Strandzuid makes for a great brunch spot that you can stumble easy into, or pull your boat up to.
5. Pink Beach
Now, this is a guilty pleasure of mine - it’s an Instagrammable hangout right in the neighbourhood of Amsterdam Noord. Beyond chic, everything is decked out in Barbie pink from the cocktail bar that serves up fun drinks in disco balls, to the pink sand where you can chill under the parasol. It’s an oasis for those who like live DJs dance parties and tropical vibes. It’s definitely a quirky gem where you can then easily hop on over to the next-door WONDR museum for an Insta-story day.
If you’re looking for a classic painting-like scene - Dooestrand sums up the Dutch pastoral flair, beautifully. It’s a quaint beach that has a nearby traditional windmill - a true Dutch icon, that you can also visit. You’ll find locals running into the water, sunbathing in the sand, and nearby shops for ice cream on a hot summer day. There’s a big lawn beyond the sandy beach, perfect for those who want to picnic. If you have a car, it’s super easy to reach Dooestrand within 20 minutes.
7. IJmuiden Strand
If you’re in search of an adventure - IJmuiden is packed with so many options to fill up a whole beach day. You can rent anything here, from blokarting - picture Mario Kart, except on the beach with a huge sail, surfing, to windsurfing. There are also plenty of beach pavilions where you can grab a cold drink and watch the sunset. This is one of the bigger beaches, so you’ll have plenty of space stretched up and down the seashore. With so much room to decide where you want to claim your spot - you won’t ever feel overcrowded at IJmuiden Strand!
8. Bloemendaal aan Zee
The golden beach of Bloemendaal aan Zee is the place to be in the summer to bask in the sunshine, have a cocktail or two, and just luxuriate in the North Sea. You’ll be able to catch an absolutely mesmerizing sunset here - with unobstructed views of the sea. There are dunes everywhere, rising and falling along the shorelines. Also dotted along the coastline are beach clubs for your purveying pleasure, from stylish interiors to festival vibes - there’s a spot for everyone.
Bliss out in the soothing sands and vast array of offerings in Noordwijk. A beach is known for the in-crowd as well as a bohemian set, Noordwijk is equal parts Bali ambience and Hamptons chic. The Noordwijkse Golfclub offers world-class links amongst the unique dune landscape. There are museums built right by the beach from the Museum of Comic Art to Museum Engelandvaarders (about WWII). And on the sand itself - you’ll have your pick of beach clubs where you can party from sunset to sunrise.
10. Castricum aan zee
If you want to go surfing and feel the crashing waves of the North Sea against your board, Castricum aan zee will be your go-to beach. Here, tons of surfers ride the wave each day, along with leisure fishers and boats cruising along the horizon. Castricum aan zee is also a unique spot as part of it is also a nude beach. Between the marked beach poles of 46.00 and 47.85, people are free to sunbathe and hang out however they please - with or without clothes.
In less than an hour's drive from Amsterdam’s centre, you’ll reach the coastline of the Netherlands. Zandvoort is one of the most famous beach destinations in the country - known for its cascading sand dunes that stretches out to the seashore. Zandvoort was also home to the recent Formula 1 Dutch Grand Prix, won by home-grown talent Max Verstappen. With it’s notoriety, expect there to be more people at Zandvoort, especially throughout the peak of summer.
Curious about romantic Dutch spots outside of the beaches?
Check out our Romantic Things to do in Amsterdam, Rotterdam and The Hague blog post for more inspiration and must-visit places here.