So you want to go to the beach?
You’re probably thinking California, Florida, Hawaii, Greece, Spain, Mexico…
How about The Netherlands?
We tend to forget that the Netherlands sits on the coast and offers multiple different beautiful beach throughout the country.
My husband and I seem to fall upon these hidden/undiscovered awesome towns. Spring 2017 was the first time we were introduced to the dutch beach, we visited the national park Zuid Kennermerland (which in it self is an magnificent park to check out with its rolling hills, furry cows and beautiful beaches). The second time was while we were on our honeymoon in September 2018. A last minute realization we had no place to stay for two nights landed us a super cool, modern, loft style Air BnB in Scheveningen Beach. The sand was clean, soft and fine. The water, a magnificent blue and a refreshing temperature for that hot summer weather.
Den Haag is the 3rd largest city in The Netherlands after Amsterdam & Rotterdam. Although it is not the countries capital it is a government city and is where you can find the supreme court, States General and Cabinet of the Netherlands (kinda makes sense they don’t want those important government buildings in Amsterdam right beside the Red Light District).
I’m not going to lie to you all, I’m almost a little disappointed that we weren’t visiting during the peak. Scheveningen beach is a 15 minute drive outside the city centre of Den Haag. The minute we arrived we could tell this is a place you want to be in the heat of the summer.
As I mentioned earlier, we completely fell upon Den Haag and Scheveningen beach last minute and only had 2 days to work with. We unfortunately had to make the decision on where to spend this time and chose the beach (we cannot wait to go back and visit the city and the rest of The Hague!) and thank goodness we did because we discovered they had it all and did it right. We were amazed when we turned a corner after walking through a typical narrow European street and it opened up to an endless beach of the softest sand, beach clubs, restaurants, ice cream shops, carousels and outdoor gyms scattered throughout the boardwalk. To top it all off they have a ferris wheel, ziplinning and bungee jumping at the end of a massive pier.
Travelling to Den Haag & Scheveningen Beach
Ohhh… Reliable Europe and their awesome train system makes travelling within a country so easy! A 40 minute train ride south of Amsterdam OR 25 minute train ride north of Rotterdam you will find yourself at Den Haag Central, also known as The Hague. From central station you can buy a tram ticket to catch tram 9 into the town of Scheveningen. The last stop & the stop you will get off at is Madurodam. You will be in the town but still a 25 minute walk (roughly) to the beach.
Unless you’ve rented a car for the entirety of your trip or for a different reason I will always, always, always suggest taking the train from major city to major city if you are able. Its cheaper, faster & so much less stressful. Once you arrive at Den Haag Central Station you have another 15 minute journey ahead. Above I listed the tram option, BUT I am a big believer in making my vacation as easy, comfortable and stress free as possible which lead us to our €12 Uber ride to the front door of our AirBnB.
Staying in Den Haag
First let me say, stay as close to the beach as you can! When we were looking for a place to stay we were so torn between the city centre of Den Haag, the city centre of Scheveningen Beach or on the beach. We ended up staying about a 3 minute walk to the beach and are so grateful we did! When starting your search use the pier as your landmark, if you’re close to that you’re close to it all!
When my husband and I visited we stayed in the loveliest AirBnB. The owners were some of the nicest people we encountered, our place was clean, newly renovated and modern. They even left us a bottle of champagne to celebrate our honeymoon. We paid $150 CAD/night ($115 USD).
Some places we visit, I have had a preference to whether we stay in a hotel or AirBnB, but we found with Den Haag you pretty much got the same bang for your buck. With AirBnB you do tend to get a little more character and charm without the extra cost. On the contrary hotels offer extra amenities like pools, spa’s, breakfast etc.
For this post I searched for hotels and AirBnB’s for July 2nd 2019-July 9th 2019. Air BnB’s for the entire place for two people walking distance to the beach was around $120-$180 CAD. Hotel’s averaged $150-$220 CAD.
What to do?
Scheveningen Beach is your classic beach town, so if you’re planning on making this your next vacation I’m going to assume you’re a beach person.
The original pier was built in 1900 but was burned down in 1943 and then rebuilt in 1961. It extends 400 meters out into the ocean (with “islands” attached at the tip of it) and has two levels; 1 covered in case your run into a rainy day or two on your travels as well as your classic uncovered option. Filled with shops, ice-cream parlours and restaurants with panoramic views of the boardwalk, beach and ocean.
Activities on the pier
Once you’ve reached the end of the pier you will notice a ferris wheel that stands 40 meters tall and for just €9 you can get the birds eye view Scheveningen beach. If you like to get your adrenalin pumping then you can plunge towards the ocean and try out their bungee jump or soar across the sky with their zipline option.
There is no shortage of restaurants here that’s for sure. You have 3km of triple stacked restaurants, bars and clubs, not to mention the hundreds that pepper the the town.
Some of our favourite to check out are:
Oma Toos – This is by far a must!!! This place tied for 1st for my favourite place to get dutch pancakes! (The other 1st place winner is in Amsterdam). We walked to it as we love walking around to get a good sense of where we’re staying but it is a 35 minute walk from the pier. The pancakes we’re so good though I’d walk 2 hours to get to them!
Mood Beach – We had some delicious snacks including some of the best calamari, chicken wings and nachos.
El Nino Beach Club – We had some of the best burgers & sangria while we sat back and enjoyed a surprise firework show with the crashing waves as the background.
The Fat Mermaid – If I’m being honest, we initially chose this place because of the name but man did that ever pan out. This was by far one of the best meals I have ever had in my life. I wake up in the night, drooling because I’m dreaming of caramelized banana’s and the crunchy yet soft French toast… oh em gee. I’ll just let the photo do the talking.
If you’re a gambler then you’re in luck! Just a short 10 minute walk from the beach and you run into Holland Casino. They charge cover so be aware. Not being gamblers, we honestly went in because we had €200 bills that no one would accept or break. (We tried banks, currency exchange places, multiple restaurants, shops, grocery stores- good old faithful casino never lets you down! 😉 ) Of course we ended up playing a couple games…that is until we lost (which didn’t take long!)
This has to be the main reason why you are visiting. Pack a picnic or stop at the Albert Heijn (grocery store) before heading down to the beach. Choose your spot (there’s plenty of space). Play in the sand, swim in the ocean, surf and have a drink! PS. you can drink on the beach but not on the boardwalk.
If you’re into seeing some awesome sand dunes head south past to the other side of the marina. I’m starting to learn the Netherlands has quite a few sick sand dunes around. This is an awesome place to go biking if you’re looking for a few more hills 😉
This is a popular and charming shopping street located just South-East of the marina. You’ll be able to visit local stores and shops along with even more restaurant options!
This is purely just a beautiful hotel. I added this to the list because it will be one of the first things you see and you can’t help but be curious. It has the most grandeur appearance, truly stunning! Take a walk inside, the grand ballroom is open to the public during business hours during the week.
If you’re looking for a place to unwind, thats fun for literally all ages with beach clubs for 18+, parks for children & families, tons of food options, friendly people, stunning beaches and refreshing swimmable & surfable water then you really have no other option than to go to Den Haag. Honestly…just go!