Post Lockdown: Zandvoort aan Zee

By Elie - 3:04 PM

We've done it, blog space! Netherlands is slowly opening up post lockdown, with newer restrictions and rules to follow including wearing masks in public transportation and keeping a safe distance between one another. Granted, not many people are doing the distance thing but baby steps are better than no steps! It's also nice to see that shops are reopening and we could go shopping again *cough Uniqlo cough*, and everyone's got hand sanitizers now!

For the travel hungry like myself and my other half, it's nice to see that the Sprinter trains are now back on track (pun not intended) so we took the opportunity to enjoy what's left of summer for us and set off to...

Zandvoort aan Zee

Zandvoort is a coastal town on the west end of Amsterdam, reachable via a 30 to 40 minute train ride from Amsterdam Centraal while "an Zee" simply means "by the sea". It was once a fishing village but with the rise of tourism, Zandvoort quickly became quite literally the hottest spot for locals and tourists who're looking to escape the regular city scene. I mean, I was personally blown away by the number of beach clubs and waterfront restaurants lining miles and miles of Zandvoort's sandy white beach. Rumour has it that there's even a nudist beach called Adam en Eva but you've got to walk about a half hour out of the Zandvoort town.

But this was Zandvoort Beach

As curious as I was as to how a nudist beach would look like, we settled for the easier-to-reach Zandvoort Beach that was reachable within 5 minutes on foot from the Zandvoort aan Zee train station. When we got there at about 3pm however, there were already tons of people on the beach and I'm thinking that these are just locals or expats like ourselves looking to stretch their feet after being cooped up at home through lockdown.  It's a really huge beach though, so there were still lots of distance between us and the other visitors.

My only regret of the day was that we wore really proper shoes along with jeans, because my other half had heard rumours that it would get really cold...on the beach. Granted it's still Amsterdam and I'm consistently cold here anyway, so I figured it must make sense because you'd be hit with whiffs of cool sea breeze. Unfortunately this also meant I couldn't dip my toes in the water or I'll risk wetting my jeans and walking on the sand became a little more difficult. I did give up midway and take off my shoes so I could properly enjoy the fine sand of Zandvoort Beach, but I'd still like to take another trip to feel the waters before autumn looms.

They called this the "food carts"
 Pic credits: The other half

While we were there, we encountered several trucks going around offering snacks, drinks, and ice-cream so my guess is nobody ever goes hungry on the beach. My recommendation: Definitely order the kibbeling or fried fish chunks with sauce! It could have been because they were so near the sea, I felt like the kibbeling at Zandvoort aan Zee was much fresher and the fish chunks were much juicier compared than what we've been having in central Amsterdam. Our portion of kibbeling came at €5, but we did spot a larger seafood platter going for €8 that we're going to try the next time we visit.

There were also sunbeds and some tent-like looking umbrellas set up on the beach, and while we assumed they were free-for-all, we were promptly approached by a man asking if we've paid the "rental fee" yet. We quickly apologized and went back to our make-shift mat because I didn't think the €15 for 2 beds and a small umbrella made sense. I'll just go home and lay on my sofa if I want to lie down. I guess we're also going to invest in one of those tent-like umbrellas for our next visit because my other half was consistently hiding under his hoodie that day. Thank God for our sunscreen though.

Hello cat!

Beyond the beach, there's actually a whole lot more in Zandvoort we've yet to explore including the town center, the museum, and its rows of cafes. We didn't put those in plan for this visit mainly because we didn't know what to expect of the Zandvoort. We did however have a good dinner at a Greek restaurant called Zaras (Or MARTHA on their signboard for some reason) that night, and their meat platter for 2 is a good value for money order.

Hey, that's us!

Unfortunately, we didn't stay at the beach for the sunset because surprise - the sun only sets at 11pm during summer here in Amsterdam. We do plan to go back some time in the next few weeks while the sun is still out to play, so hopefully next time! 

Tot ziens, Zandvoort!

And for a bit of travel reference: Zandvoort aan Zee is reachable via the Sprinter trains that departs from Amsterdam Centraal but also makes several stops in between including Sloterdijk and Haarlem. It's the end station for this line so you literally can't miss it. The station of Zandvoort aan Zee is relatively small and isn't sheltered so it could get messy on rainy days, but I'd say the town is best visited when it's sunny out anyway. They've also got rental services for bicycles and water sports activities if that's your thing - though I'd say it's nice enough to just lay on the sand and enjoy the breeze hitting your face about 80% of the time. So travel safe, travel responsible, and hopefully I'll see you at Zandvoort aan Zee!

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