National Park Zuid-Kennemerland is a gorgeous Dutch national park, which is a great day trip from Amsterdam. What to see and what to do? You’ll read all about it in this article.
About National Park Zuid-Kennemerland
In The Netherlands, there are 21 national parks, and National Park Zuid-Kennemerland is one of them since 1995. It’s located close to Amsterdam, along the coast between IJmuiden and Zandvoort. It’s a great place to go if you want to avoid the crowds in Amsterdam.
The landscape is very diverse. There are endless beaches, rolling dunes, forests, lakes, and even a couple of estates that can be found in the park. You’ll see lots of bird species and larger wildlife, like deer, fox, and Scottish Highlanders. There are also some European bison to be seen in the park. However, the area where they live is closed off, so you can only see them from a viewpoint.
This movie clip will give you an idea of the diversity of National Park Zuid-Kennemerland:
How to get to National Park Zuid-Kennemerland?
National Park Zuid-Kennnerland has many entrances, and a couple of them can be reached easily by car or public transport.
Because the park has so many entrances, there are a lot of small parking lots to park your car. On the map later in this article, you’ll be able to find all the parking lots. Pay attention, some of them offer free parking, but not all of them.
Visitor center De Kennemerduinen
Most people will start their visit at the visitor center De Kennemerduinen (you can find this on the road between Haarlem and Zandvoort). It has a parking lot, but there’s not a lot of space, so when you arrive by car, make sure to get there early.
The visitor center is also very accessible by public transport. You can take the train to Station Overveen, from there it’s just a 15-minute walk. You can also take the bus from Haarlem to Zandvoort (number 81) and get off in front of the visitor center.
In the visitor center, you’ll find all the information about National Park Zuid-Kennemerland. You can read about the landscape, the history, and all the animals you might see during your visit. You can also buy some souvenirs, and there is a café where you can buy food or drinks and there’s a public bathroom.
Right behind the visitor center, there’s a trailhead for multiple great day hikes.
Costs & opening hours
There’s no admission (yes, you can visit it for free!) and the park is open from sunrise to sunset.
Hiking in National Park Zuid-Kennemerland
There are many great hiking trails to be found within the park. These are some of my favorites:
Trail to the Parnassia beach (the blue trail)
This hike starts at the visitor center, and you walk all the way to the beach. There’s a nice beach pavilion, where you can rest and get food and drinks. On the way back, you’ll walk pass one of the most beautiful lakes in the area: the Vogelmeer. The trail has a length of 9 kilometers, and you can follow the blue signs.
Roundtrip Bleek and Berg (the yellow trail)
This trail also starts at the visitor center. On the way, you’ll pass several small lakes and multiple viewpoints. It’s a great itinerary to see the diversity of the landscape. The trail has a length of 9,5 kilometers and you can follow the yellow signs.
NS-hiking trail Kennemerduinen
The NS (the main Dutch train service) offers a lot of special hiking trails on their website, and you usually hike from station to station. Because National Park Zuid-Kennemerland is very accessible by public transport, you can follow a great NS-hiking trail.
You’ll start the hike at station Santpoort-Noord, which is close to the Estate Duin- and Kruidberg. You’ll hike in a forest, through the dunes, and over the beach to station Overveen. It’s a great and diverse trail, and you’ll also see some special monuments dedicated to the fallen from World War II. To hike this trail, you can follow the white-red markings, that have the NS logo on them.
Check out this website (in Dutch) for more information about this trail.
Extra information about the trails
Would you like to know more about the trails in National Park Zuid-Kennemerland? Check out the official website or ask about it in the visitor center.
Cycling in National Park Zuid-Kennemerland
Although Zuid-Kennemerland is mainly a place for hiking, there are also a couple of bike itineraries. You can find them on the map on this website.
Swimming in National Park Zuid-Kennemerland
Near the visitor center, you’ll find a small lake called ‘t Wed, and you can go here for a swim! They check the water quality between May 1st and October 30th. Of course, you can also go for a swim in the North Sea.
Map with points of interest
Source: the official website of National Park Zuid-Kennemerland.
Where to stay?
You can also stay in Amsterdam for a couple of days and visit Zuid-Kennemerland on a day trip.
Booking and comparing rooms is really easy when you use Booking.com.
Do you prefer to stay in an apartment or a house? You can also check Airbnb for listings. Have you never booked anything through Airbnb before? Use this link for a great discount on your first booking.
These are all my tips for a visit to the beautiful Dutch National Park Zuid-Kennemerland. Do you have any questions? Let me know by leaving a comment below.
Would you like to read more about The Netherlands?
Check out one of these articles:
- 11 gorgeous places to visit in The Netherlands
- Historic self-guided walking tour in Amsterdam
- 12 awesome parks in Amsterdam
Or order one of these great guidebooks: