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 has been one of them since 1995. The park is not too far from Amsterdam, along the coast between IJmuiden and Zandvoort. It’s a great place to go if you want to avoid 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, foxes, 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, which you can find 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. The trails are all very easy to follow since they have colorful markers. These are some of my favorite trails in National Park Zuid-Kennemerland:
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 past 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 tremendous 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.
Tip! Book a guided bike tour! During this 30-kilometer bike tour, a local tour guide will show you the best places in National Park Zuid-Kennemerland and the surrounding area.
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.
Zuid Kennemerland National Park Map
Check out this interactive map to find the most beautiful places and the best activities in National Park Zuid-Kennemerland.
Source: the official website of National Park Zuid-Kennemerland.
Where to stay?
There are no accommodations in the national park, but you can stay very close to it. There are many great options. For example, you can stay in the town of Zandvoort (at the beach) or in Haarlem, which is a great historic city. You can also stay in the Dutch capital of Amsterdam for a couple of days and visit Zuid-Kennemerland on a day trip.
These are some great places to stay that are close to the national park:
- B&b Elswoutshoek – Very cozy B&B, from here it’s a 25-minute walk to the visitor center of Zuid-Kennemerland.
- Landgoed Duin & Kruidberg – Would you like to stay in an estate? This hotel is located on the border of the National Park, so you can just walk in whenever you feel like it.
- Poort Beach Boutique Apartments – A great place if you’d like to stay on the beach. Also suitable for families. The National Park is only a few minutes away.
Check Booking.com for more options, availability, and prices.
Book a trip to The Netherlands
Are you excited to visit The Netherlands? Book your trip now!
🚂 Train Tickets – The Netherlands is very accessible by train from all over Europe. Check Rail Europe for train tickets.
✈️ Plane Tickets – Schiphol Airport (Amsterdam) is the largest international airport in the county and very close to Zuid-Kennemerland. Check WayAway to find the best deals on plane tickets.
Read more about The Netherlands
These are all my tips for a visit to the beautiful Dutch National Park Zuid-Kennemerland. Would you like to read more about The Netherlands? Check out these amazing guidebooks:
Since I live in The Netherlands myself, you can read a lot about my beautiful country on this website. You might like to read these articles as well:
- A weekend in Amsterdam: 30 tips from local
- The best things to do in Giethoorn
- Discover Nieuw Land National Park: tips & things to do
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This article was published in May 2020. Last update with more tips: February 2023.
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