The Kennemer Dunes National Park is a great escape from Amsterdams busy city center. A long stretched area full of sand, trees, all kind of grasses and little lakes. It’s a walk with a bit of hills, which is not always the case in the Netherlands 😉
You can choose exactly how long you want to hike. Just an hour or maybe even the whole day. With different routes, everything is possible. Just ask at the information center what might be best for you.
Best time of year depends on your preferences. I love summer because of the weather, autumn for the colors and spring because finally the cold winter is over!
For routes: we usually just start to walk and at some point return, not following any specific path. I like it that the paved paths are crossed by the sandy ones, you can take either one of them. Do note though that the paved ones are also used by bikes.
Things to do
The little lakes you’ll encounter are a great spot for a picknick. Bring your own food and just find a good spot in the sand at one of the little lakes. Or in summer, go swim with the kids. I am not sure if you’re allowed to get in all the water you’ll encounter, but some places are swimming spots for sure.
The lakes are also beautiful at sunset! Just note there is no lights in here of course, so enjoy your sun down at a lake near the exit.
If you don’t want to get your food halfway through your journey, you can also grab a bite at one of the restaurants surrounding the park.
How to get there
There are multiple ways to reach the Kennemerduinen. We mostly go by car, which is great because you can choose any starting point you’d like. Note that there are a lot of fences around the park (google maps shows them as blue, straight lines) so you can’t just park your car anywhere and enter. It’s recommended to start at ‘Bezoekerscentrum Kennemerduinen’ at the Zeeweg 12, Overveen or at the Bergweg 30, Bloemendaal. Just right after the hockey club.
Both entrees will give you a little lake just after the start.
We made the wrong move this time and parked our car just along the park somewhere, which forced us to walk a long time through Bloemendaal to find the entrance. Which by the way isn’t a punishment. There are some of the most beautiful villages along the way, since this is a very rich part of the Netherlands. I found some houses I would love to live in, including this tree hut 😉
If you go by train I’d suggest you get to station Overveen, only 23 minutes from Amsterdam Central station. Once arrived, follow the N200 by foot in the direction of the sea. After 15 to 20 minutes walk you’ll find the Bezoekerspark Kennemerduinen on your right, from where you can start your hike. You can go through the dunes and back, or reach the sea and end with a beach walk. We did that before, and I loved it! Sunsets here are amazing!
For the train back to Amsterdam you can go from Zandvoort or Sandpoort-Noord.
Check the map in this link for routes and an overview of the area, when going by train.
Or get yourself a nice little B&B in the surroundings. It will be more calming than the busy Amsterdam can ever be 😉