ZANDVOORT BEACH – a ride by the ripples

The promenade above Zandvoort – better than the beach itself.

As the watery sun broke through in a watery summer, the Olympics on the telly reminded me of my recent lack of athletic activity. So I set off on the bike to ride a 60km loop from Amsterdam to the beach and back.

It’s a good route, through my perennial favourite town Haarlem, down the leafy streets and past the stately homes of Bloemendaal, then into the Kennemer dunes.

Kennemer dunes – the closest hills to Amsterdam.

The excellent rolling cycle paths through the dunes offer the only hills anywhere near Amsterdam, so expect them to be very popular with fat old blokes in lycra, like me.

At the merest suspicion of sun, Zandvoort Beach becomes crowded with Dutch families, and also attracts a lot of German tourists. Numerous B&Bs advertise ‘Zimmer Frei’.

The Zandvoortians seem anxious to depict themselves as almost Australian. Why not? They’ve got a beach, haven’t they?

You can down a few cold tinnies of Fosters lager at the Boomerang Cafe…

…or rent a surfboard at Skyline – the ‘Australian Beach Bar’. Just don’t expect any crashing surf to use it on.

Merricks Beach, Victoria, Australia.

Zandvoort doesn’t look at all like any Australian beach I’m familiar with.

At some of the ones I know and like best, if anyone else comes along while you’re using it, they ask politely whether you’d mind sharing it.

If you politely say, ‘Sorry, we were here first so this beach is taken,’ they move on around the headland to find a more deserted one.

A visit to Zandvoort is more of a social occasion.

Zandvoort Beach is colour-coded…with a lemon zone…

…and an apricot zone.

At a Dutch beach the water is not really the point. Few people were swimming; many more were doing as I was, strolling along the promenade, looking for food, drink and entertainment.

At the haringkraam (herring stall) you can choose between a slimy raw herring or a plate of kibbeling – deep fried cod cheeks.

The standard may not be wonderful, but I applaud this initiative – a wall of artwork by local Zandvoort residents.

Though perhaps real Zandvoort residents take it for granted.

I did like this sculpture, though I don’t know who the artist was. Maybe someone can help me.

It seems unavoidable that there should be a noisy Kermis (fun fair) by the seaside…

…but there’s some peace and quiet too.


Filed under Cycle touring, Cycling, Holland

4 responses to “ZANDVOORT BEACH – a ride by the ripples

  1. Now, that’s what I call a cycle lane!

  2. Yvonne Louis

    Great to see Zandvoort Beach again. Back in my chambermaid days in the 60s it was less colourful and made me homesick for Bilgola and Avalon.

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