One of the reasons I moved from Amsterdam to Haarlem was to enjoy the nature more, vicinity of the sea and a Zuid-Kennemerland National Park.
So, when the last weekend, the weather forecast showed a beautiful sunny day, we decided to take our bicycles and cycle from Haarlem to IJmuiden. And we chose a longer but more beautiful way, through the Zuid-Kennemerland National Park.
How to get there from Amsterdam?
# – Zuid-Kennemerland National Park is easily accessible from Amsterdam. You should take a train to Haarlem (departs every 10 minutes) and it will take you some 15 minutes to get there.
# – You can take your bicycle to the train with you or rent one in Haarlem (you can rent it on Haarlem train station).
# – From Haarlem, you should bike towards the Zuid-Kennemerland National Park and then follow the signs to IJmuiden when there.
# – You can download the map here.
National Park – Visitors Centre
The best place to start your visit is De Kennemerduinen. This is the main entrance to the National park (the entrance is free of charge) and you’ll need some 20 minutes to get there on the bike from Haarlem train station. In a Visitors Centre, you can learn about the National park, the species that are living there and get some brochures and a map of the area.
There is a cafe there as well, so you can enjoy a cup of coffee or a pastry before the ride.
One of the most amazing things to me during the ride through the National park was a constant change of landscape. We started with hilly fields, then came to the deeper forest and find ourselves in a sandy dune in the next moment.
I’ve experienced that before on a Texel Island and really loved it there as well.
Being used to very flat Dutch landscapes, little hills and beautiful views we could enjoy from a top of them was something so relaxing. It’s funny how when you’re in nature you suddenly realise how much you were missing it.
Dunes are quite an unusual form of a landscape. At one point they look like a desert, but they are actually really important source of fresh drinking water and are home to many different species of flora and fauna. Besides a lot of birds, we saw a deer and a highland cattle, as well.
There is no fence between you and the animals which makes you feel even more connected with nature.
Lunch in IJmuiden
We were biking for around one hour before coming to IJmuiden and since we took quite a tempo I was so ready for a nice lunch when we got there.
I have my favourite restaurant in IJmuiden which is located in a port next to the place where ferries for Newcastle are departing. They have daily fresh fish and if you like it the same as I do, I can’t recommend it more.
After an amazing lunch in Kop Van De Haven Restaurant and some rest, it was time to go back to Haarlem. This time we took a shorter way by following the main road and we were back home in some 40 minutes.
It was such a well-spent afternoon by biking through the Dutch dunes that I’m really looking forward to the next sunny weekend to do the same!