Zandvoort is both a municipality and a town located in the province of North Holland. Zandvoort is considered one of the biggest beach resorts in the country. Its long sandy beaches and coastal dunes attract tourists from all over the Netherlands and abroad during the warm summer months. Zandvoort is also the home of the country’s most prominent racing circuit: Circuit Park Zandvoort.
The town of Zandvoort dates all the way back to 1100. It was then known as Sandevoerde (“Sand” and “Voerde,” which means ford). The town was controlled by the Lords of Brederode until 1722.
Throughout much of Zandvoort’s history, fishing was a prominent part of the local economy. In the 19th century, the village began transforming into a seaside resort similar to the ones found in the UK at the time. The first resort was officially inaugurated in 1828. After the inauguration, tourists began flocking to Zandvoort. Elisabeth of Bavaria was a famous visitor who spent time in Zandvoort in 1884 and 1885.
The railway station located near the village’s coast opened in 1881, and in 1899, a tram connection to Haarlem was introduced. This made Zandvoort more accessible to tourists. One of the first Dutch fictional films was filmed in the village in 1905.
Zandvoort was damaged heavily during World War II. Beach access was prohibited on May 23, 1942 and the town was evacuated just a few months later. Streets and resorts were demolished in order to build the Atlantic Wall.
Once the war ended, the town flourished. The Circuit Park Zandvoort was built in 1948, which hosted the Dutch Grand Prix for many years. Today, the village continues to be a major seaside resort in the Netherlands. More than half of the village’s population is employed in the tourism industry.
Zandvoort Attractions and Beaches
Zandvoort’s pristine beaches are what attract tourists to the village each year. The beaches in the area are divided into different sections to allow tourists to truly enjoy their stay.
Zandvoort features an extensive naturist (nudist) beach that extends 2.5km. There are also more than 38 different pavilions along the beach that serve drinks and food.
On the sports beach, visitors can enjoy kite surfing, beach volleyball, hang gliding, wind surfing, paragliding and sailing. You also have the option of hiking or biking through the coastal dunes.
Circuit Park Zandvoort
If you’re a fan of racing, a trip the Circuit Park Zandvoort should be at the top of your must-see list. Circuit Park hosts a number of events throughout the year and tickets can be purchased ahead of time on their website.
The Holland Casino is also located in Zandvoort. In addition to gambling, visitors can also eat at one of the many restaurants in the casino or attend one of the many events throughout the year. If you wish to visit the casino, you will need to dress appropriately. The casino’s dress code is “Stylish and Well-Groomed.” Leave your beachwear at home and dress up for the occasion. You must also be at least 18 years of age to enter the casino.
The Zandvoort Circus was built in 1986, and is a fun arcade for both children and adults. Prizes can also be won here. The Zandvoort Circus has a separate floor that is dedicated to adults where they can play slot machines. A cinema complex is also located here that shows the latest releases.
Shopping and Dining
Zandvoort is a relatively small town, so there are no large shopping malls. However, there are plenty of small shops where you can purchase antiques, clocks, sweets, leather goods, gifts, sunglasses, beachwear and more.
Outdoor markets are held on occasional Sundays. Here, you can purchase leather items, cheese, paintings, clothing items, prints and even cakes. At Kaashoek (located on Haltestraat), you can purchase cheese, wines, breads, meats, pickles and specialty food items.
Getting Around Town
Zandvoort has excellent public transportation. The town has its own train station and is just a short ride away from Amsterdam. The line from Amsterdam to Zandvoort often stops in Haarlem along the way. The trains here run until midnight, and your return ticket will be valid until 4AM the following day. Seats are not reserved. Tickets can be purchased on the day of departure at the ticket counter or through the ticket machine.
During peak season, buses travel along the coastal boulevards. Tuk Tuks can also be found in town for shorter journeys.
Because Zandvoort is a small town, you can easily explore its shops, restaurants and beaches on foot. This is one of the best ways to really take in all the village has to offer. Much like other villages in the Netherlands, Zandvoort is also very bike friendly. There are several trails along the dunes and beaches. In town, you can rent a bicycle and explore the area’s beautiful landscape.