MAY 2021

As you may have already read we recently stayed at campsite De Lakens in the Bloemendaal area. We loved our stay in Bloemendaal as you can do many activities in this region, we even were short of time. In this blogpost you will read all my recommendations for the Bloemendaal area, including some that are more off the beaten path. Make sure to bring a car, because there are endless possibilities if you have your own transport!

Bloemendaal itself

Bloemendaal is almost synonymous to the beach. The beach is incredibly stretched and reaches all the way to Zandvoort. We only visited the beach for a small sunset mission because the beach clubs were still closed and we found the wind too heavy for our little one. From what I could see the beach clubs in this area were pretty stylish and I liked the isolated location of many of them, unfortunately I have no recommendations…

I also really liked driving around Bloemendaal itself and in the area. This is one of the wealthiest areas of The Netherlands and that translates to enormous, beautiful houses. I loved the flowery mansions between Haarlem and Bloemendaal, but the houses in Aerdenhout were even more impressive. I cannot believe having to maintain houses that big, but I guess when you can afford that you have personnel anyway 😉

National Park Zuid-Kennemerland

A big part of the municipality of Bloemendaal consists of National Park Zuid Kennemerland, a protected area that mainly consists of dunes on a plateau where you can spot the European bison. You can rent a bike to cycle in this area, but we took the stroller out for a walk. I loved climbing on the dunes to enjoy the view!


It’s been quite some time that I have been to Haarlem and I couldn’t reminder that it was so lovely. Haarlem looks like Amsterdam, but is a lot less crowded. My cousin lives in Haarlem so she took us on a walking tour with Haarlem’s hotspots and beautiful corners. I would love to go back once the restaurants are open, because I spotted many interesting restaurants with cuisine from all over the world! When you venture a little bit off the main shopping street of Haarlem you will find many boutique style and specialty shops. Haarlem also has a nice supply of museums, so if you are interested in culture Haarlem is a really good spot to visit.

The famous Gravestenenbrug makes a quintessential Haarlem picture
Windmill De Adriaan is located in the middle of the city center
Did I find Banksy in Haarlem?
My private Haarlem guide even found me flower spots!


From Bloemendaal you can easily drive to Amsterdam, which is what we did for one day. We parked at the NDSM wharf, where I had never been before. This is also my budget Amsterdam parking tip as we paid only € 1,40 per hour. The NDSM wharf is known for its colorful street art on an old shipping wharf, they even boast an enormous work by Kobra who painted Anne Frank. I loved Kobra’s work in Brazil, so was super happy to find him in Amsterdam! Lots of the old factories have now transformed into hip restaurants and the IJ-hallen hosts an enormous flee market on some days, on which you can find information here. We ordered lunch from restaurant IJver and were surprised at the originality of our sandwiches. We ate them in our van, because the terraces were not open yet when we visited, but IJver also has a lovely outdoor terrace, from which you can admire the street art and passing skaters. If you are looking for a special night away you can rent a room at Crane Hotel Faralda. Yes you heard it, this is a hotel located in a crane that offers amazing views over Amsterdam for just € 700 a night 😉

After our visit to the NDSM wharf we took the public transport boat (IJ pont) to the Amsterdam city center. This boat is free and connects the NDSM wharf to the Central Station each 30 minutes. The boat takes about 15 minutes to drop you off in the city center. I always love to walk around the canals and to visit the Negen Straatjes in Amsterdam, so that is exactly what we did in the afternoon.

Amsterdam in tulip season!

Flower fields

Between Bloemendaal and Castricum you can usually find tulip fields. However nature was pretty late this year, so you could not find many fields in these surroundings. Therefore we headed in the direction of Hillegom and Lisse where the tulips just started to pop up from the ground. I always visit and buy tulips at Jan van der Slot in Voorhout. We were even able to take the drone out on the hyacinth fields, which smelled super lovely. Another fun discovery was the gimmicky The Tulip Barn in Hillegom, where you could take pictures with the tulips and fun objects for € 4 per person. Once this blog goes live you will be too late for the tulip fields, but make sure to visit in April/May 2022. Full tulip blog post coming soon!

Zee van Staal

This is a small park that features large steel constructions in a dune area near IJmuiden. It is sponsored by next door Tata Steel. Hielke was really impressed by these steel statues and I liked how they were placed in the landscape. Definitely an off the beaten path recommendation!

Broek in Waterland & De Rijp

If you drive away from Bloemendaal for just a tiny bit you will find many historic villages such as Broek in Waterland & De Rijp. I wrote a separate blogpost about them, which you can find here.


  1. It was a great honour to have you, Hielke, and Hugo come to visit us and show you a little bit of Haarlem! And your van is super cute. Love to go to a restaurant together sometime Sion!
    Love the pictures ❤️

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