The Hidden Beauty of Renesse (Zeeland) in the Netherlands
While most people go to the Netherlands to experience Amsterdam, the famous city of for example “The Fault in Our Stars”, the Netherlands offers kilometres of golden sand, an amazing windsurfing experience and bubbly seadogs that sometimes even come close to the beach.
Ever since I was 3 I’ve been going to Zeeland at least twice a year. It offers something for everyone of all ages.
Here are some of the best things to see and do in Renesse and Zeeland.
Now I’m personally not a big fan of loud parties, but for everyone, that is: The centre of Renesse at night turns into a local hotspot.
It offers anything from arcades, pubs, clubs, casinos to a bowling centre. You can listen to live music, dance and drink a good (though sometimes overpriced) cocktail and get to know the Dutch way of partying. Almost every special day of the year (like Whitsun holidays, Halloween, etc.), they offer special entertainment and big parties. But even on just normal weekends, it’s a good place to have a drink and dance.
The surf schools are there for a reason! One of the best surfing spots in the Netherlands is only a 10-minute drive away!
At the Nordzeestrand or the Grevelinger Meer you will find a colourful mix of kites and windsurfers at almost every time of the year (yes, even in late autumn when the water temperatures have decreased there are some brave soul surfers).
It really does not matter if you’re a beginner or a pro. There are lessons for everyone and even if you don’t fancy surfing that much you can just sit at one of the beach cafes, drink coffee and eat a typical Dutch pancake while watching other people fly through the sea.
My tip: If you’re just looking for some sort of adrenaline without surfing, there is a huge slide called Waterjump in Brouwersdam that will make you fly in the air, before falling into the sea!
There are lots of beaches nearby, and every couple of meters you’ll find a nice beach restaurant/ cafe.
You can reach the local beach either by walking, by bike, or if you hate both you can drive to the Nordzeestrand, where you’ll be able to park your car right by the sand. It can get a bit crowded during the main holiday time, but if you prefer a quieter place you can simply walk a bit and will usually find a nice place to relax, without tons of children throwing sand at you.
There will always be a little beach cafe close by and they always offer good coffee and the typical Dutch food like Pancakes, fries, and Poffertjes (which you should really try, they’re yum and I hate not being able to buy them in my home country).
The beaches are a dog paradise by the way. During the main holiday season in summer, they officially tell you to keep them on a leash until 7 pm, but your dog will love it! You will also see a lot of horses when staying for a while.
If you’re lucky you will get to meet some cheeky seadogs. They usually lie at a sandbank which you can see more clearly when bringing binoculars, but sometimes a brave one comes closer to the humans. I wouldn’t recommend swimming to close to them though. I’ve tried once and they actually are huge!
Fun for kids: Camping in the Netherlands
While you will find every age group in Renesse, it is a paradise for kids!
The campground “Julianahoeve” has many playgrounds (in and outdoors), an indoor swimming pool and offers lots of entertainment. It’s safe for kids to ride their bike around by themselves and since there are many, they’ll quickly find new friends.
Downside: Julianahoeve doesn’t allow dogs.
Renesse is the perfect place for a cycling tour. You can ride your bike for kilometres through the beautiful dune landscapes, as well as to some pretty little close by villages. There are many bike rentals, so you don’t necessarily need to bring your own one. You’ll get to see cute Dutch houses, great landscapes and a little workout after all those pancakes (you’ll thank me later).
I bike ride that is a little bit longer, but definitely worth it is a trip to the near city Zierikzee. It’s about 20 kilometres one way and a nice day trip along the dyke. Maybe not the best activity for a windy day (okay, actually the worst when the wind is blowing in the wrong direction) but perfect for bike lovers. Oh, and while already speaking about Zierikzee:
Day trips to cute Villages
I guess I start to sound like an advertisement, but after 15 years of going there, I still enjoy it! There are lots of cute villages close to Renesse that can be reached either by foot (although I don’t recommend it), bike, car or the local buses.
If you’re like me and like to look at cute houses, stroll along harbours and always search for the best Cappucino you will definitely enjoy a day trip to a nice Dutch village.
Here are some examples of places you could visit
- Middleburgh: Not really a little village, great for shopping and about half an hour drive from Renesse
- Goes: The less touristy version of Middleburgh. Definitely worth a visit!
- Burgh Hamstede: Can easily be reached by bike and has some really nice cafes and restaurants. My recommendation: Visit the weekly night market.
- Renesse: I haven’t been talking about the city centre yet! My personal favourites: The ice cream palace “IJssalon Geleijnse” and the weekly night market. It also has some cute bohemian shops that a worth a look
- Zierikzee: The little sister of Middleburgh. A bit closer and a bit smaller, but also good for shopping and filled with lots of great cafes and restaurants and a little cute harbour.
- Veere & Ouddorp: Also have a pretty harbour and many old houses
- Westkapelle: Now I’ve personally only been there once a while ago, but I remember it being a bit upper class, very pretty and expensive
For more details you can check: