Zandvoort, more than a seaside resort with a circuit

The fact that Zandvoort is a relatively small village does not detract from its liveliness. On the contrary. It is worthwhile to visit this seaside resort all year round. There is much more to do than just tan on the beach and dip your toes in the surf. A drink here, a snack there, some shopping on Sunday, it’s all possible. Zandvoort is more than just a seaside resort: a small village with great allure. Almost everything is within walking distance. Visitors can therefore easily hop back and forth between the many events and activities.

Zandvoort in bird’s-eye view

  • Beach and beach pavilions
  • The village
  • Circuit Park Zandvoort
  • Formula 1 returns
  • Environment and animals
  • Traffic and parking
  • Events and activities
  • Stay overnight

 

Beach and beach pavilions

It used to be customary for all beach tents to cover their tracks on October 1 and rebuild in March, but nowadays most pavilions stay on the beach for much longer and there are no tents anymore. There are also more and more permanent beach pavilions, which are open all year round. It is special to see how an empty beach is suddenly built up and lively again. There is a great diversity in the beach pavilions, everyone does their best to offer something unique. And that is not easy, the competition is fierce. Some organize large parties almost every day in the summer, with live music and barbecues. The beach pavilions also tend to become larger and larger. For example, there is a separate area for lounging, a terrace for a quiet bite to eat, a room for dancing and of course an opportunity to enjoy the sun on a bed. Themes provide extra cachet. For example, there are pavilions that are completely focused on Australia or Cuba in terms of design and menu. The price is another thing that can vary considerably: low budget and high class are of course represented.
Source: Tpsdave, Pixabay Boulevard
The boulevard runs along the wide, flat beach. In 2016, the municipality placed palm trees and seasonal shops on the boulevard for the first time, to suggest the holiday feeling of an exotic seaside resort. On Fenemaplein, tourists like to take photos of themselves and each other, sitting on the bench where a statue of the famous sculptor Kees Verkade has been placed, complete with walking stick and cap. Flags hang at the beach entrances to alert bathers to special circumstances: jellyfish, dangerous mice or other situations, which are clearly explained on a sign. On the beach you will find a surfing school, but also the rescue brigade that offers a helping hand to many tourists every year. Beach beds or so-called bananas (semi-closed tent against wind and sun) can be rented at various beach pavilions. The herring carts are becoming more and more numerous and luxurious. There is even one with a complete concrete seating area.

The village

The village-like character of Zandvoort is attractive to tourists, while the hustle and bustle and liveliness are more suited to a big city. This combination makes Zandvoort a unique mix of styles and possibilities, for the young and hip but also for the older and relaxed. After a day at the beach you can easily walk to the village. Here you will find a large and varied range of various shops. Shopping for clothes in Zandvoort is a pleasure for every fashionista because of the close shopping streets and unique boutiques. Here too, there is something for every wallet and every taste. In addition to fashion, there is a variety of gift shops and curiosities. From (gem)stones to Chinese specialties, from car and motorcycle miniatures to comic and movie gadgets, from home accessories to tattoos, it is all available.
Catering
You will find most catering establishments around Kerkplein and Haltestraat. For example, home of Team Bleekemolen Chin-Chin, where hip parties are celebrated after a weekend of racing. Or café Laurel & Hardy and Art Deco café Neuf. On the Passage is the famous pizzeria La Fontanella (nicknamed the Nose), where in recent days the Ferrari Formula 1 team came to eat. The antique photos of that still hang on the wall. Not only can you enjoy delicious food in the beach bars, you will find specialties throughout the village such as a poffertjes restaurant, and for fish lovers an old Zandvoort fish restaurant or sushi lounge. Do you prefer Thai, Greek, Chinese, Indian or Kebab? Zandvoort has it all.
Sunday
Most shops, at least the supermarkets, are also open on Sundays almost all year round. This does not alter the fact that there is opportunity for devout people to attend church on Sundays. There are two churches in Zandvoort, one Catholic and one Protestant, that ring their bells in the morning to publicize the start of their service. Lovers of classical music can also regularly enjoy concerts here.
Source: Public domain, Wikimedia Commons (PD)

Circuit Park Zandvoort

The famous Zandvoort circuit is a huge attraction and has a long history of winners and losers, of fame and risk. In the past there have been many casualties during the then primitively secured races. Nowadays, safety regulations and measures both on the track and on the vehicles have improved enormously. Of course, the spectacle is what attracts the visitor: big slides and slides in the Tarzan bend, who would want to miss them? Fortunately, the damage is now usually limited to flying plastics and lots and lots of rubber on the asphalt from the screeching tires. The Pentecost races, with a multitude of motorsport series and spectacular demonstrations, have traditionally been popular (and therefore very popular). If possible, the Jumbo Race Days exceed that popularity, ‘featuring’ Max Verstappen.

Formula 1 returns

It has been quite some time since there were last Formula 1 races at Zandvoort. Yet all those years there was still a desire to bring back the premier class of motorsport here. The last Formula 1 race was held in 1985 ‘at Zandvoort’, as it is known in technical terms. However, since 2018, the discussion surrounding Formula 1 has become topical again, because Zandvoort had entered into a battle with Assen to get a Dutch Grand Prix on the Formula 1 calendar again. The mayor and aldermen announced in March 2019 that they were prepared to invest 4 million euros in this. On March 26, the Zandvoort municipal council agreed to this decision. On May 14, 2019, it was definitively confirmed that the Zandvoort circuit will return to the Formula 1 calendar in 2020. At first a lot of work had to be done. Adjustments to both the circuit and the track were necessary. A more extensive timetable should make it possible to accommodate the large flow of visitors from Haarlem to Zandvoort. The race will officially be called Heineken Dutch Grand Prix and was to take place on May 3, 2020, until it was announced in March of that year that all events would be suspended until further notice due to the globally advancing corona virus Covid-19. The new date set for the return of Formula 1 to Zandvoort will be September 5, 2021.

Experiences

There is plenty to do on the circuit almost all year round, even for non-racing enthusiasts. The Bleekemolen racing family organizes numerous activities and experiences. And Rob Slotemaker’s famous slip school is a place to unite the useful with the pleasant. There are also days for owners and enthusiasts of Italian and English motorcycles and cars, where you can drive your own vehicle on the circuit. Numerous stalls and stands can easily keep visitors off the street for a day during events. Events for classics, drift experiences, demonstrations, and even a Circuit Run for runners, these are just a few of the wide range on offer.
Source: Peterdehaan, Pixabay

Environment and animals

Nearby areas where tourists like to visit from Zandvoort are Haarlem, Bloemendaal and the dunes. There is plenty of opportunity for cycling and walking in the area. For example via the Visscherspad to Kraantje Lek. It is also possible to go horse riding. An outdoor ride on the beach or through the dunes is a wonderful way for riders to get a breath of fresh air. The same applies to dogs and their owners. The beach is accessible to dogs, even in the summer period. In the summer, the restriction applies that the beach must be left before 9 a.m. (2017) and that the beach may only be re-entered with the dog after 7 p.m. From October to March, dogs are allowed on the beach all day. However, there is a clean-up obligation all year round, which is made easier by means of vending machines with dog waste bags at every beach entrance. In the summer there are plenty of rubbish bins everywhere on the beach to put them in. Stray dogs are welcome in the dunes all year round. Only the Kraansvlak, the area where the Bison (European bison) live, is fenced and prohibited for dogs. Hikers are allowed to climb over the fence here using steps to follow the Bison Trail, provided it is open and provided that they adhere to the safety regulations.
Wild
Source: Kenny Bol, Flickr (CC BY-2.0) You can meet wild animals everywhere in and around Zandvoort. Deer, deer, foxes, rabbits, seagulls, a burden for some but a pleasure for others. The animals are sometimes very brutal, which can cause nuisance. Tourists usually find it wonderful to see such a cheeky seagull that comes to steal cookies and sandwiches from your bath towel or even from your bag. But the operators of the beach bars usually advise against feeding the animals, because not all guests appreciate their precious steak being stolen from the plate, not to mention the poop nuisance. Opinions are also divided about deer. It is a special spectacle to find them in an unexpected place, such as the station. But understandably, this can still lead to dangerous situations.

Traffic and parking

If you come to Zandvoort by car, parking is sometimes difficult but not expensive. In winter there is a lower rate than in summer. Parking must be paid daily from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Parking outside these times is free. If you want to find a free spot, you will have to walk a bit or take the bus. Free parking is only available at the Noord dunes and in the Nieuw Noord district (2017). If you have the option to spend the night in Zandvoort, choose to arrive after 8 p.m. Most beach guests then leave the seaside resort for home and the chance of driving quietly and finding a parking space is greater. If you are only staying for a day, it is advisable to arrive before 10:00 am. You’ll be ahead of the biggest crowds. In both cases, it is preferable to leave before 3 p.m. For the same reason.
Access roads
A small downside: because Zandvoort is located on the coast and is quite small, there are only two access roads and they are stuck at the slightest activity. It is therefore certainly advisable to take this into account upon arrival and departure. Anyone who knows the way and the ins and outs of Zandvoort can easily avoid the crowds. Traveling by train or by motorcycle is of course also an option to avoid traffic jams. On summer days with events, traffic is often diverted with signs that want to direct you via the Zeeweg. It is better to ignore this and just drive via Heemstede, Aerdenhout and Bentveld. Especially if there is an event on the circuit that you don’t want to go to that day. The Zeeweg is then jammed for hours with circuit visitors, who were too stubborn to park outside the village and commute to the circuit with one of the countless services.

Events and activities

Source: Spinheike, PixabayZandvoort has a (Holland) casino, an event hall (the Circus), two golf clubs, a kitesurfing school, two riding schools and a mountain bike club. But that’s not all. On New Year’s Day there is the well-known New Year’s dive. In the summer the village is decorated with sand sculptures that are part of the European Championship. These will remain in the village until the autumn. Every year, many vintage cars drive through the village during the popular Concours dElegance. Another special feature is the Beachcombers mu-ZEE-um, which exhibits items that have been taken away by the sea and washed up again in Zandvoort. From message in a bottle to a piece of metal from a NASA rocket. And then there are the many summer festivals (freely accessible), exhibitions, jazz festivals and the fair.

Stay overnight

The Center Parcs holiday park is located between the village and the circuit. There is a swimming pool here that is accessible to everyone, including guests from outside the park. In addition, there are Zimmers Frei guesthouses on every corner of every street. Private individuals rent rooms to tourists and those looking for something more luxurious can go to one of the many hotels. Finally, on the north side of Zandvoort (Boulevard Barnart) there are three campsites. A reservation can be quickly arranged through the local tourist office. This small seaside resort is accessible for every budget for a day out or a holiday stay.

Zandvoort

Legend
A . Kerkplein
B . La Fontanella
C . Chin-Chin
D . Roman Catholic Church
E . Statue Kees Verkade
F . Riding school Rückert
G . Riding school De Baarshoeve
H . Visscherspad
I . Tap Leak