12 Things to do in IJmuiden & Velsen, Holland
These are my carefully selected 12 travel tips in IJmuiden & Velsen, if you are considering sightseeing just outside of Amsterdam! Including hidden gems like Duin & Kruidberg, Brederode Castle, IJmuiden Beach and Fortress Island.
Amsterdam, a city famed for its bustling summer tourism, can often feel overcrowded. That's why exploring the lesser-known yet equally charming areas of IJmuiden and Velsen, situated just 30 minutes west of Amsterdam, offers a refreshing escape. These destinations provide a serene alternative to the tourist-heavy Amsterdam, showcasing the authentic Dutch experience often missed in popular guides.
1. Fortress Island
Known in Dutch as Forteiland, built in 1881 and part of the defense line of Amsterdam. Biggest bunker complex on the coast line of Holland.
2. Sea & Harbor Museum
Outlines the history of the IJmuiden harbor town and the construction of the North-sea-canal which connects Amsterdam directly to the North-Sea.
One of the best restaurants in IJmuiden with a bunch of fantastic burgers!
Alternatively, grab brunch at the Boscbeek, a cozy up-scale restaurant near the outer region of Velsen.
5. Brederode Castle
The oldest castle of Holland is located in Velsen and was built in 700 AD by the Brederode family. Sadly it has been through many wars and a few ruins are left standing.
6. Duin & Kruidberg
A fully restored country estate with one of the most gorgeous patio bars in Holland, this place is worth a coffee pitstop while cycling through the country side. Don't forget to try the bitterballs!
The oldest part of the region, Village Velsen was split in half due to the construction of the north-sea-canal, it is a tiny little gem with the oldest church of Holland: the Engelmunduskerk.
8. Dance Valley
One of the biggest music festivals of the Netherlands takes place the second Saturday of August and usually enjoy 6 to 7 stages with different music genres. It is a must-visit for any EDM fan.
9. IJmuiden Beach
The largest and best beach in Holland, this widely stretched beach is just a 40 minute bus ride from Amsterdam central station, make sure to check it out on a sunny Dutch day.
While at the IJmuiden Beach grab a delicious fish dish at Zilt-aan-Zee or any of the other beach pavilions like the Beach-inn, these places won't disappoint!
The oddest place in IJmuiden must be Snowplanet, an entire indoor snow hill for skiers and snowboarders to brush up on their skills before the winter.
12. Santpoort Festival Week
The most popular festival in Velsen is called the Santpoortse Feestweek where locals party every day for a week straight during the second week of August. A true place to connect with the Dutch locals!
IJmuiden, my hometown, has always held a special place in my heart, yet it was only recently that I considered creating a travel guide for this hidden gem. Known for hosting some of the largest festivals in Holland, such as Dance Valley, IJmuiden offers a vibrant cultural scene that's a must-experience.
When it comes to dining in IJmuiden, Bunch is a standout choice. Located on the bustling Langenieuw shopping street, Bunch serves up mouthwatering burgers, perfectly complemented by a side of Indonesian sate with sauce, a testament to the Netherlands' rich culinary diversity.
Velsen, on the other hand, is a haven for food enthusiasts. With exquisite dining options like Boschbeek, Zilt-aan-Zee, and Duin & Kruidberg, the area is renowned for its exceptional local cuisine, offering a range of delightful culinary experiences from brunch to dinner.
The beach in IJmuiden is arguably the most spectacular in Holland. On a sunny summer day, it's absolutely worth the 40-minute road trip from Amsterdam Central Station or the scenic hour-long bus journey. The pristine beach and the serene ambiance make it an ideal spot for a day of relaxation and sunbathing.
For those looking to delve deeper into the local culture, trying a Dutch sate or goulash croquette at the neighborhood snack bars is a must. These can be found along the main shopping streets. Additionally, IJmuiden's sizable fishing harbors offer an opportunity to savor traditional Dutch herring with onions, a staple in the local cuisine.
Another not-to-be-missed attraction is the historic Brederode Castle in the countryside. Although it has been a witness to numerous wars, resulting in its partial ruin, the remaining tower stands as a symbol of resilience and history, making it an ideal destination for a family day out.
One of the highlights of returning to IJmuiden each year is the Santpoort Festival Week. This event is a perfect occasion to immerse oneself in Dutch culture and mingle with the locals, offering an authentic taste of the Netherlands.
I am eager to hear if this article has been useful to you. Your feedback is invaluable, so please leave a comment below sharing which place intrigued you the most. If you're curious about any specific location mentioned, don't hesitate to ask for more information. Your interest and interaction help in making these guides more comprehensive and tailored to your interests. As as special tip; attend the Sail tall ships festival and watch thousands of ships cruise through the North-sea-canal.