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What to plan during the February holiday break?

Writing from Amsterdam, we are still in a lockdown situation where school are closed. Other than discovering all the playgrounds in our city, walking around the forest, canals and our neighbourhood, there hasn't been much activity since the Christmas break.

In the NL, the government strongly advised avoiding travelling abroad, except for emergency reasons. Skiing hardly qualifies as an emergency, and this country is not blessed with high mountains, so it looks like we will have to skip the slopes, snow and fondue for this season.

It will be the first time we are bound to school holidays as our son will be leaving daycare and starting school on the 1st of Feb. Having spent quite a number of weeks at home (how many?😳), a getaway would be very welcome.

Here is our brief:

  • Stay within the borders of the Netherlands

  • Occupy most of 1 week

  • Activities must be relaxing, adventurous, tiring

  • We must enjoy the fresh air and beautiful scenery

  • We need to be able to self cater as the reopening of restaurants is totally unsure

  • We need comfort and a decent internet connection for a bit of work

  • Let's try and avoid too many people

I have just finalised our break for February and I think it will tick all the boxes.

How did I proceed?

I started by looking into Green Destinations. There are quite a few locations in The Netherlands and 2 of those really interested me: Berg en Dal and Schouwen-Duiveland. Both places are unknown to us and offer something completely different. We settled for the second one as the idea of staying on an island by the beach was really appealing to us. Berg en Dal will be high on the list for next time.

I have then spent time researching accommodations and different options. Most require you to stay for 6-7 nights as this is a school holiday.

I found a beautiful house located just 300 m from the Renesse beach.

After exchanging with the owners on activities and our requirements, we booked. We are really looking forward to refreshing walks on the beach, discovering the island and just relaxing in a different environment.

It might not be a faraway adventure yet, but this is all we can do for now.

If you are in the Netherlands, I have compiled some ideas on where to go during the school holidays. The advantage of living in such a small country is that everything is quite accessible, even for a day trip adventure

* The Hoge Veluwe

Recently voted the finest area of scenic beauty by Dutch people, this national park is a must see. Possibilities are endless, you can cycle around, go on long walks, discover palaces and museums. This is fun and fresh air guaranteed for all the family.

Photo by Jonne Laagland Winder on Unsplash

* The Coastline

Yes your idea of the best location for a February might not be the beach, but these places are definitely worth a visit. Bergen Aan Zee and Castricum aan Zee are personal favourites with beautiful wide beaches that have not been spoilt with large constructions. Easy parking, long walks.

Our windy Christmas eve walk at Castricum Aan Zee

* Roadtrip / Traintrip around Dutch cities

As tourists will not be coming to the Netherlands yet, and everything will still be quiet, this is the perfect time to go and explore the cities. By car or by train, you can easily plan a full itinerary. This is particularly suitable with slightly older children who can be more flexible. You can stay in a different hotel every night and support the best local restaurant. Amsterdam - Leiden - Delf - Gouda - Rotterdam - Dordrecht - Nijmegen make a good loop.

Photo of Nijmegen by Liam Read on Unsplash

Combine seclusion and comfort and move your day to day routine elsewhere.

Find self-catered accommodation on the beach, in the forest or the countryside using rental websites such as Natuurhuisje. I quite like this one as you can find out of the ordinary, remote and durable accommodation (tiny houses in the forest or cute cottages in small villages). It will at least give you inspiration to look at different kinds of options.

If you need something a bit more stimulation:

Stay in Hof Van Saksen

A classic, but still a good option. We visited this place a couple of times for long weekends during the previous lockdowns. So we actually never used all the amenities, but it gave a very welcome breath of fresh air and the kids were still entertained. Even with current restrictions, kids can enjoy great outdoor playgrounds, outdoor activities and arts and crafts supplied by the park.

Stay at Beekse Bergen. We stayed there over New Year's eve, have a read of the full review over here. It is unlikely that all the amenities will be open, but you will be able to see some interesting animals and wildlife up close.

And you, what is your brief? What are you planning?

I hope this gives you some ideas to for the February holiday break.

Maybe for the last time until borders re-open, be a tourist in your own country and go and explore on your doorstep.

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