Adventures on our doorstep: Exploring Zeeland
Note that this was written when The Netherlands was still in 'lockdown' with all shops and restaurants closed.
Skiing and travelling abroad were not options this year, so we decided to spend the week by the sea, in the fresh air. We are so happy we did it. Never thought February would have been a good time, but that week matched a mini heatwave in the Netherlands (a few days above 15 degrees for this time of year is unheard of), so we were lucky.
The island, Renesse and the house
We decided to explore Zeeland, a region about 2 hours south of Amsterdam. It is apparently the province that has the most sun in the whole country (yay☀️). We chose to stay on Schouwen-Duiveland, a certified Green Destination and we rented a lovely home in Renesse, the beach destination.
The village has everything you need and I can imagine would be quite alive in season (and in normal circumstances). Bike rental, a decent supermarket, ice cream shops, an independent wine shop and a few restaurant options make the stay in Renesse perfectly self sufficient.
Our house, owned by a lovely couple, was located 300 m from the beach and had everything we needed. Fireplace inside and outside, trampoline, 3 bedrooms and a fully equipped kitchen (with 3 coffee machine options!).
What to do, other than hang out at the beach?
First thing, score (electric) bikes. We managed to get a decent bakfiets that could transport the small humans, snacks and all the beach gear necessary. I mention electric, because, as much as this country is flat, the island has a few interesting hills that would have been very (very) challenging without assisted power.
This itinerary made for a perfect day out. 18km and quite a few interesting sights:
In Burgh Haamsteede
Stop at the Pannekoekenmolen to visit the windmill, enjoy the playground and obviously, have some pancakes. Visit De zoete suikerbol, a super cute old bakery and pack some sweet treats for the journey.
Once you get to the cycle path by the beach (after a pretty steep hill), just enjoy the rest of the journey, stop along on the beautiful beaches. The final stop should be Strandpavillion Corazon for a well deserved drink and lunch. They were serving very decent pizzas during the weekend and we really enjoyed the setting. I can only imagine how cool this place would be normally.
Head to this quaint village on a Thursday for market day. Enjoy a leisurely walk around, small boutiques, a beautiful square and maybe even a museum (not open when we visited). The harbour has pretty cool 'pirate' and fishing boats.
Try the kibbeling at Saman on the Visstraat, it was delicious.
There seemed to be quite a few nice restaurants ... to try next time.
Go fish and oyster shopping
De heerenkeet is a nice looking restaurants (I wish we had tried), but just next door, there is a fishmonger you must visit to get your supplies. The fish is fresher than fresh, it's a must, you cannot go wrong.
We basically spent our days cycling around, stopping on every beach, chatting to horses and just enjoying those simple moments.
I would love to go back and visit a different part of Zeeland.
The owner of the windmill we visited told us the island goes from 25,000 to 125,000 inhabitants in the summer. The nearby 'Gall & Gall' is apparently the busiest in The Netherlands! The roads must be packed and that feeling of tranquillity and disconnection is probably not there.
I definitely recommend visiting Zeeland 'off season'. This would be a perfect getaway for the Easter break and May long weekends.
Do you have more questions about our experience, or would like some help to organise something on the island? Feel free to reach out to have a chat