Visiting Katwijk at Sea | Tips from a local

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I have lived in Katwijk for more than 20 years. So I can say that I am writing this article as a local 😊 And although I am probably biased, I think Katwijk aan Zee is one of the most beautiful coastal towns in the Netherlands 😍 Katwijk does not attract mass tourism like Scheveningen or Zandvoort and is therefore so authentic. In Katwijk you will find more local entrepreneurs than chains in the shopping street and no large hotels but personal B&Bs. In this blog post I give you the best insider tips for a stay in Katwijk aan Zee

visiting katwijk aan zee

Where to stay in Katwijk aan Zee?

Katwijk has no large hotels, but many small, personal houses where you can stay very comfortably. I like that much more! It makes your visit to Katwijk very special. It is smart to choose an accommodation close to the center or the beach. That way you get the most out of your visit to Katwijk. Below are 2 accommodations that I highly recommend 😊

katwijk aan zee hotel strand loopafstand

Beach House For You

The beach house for you is a great place to stay. It is a very nice house at 5 minutes walking distance from the beach ☀️ In addition, you can also walk into the dunes from here and stay close to the cozy center of Katwijk.

The cottage is fully equipped. It is also a nice place to stay in winter because there is a fireplace.

A plus to this house is the personal contact. The landlords are real Katwijkers and incredibly nice. Because they are also locals, they can help you share nice places. I also know them personally and therefore know exactly what I recommend. At they get a 9.7 so I’m not the only enthusiast 😜

huisje op strand strandhuisje katwijk aan zee uitzicht op zee

Beach houses

Katwijk has had amazing beach houses are on the beach. If you book an overnight stay here, you can easily step from your bed onto the beach with a sea view 😍 In the evening you can enjoy the sunset and at night you can hear the waves of the sea. Here you can really completely relax.

The houses are not big, but you often live outside during such a stay. The center and nice restaurants are close by. All within walking distance. And you can walk straight into the dunes from here.

Tip: in the early and late season there are no beach huts for the locals, so you have an unobstructed view of the sea 🙂Check availability here .

Climb the fire beacon (lighthouse)

Yes, I can imagine that this sounds more like a ‘tourist tip’ than a real ‘local tip’, but a visit to the ‘Vuurbaak’ is great fun, even for me as a local 😊 De Vuurbaak is an icon in Katwijk and offers very nice views over the beach, the sea and the typical red roofs of Katwijk. You can also see the White Church and the dunes. And you wouldn’t be in Katwijk if you didn’t hear seagulls screaming 😜

Caution: You must have good mobility, because you will have to brave some steep stairs.
During your climb you will see all kinds of information and objects from the past. This way you learn something about the history of the Katwijkers and the lighthouse itself.

De Vuurbaak is only open in the summer months. From 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. (subject to change). The Fire Beacon is closed on Sundays. Entry costs only €1, I believe. Where do you find that nowadays? 🙂 You can’t pay by card, so keep that in mind.

lighthouse katwijk aan zee visiting
lighthouse katwijk aan zee visiting

ice cream at Krijn Verdoes

I personally rate it as the best ice cream I’ve ever eaten. Still. Every time I get ice cream elsewhere it’s not as good as at Krijn Verdoes in Katwijk 😅 Krijn Verdoes is the local pastry chef. Here every Katwijker gets his cakes, tarts, oliebollen with New Year’s Eve, chocolate letters with Sinterklaas, etc.

The baker has been making his own ice cream for a few years now and that was a hit. I worked for a while as a freelancer for a marketing agency in Katwijk. During an assignment I was allowed to follow the process of making ice cream. I found that very interesting. The ice cream master is full of passion and told me all about the ice cream, the ingredients and the way he makes it. The flavor of the ice cream is made from natural products. There is therefore no crazy taste such as ‘Smurf ice cream’. Forget the ice cream shops on the Boulevard and get your ice cream at Krijn. Highly recommended! ❤️

Tip: my favorite flavors are Katwijk’s dream ice cream and stroopkoeken. The syrup cakes are a kind of specialty of Krijn anyway and you can also buy them in the store. I sometimes treat them. Katwijkse Knip is also really a Katwijk specialty that you can buy at Krijn.

Krijn Verdoes is open all year round, but ice cream sales only take place between April and October.

📍Voorstraat 21

Tourist market and summer activities

In summer it is high season and there is no cozier place than Katwijk. Every year a lot of activities are organized where you as a tourist can also have a really nice day. In the high season, for example, there is a tourist market in the center every Tuesday. It’s called ‘tourist market’ but almost every Katwijker I know goes there every year. The whole center is then full of market stalls. There is also music. The stalls in the main shopping street are always the same, but at the square ‘Andreasplein’ there is a different theme every week with different stalls and activities.

The flower parade also takes place in August. Below you can see some pictures of it. Tip: many people view the flower parade from the Boulevard. But on a hot summer day you have no shade there. Find a spot along the watering in Katwijk. Then you are in the shade 😉

Sea sparkle in Katwijk, special natural phenomenon

Have you ever seen sea sparkle (zeevonk in Duthc)? Sea sparkle is an alga that occurs in seawater and can emit bright blue light when it is in motion. You can observe it in warm weather in shallow water. Katwijk is the ideal place to observe sea sparks because this is where the Rhine flows. Due to the intersection of the fresh water of the Rhine with the salty sea water, there is little movement in the water. Therefore, this is the ideal residence of sea spark. Because sea sparkle lights up when it moves, you can see it in the waves, but also when you walk or swim through the water and even walk through the sand. It is very special to take a look. Many people watch Zeevonk at the watering (the outflow of the Rhine).

Do you find it interesting to stay informed about Zeevonk in Katwijk? Here is tracked exactly when and where there is sea spark. This way you know for sure that you don’t miss it on your trip to Katwijk Zeevonk is only visible on very hot summer days.

By water shuttle to the city center of Leiden

Do you also want to explore the area? 😊 In the summer season you can take the water shuttle from Katwijk to the center of Leiden. You sail on the Oude Rijn, passing Oegstgeest, Valkenburg and Rijnsburg. You will also pass the Limes. This is the natural northern border of the original Roman Empire. Once you have arrived in Leiden, you will be right in the middle of the city center and you can enjoy a day of shopping, grab some terraces and sniff culture. In the afternoon you can take the same shuttle back to Katwijk or take the bus from Leiden Central Station. More information about this shuttle can be found here.

visiting katwijk aan zee leiden

Eating fish in Katwijk

Of course you can’t leave Katwijk without having eaten fish. Katwijk has traditionally been a fishing village. Many Katwijkers still work in the fish business. I myself have worked for years as a side job in the fish stall on the Boulevard (Kees Hartevelt, you can find it across the lighthouse)🙂 I still regularly get a herring there. For a herring or a kibbeling, I really recommend that you get your fish there. Besides that the quality is good, you of course have a very nice view over the Boulevard and the sea. Watch out for the seagulls! That’s no joke, your fish will be gone in no time.

For fresh fish or to eat out in a fish restaurant, many locals go to Schuitemaker. Schuitemaker is located in the main shopping street (Princestraat) and has a wide range of fresh fish and a nice restaurant where you can eat delicious fish. They also have a terrace in the shopping street where you can sit in the summer 🙂

visiting katwijk aan zee fish

Rent a bike and take a ride through the dunes

It is very nice to rent a bicycle during your stay in Katwijk and cycle through the dunes to, for example, Wassenaar or Noordwijk. To Wassenaar is the most beautiful 🙂 The dune landscape here is very varied and it is a bit longer than to Noordwijk. Especially on an electric bike. Noordwijk is actually too close to really enjoy the dunes. Bring something to drink and eat and take a break to enjoy nature. Take your waste home with you 😉

You can rent a bike at Profile Paul. That’s near the ‘Vuurbaak’.

visiting katwijk aan zee tips renting a bike

General tips

  • The Princestraat is the main shopping street;
  • Andreasplein is also a nice catering square where small entrepreneurs are passionate about serving a good product every day. Also highly recommended;
  • Almost everything is closed on Sundays. Also the supermarkets. Beach restaurants are open;
  • When it rains you can visit Space Expo or take a look at the Katwijks museum if you want to know more about Katwijk’s culture and history.
  • You can park on the street, but be aware that many places are for permit holders. It is therefore easiest to park in the parking garage under the Boulevard. The hourly rate is also cheaper than, for example, on the street and you can buy a day ticket here for €10.

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