Schoorl Giulia Variara

Three reasons why you should go hiking in the Schoorl dunes

Since I moved to the Netherlands, I have been looking for outdoor places where I could go hiking and recharge my inner batteries.

Sometimes I feel the need to escape from the chattering of busy streets and other noises of the city. If you, like me, live in one of the most densely populated areas in Europe, I think you understand what I mean.  Silence and privacy is becoming a “precious commodity“, and the continuous exposure to noises can affect our (mental) health. You don’t need to be an outdoor-obsessed person to enjoy the quietness of a forest and the benefits of being in nature without artificial stimuli. If you are looking for a place where you can disconnect your always-on antennas, and you live in North Holland, I highly recommend going to the dunes of Schoorl.

Obviously, I recommend visiting this area also if you come from other regions of the Netherlands, but Schoorl is easily accessible especially if you are from North Holland and I believe is one of the easiest ‘remote’ places you can reach from cities such as Amsterdam and Haarlem.

Why do I like the dunes in Schoorl?

Schoorl Giulia Variara

The dunes in Schoorl are among the highest along the Dutch coast, with the tallest dune coming in at about 55 meters. They are also the widest (5 km) of all Netherlands. Besides this, the nature area around Schoorl is extremely beautiful and a real sanctuary for the Dutch wild flora and fauna. The park is managed by Staasbosbeheer (State Forest Management) which preserves it in the most natural way possible. Open dunes, dense forests and wet plains: you have it all in this unique nature area.


Here I tell you the main reasons why I do enjoy hiking here.

  1. You have to climb up these dunes. When you start the trail, you have to go uphill and once you reach the top, you can see that the surrounding environment keeps changing throughout the all excursion. Hiking here gives you the impression that you are immersed in a more dynamic and diverse landscape. You can experience something like that when you hike in the mountains.
  2. These dunes are beautiful every season, but in late summer the landscape is simply breath-taking. In August the heath changes colour and it turns into a beautiful purple (heath is a collective name for plants in the Ericaceae family, such as Heather and Erica). And just when the blossoming of the heath finishes, the mushroom will start growing (there are over 800 species here!)
  3. You meet fewer people than in the National Park Zuid Kennemerland. I love the NPZK. I live close by and I go there every time I can. But because it is so well-known and easily accessible from everywhere (from Amsterdam it takes about half hour by train), sometimes it can get too busy for my liking. In Schoorl, you may encounter people at the Visitor Centre, but once you get deeper into the forest, you will meet fewer people. One tip: try to avoid pick season as there are more tourists coming from Germany.
Schoorl Giulia Variara
Schoorl Giulia

Let’s go hiking!

The Schoorl dunes have an extensive network of walking routes, I recommend purchasing a map at the Visitor Centre (or using GPS tracking app such as Komoot) and plan a full day of hiking. You can check out the website of Staasbosbeheer for more info about the area.

If you would like to go together with a group, I organise beautiful excursions where I guide you through the dunes and I will tell about the vegetation and the ecological dynamism of the area. If you are interested, you can click here for more info.

I hope to see you soon on one of my hikes!

P.S. The city of Alkmaar is very close to Schoorl. Check it out! Especially when there is the folkloristic Cheese Market.