Scheveningen, a beach-resort 5 kilometres from The Hague, the Netherlands
The Dutch love their beaches and the sea.
Although the weather in the Netherlands is not always as nice as in southern parts of Europe, the crafty Dutch have managed to make their seaside resorts attractive to visit all year round.
Activities on 11 kilometer long beach
Scheveningen has 11 kilometres of beach and every year in early spring pavilions are erected along the beach.
Although these structures are only temporary, they do not lack diversity or style.
They are stylishly white, have an Asian or Mediterranean feel, or are rustic and welcoming.
All of them are specially designed to enjoy the first sunshine of spring by providing sheltering glass screens to protect you from the wind.
In summer the beach transforms to a real Eldorado for sunbathers.
You can take your own towel and windscreen or rent a chair.
Even here you have ample choice; you can rent an ordinary foldable beach chair, a sun bed or go for a luxury VIP bed.
But Scheveningen is not only a resort for sun bathers.
There are many beach sports to participate in or watch.
Besides windsurfing and flying kites, you can bungee jump or climb the climbing wall on the beach.
There is also a Beach Stadium where international events such as Grand Slam Beach volleyball and FIFA Beach soccer matches take place.
Food and drink
As per usual in the Netherlands the food and drinks are of the highest quality; hot chocolate and homemade Dutch apple pie, a hearty pea soup with smoked sausage, a classy cocktail with a snack, or a culinary feast like crayfish in cantaloupe as a starter and a big boy steak as a main, you name it and they serve it.
If you visit Scheveningen on a day that the sun does not shine you do not have to worry as there are plenty of restaurants on the boulevard.
Herring and its Festival in Scheveningen
Historically Scheveningen is a fishing village and it still has a harbour with a fishing fleet.
If you like to eat good fresh fish Scheveningen is the place to be. The local speciality, which is enjoyed all over the Netherlands, is salt herring.
The Dutch love it and if you are not too scared of eating salted but raw fish you should give it a try.
You should pick it up at the tail and hold it above your head and slide it into your mouth taking small bites.
But if you do not want to get your hands dirty the fishmonger will be quite happy to cut it in bite size pieces and give you a cocktail stick decorated with the Dutch flag.
Every June a festival in honour of the first herring caught takes place in Scheveningen. It is named “vlaggetjesdag” after the cocktail sticks; small flag in Dutch is “vlaggetje”.
The festival webpage: vlaggetjesdag.com
The famous Kurhaus and hotel
Make sure you do not miss a visit to the grand hotel “Het Kurhaus”.
Built in 1885 it was originally a concert hall and a hotel.
Nowadays it is a 5 star hotel Steigenberger Kurhaus with the concert Hall transformed into a stylish restaurant and a bar.
In the bar you will still find the portraits of the stars who have performed here such as Maria Callas, Marlene Dietrich, Duke Ellington and Edith Piaf.
Art and artists
This is a place that has attracted many artists and is full of art.
The famous Dutch painter Hendrik Willem Mesdag is one of those artists.
In 1881 he, and members of The Hague School of Painting, painted the biggest painting in the country.
The 120 meter wide panorama painting depicts 360 degrees of the beach and village as it was in the late 19th century.
It measures 14 metres high and is lit by natural light via a glass dome in the centre of the building.
As a spectator it is easy to imagine that you are standing on a hill being able to see the beach and the village as it used to be in the nineteenth century.
The colours of the painting change depending on the weather outside.
In modern times the town still attracts many artists.
They make enormous sculptures out of sand which surpass in both size and detail many sand castles made on Mediterranean beaches.
Like its big brother, The Hague, Scheveningen is also a place where you can admire bronze sculptures.
The exhibition “Sculptures by Sea” exhibits modern contemporary sculptures with its theme being fairy tales and legends about the sea.
There are three big sculptures such as a 12 metre high sculpture of “The Herring Eater”, the giant from Gulliver’s Travels, and 20 very cute small sculptures on the boulevard.
More from The Netherlands
Antibes on the beautiful French Riviera
The beautiful resort town Antibes is considered by some to be on par with Monaco.
It certainly features a great selection of tourist attractions and appealing architecture, and it’s conveniently located on the Cote d’Azur between Nice and Cannes, along the French Riviera.
Attractions and what to see in Antibes
At the Musée d’Archéolgie in Antibes there’s a selection of Etruscan and Greek finds from the Mediterranean region, all housed within a 17th century former fortress. If nothing else come to this museum to enjoy the fabulous views over the sea and the mountains.
Le Fort Carre
The fort on the harbour “Le Fort Carre” dates from 1550. Napoleon lived here and returned later as a prisoner. There are guided tours to “Le Fort Carre” several times a day.
Pablo Picasso lived in Antibes in the 1940s and this museum, which is located within the house in which he lived, houses one of the best collection of Picasso works in the world. The Picasso Museum is located at the top of the old cozy neighbourhood Vieil Antibes inside the Chateau Grimaldi. As well as numerous works by Picasso himself there are also works by Fernand Léger and Miro.
Pablo Picasso lived in Antibes in the 1940s and this museum, which is located within the house in which he lived, houses one of the best collection of Picasso works in the world.
The Picasso Museum is located at the top of the old cozy neighbourhood Vieil Antibes inside the Chateau Grimaldi. As well as numerous works by Picasso himself there are also works by Fernand Léger and Miro.
Antibes harbor and yacht club
If you walk along the busy harbour, Port Vauban, you’ll see everything from small fishing boats to the world’s largest yachts. And at the ‘Billionaire Row’ within, Antibes Yacht Club, the gigantic and luxurious yachts lie side by side.
At the ‘Billionaire Row’ within Antibe Yacht Club the gigantic yatchs lie side by side.
Exciting cave of chocolate
Chocolate artist Jean Luc Pele has created an entire cave of chocolate, where you can sit and eat the good chocolate.
1.5 tons (3000 pounds) of chocolate were used to create the different rooms. In the 120 square meter store, you can also see how the delicacies are created, tasting the sweet creations and browse chocolate bars that are arranged like books in a library.
The address is 27 rue de la République Antibes.
Where to stay in Antibes and Juan les Pins Hotel-tips here …
Hotels and apartments
There are many fine hotels in Antibes, but if you plan to travel here in the high season it can be a great advantage to be early to get a good accommodation.
Although some Apartment Hotels with a small kitchen or kitchenette so you don’t need to be dependent on eating out every day.
The luxury hotels in Juan les Pins
A few kilometers to the west lies Juan les Pins, known for its luxury hotels.
Every summer jet setters from all over Europe are gathered here and enjoying the nice beaches and lively nightlife.
You find slightly younger audience in Juan les Pins than in Antibes.
More from France
The Medieval city of Ghent in Belgium
With nearly 1400 years of history, Belgium’s town of Ghent has a lot to offer in terms of tourism.
Nowhere else you’ll find so much history per square meter in Europe like here.
Ghent indeed was a really important centre between year 1000 and year 1500 – it was even bigger than London and up to 1302 ruled by city families who were very successful in trading.
Its history was full of upsides and downsides, but despite it all, in the 19th century it became Europe’s first large industrial centre.
In 1913 it was a host of the World Exhibition.
Attractions in Ghent!
Probably the most famous landmark of this amazing city is St. Bavo’s Cathedral, where Charles V was baptized in the year 1500.
It has some really impressive art pieces, including famous Adoration of the Mystic Lamb by Hubert and Jan van Eyck.
The Castle of the Counts
Except this cathedral, Ghent is well known for beautiful castles and fortresses, and Gravensteen – is surely among the most beautiful one in the city and the whole country, as well.
It is the castle of the Counts, with a very interesting history. The place was fortified by Arnulf I making a medieval bastion made of a central wooden building accompanied with other buildings, also made of wood.
In 11th century, wooden parts were replaced with stone. During the centuries, from a centre of a whole region, the Gravensteen lost its function of administrative center of the region.
In 1865 Belgium and the city of Gent started buying the buildings and in 1893 restorations began. The architect was Jozef De Waele and in 1907 Gravensteen once again showed itself to public.
This is the city that is perfectly combining styles from different periods of history, and the best example is the STAM – city museum of Gent – settled in the abbey from the 14th century, with monastery from the 17th century and the 21st century contemporary look.
It is a home of pieces that are giving an insight in city’s past, present and future. Interesting detail are LEGO towers.
Discover the city by boat
The best way to explore the city that is full of waterways is always by boat.
Ghent offer: De bootjes van Gent (a window to a thousand years of architecture), Gent Watertoerist (an historic round trip), Rederij De Gentenaer (inland waterways) and a “boat in Ghent” where your guide is your captain with different thematic offers of their tours.
Last one added is natural tour where you’ll find out everything about the flora and fauna of the city. There are also tours that include picnics!
A very special bridge
When we are talking about canals in here, we’ll mention bridges, but not all of them – one in particular – St Michael’s Bridge, with an amazing view of the city.
If you are wondering where to stay when you are coming to this town, our suggestion is to find a hotel anywhere close to the Patershol – the medieval center of the city.
An exhibition space – the Friary of the Calced Carmelites from early 1300s is a famous landmark of the Patershol, and this area is today among most desirable parts of the city to live in.
It’s full of restaurants and a true paradise for tourists.
Gent is a perfect choice for those who enjoy stunning looking architectural cities in Europe.
It is a place for relaxation and a place where you’ll discover hidden alleys or green spots all across the city.
Gent is astonishing, beautiful and exciting!
Getting to Gent
By air and by train – after landing in Brussels, take a train to Gent St-Pieters station.
Except Brussels’ airport, you can also land in other nearby airports such the ones in Antwerp, Ostend or Liege.
If you would like to come by car, there are two big highways: E17 (that goes from Lisbon through Paris, Ghent to Copenhagen and Stockholm) and E40 (that connects Calais, Gent with Brussels, Frankfurt, Vienna and Budapest).